On Nov. 30, SGA adopted a new constitution by a student body vote that outlines powers for the judicial branch and clarifies previous language.
SGA President Austen Hall says that the focus of their edits was specifying the responsibilities and qualifications for judicial branch members.
“Basically we wanted to make sure that the judicial branch got their powers,” Hall said. “That was actually the largest part of the document that needed to be updated. As of now, we had a judicial branch, but in name only. There was nothing that they could really do.”
The judicial branch was added to the SGA Constitution on May 4, 2017, but its powers were not detailed at that time. Many of the new changes were proposed in the spring of 2018 draft of the constitution, but that draft did not go up for a student vote.
The judicial branch now hears any and all grievances submitted to SGA, determines sanctions for students found in violation of SGA policies and reviews SGA actions and determines if those actions are in line with SGA policies. SGA is comprised of justices and one chief justice.
The chief justice serves a one year term, just as with the vice president and president positions. Justices are then appointed by the chief justice.
“We wanted to update the election process for president and vice president,” Hall said. “There was not clear language on the presidential terms, so we wanted to make that as clear as possible moving forward.”
Hall says that the constitution was not difficult to revise.
“The constitution wasn’t terrible,” Hall said. “The bylaws are what are old and need updating, but the constitution is what’s most important because the association votes on it.”
Constitutional changes began after the Fuson administration’s shutdown in the spring of 2018. Many of the current changes were proposed in the spring of 2018 draft of the Constitution, but that draft did not go up for a student vote, and thus, was not ratified.
In line with the Fuson administration’s concerns, the right to a defense in the Bill of Rights now allows students to call witnesses in their defense and to have an advisor present at hearings. Additionally, a right to due process has been added to the Bill of Rights.
The full Constitution can be found on the SGA website under the Legislative Branch tab.