The Students’ Association Senate officially certified the ratification of the new constitution, which ended a process that began in November 2003 with the creation of the Government Restructuring Committee, on Feb. 14.

“We had 1,348 valid signatures turned in supporting the adoption of this constitution,” senior and SA President Pete Nabozny said. “This number exceeds the 1,239 that we needed.”

Final ratification of the constitution required a two-thirds majority vote certifying the signatures collected. Fourteen senators voted in favor of certification while three opposed.

“I don’t think that the support of only one-third of the student body is an appropriate amount to adopt a new constitution,” senior and Senator Jack Voorhees, one of the dissenters, said. “Under the current constitution we need half of students to support an amendment. This requires a lot less than that for a whole new government.” Nabozny clarified that amendments only needed the approval of half of the students voting on such a referendum.

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when he or she speaks on behalf of students.

Nabozny and then-Chief Justice of the All Campus Judicial Council Erica Contini co-authored the new constitution through the GRC last year. This is the first successful government overhaul since the mid-1970s.

The passage of the new constitution marks the completion of one of Nabozny’s major goals as president. “I’m extremely pleased,” Nabozny said. “This was one of the main reasons I ran for SA President. Following several unsuccessful attempts to replace the constitution, I feel a lot of satisfaction.”

With the transition underway, Nabozny looks forward to focusing his attention on other campus initiatives.

“I want to work on extending supplemental funds to non-SA groups and SA recognized groups without budgets, like Greeks, religious groups and the Varsity Students Athlete Advisory Committee, among others. These groups provide important functions that benefit the undergraduate community.”

Nabozny, along with Speaker of the Senate and senior Tom Hayes, junior Tyson Ford and freshman Hannah Geswein, led by Chief of Staff and sophomore Alex Pearlman, scrutinized and tallied the signatures. Over 1,700 signatures were submitted, but there were several duplicates or ones missing valid NetIDs that were omitted from the final tally.

Between now and May 23 when the new constitution takes effect, the SA government will be in a transition period.

During this time, new bylaws will be adopted to establish operating procedures and rules beyond those laid out in the constitution.

Bylaws are already being evaluated, discussed and rewritten with a joint effort between the Policy Committee, Pearlman and junior Cabinet member Sam Boyer.

The Political Finance Distinction Committee proposed and had the senate adopt a revised bylaw at Monday’s senate meeting to clarify the definition of a political group. The new bylaw states, “An SA funded group may not explicitly advocate for or against a political party or candidate or public official. SA funded organizations may criticize or support a public official or political party’s or political candidates policies and actions.”

Currently groups that are considered political are not eligible for SA funding, although they can be recognized. The only two inherently political groups currently recognized are College Republicans and College Democrats.

Some senators did not believe that the new bylaw provided enough clarity.

“We were selected to be specialists on this committee,” Ford said. “The question is not if this is perfect – it is whether or not it provides the senate and [Students’ Association Appropriations Committee] with more discretion. This clarifies what groups like Students for Social Justice can and cannot do as a funded organization.”

There was also a proposal to have students vote on a referendum during the spring elections on whether or not political groups should receive funding.

However, that proposal failed, so the status quo of no funding will remain in place.

“I am disappointed that the majority of senators do not have enough faith in the student body to make a decision regarding political group funding,” Nabozny said. “I think that they could have come to an informed conclusion, and it would have been valuable to hear that.”

Keesing can be reached at

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