On March 25, Student Union Secretary Carol S. Kornworcel ’26 sent an email to the Brandeis undergraduate student body to announce the upcoming Student Union constitutional review, a process that only occurs once every three years. The Student Union evaluated their current constitution and bylaws to “make changes to reflect the current needs of Brandeis students,” Kornworcel wrote. Last week, the Student Union voted to approve proposed updates to the Constitution. On Wednesday, March 27, all Brandeis undergraduate students will receive a ballot in their email to vote on the proposed changes.

Kornworcel’s email included a summary and explanation of the proposed constitutional changes, namely: fewer Student Union elections, a more modern model for Senate and Allocations Boards and reimagined positions on the Judiciary and Executive Board. 

“For at least the past decade, this process has not produced major changes and left the Student Union in dire need of updates. The changes we have proposed will make us more efficient, more effective, and more responsive to student concerns,” the document said. 

In a March 25 joint statement to The Justice, President Noah Risley ’24 and Vice President Erica Hwang ’25 wrote, “In both of our time in Student Union, we have realized that our organization’s size and structure has many inefficiencies.” Their intent with the changes is to create a more streamlined structure that will improve the Student Union’s ability to meet the needs of the students and hold their officers accountable. “Part of how we’re accomplishing that is with fewer members, one less branch, and more clearly defined roles.”

The current Senate composition consists of 24 voting members — two senators per class, two senators-at-large, a Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program senator, an international senator, a midyear senator, two racial minority senators, one senator per quad and one off-campus senator. The proposed change would reduce the number of senators to 17 voting members — three senators per class and five senators-at-large. The given reasoning stated that the new structure would elevate responsiveness and responsibility of each senator, making them more accountable to both the Student Union and the larger Brandeis community. 

“In reviewing our Constitution with advisors and institutional leadership it is our understanding that per Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (SFFA) v. President and Fellows of Harvard College (Harvard) and SFFA v. University of North Carolina (UNC) ruling, a university cannot restrict participation in a program based on race. This includes creating student representative positions restricted by race. Because the Student Union must adhere to all applicable state/federal laws, we are removing the Racial Minority Senator and Allocations Board positions. More broadly, this breakdown is in line with how student governments across the country apportion their Senate/legislative seats. The Student Union will broaden awareness of upcoming elections and seats through more intentional outreach in order to recruit a diverse, talented pool of candidates,” the document said. The Student Union added that Executive Board Directors will reach out to Myra Kraft Achievers Program and international students as well. 

Next, the current Allocations Board composition consists of 11 voting members — five two-semester seats, three three-semester seats, two racial minority seats, one senate representative, a Department of Student Engagement staff representative and co-head treasurers. The proposed change would reduce the board to nine voting members — eight elected representatives serving two-semester terms, one senate representative, a DSE staff representative and co-head treasurers.

“We are removing the two and three-semester seat distinction because it often creates confusion about the length of a term and negatively impacts group cohesion,” the document said. Like the Senate changes, these proposed updates would improve productivity, transparency and accountability.

The Student Union also proposed to update judiciary composition from six members to one member on the executive board. Currently, there are five associate justices — one of which is an internally elected chief justice — and a clerk of the court. If the proposed change is passed, there will no longer be a judiciary branch; there will only be one chief judicial officer on the executive board elected by the student body. The chief justice officer must have served on the Student Union for at least two semesters. The provided reasoning states that the judiciary is not used much outside of impeachments but is still a necessary role to settle disputes. “We want to retain the advisory and mediator role of the Chief Justice and move the Judiciary’s functions into the Senate,” the document said.

The Student Union also voted to consolidate the executive board and miscellaneous positions. Rather than have separate representatives for the Board of Trustees, Alumni Association and Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the executive board would have two representatives to work closely with these organizations and represent student voices. Additionally, the proposed change would eliminate the campus sustainability fund and campus enhancement and emergency fund representatives. CSF and CEEF would instead be managed by the allocations board since “they already manage the allocation of most of the Student Activities Fee.”

Lastly, the Student Union suggested changes to the elections process to reflect the proposed composition of the Senate, the Allocations Board, the judiciary and the executive board. “This schedule will result in fewer overall elections, something students and Student Union alike have wanted for a long time,” the document said. They also proposed a new policy that the president, vice president, secretary and head treasurers may not study abroad during their term. The president and vice president would also be required to run together, which has been a long-standing custom but not a requirement. 

If students have questions about the changes, they can email studentunion@brandeis.edu. This is a developing story.

— Editor’s Note: Justice staff writer Ria Escamilla-Gil ’27 and Justice Editor Rani Balakrisha ’25 are Student Union senators and did not contribute to this article.