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Students review new constitution

Mary Kate Malone | Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Council of Representatives met Monday night to discuss a variety of issues, including complaints made by representatives about the new constitution, which took effect this year. Student Body President Adam Istvan started by asking members to voice any problems with the new constitution.Chief of Staff Dave Baron mentioned the unnecessary demands the Constitution places on the Executive Programming Board, which is responsible for scheduling and publicizing all campus events. He noted that though the Constitution currently requires two representatives from the programming board be present at all the meetings, only one is necessary. “It seems superfluous to have, for example, both the Student Union Board manager and director of programming at every meeting,” Baron said.Hall Presidents Council co-chair Liz Cain added that, in the case of the Executive Programming Board, the constitution demands more meetings than are necessary. “Right now the Executive Programming Board meets every other week,” Cain said. “But if we met once every two weeks, we would still get the job done.”Senior class president Darrell Scott said the frequency of meetings seems to affect the attitude of those who attend them. He noted that less frequent meetings can be beneficial for groups that do not always have new weekly business to discuss.”The members of the board will have more energy, more pep in their step, if they meet every other week,” Scott said.Student Union Board manager Jimmy Flaherty credited the programming board for unifying the student groups to develop a comprehensive, all-inclusive calendar, but he acknowledged that SUB has failed to make the calendar widely available students.”We have great discussions at the meetings. But then the information sits on a desk for a week, and does not get publicized around campus,” Flaherty said. “Why can’t we send that information forward to the students? A Web site would be a united push to achieve that.”Istvan accepted responsibility for delays in implementing a website with a calendar of campus events, which is required in the new constitution. “Updating and completing the Web site has been one of my office’s failures, but we’re working on it,” Istvan said.He cited a lack of cooperation from Domer Designs, which runs and maintains most of the University’s Web sites, as part of the problem.Istvan also mentioned his own experiences with the constitution this year, noting he has not yet used the presidential committee, to which he is entitled. This committee would, in theory, organize and run events that bring speakers to campus and raise awareness about issues affecting students. He cited as examples Gay and Lesbian Awareness Week and Alcohol Awareness Week, events currently being run by Student Senate.”I have definitely not gotten a flash bang start on that,” he said.Other complaints voiced about the constitution dealt with the document’s financial provisions. Baron expressed his concern about access to account balances of student government groups. He suggested that the constitution might clarify where money is located and how much each student group is spending. COR also discussed the need for the constitution to grievances, and Istvan told members to move forward with any changes.”If you see a problem, we can present a constitutional amendment to the Senate,” Istvan said. “They can then bring in the Chair of the Oversight Committee.”Members also talked about options for electing next year’s student body president. Cavanaugh senator Jordan Bongiovanni asked COR what the best method was for electing a president in the run-off election held after the primary. Members decided the best plan would allow for voters to abstain, but would give the presidency to the candidate with the plurality and not necessarily the majority. “We’d like to see a system in run-off that allows for the person who gets the most votes to win,” Istvan said.Hall Presidents Council co-chair Liz Cain also noted the flaw in the voting system that makes a vote from a small dorm such as Badin have the same weight as a vote from an off-campus student, where nearly 50 percent of the senior class lives.

In other COR news:u The Council also continued its discussion about adding a non-voting member from the diversity council to the Council. After a discussion of what the constitution allows in regards to adding a new member, members voted to request that the Diversity Council present a candidate for approval by COR.