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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student Senate Constitution Version 2.0: New and Improved

This spring will have more in store for UMass Boston students than just warm weather and green grass.

The vote to either pass or reject the new Student Government Association’s (S.G.A.) constitution will take place at the end of this April. The new constitution has repeatedly been worked on over the course of the last five years, each new set of senators respectively trying to update and refurbish the 1997 version.

“This is an incredibly strong document that will exponentially improve the Senate’s ability to serve student interests,” said Student Body President Erica Mena.

One of the proposed changes specifically defines executive authority within Student Senate and takes a majority of the power out of the President’s hands and places it into an executive committee. Mena explained that this type of change will eliminate the possibility of a student body President yielding too much control over campus.

The revision of the eight-page document began in 2000 when then Director of Student Life Joyce Morgan and the Student Senate realized the desperate need for an updated constitution. However, various revision attempts in the past failed and never made it past committee meetings. Beginning this year under Mena, incoming Senators met every week and worked through several changes finally agreeing upon three possible bids. The extra hours paid off and culminated on March 1st when the constitution came before the Senate with an individual selection.

“In a detailed and arduous meeting, the Senate passed [the revised constitution],” Mena said with excitement. Minutes and summaries from the Senate’s meetings can be read on their website, www.sga.umb.edu.

The landmark decision to finally pass the new and improved constitution is not completely finished yet. Having passed through the Senate, the constitution’s future depends on the entire UMass Boston student body now.

On April 18th, 19th, and 20th, the polling stations will open around campus and online and students will have the opportunity to either give thumbs up or thumbs down to the S.G.A constitution. A vote of more than 50% approval from the student body will send the constitution to the Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor for its final endorsement. However, a vote of disapproval from the student body will trump the new constitution and mean back to the drawing board.

Disapproval from the students, however, is not as significant of a threat to the Senate’s worthwhile efforts as much as a lack of awareness would be.

Becky Ravenelle, a freshman at UMB, is similar to many of the school’s students, not because she studies in the Campus Center between classes but because she was not aware of the April elections or the new constitution.

“No, I had no idea,” said Ravenelle.

Other students like Latisha Taylor, who has been at UMB for two years, fears that students do not realize the importance of getting involved.

“I didn’t even know we had a constitution,” Taylor said. “Students need to know that our voice does matter.”

The commuting lives of UMB students can be a major cause for a lack of campus congruence and according to Taylor not having dorms means that a lot of younger students feel they are not directly affected.

However, the impact of the Senate and the impending constitution are very crucial elements of the university and its direction. Hatim Jean- Lious knows this from experiencing first hand the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

“Whatever the Senate dictates, it will affect the student body and will help the academic community prosper,” said Jean-Lious, a former senator.

Affecting roughly 12,000 students, the revised constitution will be approaching shortly in hopes of strengthening and improving a community already in bloom.

As Student President Mena put it, “Now it’s up to the students.”