Student Association President Audai Shakour signed off Saturday on changes the Senate made last week to the SA constitution, ensuring they will go to the student body in a referendum.
While most of the proposed changes to the SA constitution are clarifications of language, they also include dramatic changes to how the SA is structured.
If ratified, key changes include eliminating the position of executive vice president and dissolving the Joint Elections Committee, which oversees elections. The new constitution would add two seats to the SA Student Court and would create an appeals process.
Sophomore Chris Rotella (CCAS-U), the SA senator who introduced the legislation, said the changes will probably go to the student body for a vote after the Thanksgiving break.
“With the amount of complications and procedural confrontations that the proposed constitution gets rid of and the amount of work the senators put into the constitution, we felt it was in the best interest to put the decision in the hands of the students,” said sophomore Casey Pond, Shakour’s vice president of public affairs, explaining Shakour’s decision to approve the changes. Last week, members of Shakour’s cabinet hinted that the president might veto the changes because they diminish the role of the executive.
The EVP is currently defined as the leader of the Senate who runs Senate meetings and is the tie-breaking vote. Junior Morgan Corr holds the position.
Constitutional changes would break the position into two roles.A vice president would run along with a presidential candidate and serve as a leader within the executive branch, and the Senate would select a chairperson from within the body of senators to oversee procedural matters at meetings. The change would shift power from student voters to senators in deciding who has power in the Senate.
Also, if students approve the changes, the Senate will have the power to appoint all five members of the JEC. In the past, the Marvin Center Governing Board and Program Board have each appointed a member of the body.
“This gives a senator the ability to be judge, jury, executioner and candidate all at once which undermines the idea of an independent electoral supervisor entity,” Jeff Goodman, the executive’s vice president of judicial and legislative affairs, said last week, before Shakour approved the constitution Saturday.