Restructuring SGA Constitution: Five Changes Proposed
March 29, 2011 1 Comment
by Josh Travis
Transylvania’s Student Government Association recently approved a number of proposed changes to the SGA constitution, and now it is up to the students to decide the fate of the proposals.
“A member of SGA proposed some changes that reflect some overall problems that SGA has had in the past year, and so these changes reflect an attempt to refocus our purpose and to be more effective for the student body,” said first-year Maria Starck, SGA constitution chair.
There are a total of five proposed amendments, each focusing on distinct aspects of the constitution.
The biggest proposed change, according to Starck, targets Article VIII of the constitution, which determines how many senators serve in SGA.
Currently, the constitution requires one senator for every 25 full-time students enrolled in the university. This means that for the current academic year, there are 48 SGA senators.
This amendment proposes that this number be changed to one senator for every 30 full-time students, bringing the number of SGA senators down to 40.
“We’ve had a high turnover rate this year and have had a tough time keeping senators on (the) senate,” Starck said.
According to Starck, this may be because some feel that there are too many senators in SGA, which makes it more difficult to have an impact and to implement changes. Starck said that, by decreasing the number of senators, SGA hopes to become more efficient and effective.
If the student body ratifies this amendment, SGA plans to evaluate the effects of the change and then make further changes, if necessary.
According to senior Jessica Beard, SGA President, students should care about the number of senators in SGA.
“Although students aren’t directly serving on SGA, the number of students every senator represents is important because it affects changes that could be implemented,” Beard said.
A second proposal focuses on the duties of the SGA vice president.
“The vice president hasn’t had much power in the past,” Starck said. “We’ve had really good leaders, … but they haven’t had any way to exercise their abilities.”
As a result, an amendment is being proposed that will allow the vice president’s role to absorb the duties of the parliamentarian. The parliamentarian’s role is to assist the president in assuring that proper procedures are followed during meetings.
As of now, SGA has two major committees, the student life committee and the academic life committee. A third proposed amendment seeks to change these names to the student “affairs” committee and the academic “affairs” committee and, furthermore, to redefine their duties.
“The student life roles in the original constitution were kind of vague,” Starck said.
According to Starck, the proposal serves to give specific areas of concern to the committee, such as “to assess the safety needs of students in all areas of campus” and “to suggest to the dean of students improvement needs in residence halls, recreational areas, etc.”
Another amendment attempts to eliminate the board for the advancement of student research, which, according to Stark, no longer functions. Starck also said that no one in SGA, not even those that have been serving on the senate for four years, knows what this board is or was.
The last amendment serves to correct a typo in Article XXI.
In order for these amendments to be ratified, two-thirds of the students who vote must approve them. To be eligible to vote, a student must attend the university full time and cannot have senior status.
According to Starck, a student can choose to vote for certain amendments and against others. It is not simply a singular vote to ratify all or none of the proposals.
Given how big of an impact some of these proposed changes may make, SGA hopes that there will be a large student turnout in voting next week.
“These are some major constitution changes, and all of these changes have the students’ best interests at heart,” Starck said. “I encourage them to come out and voice their opinion because these changes will affect them and what happens in SGA.”
Voting will take place concurrently with elections for new senators on March 6-8.