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Constitution deadline approaching

Matt Bramanti | Thursday, March 25, 2004

With the March 31 deadline for student government’s new constitution rapidly approaching, student union leaders said they are optimistic that the changes will be finalized in time.”We’ll get it done,” student body president Jeremy Lao said. “We’ve been working day and night.”Lao commended the progress of members of the Council of Representatives, the body that is charged with revamping the 10-year-old constitution.”The committee has come a long way,” Lao said. “We know what we want to create and we’re just coming to an agreement about it.”He said that agreement has been assembled more rapidly as of late, due to frequent COR working sessions.Vice president Emily Chin likewise praised the council’s work. “Even though COR has been a dynamic group of people, the passion behind everyone’s motives will get it done,” she said.Chin said the once the new structure of student government is implemented, students will see benefits.”We’ll have more efficiency and more communication,” she said.The new system will split student government into two major divisions – the Campus Programming Council and the Campus Affairs Council. The CPC will coordinate events at the campus and dorm levels and will have representatives from each residence hall. Members will effectively take over SUB duties. The CAC, which will likewise be compromised of representatives from each dorm, will constitute the other side of student government. Members of the CAC, which is analogous to the current Student Senate, will tackle policy issues.Lao said he expects the new constitution will fulfill the needs of the student union in the years to come.”My plan is to have it stick around for a while,” he said. “We foresee this to be a constitution for the future.”President-elect Adam Istvan, whose term begins April 1, will likely have challenges in adapting to the new structure, but Lao said his successor will handle them well.”Judging from the commitment he’s shown, and the individuals he has around him, I have confidence in the whole team,” Lao said. “Transition is all part of the process.”Chief of staff Pat Corker agreed, saying Istvan has been actively working to prepare for the new constitution.”He’s been at all the meetings, trying to familiarize himself with the new system.”Istvan said he and vice president-elect Karla Bell are enthusiastic about the prospects for the revamped system.”Karla and I are really excited to get going on our new projects,” Istvan said. “Now we can move on to getting some things for the students.”He said his administration will focus on diversity projects, particularly those dealing with ethnicity and sexual orientation.”The new system sets itself up for educational initiatives like Martin Luther King awareness week and GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender] issues,” he said.Istvan said the overhauled constitution will encourage communication among leaders from across student government and lead to a more effective student union.”You get all the best people working together,” he said.