Student Government Association passes bylaw and constitutional amendments

By Piper Sartison

Elm Staff Writer

The Student Government Association’s constitution and bylaws saw several changes this past month. Senate voted to amend Article II of the bylaws on March 2, adding a second section which defines the process of creating the Review and Executive Boards. This change was followed by the amending of Article IV of the constitution on March 23 to affirm the role of the vice president on the Review Board. 

The amendment to Article IV of the SGA constitution modified Section C by adding Subsection 1, which says that “the Review Board shall also include the vice president as a non-voting member.” 

Before the amendment, the Review Board officially consisted of the president, speaker of the Senate, Honor Board chair, parliamentarian, and the financial controller.

However, the vice president was commonly included in hiring discussions on the Review Board, according to senior and former SGA President Elizabeth Lilly, so “this [amendment] effectively codifies what was previously only affirmed by the precedent.” 

This codification gives the vice president powers of the Review Board, including an official role in the hiring of Executive Board members.

According to Lilly, one of the main purposes of the amendment is to increase the quality of student representation. The amendment does this by creating more clarity around the transitioning and hiring of members on the SGA’s Review and Executive Boards. 

“The [vice president] acts as another representative elected by the student body as a whole and can therefore contribute to better and fuller representation of the student body,” Lilly said. “Additionally, the chief operating officer of the SGA and all secretaries directly report to them, so it makes a lot of sense for the [vice president] to be involved in the hiring of these individuals.”

The amendment was approved by referendum during the 2021 SGA presidential and vice-presidential election. 

The new bylaws amendment is more extensive, describing the application, interview, and appointment phase of the Executive Board hiring process. It was added “to clarify the role of the Vice President on the Review Board and increase transparency of the SGA to the student body,” according to junior and SGA President Kat DeSantis.

According to Article II(2)(A) of the amended bylaws, the Review and Executive Board appointment processes begin with the appointment of a new Review Board.

The newly elected SGA president and vice president will be joined by the previous academic year’s financial controller, Honor Board chair, and parliamentarian for the application, interview, and appointment phase of the new non-elected Review Board members.

Once the Review Board is appointed, they will undertake a similar process to appoint the secretaries as well as the director of communications and marketing. 

The amendment specifies that all appointments should be made based on the candidate’s application and interview phases. Review Board officers should recuse themselves from individual appointments “when there is a severe conflict of interest that would disrupt impartiality,” such as shared involvement on an Honor Board proceeding, or an “officer’s personal assessment of their relationship to the applicant,” according to Article II(2)(C)(a).

Additionally, the amendment says there must be at least three eligible voting members for any given appointment.

The new bylaws further state that the vice president will join the hiring process. According to Article II(2)(B)(a), after the Review Board votes on a slate of candidates for the Executive Board, the vice president can approve or veto the slate, giving “reasonable explanation.”

If the vice president vetoes the slate, the Review Board can vote on a final slate of candidates for the Executive Board with the mentorship of the SGA advisors, according to Article II(2)(B)(b). 

“These changes and additions help to better outline and explain our hiring processes and who is typically involved, so there is clarity for others to understand as well as consistency within the Review Board of the SGA year to year,” Lilly said. 

 “It is a goal of the SGA to increase transparency and communication with the student body, and these two pieces of legislation take important steps to achieving that goal,” DeSantis said. 

Featured Photo caption: The Student Government Association confirmed two amendments in the past month, one to its bylaws and the other to its constitution. Elm File Photo.

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