Updated Feb. 25, 2020, at 7:55 p.m. to include video.
Elon University's Student Government Association is set for a final vote on their modified constitution after more than six weeks of work and deliberation. The proposed constitution comes after a committee determined the previous constitution allowed everything to be done internally, which didn’t include the rest of the student body in their decision making.
The new constitution structures SGA in a similar way to the United States Government, with three branches: legislative, judicial and executive. The executive branch will now include an eight-member cabinet made up of qualified students and senators which will serve under the leadership of the student body executive president.
“The cabinet that will serve under the executive President made up of directors. Each director oversees a goal oriented task force that works toward the overall betterment of Elon University. Directors can be anyone from the student body, not just senators,” Class of 2022 President and Chief of Staff Hailey Jurgens wrote in an email to Elon News Network. “Some of the director positions include: Mental Health and Wellness, Sustainability, Diversity, Inclusion, Student Engagement, and Community Outreach.”
An ad hoc committee called the Governing Documents Review Committee — which was composed of 19 senators — created the initial draft for the constitution beginning in November.
“There was a need to go in and kind of modernize our constitution,” senior Jonathan Stettler, executive vice president and speaker of the SGA senate, said.
On Feb. 18, SGA held their weekly meeting, where the group discussed the new constitution. The members of the ad hoc committee were able to get input from the other senators.
Another large change includes a restructuring of the judicial committee. Currently, some members of the senate are also members of the judicial committee and it does not operate separately from the senate. SGA Class of 2022 Secretary Jack Corby said that this new constitution will eliminate bias due to senators sitting on the judicial board.
“We wanted to model a judicial branch to try to take away as much bias as we could,” Corby said. “We wanted a fair and unbiased process.”
Another significant change is that the Organizational Council will be cabinet-oriented. Originally, the board was created to help organizations get the proper funding that they needed. That role was transferred to the Finance Board two years ago. Now, the remaining roles of the Organizational Council will be delegated to the Student Engagement Director, a role in the cabinet.
SGA will hold another meeting on Feb. 25. The leadership of student organizations are invited to attend and respond to the draft of the new constitution.
“On Thursday, I hope to see many students show up and ask questions about the constitution and voice their opinions on the proposed changes,” Jurgens wrote. “I also hope to see a great discussion between Senators on the document.”
If the SGA senate passes the modified and updated constitution on Thursday, the issue regarding the constitution will be added to the SGA ballot, which will be sent to the Elon student body. The entire student body will be able to vote on the new constitution on Mar. 18 and 19.
Depending on whether the vote by the student body passes and the new constitution is ratified, the constitution will go into effect in April of 2022. However, if the final vote fails to pass, the constitution will be sent back to the senate, where it will be evaluated by SGA in the 2021-22 school year.