Student government works to revise constitution
Mary Ashcraft, Staff Writer
February 02, 2012
The University of Dayton Student Government Association Issues and Bylaws Committee is working to pass a new constitution with a revised structure to help facilitate more effective student leadership.
The Issues and Bylaws Committee oversees maintaining and updating the constitution, and the group is in the process of reformatting it, said Luq Nichols, sophomore class senator and an economics and applied mathematics major and member of the Constitutional Edits Committee. The current SGA constitution is chaotic, contradictory, and doesn't embody the necessities of the UD undergraduate student population, he said.
"It's a confusion of powers and duties," Nichols said. "It's slowly coming together but my goal is to have it passed through senate by the end of March."
Christine Farmer, a senior psychology major and SGA president, said she is looking forward to passing the new constitution, which is one of her primary goals during her term. Farmer said she is most concerned about serving the external purposes of SGA rather than the internal. She said passing the new constitution will enable her to effectively keep focusing on the students. Farmer said she is a member of the Constitutional Edits Committee by default because she is the SGA president.
"I want to get the constitution passed to focus on the important issues that truly matter to students," Farmer said.
Farmer said the revisions have been underway since Grant Dosch, last year's sophomore senator and speaker of the senate, started them in September.
Both Farmer and Nichols said the new constitution this year will address SGA's current disorganized structure. However, each provided different explanations to the current structure of the organization's positions.
"Student government at the University of Dayton is the senate," Nichols said. "It's a group of individuals voted by their constituencies devoted to making UD a better place. What we are aiming to do with the new constitution is to emphasize this point by abandoning the hierarchical tendencies of the current system and adapting a more fluid, efficient model of SGA."
Farmer said the current SGA is focused on the senate with the majority of the power resting in their hands.
The American Student Government Association recently made some suggestions to the UD SGA on how to effectively reformat its constitution by eliminating ambiguous and unnecessary statements, Nichols said.
Butch Oxendine, executive director of ASGA, met with SGA executive members and senators on Saturday, Jan. 28 to discuss goals, projects and how to bring a better SGA to the UD, said Nichols.
Oxendine helped the UD SGA officers realize their potential as better liaisons and advocate between students and administration, Nichols said.
Farmer said the current constitution requires a majority of the undergraduate student voters to approve of the constitutional changes in order for them to take effect.
She said she is looking forward to spreading the word to students about the changes in the constitution.
"I want everyone to be an informed voter," she said.
If the proposal for a new constitution is passed through the SGA Senate, it then will be voted on by undergraduate students during the organization's spring elections in March, Nichols said.
Farmer said she is looking forward to helping SGA more effectively help students.
"You only have so much time at the University of Dayton," Farmer said. "We need to more efficiently serve [the student body]."
The SGA Issues and Bylaws Committee meets every Saturday at 1 p.m. in KU 253. Meeting are open to the public.
For more information about SGA's constitutional changes, visit the SGA offices in Kennedy Union room 253.