Student Government Reform Task Force

The Student Government Reform Task Force’s completed list of recommended changes to SG’s constitution and bylaws includes an overhaul of the agency structure, the addition of a more permanent judiciary branch and several new positions within the legislative assembly. The task force presented its changes to the assembly for review last week. SG representatives will propose a resolution to support the changes in SG’s meeting Tuesday, but the assembly will not take a final vote until its first meeting in the spring semester. The changes will then go before the student body for a special election in February. If the assembly, student body and administrators all approve the recommendations in January and February as the task force hopes, the new constitution and bylaws will govern the next SG assembly, which the student body will elect in March. “We’re creating a more efficient structure, and it will really increase student involvement because agencies can now recruit more members,” said task force chair Cecilia Lopez, educational administration graduate student. “We’re creating other layers for accountability, especially in the executive branch.” The new executive structure creates multiple appointments under each officer of the executive branch and streamlines the agency structure to reduce redundant positions and increase efficiency. The task force included SG representatives and former SG members as well as students with no previous SG involvement, which Lopez said allowed for diverse points of view in discussions. The new structure would also include a clerk to manage meetings and take minutes and a parliamentarian to monitor meeting procedure. In addition, the recommendations include the creation of a judicial branch with the authority to settle disputes between the executive and legislative branches, enforce the constitution and bylaws and oversee the Election Supervisory Board. In advance of the February special election, SG will hold public forums, distribute information about the proposed changes and encourage all students to vote, said University-wide representative Natalie Butler, who served on the task force. “The changes we’re making will help SG serve students better, so this is something we want them to be able to get behind and vote for,” Butler said. SG Vice President Muneezeh Kabir, who served as an ex-officio member of the task force, said she was appreciative of the work the task force put into its recommendations. One of the most notable changes is the addition of a new position — chair of the assembly, she said. The assembly would elect the chair from its members to run meetings, a role currently conducted by the vice president. “Creating a chair is the most effective and fair thing to do,” Kabir said. “I’ve worked hard to act as an impartial arbiter, but the assembly deserves the right to elect its own leadership.”