SA senator plans to introduce legislation to overhaul constitution

Correction appended

A Student Association senator said on Wednesday that he hopes to overhaul the organization’s constitution, restarting a similar effort from three years ago.

Sen. Nick Polk (U At-Large), a sophomore, sent an e-mail to four former members of the SA and one current member announcing his intention to reintroduce a revised constitution that those members had helped draft in 2005.

The new constitution – which needs a two-thirds vote in the Senate to pass – separates the position of executive vice president into two different positions, increases the number of students on the SA Student Court and eliminates the Joint Elections Committee, an independent body overseeing elections.

“You may have realized we have an entirely new Senate this year which means we have a lot of opportunity to actually make some change instead of passing non-binding resolutions,” Polk wrote in the e-mail.

Polk, the SA rules committee chair, said he would like to “take another look” at the 2005 version, but said he wants a new constitution to come before the senate by the end of the semester. The brisk timeline established by Polk faces opposition from the senate chair.

Junior Kyle Boyer, SA executive vice president, said it was not “fair or appropriate” to change the SA structure so drastically halfway through the terms of current elected members.

“I would definitely be opposed to it taking effect this year,” Boyer said. “I don’t necessarily have a strong opinion on the positions changing eventually, but it just doesn’t make sense to move forward with this now.”

He added, “I think there might be ulterior motives.”

Boyer said there were other issues he would rather see the senate focus on this year.

“In my opinion, it’s a waste of time,” he said.

Polk, who said he will not be running for a higher position next year because he would like to focus on getting into law school, added that he feels the revised constitution would make the SA easier for students to understand.

“I think it would make us a student government that can make some changes,” Polk said in an interview. “Opposed to student government that is mired up in bureaucracy.”

Chris Rotella, a SA former senator, was a major proponent of the constitutional overhaul in 2005.

“Anything that increases transparency is a good thing,” Rotella said. “If Nick wants to revisit it, I wish him best of luck.”

This article has been changed to reflect the following correction: (October 16, 2008)

The Hatchet erroneously reported that Chris Rotella is a graduate student and presidential administrative fellow. Rotella, a 2008 graduate, is a full-time University employee in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations.

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