Revised SGA constitution brings wave of change for student government

News Student Government

On April 18, the Student Government Association will be acting under a new constitution which was passed by the students on a two-thirds vote earlier this month.

Current SGA President Dillon Harp said that the most significant change to the constitution is the addition of a Student Bill of Rights.

“Essentially what the Bill of Rights is going to do is hopefully illustrate to the students that student government will be there to help with any problems they might have here on campus, be it in the academic realm or if they are having problems with their meal plans,” Harp said. “If they feel their services are being unjustly done to them, they can come to us.”

The Student Bill of Right lists 10 rights that Harp hopes student’s takes into consideration.

SGA President-Elect Alison Norris believes that the Student Bill of Rights is a good way for students to see what SGA stands for and what rights the students have.

“It’s good to have that on there because they know that this is what we represent and how we represent them,” Norris said.

Norris also said that during her term, SGA will have a grievance form for students to fill out if they feel any of these rights are being violated.

“Whether or not it can be changed or not, we can go back to the student and say, ‘this is why this is like this,’ or ‘this is how we can change it,’” Norris said.

Another change made to the constitution is the separation of Residence Council from SGA. Residence Council will now be a separate organization called Residence Hall Association. On April 18 , RHA will have to seek recognition from SGA as a current student organization. This also means SGA will no longer be funding RC or the new RHA.

Acting Director of Residential Life Sean O’Reilly said RHA will receive its funding from students living in the halls.

“Based upon the number of students who live in the hall, part of everybody’s housing cost will be provided for RA programming, hall improvements and now RHA funding,” O’Reilly said.

Currently RC receives $31,408 from SGA, most of which goes towards activity funding. Residence Hall Director Marqita Jones, who will advise RHA along with RHD Dany Thompson, said that RHA will take on a governance body more than it has before.

“Any polices [in the residence halls] that students disagree with, they can get together and write a proposal and give it to RHA and try and get some of those polices changed,” Jones said.

O’Reilly also added that RHA will give residential life more opportunities to foster leadership and give students more opportunities to become leaders.

As for SGA’s previously appropriated funds for RC, Norris and Executive Vice President-Elect Jacob Scott are currently looking into special projects that the money might be used for.

“We’re considering the prospect of University’s President Dr. Vartabedian to put forth a vision to the student government of possibly helping fund the construction of an amphitheater,” Scott said.

Scott said that an amphitheater would help community outreach as well as strengthening the community on campus.
Norris said that as president, she would like to find out what the students want the money to be used for before deciding on what the extra funds will go towards.

The first day of Norris’s administration, she plans to address the 2011-2012 budget at the April 18 meeting. Norris said that all students are invited to give their input.

“I’d love for lots of feedback,” Norris said. “I think we’ve come up with a good plan for the budget but different perspectives on it are always great.”

Harp believes that with these recent changes to the constitution have solved a lot of issues with “one final swing of the bat.”

Norris said that all the changes made were well though out and that it will be a few years before SGA proposes changes again, but there’s no guarantee.

“It all depends on who is in the position,” Norris said. “There’s a big possibility that it might not be changed for a while, but you know our track record. So, we’ll see.”

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