The new Student Government Association constitution is much simpler than before, leaving the more detailed parts of what SGA does to the Student Body Code.
Members of the House of Student Representatives approved the new, streamlined SGA constitution Tuesday evening, after more than a year of SGA operating without one of its founding documents.
House members approved the new constitution by an 85% to 3% margin with 12% of members not voting.
The old constitution was suspended because it conflicted with the SBC, SGA’s other founding document. Even though the constitution was supposed to win out when there were conflicts with the SBC, SGA members would often follow the SBC instead.
There is no procedure in the new constitution for suspending it.
Due to how simple the new constitution is, it would probably never come into conflict with the SBC again, which would necessitate suspending, Speaker of the House Luke Harville said.
The constitution sets up the structure of SGA while the SBC deals more with the details, said Jansen Harrison, chairman of the Elections and Regulations committee.
The goal of the new constitution was to be a document that encompassed what SGA was about, said Emily Rodenbach, member of the Election and Regulations committee.
“We wanted this one to be more direct, simple. You know, something a student might actually go read and understand how we actually function,” she said.
Harville said SGA had a lot of rules and those belong in the SBC, not the constitution.
“The constitution is supposed to give anybody, any student, the ability to go in, read it and say ‘Okay, this is what the bare-bones function of SGA is,’” Harville said.
The new constitution is a little more than four pages long while the old constitution was a little over nine pages long.
The constitution is harder to change, with amendments to it going to a student body vote while changes to the SBC can come through bills passed by House members.
Harville said Election and Regulations committee members had gone through the old constitution line by line and rewrote it.
The old constitution was written more like a government document with a lot of strong government-like language, he said.
However, SGA is not a government but is more like an advocacy group, Harrison said.
The constitution will now go to the student body for a vote as part of the SGA elections on April 23. Once there, the constitution would have to be passed by a majority of votes for it to take effect.
A copy of the new SGA constitution can be found here:
A copy of the old SGA constitution can be found here: