Most students at the Eastman School of Music have heard of the Eastman Student Association. Many may even know someone who serves either as a representative or as a member of the executive board.
However, many may not know that the SA is governed by its own constitution, which is currently being examined for necessary revisions.
The present constitution, which was actually written several years ago, was last revised two years ago. However, certain aspects of this revision are being questioned.
“That revision was done very quickly, and there were still quite a few questionable sections in the constitution,” Eastman SA president and junior Jeff Willy said, explaining why another revision of the document is needed.
“Last year, [members of the SA] kept saying that they were going to get to it, but it never happened. This is why we decided to revise the entire document in depth versus just doing a casual review,” Willy added.
“The constitution actually states that it needs to be reviewed each year,” although obviously this revision does not actually occur every year, he said.
The constitution is essential in understanding the processes of the SA. Within the document, rules are established concerning SA membership, who is eligible to run for office and how meetings should be run.
The constitution also establishes the rules under which SA membership can be suspended or under which a class officer can be recalled and removed from the elected position.
Additionally, the roles of the Executive Committee and its members are established, as are rules for student committees, the distribution of SA funds and the voting process.
The constitution also offers a procedure and guidelines that are to be used when the constitution itself is being revised.
The process began this past summer, when the SA Executive Board and representatives of other Eastman organizations and clubs met to figure out how to begin the revision process.
During this time, the Executive Board also started to revise the constitution, singling out the sections that needed to be clarified or changed.
Although revision has been examined for every section of the constitution – ranging from just adding a few words to rewriting sentences – the overall goal of the process is to make the constitution easier to understand and use.
Additionally, SA members hope to clarify sections of the constitution that are vague or otherwise unclear.
“The revision’s main goal is to make the constitution more user-friendly,” Willy said.
One important addition to the constitution is what is called an associate member section for River Campus students.
“The River Campus’ constitution has a statement about Eastman students having associate membership to activities at the River Campus, so we felt that we should add the same to ours,” Willy said.
Additionally, SA members examined the River Campus system and, in particular, the All-Campus Judicial Council, with the goal of eventually establishing a similar judicial body at Eastman.
“One of the SA’s goals for the year is to investigate this possibility after the constitution is completely revised,” Willy said.
Although the revision process is not yet completely finished, a vote on the revision draft is scheduled to take place during the SA meeting during the evening of Thursday, Oct. 2.
Students were also given the opportunity to take part in the revision. In the beginning of September, an e-mail was sent out to the entire undergraduate student body at Eastman, with the proposed revision attached. An upcoming SA meeting discussing the revision process was also announced.
Questions and comments were encouraged, and all SA meetings – including those that discussed the revision process – are open to all students.
Most students have a lukewarm sentiment to the revisions, supporting the changes as long as they will actually help improve how the SA works.
“As long as change is geared towards action rather than more red tape, I’m all for it,” junior Sarah McKittrick said.
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