Monica Szakacs, News Writer:
Higher education has changed as a whole since 1993 to present day, according to Ben McNamee, president of the Student
Government Association. The SGA constitution is the foundational guide for the organization, and had not been revised since
1993. McNamee said after working three years on the revision, it has been finalized.
“The new constitution,” said McNamee, “allows us to be progressive in our thinking and move things forward at a quicker pace than the old constitution, so we should be more reactive to student concerns.”
The Board of Constitutional Review made the changes, put it out to the Southern community and received about 1,300
signatures from the student body, according to McNamee. Once this happened, the constitution was put out to vote.
SGA needed the approval of the student body to revise their constitution, whereas other clubs and organizations revise their constitution without a student body approval, and then once completed they submit to SGA for a vote to pass.
“Other clubs and organizations don’t have to go through the difficult process that we had to go through,” said McNamee.
Stefan Keller, SGA Board of Clubs and Organizational Management chair, said SGA was telling other clubs to revise their constitutions; meanwhile their own constitution was outdated and Keller said the SGA had to practice what was being preached.
“Ours is finally revised,” said Keller, “so we can serve as a model for the other organizations that need to revise their constitution as well, because some of them are 10 years or older and things have changed.”
Bethany Tuller, SGA Board of Constitutional Review chair, said with the way the board was set up with one year terms, it was hard to revise the constitution which is why it took three years.
“The board would change every year,” said Tuller. “So someone would start working on it in a year and then maybe graduate and then try to pass it off to the next person who would have to start from where they were.”
The biggest change, according to John Eno, Representative at Large, is the election for two year term membership. Currently, all members who were elected for one year terms will continue to serve until next year. Eno said it is similar to how the U.S. Senate operates. Every other year, said Eno, half of the SGA members will go up for elections and the new process will help keep SGA progressively moving forward.
“It’s basically to not reinvent the wheel,” said Eno. “We have those people who have close connections to the faculty and administration, so we are not trying to reinvent the whole thing and start from scratch.”
Added into the constitution was the delegate membership, which is a nonvoting position, so more students can get involved with SGA, according to McNamee. He said this allows students to serve on boards and have all the responsibilities as a representative at large without the vote in meeting.
“It has expanded SGA in that way,” said McNamee.
Tuller said with the delegate program, people who want to get involved can get a more hands-on approach and kind of be mentored by someone who actually is in student government, such as a representative. Delegates can go to their office hours and learn what they are doing and see the inside track of what’s going on behind the scenes, according to Tuller.
“Anyone can come to a student government meeting or come to our board meetings and see what’s going on, but the delegate program is really like you start working on things like Relay For Life,” said Tuller. “We have a team, you start working on the different events that we are helping to plan and have more of a hands on approach.”
Two boards were added that were not around during 1993: The Board of Clubs and Organizational Management that started about two years ago and the Board of Membership Involvement which started last semester, according Keller.
“BOCOM takes care of managing clubs and organizations, working with student life, planning leadership retreat and stuff like that,” said Keller. “BMI takes care of managing internally what members get involved in things like Relay for Life, The Big Event, Day of Service, so it’s making sure members get involved with activities outside of SGA, but SGA is still supporting.”
Eno said BOCOM also helps keep communication between SGA and the clubs and organizations. BMI helps promote the delegate program, because of getting students involved inside and outside of SGA.
SGA collects student signatures for change
Monica Szakacs, News Writer: