SGA constitution to be simpler than before

Expect the new Student Government Association constitution to be less detail-oriented and more ambiguous, said Elections and Regulations committee chairman Jansen Harrison.

SGA suspended the constitution last spring because it contradicted parts of the Student Body Code. It was also very specific. For example, the constitution called for five justices on the judicial board, but 15 were appointed March 6.

The Elections and Regulations committee is “essentially” writing the new constitution, Harrison said. However, the constitutional writing process is open to the general student body.

Harrison said the goal is to craft a document that will lead to fewer conflicts with the Student Body Code, SGA’s other governing document, Harrison said.

“The constitution, as planned, is not going to be the same type of constitution we have now,” he said. “It’s not going to be so detail-oriented that it’s persistently in conflict with the SBC.”

The constitution is technically supposed to take precedence over the SBC, but the SBC deals with the day-to-day operations of SGA while the constitution is more of an umbrella document.

The SBC called for the impeachment proceeding for student body president Brent Folan to be closed to the public. The SBC also detailed what the possible punishments were if Folan were found guilty.

The SBC is easier to change than the constitution but SGA opted to change the constitution so that it would not restrict their ability to serve the student body, Harrison said.

The student body votes on changes to the constitution while the SBC can be changed by legislation in the House of Student Representatives.

Harrison said there have been on and off meetings to write the constitution. The upcoming SGA elections as well as Folan’s impeachment proceeding have hampered the group’s ability to meet formally to write the constitution.

However, people have also been working on the constitution individually.

Harrison said he has had informal conversations with other members of student government about the constitution and has taken note of their thoughts.

“A lot of the input from within House hasn’t been formally in a meeting but it’s been interactions with [House representatives],” he said. “We have 10, 15 minutes and we start chatting about the constitution and I take notes.”

There was no set date for when the progress on the new constitution would be presented to House, he said.

“I don’t want to have anything that will cause us to have to rush and not submit our best work,” Harrison said.

Harrison said he hoped the new constitution would not get in the way of SGA serving the student body.

“We’re spending a lot of time this year on making these document changes and hopefully in the future this doesn’t have to be our focus,” he said. “We can start focusing on passing more legislation that makes a tangible change on campus and really does our jobs as representatives.”

The House voted to suspend the constitution by a two-thirds majority April 10. The other branches in SGA, like theCrew, the SGA Judicial Board and the SGA Executive Cabinet, also voted to suspend the constitution.

The new constitution needs to be finished by the end of the 2012-2013 academic year, according to a resolution passed during a House meeting in April.

The new constitution would then go to House for a vote and, if approved, would then go to the student body for a vote.

Harrison said he hoped the new constitution would be presented to the student body for a vote by the spring elections.