SA Senate to update governing documents after presidential power struggle

Media Credit: Rachel Schwartz | Assistant Photo Editor

The Senate unanimously passed legislation creating a committee that will re-evaluate the governing documents and standardizes the documents' organizational system.

Student Association senators passed two bills to improve and clarify the body’s governing documents at their meeting Monday in the wake of the SA’s presidential power struggle last month.

The Senate unanimously passed legislation creating a committee that will reevaluate the governing documents and standardizes the documents’ organizational system. The reevaluation of the governing documents comes after executive cabinet members used Article 15 in the SA constitution to unanimously vote to oust SA President Christian Zidouemba from the top position earlier this month, citing a lack of confidence in his ability to lead. That move was later reversed, and Zidouemba continues to hold the presidency.

Sen. Henry Deng, CCAS-U, sponsored the Governing Documents Committee Review Act, which will create an eight-person committee to “examine and evaluate” the current Student Association governing system. Deng said the Act follows a requirement that the governing documents be updated every three years, but the importance of the revision period has “increased” after the SA presidential power struggle earlier this month.

“Some parts of governing documents, such as Article 15, can be and need to be amended to prevent anyone in the SA from abusing their power,” he said.

The SA constitution mandates that the document be reviewed every three years. SA members last transitioned to an updated constitution in April 2020, and this bill requires the committee to finalize its findings by spring 2023.

Senators unanimously passed the Unified Coding System Act, which will combine the SA bylaws with the Student Court’s bylaws and will standardize the numbering system to alleviate confusion by using either sections or articles as the organizational units. Sen. Kai Simson, CPS-G, who sponsored the bill, said he intends to keep all the documents in the same place to make them “more accessible.”

“If left unaddressed, we will continue to see misinterpretations of our governing documents, especially on how our branches of the SA are supposed to operate, leading to more unnecessary Student Court cases,” he said.

Senators unanimously voted to confirm three senators and four other students to the Joint Committee on Faculty and Students.

Three senators will serve on the Joint Committee on University-Wide Programs Fund. Vice President Yan Xu said the committee will allocate about $200,000 to $300,000 on large-scale events that contribute to “campus-wide culture.”

The newly created University-Wide Programs Fund uses funds that used to be part of the SA finance committee’s budget and reallocates them to large-scale and multicultural events. Funds are allocated to the finance committee and the program’s fund from a class credit fee that students pay during registration.

President Christian Zidouemba said in his regular presidential report that he will meet with executive director of GW Dining Douglas Frazier Thursday to get an update on the dining halls and fall dining plan, after officials announced dining halls would not be complete in time for the fall semester.

The final summer Senate meeting will be held August 8 at 8:30 p.m. over Zoom.

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