Student Government may completely change by next spring.
The Undergraduate Senate voted to begin restructuring SG with a vote of 18-3-0.
A group of SG senators on a special committee will create a new constitution over the summer. Students will vote whether to ratify the constitution in a special election during the fall semester.
The new structure would focus more on advocacy than SG has in the past, according to McBride.
“I think the motto throughout this is four simple words: Less politics, more advocacy,” McBride said.
If the constitution is ratified next fall, the restructured organization would begin in the 2014-2015 academic school year.
Although many of the details are still negotiable and have yet to be determined by the appointed committee of SG senators, student leaders hope to give the organization a new name. Current possibilities for the name include Student Union and Student Association, McBride said.
In order to have a referendum, student leaders will need to collect 600 student signatures and two-thirds of the current SG senate’s approval will have to call for a special election.
President Tim McBride, President-elect Emily Yu and Senator-At-Large and bill sponsor Joe Wisniewski plan to collect the signatures personally instead of through an electronic medium.
“I would rather spend five to 10 minutes on each signature, if that means actually getting input and getting people to know what we are doing,” Wisniewski said.
When the Student Confederation changed to the Student Government in 2005, the members focused on decreasing the reach of the student organization, McBride said. The goal of the new reform is to clarify SG’s goals.
McBride and Wisniewski hope the changes in the structure of SG will encourage more students to get involved in SG.
Graduate Leadership Council will not be involved in the restructuring. Earlier in the semester, students considered combining the undergraduate and graduate leadership organizations, but McBride and Graduate Leadership Council Chairman Elliot Bell-Krasner decided against it.
The committee will contain members appointed by McBride, the speaker of the senate and the chairman of the Judicial Board.
Although the current executive branch wrote a proposal for the reformed organization, McBride, Yu and Wisniewski hope to receive input and ideas from other students on campus.
The executive board’s current proposal replaces the Senate with a General Assembly, according to McBride. The Assembly would act as a board of trustees with meetings once a month instead of once a week.
“If the Senate or the General Assembly met less frequently, it would make those meetings more meaningful and it would allow the senators to spend more time hashing out that piece of legislation,” Yu said.
With the current proposal, there will not be a system of checks and balances.
As SG bills are only recommendations, checks were unnecessary, McBride said.
“We’re trying to enact a system where people can’t reenact their favorite scenes from the West Wing anymore, and that’s been the problem a lot with Student Government,” Wisniewski said.
The current proposal eliminates the SG presidential veto power. Instead, the General Assembly would need a two-thirds vote to pass legislation.
The positions of vice president, comptroller and secretary would be eliminated. Instead, there would be four vice presidents, similar to the structure of the Residence Hall Association and many sorority and fraternity chapters at AU.
• The vice president of advocacy would oversee Women’s Initiative and the Student Advocacy Center,
• The vice president of programming would oversee the Kennedy Political Union and the Student Union Board,
• The vice president of finance would handle the responsibilities of the comptroller, and
• The vice president of communications would take on the duties of the secretary.
The president, the vice president of programming and the vice president of advocacy would appoint the vice presidents of finance and communications.
Under this proposal, there would be one more member on the SG payroll, because there are currently four elected executive board positions as opposed to the proposed five.
McBride does not believe this will drastically change the budget.
“It’s definitely possible within the current budget numbers to do it without any effect on pretty much anything else,” he said.
Not all members of the Senate agreed that a change needed to be made.
“The bill is a mistake,” said Kogod Senator Al Robinson, who also voted against the bill. “It’s unnecessary surgery.”
Robinson is the sales director for The Eagle.