By Claudia Balthazar
Since the beginning of last semester, SGA has been working on the ramification of its constitution and now they are done. "Though a very valuable document, it [former SGA Constitution] was outdated. It needed to be revised, revamped and updated so that it could keep up with SGA and pave the way for a better future," said Billy Finnegan, Public Relations Chair of SGA.
Last semester, one representative from each of the SGA committees was taken out to form the Constitution Convention Committee [CCC]. The CCC met last semester and a few times over the Winter Intersession to form the new and approved document and will explain its new rules during this semester's Club Congress.
Some of the new rules include a new Programming Committee which will change its position to a Programming Board. This modification will allow people who aren't Senators, or clubs outside of SGA to put events together with SGA as a partner instead of a co-sponsor. There will also be two budget weekends instead of one. Normally, clubs would request money and have to wait an entire year to request it again. Now, the budget weekend would be at the beginning of each semester, leaving room for clubs to spend their money. If they don't spend it all, the unused funds go back to SGA at the end of the semester. This new plan allows SGA to allocate more money in the beginning of the semester and it allows clubs to gain more money if they didn't have enough before.
Also with the new Constitution, SGA is required to hold a Seminar to inform students who are running for Senate, of the responsibilities the position holds. They will still provide a packet explaining themes to the candidate but will explain their position in case students are not fully informed by the packet alone. This way, students know what they're up against before they decide to run.
Some of the new rules made in the Constitution have been changed to benefit SGA members as well. There is a stricter absence policy because it is very important that Senators make it to meetings. Last semester, a Senator would be kicked out of SGA after two absences, but excused absences would fly. Now, only three excused absences are allowed leaving out discretion when it comes to deciding which excuse it better over the other.
Previously, attendance was a problem with SGA. Last semester, the Senate meetings were held on Tuesday nights and Senators who were RAs would have to leave early. Effective this semester, the meeting time has been changed to Thursday nights. SGA Vice President Alexander Zelinski had the date changed after speaking to SGA's adviser and advising Senate of the change prior to registration for their following semester classes. Former Conduct and Ethics Chair Gary Duff resigned last semester due to this conflict and said, "I didn't have a say on it. No one on Senate had a say on it. There was no public discussion and there was no vote. Therefore it was unconstitutional." Zelinski said it was under the Vice President's discretion to change the date and since then, Senate attendance has been a lot better.
Now that the New Constitution is complete, "It provides a good platform to work off of that could better serve the student body and clubs," said SGA President David Zuniga. Duff said he just hopes that SGA abides by the rules that are in the new Constitution and allow everything to be passed through Senate before changing anything.