SGA tables constitutional amendments

News Student Government

Despite a demonstration and a meeting dedicated to editing the constitution, SGA has tabled its constitutional amendments to next semester.

Last week’s meeting saw the first proposed constitutional amendments since Jan. 29’s demonstration against what SGA saw as an imbalance of power between it and administration.
There were concerns among both senators and administrators that the constitution was not ready to be reviewed when it was put before the senate last week. Senator Kaylee Sharp says that SGA should have waited until changes were made to the Student Code of Conduct.

“I don’t know why these were being brought to the table now,” Sharp said. “It makes more sense to change the Student Code of Conduct over the summer as much as we can together and then change the SGA constitution to reflect that with a new administration.”

Vice President Reece Christensen says that the goal of presenting the constitution was to allow the senate to make changes as they saw fit.

“Some of the senators looked at the bill and were like ‘wow, we actually aren’t ready to talk about this,’ which I don’t think was really an issue because they can amend the bill as needed,” Christensen said. “That was my original intent, to get it to the senators so they could make the changes that they desire.”

The bill has multiple inconsistencies including a line that grants approval power to administrators and one that gives exclusive veto power to the SGA president.

The biggest changes that were made concerned the judicial branch, its powers and its place in SGA’s checks and balances system. Currently the judicial branch does not have any specific responsibilities outlined in the constitution.

The proposed amendments outline qualifications for justices including GPA (2.50 for justices and 3.00 for the chief justice) and mandated training for all justices. Additionally the amendments clarify the appointment, removal and replacement processes for justices.

The judicial branch’s main function was to hear any and all grievances submitted to the SGA and review actions made by the other branches of SGA.

SGA also wants the judicial branch to play a role in hearing cases of student conduct violations, which the Student Code of Conduct currently grants to residence hall directors, the vice president for student affairs and the assistant dean of student development. Christensen says that they now plan to address the Student Code of Conduct before they finalize constitutional amendments.

“We initially felt that changing the judicial branch would be the best way to handle reforms regarding student involvement with the Student Code of Conduct,” Christensen said. “After meeting with [Senator] Kaylee [Sharp] and other people who were working on the document, we decided that it would probably be better to edit the Student Code of Conduct first.”

Administrative Coordinator Jessica Frogge says that meetings have been held between Christensen, SGA President Kyle Fuson and Vice President for Student Affairs Shana Meyer regarding changes to the Student Code of Conduct.

Fuson says that working with Meyer will help SGA to make the judicial branch’s responsibilities work within existing University policy.

“I definitely think that Vice President Meyer should be a part of the process for the judicial branch considering we want to implement a new system that involves the judicial branch,” Fuson said. “I think that it would be best if both were operating while communicating and working closely with one another because they’ll be hearing similar cases and may be working on the exact same thing.”

Christensen, who will return as vice president next year, says that he and incoming President Austen Hall plan to amend the constitution once school is back in session in the fall.

“Essentially it [the constitution] would have amendments, more than likely not the same amendments, but we’re still going to be submitting amendments next semester,” Christensen said.

The senate voted unanimously to table the amendments and SGA has not put forth any new changes to the first draft of amendments.