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End nears for constitution changes

| Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Saint Mary’s Student Government Association is close to completing the overhaul of its constitution, a project that will have taken three years by the time it is finished.

The constitution is the outline of the bylaws and policies that must be followed by student government. It includes descriptions of meeting and attendance policies, particular boards’ roles and other guidelines. The decision to rewrite parts of the constitution was made when errors were found in the text.

“When the constitution was revised five years ago, there were quite a few things mixed up or excluded, said Sarah Brown, SGA vice president. “Other parts of the constitution were out of date and needed to be updated. It’s been a big project.”

The SGA Constitution Committee, composed of 15 members, began the process by looking through the constitution and informally debating what needed to be modified.

Brown said that, after discussing and deciding on changes to be made, the SGA members talked to their constituents to see if they approved of the planned revisions. The writing of amendments then began, which has been the most time-consuming aspect of the project.

One of the largest amendments added to the constitution is a formal policy on impeachment or resignation. Brown said the former constitution did not address this at all.

Once all the committee members approved the amendments, the new constitution was sent to the Board of Governance for approval. The approval process started in early December, and portions of it are being studied a-pproved at each BOG meeting. Brown said the revisions will hopefully be approved by the April 1 turnover.

The constitution committee members said they hope the revised constitution will flow more smoothly and be free of errors. Brown also said members attempted to write the document in a way that would make constant revision unnecessary.

“Our main goal is making the document timeless,” she said.