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Saint Mary’s students vote on revised SGA constitution

| Monday, January 19, 2015

Saint Mary’s College Student Government Association (SGA) revised its constitution in order to create a clearer, more concise document, which was voted on by the Saint Mary’s student body at the end of last week.

Results of the vote have not yet been announced. McKenna Schuster, senior and SGA president, said the document will pass if 25 percent of the Saint Mary’s student body votes on it and a two-thirds majority of those voters approve it.

“As of now, voting is set to end tomorrow evening, but if we don’t have 25 percent participation we may extend the vote,” she said.

Schuster said the revisions condense the original 27-page constitution to three pages and clarifies its purpose.

“The original document was very long and incohesive,” Schuster said.“It was a 27-page document that had extra bylaws for organizations that were all on separate documents. … [The new constitution is] not just one giant 27-page document that tries to include everything. It is a lot less redundant and it is a lot more clear and concise, breaking down all of that extra fluff and just making it a shorter document.”

Kelly Gutrich, senior and SGA vice president of internal affairs, said SGA made the decision to rewrite the constitution after revising various portions last year.

“We wanted the constitution to read fluidly as an overall governing document for SGA and all student organizations,” Gutrich said. “All organizations will be following the same set of rules and criteria, everyone will abide by the same rules coming, especially in regards to elections and funding.”

She said the new constitution does not include any major changes from the previous iteration.

“The document reiterates a majority of the same core principles of the previous constitution,” Gutrich said. “There really are not any huge changes from the previous document, but it just makes the overall document flow in a more concise manner that is intended to be more accessible to the student body.”

Sam Moorhead, senior and vice president of SGA, said if the new constitution passes, they can begin working on the bylaws, which will have a greater effect on student organizations.

“As far as what affects them now, it is basically just policy changes to how elections should be run and how filling vacancies in positions should be carried out,” she said.

Schuster said the new revisions changed student body president and vice president elections to only allow rising seniors to run.

“It used to be juniors and seniors could run for student body resident and vice president, and one change we felt was important to make was deciding only rising seniors could run to be student body president and vice president, she said. “There was a lot of discussion just based on seniority and experience and what goes into the role.”

Gutrich said passing the document requires 25 percent participation from the student body in order to represent the opinion of the student body.

“The 25 percent … is an aspect included in the constitution, which ensures the student body has a voice,” she said.  “SGA works hard to be the liaison between students and administration, and with that in mind we want to hear student opinions and make sure the student body is knowledgeable of the important roles of SGA. We just really want student input on the document.”

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About Kiera Johnsen

A SoCal native majoring in communications and political science

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