The student body will have the opportunity to vote Thursday on the proposed changes to the Student Association constitution.
The new document would bring sweeping changes to the SA, including a joint ticket with the president and executive vice president running together, instead of being elected individually. Also, an appointed speaker of the senate would preside over senate meetings instead of the EVP, who would focus on advocating as part of the executive branch.
Voting will be conducted online from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A simple majority of votes cast is necessary to pass the measure.
The election will cost about $600, Joint Elections Committee Chair Jake Chervinsky said. The money will be put toward a four-hour barbecue advertising the election.
Another proposed change is the creation of a freshman assembly open to all freshmen interested in organizing and advocating for their interests. The assembly would internally appoint four freshman senators, instead of having the entire senate select and confirm three freshmen under the current constitution.
“We are improving advocacy throughout the Student Association itself,” said Sen. Michael Komo, U-At Large, and a member of the eight-person constitution task force. “This will more clearly specify duties for elected leaders, it will make them more accountable, and it will increase efficiency.”
Only two senators voted against the constitution when the Senate voted on the idea last month, but flyers have appeared on campus in the last week urging students to vote no, calling the document a constitution “of, by and for SA tools.” The measure has been criticized as internal change that won’t affect the student body.
Sen. Logan Dobson, CCAS-U, has been vocal in his opposition to the document.
“At a time when students are looking for their elected leaders to advocate on issues that affect the whole student body, the SA is instead trying to force a bunch of useless rule changes and new bureaucracies on the student body,” he said.
Sen. Jamie Baker, CPS-G, – who is also a task force member – said while the document has been criticized for its internal changes, such changes are necessary for the SA to do a good job on behalf of the student body.
“Is it internal? Sure. But because we’re changing the internal we can affect the students externally,” Baker said.
Baker also rejected the idea the change was only for “SA tools.”
“That response is the argument that makes the Student Association ineffective. It brings the SA down, and when the organization goes down, the students get hurt,” Baker said. “We’re taking two more senators from the student body on board, and we’re removing censure. How is that increasing the tools’ power?”
Past SA members have also weighed in on the constitution issue.
Last year’s President Vishal Aswani said he will vote for the constitution, but questioned whether it will really make the internal changes the task force has promised.
“Those changes can’t just come from fixing a document,” said Aswani, a senior. “I want to caution the SA not to limit itself to what is in this document. They need to remember that their focus needs to be student advocacy and issues first.”
Former EVP Kyle Boyer said on his Twitter account Tuesday he will vote against the constitution.
“Changes can be good, but not when they don’t address the things that the average student cares about,” Boyer said in an e-mail.