Seven constitutional amendments approved by student body
Published: Monday, May 21, 2012
Updated: Monday, May 21, 2012 12:05
Students approved all seven of the constitutional amendments proposed by former Student Union President Herbie Rosen ’12 and endorsed by Student Union President Todd Kirkland ’13 in a vote on May 2. Out of 3,504 undergraduates, only 202, or 5.8 percent, voted. “Overall, I think the amendments will lead to a better communication structure for the Union,” said Kirkland in an email to the Justice.
Most of the amendments are geared toward making sure that students are accurately and fully represented in different sectors of Brandeis, including the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association.
The first amendment, which will create a Senate work group to address facilities issues, passed by a vote of 170 to 93, the second highest number of “yes” votes. Kirkland wrote that “it’s pretty important to have a formal organization to advocate improvements to University facilities.”
The second amendment, which requires candidates for Student Union Treasurer to have previously served in the Treasury or Finance Board, passed with 83 percent of the vote, 146 to 29, the fewest number of votes for approval of any of the amendments.
The third amendment incorporates a staff member of the Department of Student Activities into the Finance Board allocation process in an advisory capacity. This amendment won 154 to 33, with 82 percent of the vote. “Student Activities is a valuable resource for clubs and they can offer a lot of great advice when it comes to event programming,” wrote Kirkland. Rosen added, “I am excited that we can add another voice to help the F-Board operate smoothly.”
The fourth amendment will require that the senior representative to the Board of Trustees sit on the Union Executive Board in order to enhance communication between students and the Board of Trustees. This amendment won 176 to 9 and was the most popular amendment, with 95 percent of the vote.
This amendment followed a recent tuition raise by the Board that was widely unexpected by students, many of whom have been calling for better communication between students and trustees.
Rosen wrote that he wants the Union to be able to “react to decisions by the Board of Trustees and make more of an effort to engage students” with this amendment.
In an email to the Justice, Student Representative to the Board of Trustees Jack Hait ’14 wrote that he would “generally be in favor of any amendment that helps encourage a greater conversation between the student body and the board.”
The fifth amendment modifies the means of student representation to the University Alumni Association by mandating that each student representative be an appointed co-chair of the Future Alumni of Brandeis instead of being elected by the student body. This amendment passed 154 to 17, with 90 percent of the vote. Rosen wrote that “this new partnership will ensure that we have better access to the office of Alumni and Development, and there will be more resources for students to engage with alumni.”
Student Representative to the Alumni Association Andre Tran ’14 wrote in an email to the Justice that he feels that “the amendment will help the position function effectively.” He also wrote that “the reason for the change is simple. The representative position and the club go hand-in-hand.”
The sixth amendment expands the Student Judiciary’s role to include oversight of the constitutional review process, which now will be initiated either by request of a student or every four years. This amendment passed 150 to 15, with 91 percent of the vote.
“The judiciary [is made up of] the Student Union members that know the constitution the best,” wrote Kirkland. “It only makes sense that they recommend changes to the constitution to make sure it is adaptable to our current student body.”
No current members of the judiciary could be reached for comment.
The seventh and final amendment will adjust the language in the constitution to make it gender-neutral. This amendment won 148 to 35, making it the least popular of the seven with only 81 percent of the vote. “In all honesty, why not?” said Kirkland.
“All in all, I am very appreciative towards the student body for voting in favor of these amendments,” wrote Rosen. “I wanted to leave the Union in a better place than I found it, and based off the passing of each of these amendments, I think that has been done.”