The Student’s Association (SA) Government’s Constitution Task Force (CTF), which has been reworking the central document of the student government since last semester, has come under fire from SA senators for what they view as a lack of transparency from the group.
See for yourself all that’s been shared with the Senate by the CTF in these screenshots of a Google Drive folder, provided to the Campus Times by a sitting senator. The Campus Times independently confirmed the documents with a former senator who had access to the materials, and who provided the Campus Times additional screenshots.
The documents show that since November, when the effort began, and as of Tuesday night, the CTF had only uploaded one set of minutes—those from its first meeting. It has met multiple times since.
The CTF’s folder also shows its benchmarking—researching what other universities have done—and proposals for structural changes to SA, the source of divide between the Senate and the task force it commissioned. Two of the three proposals were in the folder as of Tuesday night, and the Campus Times has uploaded them along with the other documents. The Campus Times was provided with a digital copy of the third and uploaded it as well. The Campus Times also, earlier, obtained hard copies.
Below is all you need to know about what has been going on with the rewrite.
What is going on?
In November, SA Senate voted to create the CTF. The purpose of the CTF was to first make a decision between rewriting the constitution or amending it. At its first meeting, the CTF decided that it would rewrite the Constitution.
When was the SA Constitution last rewritten?
2005. You can find the document here.
Who is on the CTF?
- Elections and Rules Committee Chair Jake Braniecki
- SA President Vito Martino
- Deputy Speaker of the Senate Marco Ramos
- Senator Zoë James
- Senator Leif Johansen
- Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Nicholas Mavrelis
- Administration and Review Committee Chair Alex Guerrero
- All-Campus Judicial Council (ACJC) Deputy Chief Justice Madeline Blackburn
- ACJC Associate Justice Christian Keenan
- SA Adviser Laura Ballou
- SA Adviser Anne-Marie Algier, who also serves as an adviser to the Campus Times
- Speaker of the Senate Lindsay Wrobel sits on the committee as an ex-officio member
What concerns have senators voiced?
Ten senators and a legislative aide (who is a member of the Campus Times Editorial Board) signed a letter expressing concerns about an apparent separation of the SAAC and ARC from the legislative branch.
Senators have also expressed concerns that the new document will not be completed in time for the upcoming SA elections in April. These concerns led to a narrowly failed motion to dissolve the CTF, resulting in a debate that lasted several hours at the Feb. 27 Senate meeting.
What has been accomplished/decided for the new constitution?
The CTF has not made any final decisions, according to Braniecki.
A consensus has been reached on several items, however. The CTF has agreed that the SA President will be elected by popular vote, and that ACJC will remain as the top appeals court of SA and have its members confirmed by Senate. The CTF additionally decided to create a separate appeals board for SAAC and ARC appeals, a change from the current system in which appeals go through Senate.
Will the new constitution be voted on this spring?
It is unclear if the new document will be voted on before spring elections, but that was the goal.
If the new constitution isn’t ready for spring elections, when will it be voted on?
Either by the fall 2017 elections or, more likely, spring 2018 elections. However, this will be determined by how next year’s SA Government decides to approach the rewrite.
What has happened most recently?
Last Friday (March 3), the CTF meeting was cancelled when it was unable to meet quorum.
On Tuesday, SA held a town hall meeting that had seven students, twelve SA Government officials, and two Campus Times reporters in attendance.
Who should I contact to suggest ideas for the rewrite/find out meeting info?
Braniecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.