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Constitutional changes spur debate

Published: Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 22:02

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Kenneth Medley

The ETSU Student Government Association Senate debated Tuesday about the revision of the organization’s constitution.

“I definitely think that everyone in here has a voice, and we should all bring our voice and thoughts about the constitution forward,” Sen. Zack Tuggle said.

Tuggle said that changes to the constitution will be introduced in the form of a piece of legislation that highlights specific sections of the constitution for revision.

“[The piece of legislation] would be like look at section whatever, strike this part and reword it like this,” Tuggle said. “We wouldn’t be sitting down and rewriting everything from scratch.”

The deadline for changes pertaining to the election process is March 4, and the deadline for all other changes to the constitution is March 25.

These deadlines are in place to ensure that there is time enough to publicize the changes to the constitution prior to the SGA election.

Some senators believed that the job of altering the SGA Constitution should be left to future senators.

“I’m all for having some kind of get together, but I don’t want us to rush it,” Sen. Brandon Johnson said. “I don’t think it’s something that needs to be in by March 25. I think this is the type of thing that once we have a new Senate for next year where we could come in and designate a weekend or, possibly, a few days come in before school early or something along those lines.”

Other senators, however, believed that the current Senate is the best body to deal with the constitution, as it has had the experience of dealing with it.

“To wait until next year’s Senate, it’s a possibility that nobody in this room will ... be here next year,” Sen. Katherine Starrett said. “It could possibly be an entirely new Senate. So, they’d kind of be starting from scratch and [not know] the struggle that has been our constitution for this past year. ... So, I think it needs to be done this semester.”

The Senate decided to move forward with a series of informal meetings in which senators will voice concerns about the existing constitution and brainstorm about possible solutions.

Senators who cannot make it to one of the informal meetings will submit their ideas electronically either via the SGA D2L site.

SGA Adviser Sally Lee said that she will be setting up individual discussion boards on the organization’s D2L site for specific sections of the constitution, as well as a separate discussion board for constitutional redundancies and contradictions.

If the Senate decides to make any election-oriented changes to the constitution, the legislation in which the changes are listed will have to be deemed emergency in order to allow the body to vote after only one reading.

“As your adviser, if you’re going to do this [revise the constitution], I would wholeheartedly suggest you not make changes to the election just because it’s at this late a time,” Lee said. “I think you could make a list of things that need to be changed about the election for the future, but people are already starting to make their [campaign] plans. In my mind, that ship has sailed.”

The student body will vote on changes to the SGA Constitution when it votes for executives and senators for the 2014-15 academic year.

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