Constitutional changes may appear on election ballot

by Stephanie Bradbury / Beacon Staff • March 22, 2012

Months after the Student Government Association made sweeping changes to its constitution in an all-or-nothing ballot referendum, student officials now hope to pass changes to policy in the April 3 elections to policy for posting meeting minutes online, the responsibilities of the chief justice, and the commissioner seats.

The current constitution states that meeting minutes must be posted within 48 hours of the meeting, a duty SGA officials repeatedly shirked over the last year, saying they normally vote to approve the minutes at the consecutive week’s meeting. 

“I am both behind, and didn’t check to make sure my updates were being posted. It should be corrected shortly,” Chief Justice Adriana Guida said. 

Some minutes were posted last semester after a report in the Beacon exposed the government’s static website, but the last document published on the site is from December.

“Since it wouldn’t make sense to post minutes that haven’t been approved, we’re just looking to reconcile things,” said Guida. “It’s something that should have been changed last semester. It was an oversight.”

For years the SGA has been following the Robert’s Rules of Order, a widely accepted guide to parliamentary procedure, in regards to the posting of minutes, said Guida. The Rules of Order says meeting minutes should be approved at the beginning of each meeting, but does not give any guidelines for a time frame to publish the minutes. 

The second change to the constitution will be to outline the responsibilities of the chief justice. This outline will make clear that the chief justice has no official vote in executive board decisions. Last semester’s constitutional revision installed the chief justice as a member of the executive board, a move alumni SGA members said removed a check on the board’s power by adding the SGA’s judicial review to the executive branch.

The third and final constitutional change will be to add a sustainability commissioner. Matt Durham, a Beacon Columnist performed a similar role this semester, acting as a liaison between the SGA and the president’s committee on sustainability. 

Any changes must first be approved by the student government before they can go before the student body, said Vice President Caitlin Higgins.