A town hall held by the Students’ Association (SA) Government Tuesday did little to provide further transparency on the process of rewriting the SA Constitution.
The meeting, charged to the Constitution Task Force (CTF)—the body rewriting the document—by the SA Senate at its Feb. 27 meeting, was scantily attended, with only seven members of the student body attending, excluding two Campus Times reporters, outnumbered nearly two-to-one by members of the SA Government.
A rewrite requires approval from one-third of a student body–wide vote.
Elections and Rules Committee and CTF chair Jake Braniecki spent about a minute of the about 20-minute forum on the progress made by the CTF.
Organizers had scheduled an hour time-slot for the event.
“Nothing is concrete,” Braniecki said. “That’s one thing we want to make clear from the very beginning. We have not made any concrete decisions. We’ve made some important steps in the right direction, but still looking forward to looking at our structure as a whole and how we can best represent the student body.”
The items mentioned were the decisions to maintain the method of selection of the SA President and the general structure and purpose of the All-Campus Judicial Council. Both had been outlined in a previous Campus Times article.
Braniecki additionally touched on the decision to create an appeals board for all decisions concerning ARC and SAAC.
Of the fifteen questions asked by those in attendance, only three came from students not connected to SA. And of those, two were requests for clarifications. The remaining twelve questions were asked either by members of SA or by the Campus Times.
The tone taken at the session was a stark contrast to Monday night’s SA meeting. Braniecki failed to mention the lack of quorum at Friday’s planned CTF meeting and repeatedly expressed a high degree of confidence that the document would be ready for the upcoming April elections.
At Monday’s meeting, Braniecki expressed reservations on the possibility of having a new constitution to be voted on during spring elections and noted that the CTF was in the process of reassessing the situation. When pushed by Deputy SAAC Treasurer and Co-President of the Club Sports Caucus Patrick Fink on completion of the document on Tuesday, Braniecki appeared to place the onus on the remainder of the CTF.
“I think that it depends on how much the people on the committee are committed,” Braniecki said. “I really believe that these people are committed to […] seeing the change happen. So I think it is passable. However, I think that we should be open to all scenarios.”
By the end of the questions and input segment, the rewrite process had only been advanced in two ways: Braniecki promised to look into translations of the constitution into foreign languages, and he promised to make publicly available minutes from CTF meetings.
The latter was in response to a request from Fink. Braniecki additionally promised to follow up with all those in attendance at the event.
You can watch a live-stream of the forum here.