Student Association constitution rejected in vote

Students rejected the proposed Student Association constitution 947 to 740 in an online vote Thursday, with a strong ‘no’ vote coming from the law school.

A total of 1,687 students voted in the special election, which would have made significant changes to the SA’s structure, including running the president and EVP candidates together on a ticket and creating a new speaker of the senate position.

Election results show the referendum would have passed if not for the law school vote. The law school voted only seven in favor and 259 against the referendum to adopt the constitution. Without their votes, the tally would have been 733 to 688 in favor of the constitution.

One possible reason for the law school’s strong opposition is a mass e-mail the Student Bar Association sent out urging law students to vote against the constitution.

John Sorrenti, president of the SBA, said his organization learned about the referendum the day before the vote was held. He said the SBA was unsure about what the new constitution would accomplish other than “structural and procedural changes within the SA,” and that the existing constitution appeared to work fine for the law school.

“We would have preferred more time to digest the changes to determine what effect they might have and how exactly they would help the student body,” Sorrenti said.

Sen. Jamie Baker, CPS-G, a member of the constitution task force, the group that drafted the new document, accepted the defeat of the constitution graciously.

“The students spoke, we respect their decision, and we’ll go on from here,” Baker said.

More than 2,900 students voted in the last special election, which was a 2008 vote to increase the student fee, but Baker said he was satisfied with this special election turnout.

“This was a special election, held in December, with two weeks of publicity on a constitutional change, and over 1,000 people voted,” Baker said. “Of course I would have liked to see more people participate in the election, however, I am very pleased with everyone who took time out of their day and participated.”

Executive Vice President Jason Lifton said he appreciated the time that was put into the election process and, despite the results, believes that strong leaders in the SA will continue to successfully represent the student body.

Baker confirmed that he is finished with the constitution issue for now, but said he couldn’t speak for other senators.

Sen. Logan Dobson, CCAS-U, had been consistently critical of the proposed constitution, posting critiques of the document and process on his blog, “Inside the SA.” He was one of the few on hand to hear the JEC read the election results in J Street’s Columbian Square and applauded when the votes were called.

“I’m pleased that the student body made the right decision,” Dobson said.

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