Two-thirds vote suspends SGA constitution

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    One vote could have changed everything. One vote was all that it took to suspend the Student Government Association constitution.

    Members of the House of Student Representatives voted to suspend the TCU Constitution of the Student Body on Tuesday evening. Members of the House passed the motion by a vote of 23-8 with three representatives not voting.

    The vote tally was exactly the two-thirds majority needed to suspend the constitution.

    The SGA Judicial Board, theCrew and the SGA Cabinet already approved the suspension of the constitution by a two-thirds majority. 

    Parliamentarian Abbey Brokos said the constitution, the governing document of SGA, was inconsistent with the Student Body Code. She said the constitution should be reviewed so changes could be made.  

    House members also voted to pass a resolution that would examine the constitution for possible changes. House members approved the resolution by a vote of 31-0 with three representatives not voting. 

    Representatives in favor of the motion argued suspending the constitution was a necessary step because the House had already committed several actions that were unconstitutional. The constitution should not interfere with the way SGA has functioned the past year. The representatives said they wanted to make sure the constitution agreed with SGA’s actions.

    Jansen Harrison, the chairman of the Elections and Regulations Committee, said some of the actions that were unconstitutional included swearing in more justices for the judicial board than is allowed and having the Elections and Regulations Committee chairman swear in the SGA president, which is the job of the chief justice.

    Suspending the constitution was necessary because SGA members have made changes to the organization that made it more effective, he said. If not, major changes would have been necessary for the House, he said. 

    Opposing representatives argued although the constitution needed to be changed, suspending the constitution was not the right way to handle the situation.

    Cody Westphal, a Neeley School of Business representative, said he was opposed to suspending the constitution because he thought the House was setting a dangerous precedent by throwing out rules members did not like.  

    House should have gone through the proper method of making changes by submitting them to the student body for a vote, he said. He said that while he agreed with the need to make changes to the constitution, he felt suspending the constitution would be a blow to House’s integrity and that it should have followed the rules. 

    Although the constitution was suspended, certain aspects, such as the student fee, would not change. 

    In other business, House members approved a resolution that tasked the Elections and Regulations Committee with reviewing the constitution and making changes. The deadline for the new constitution would be by the end of the 99th House session, which occurs during the 2012-2013 academic year, according to the legislation.

    The new constitution would then be voted on by the House and, if approved, would go the student body for a vote.

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