Constitutional Review Committee almost complete
The three alumni posts on the review committee have yet to be filled.
The Constitutional Review Committee, a group composed of students and alumni to evaluate the Student Union Constitution, is in the process of being formed, according to Union Director of Communications Sydney Reuben '10. Most of the committee members have been selected, but last Friday's deadline, by which constituencies had to select their representatives for the committee, has been pushed back to give groups more time.Ryan Fanning '11 will represent the Senate, Jenna Brofsky '10 the Senate Executive Board and Julia Cohen '10 the Financial Board. Andrea Fineman '10 will represent secured media on the committee, Jessie Steinberg '10 secured nonmedia, Matthew Feinberg '10 religious organizations, Andrew Litwin '11 artistic and performance organizations, Benjy Cooper '11 club sports, Nipun Marwaha '12 nonsports competition organizations, Kenta Yamamoto '10 the intercultural community and Tamar Brown '12 community advisors. Sahar Massachi '11 and Alex Schneider '12 will represent the student body at large.
The spots on the committee reserved for three alumni of the School of Arts and Sciences have yet to be filled. According to an e-mail from Reuben, "Many [alumni] have said they'd love to be a resource, but that they live too far away to be a rep." As a result, it has been difficult to find alumni to serve, she wrote.
According to Article 13, Section 1 of the Student Union Constitution, "Every four years there shall be established an independent Constitutional Review Task Force charged with conducting a full review of all aspects of the Union, including the operation of clubs, Secured Organizations, and Union Government."
"The task force shall not be subject to review or oversight by the President, Senate, or Finance Board. Disputes regarding the actions of the task force may be brought before the Union Judiciary," as stated in Article 13, Section 8 of the Constitution.
Reuben said in an interview with the Justice that representatives from the Student Union met with leaders of the represented constituencies to explain the purpose of the Constitutional Review Committee. Those constituencies were then allowed to choose their representatives to the committee, and members of the Student Union interviewed candidates for the committee.
"Everything will be finalized this week," Reuben said. She said that if any constituencies failed to choose representatives, the Union would appoint students for these groups.
"I want to work with the other members of the committee to take a critical look at the constitution, see what's working [and] what's not working and try to improve on those areas if we can and try to get as much student input into the process as possible," said Brofsky about her goals for the committee.
Massachi said his goals include "creating a constitution for the Union that is more accountable and democratic and . creating a Union constitution that structures the Union to be more effective." He continued, "We don't have a Student Union right now; we have a student government, and I've been exploring the idea of actually having a Student Union."
Schneider said that as a member-at-large, "I am one of the representatives that represents the whole student body instead of a club." He was selected for the position after filling out an application sent to the student body and was interviewed by members of the Senate.
Several of the committee members expressed interests in including student input in the review process. "Each month the committee must hold . an open forum that's open to the public. . I want to reach out to constituents, and I hope that other people on the committee do the same," said Brofsky.
"One thing I'm interested in is using polls and other methods to get student input," said Schneider. Another one of his goals is to "finish the discussion about the Racial Minority Senator that was started last year at the Union Judiciary. . I think that the Union Judiciary trial last year was not the best way to deal with that issue." Massachi also discussed the role he envisioned students would have in the Union in the future, saying, "Some of the ideas that have been tossed around are running the Union more like a co-op or more like democratic government. I am really interested in the idea of, whenever something big goes down on campus, . we just call a general meeting, and everyone who shows up has a voice."
Editor's note: Andrea Fineman is managing editor of the Justice.
-Harry Shipps contributed