February 15, 1999

SGA leaders prepare to restart constitutional process

Student Government heads develop ideas on document

by Josh Renaud
staff assistant


"The only thing we need to do [to finish ratifying the 1993 document] is get the approval of the vice-chancellor for Student Affairs and the chancellor, so it's only two steps away"
-Michael Rankins, SGA Vice-President

Though shocked by Student Government Association Comptroller Benjamin Ash's decision to withdraw from the constitution revision process, SGA officers said the process was still a priority they would push forward.

SGA President Jim Avery, Vice-President Michael Rankins, and Student Court Chief Justice Steve Bartok all expressed regret over Ash's decision last week. His sudden exit introduced an element of uncertainty on how to proceed, with several options now open.

"One of my goals is to get this done before the end of the year and we run out of time," Avery said. "I think at the next [SGA assembly] meeting we should have [Ash's revised constitution] introduced. People can look at it and then come back with any revisions at the next meeting. By the April meeting, we could vote on it and maybe have a special election by the end of the year."

Last year, it was discovered that the 1993 revision of the constitution, which SGA had been operating under for several years, had never been ratified. Don McCarty, adviser to the SGA, explained why the effort to revise the constitution this year is so important.

"The constitution of the student government should reflect the needs of the students now," he said. "There have been changes, amendments, and additions to the bylaws that for one reason or another have never made it from the assembly into the written document . . . That indicates that it needs to be revised and updated."

Rankins offered an alternative plan to "buy some time" for the revising process. He suggested ratifying the 1993 constitution, so that the SGA would have a more up-to-date document while students took time to "review and rewrite the constitution at their leisure."


"One of my goals is to get this done before the end of the year and we run out of time. I th ink at the next [SGA assembly] meeting we should have [Ash's revised constitution introduced"
-Jim Avery, SGA President

"We need to get this done before a new [SGA] administration comes in," he said. "The only thing we need to do [to finish ratifying the 1993 document] is get the approval of the vice-chancellor for Student Affairs and the chancellor, so it's only two steps away."

With all the choices that the SGA officers are facing, Bartok said he believes Ash missed his chance to shine.

"[Hypothetically, let's say Ash] was to walk into a class and the instructor was to tell Ben and the five people sitting next to him that they need to compose a concerto and it's due at the end of the semester," Bartok explained. "If he got into this group and he was the only one doing work in the group, do you really think he would throw the work away and not get a grade? I don't think he would."

Avery, Rankins, and Bartok all said they understood Ash's frustration over the lack of interest in the project.

"It seems that very few [people] came through with what they promised him," Rankins said. "I'm still disappointed that we lost his contributions, but I don't think it was because he was an unprofessional person or he didn't care."

This article was reprinted with permission from The Current.


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