SA President Proposes Constitutional Amendments



In approximately three weeks, the Student Association's executive board will propose to the Student Assembly a trio of changes to the SA constitution concerning the structure and powers of SA's executive branch.

In order to take effect, the proposed amendments must be approved by a two-thirds vote in both the assembly and the SA senate. Approval of the modifications would mark the first time since 1982 that Article V of the constitution has been altered.

Two out of the three proposed amendments involve the time and manner in which officers are elected. Currently, presidential and vice-presidential candidates are voted for separately, but if the revisions pass, vice-presidential candidates will run with presidential candidates on the same ticket, much like the U.S. federal government.

According to SA President Christian Oliver, who served as the organization's treasurer last year, the change is necessary because presidents and vice presidents who come from different parties often have viewpoints or goals that conflict significantly.

"After witnessing past problems on the executive board, it seems that vice presidents and presidents on different tickets can get nothing done because they're arguing over agendas," said Oliver.

SA Vice President Joshua Korman agreed.

"I've seen presidents from one party and vice presidents from another party spend their first two months in office trying to come to some shaky compromise," said Korman. "They need to be on the same page from the get-go."

Oliver believes students will benefit from the change because it will eliminate candidates who are "just running with a friend" and will ensure that more qualified candidates seek executive board positions.

"This forces people to run with whoever they think is best for the job," he said.

The second proposed modification dealing with elections concerns the date SA officials take office. Article V, section 2 of the constitution states, "Election of officers shall take place no earlier than March 1 and no later than March 31. Officers shall assume their positions 7 days after the elections."

Oliver proposes changing the starting date from April 1 to May 1, saying it would be more practical because some of the organization's most important events, such as Spring Fest, take place in April. Allowing new officers to be sworn in at a later date would give outgoing officers the opportunity to follow through with projects developed during their term, while providing new officers with sufficient time to adjust to their positions.

"For a new executive board member to take up a year's worth of work is nearly impossible," Oliver said.

The most complex of the proposed amendment changes deals with the presidential cabinet.

Article V, section 5 of the constitution states that the president's cabinet must contain the vice president, treasurer, officer of the FSA Corporation, chief officer of Sub-Board I and the directors of academic, external, student and athletic affairs, as well as the coordinators of the academic clubs, sports clubs, international and minority affairs.

Some positions, according to Oliver, may be needed one year but not in following years. Instead of altering SA's constitution every time an office needs to be added or deleted, he suggests making certain constitutional provisions "more vague" so future presidents have "freedom to develop their cabinets as they feel necessary."

"We need to clean up the description of the president's cabinet in the constitution," said Korman. "There's a need for different positions and different amounts of the people and [the constitution] needs to be modernized after 20 years."