Elon University’s Student Government Association Project Task Force met virtually Thursday night about proposed changes to the SGA constitution that would significantly alter the structure of the organization.
According to Executive Vice President Jonathan Stettler, who broke down the changes to the constitution, the goal of these changes is to increase engagement with students and reduce the number of members completing the same tasks. The changes would go into effect in the 2022 election year.
Stettler said the new Constitution model more aligned with the United States government in the creation of three distinct branches: the legislative, executive and judicial branches.
The judicial branch would be the newest addition under the proposed Constitution. It would deal with issues pertaining to elections and conduct amongst members of SGA.
“[The judicial branch] might be an advantage to have members and representatives from the SGA participating in these organizational review processes,” Stettler said.
Currently, SGA has two main branches, the executive and legislative branches. In addition to expanding to three branches, specific positions such as the executive vice president would be eliminated to reduce the number of people completing the same task.
Another new proposal would be establishing a cabinet underneath the student body president. The cabinet would address initiatives brought to their attention by the student body.
“This is one of the things that we pulled from our parent universities, a lot of them had specific initiative directors like a mental health and awareness director,” Stettler said. “That would focus on these really big issues in the student body.”
After the opening, the members of the Task Force split into breakout rooms via Zoom to discuss further the implementation of a new Constitution.
One concern amongst members like Class of 2023 Senator Blake Dixon was the proposed decrease of Senators would possibly lead to participation rates amongst the study body going down. There are about 50 members of the senate currently and under the new Constitution this number would fall to 35-40 based on the amount of students running for the position.
“The reason not a lot of people have run for SGA is because they don’t know what SGA is,” Dixon said. “It is great to look at different universities and their systems and see they have a smaller Senate but we never know if it is working out for them.”
Prior to the Feb. 25, SGA meeting, a draft of the new constitution will be sent to the presidents of the student organizations at Elon, who will also be invited to attend the next meeting.
Stettler ended the night by commending senators for their effort into the reforms, and urged them that the restructuring in the constitution helps move SGA into a new position of positive change, and future action.
“The committee worked really hard on it, they did an extensive research period and spent a lot of hours,” Stettler said. “Our main goal in mind was to create an SGA that’s more productive, more focused on fixing student issues and focused and engaged with the student body.”
Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Student Life Jana Lynn Patterson said rewriting the SGA constitution isn’t a “small task.”
“I certainly want to share with you all and just impress upon you all the importance of these discussions,” she said. “It sets the tone for the organization for years to come.”