The Students’ Association Senate is in the process of verifying signatures in order to ratify its new constitution. Although the new constitution is a positive step towards a more efficient student government, aspects of the ratification – especially steps taken to hurry the signature gathering and verification process – raise cause for concern.

Last week, SA President Pete Nabozny instituted an incentive program using his discretionary funds, awarding an iPod shuffle in a raffle for senators collecting signatures. Senators should not need to be given incentives to perform the responsibilities of their position. Ideally, the winning senator would decline the iPod and instead donate the monetary value toward a worthwhile cause.

The signature gathering process presents several concerns. Senators are expected to provide information about the constitution changes and ensure the signer is fully satisfied with the provided answers. However, many senators ask their constituents to sign without providing any information. Often, when asked, senators respond that the new constitution is simply “better.”

Although it is not their intent to deceive, senators lack a uniform understanding of the changes. There are senators who are well-versed while others lack sufficient knowledge. Also, senators tend to direct signers to the SA Web site to read a letter about the changes. However, the letter lacks a straightfoward way to compare and contrast the old constitution with the new version.

Finally, there is a substantial conflict of interest in the removal of duplicate and graduated student’s signatures by the senate. The senate is verifying signatures for a proposition that it initially drafted and presented. This is a perfect opportunity to show a checks and balance system and allow the All-Campus Judicial Committee to independently review the signatures.

Although there is no significant opposition to the new constitution, there ought to be no question about the legitimacy of the new constitution.

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