SA Votes on a Revised Constitution
By Lindsey Fine
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse University’s Student Association Assembly passed a bill to move their new constitution to a campus-wide referendum vote.
All S.U. and SUNY-ESF undergraduate students can vote on the ratification of the constitution on MySlice under “student services” from tuesday through thursday. The bill requires at least 10% of the student population to vote for the referendum to be valid and the constitution to be adopted.
“We need a new constitution because it will dramatically change, in a positive way, the way SA works,” David Bruen ,speaker of the SA assembly, said. “Our hope is to make [SA] a more effective organization on behalf of students.”
The new constitution will change how SA’s branches are structured to make them more efficient. The assembly will add unique population, first-year and at-large seats in addition to college-allocated seats. The judicial branch will change from a five-person review board to a supreme court and trial court. Cabinet members and committee chairs are being separated in the executive branch and the executive committee is officially being codified into the constitution.
“These changes will boost engagement and hopefully boost the amount of voices in our assembly,” SA parliamentarian Josh Shub-Seltzer said.
The new constitution also stipulates that SA will hold a campus-wide election in the fall in addition to the annual spring election. In past years, many assembly seats went unfilled after the spring elections due to lack of interest, so SA would hold internal elections in the fall to try and fill some seats.
“I have really hated that,” Shub-Seltzer said. “I think that is something that has taken away the student body’s voices because we are electing positions that should be elected by the student body but internally.”
The referendum vote is happening this week because it needs to pass in time for the spring elections in April. Shub-Seltzer also said the new constitution addresses the campus unrest from the past few years.
“There’s clearly some kind of disconnect between the student body and the administration,” Shub-Seltzer said. “The more I was thinking about it, the more I was really feeling that the student association has some kind of responsibility here. Clearly we are not doing our job well enough to be the voice of the student body.”
Even though some students say SA does not have enough power to get things done, Bruen said they can advocate for students in different ways
“We may not be able to necessarily pass a bill and implement something in university policy but we can pass a bill and really push the university to change things. I guess part of this constitutional change is addressing that,” Bruen said.