Constitution passes

by Sharon Albright

The newly approved constitution for the Student Government Association cuts the size of the group, formerly known as Student Senate, nearly in half with the intent to improve efficiency.

Discussion to change the constitution started over a year ago, and the plan finally went up for vote last Wednesday, winning approval by 200 to 60, according to Abby Smith, student body vice president.

A constitution subcommittee made their final suggestion to the senate group based on research and conversations.

“They started looking at other schools and saw that a lot of them had smaller bodies of representatives,” Smith said. “Their constitutions were shorter, easier to read and were divided up more by different committees.”

So, this semester, a totally new plan started taking shape. Now, there will be a total of 24 members of SGA instead of 41.

“We’re going to have five representatives from each class plus the student body president, vice president, a treasurer and student body manager-24 people voted in at large,” Smith said.

Sophomore Kayla Schmidt said that the new organization makes sense for the size of Simpson’s student population.

“I think it’s a good first step to hopefully making student senate more effective,” Schmidt said. “Because it’s a smaller senate, hopefully we’ll get people who really want to be there.”

Sophomore Class President Eric Elben supports having the SGA be smaller in membership, since the group has a tradition of having around 20 members attend meetings each week under the current system. “I think we will be very functional,” Elben said.

The new structure leaves other current SGA members questioning representation issues.

Sophomore Nicole Molt, CAB president, will be displaced by the new constitution, as will the RLC president, unless they run for positions to represent their classes.

Molt said she is not concerned about the future of CAB, but she acknowledges the potential for other campus groups to be overlooked.

“It’s not going to affect CAB that much because there will still be members of Senate who know the importance of the organization,” Molt said. “But, as for smaller groups, I worry about them losing representation due to special interests of the Senators.”

Sophomore Michael Schrodt, student body treasurer, said that this should not be a consequence of the constitution.

“The Senate meetings will continue to be open, which means that anyone can come and speak on an issue,” Schrodt said.

Schrodt stands by the notion that this will encourage more equality in the SGA overall.

“I think this creates a more even playing field than the older system,” Schrodt said. “It is hypothetically possible that you could have a senate that is all Greek, but it’s just as possible that you wouldn’t have that.”

Along with the downsizing, many other areas will see change as well, including the SGA being divided up into subcommittees to address on-going issues like the budget.

“In the past, it seemed like all the Senate did was focus on how they were going to distribute money, and it wasn’t very productive,” Smith said.

Additionally, the student body president and student body vice president elections will be reorganized. Instead of taking office in January and coming back to serve in the fall, the plan is for the officers to serve from September to May. Smith said this would hopefully eliminate the strange transition period that occurs now between fall and spring terms.

Molt commends the organizers of the new constitution, saying that it’s probably the best plan now for what they had to work with. To make it work, she said that classes and their representatives could not afford to be apathetic.