Vote “no” on the proposed constitutional amendments

by Editorial Board / Beacon Staff • December 5, 2011

At Issue: Amended constitution eradicates checks on power, blurs branches of government

Our Take: Vote “no.”

Debate on social media over a proposed constitutional amendment that would give the Student Government Association control over the currently guaranteed funding for the campus newspaper that reports on it has been vociferous and at times misguided and professionally questionable.

But as obnoxious as the debate flooding your newsfeed may seem, this is an important issue, and it needs to be discussed. And while we disagree with eliminating our guaranteed funding because it will put us in an ethically challenging position as journalists -- inviting us to treat unfavorable coverage as biting the hand that feeds -- there are other issues in the proposed constitution that concern us.

Under Article IV, Section One of the proposed constitution, the chief justice would be added to the executive board, creating a conflict of interest by including the position charged with being a judicial check on the board thereby compromising the justice as a detached observer and reviewer of constitutionality. 

Further blurring the lines between the branches of government, Article IV, Section 3 would enable the President to act as chief justice in the event no justice and deputy justice is appointed. The paragraph goes on to state “In the case that any student feels the President cannot be impartial in a matter, they may request for the Associate Dean of Students to render a ruling.” It’s deflecting responsibility away from the student government and giving it to the administration. This is exactly what a student government should not be doing. The SGA is meant to make decisions on behalf of the students, not the administration.

This document deserves more debate. It deserves more student input. And it deserves more time. We urge you to vote “no” on the amended constitution.

Vote at vote.emerson.edu.