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Student Government Proposes New Constitution

By Madeleine Thompson

Kenyons student government is taking initial steps to rewrite the Campus Government Constitution, which was last updated in 2000, to better reflect the working relationship between Student Council and Campus Senate.

Currently, Campus Senate presides over Student Council and its members from various student committees. The proposed rewrites to the Constitution would better describe the relationship between the two branches of student government, which Senate Co-Chair Monty Clark 13 believes is more balanced than the current constitution describes.

Along with Student Council President Faith McDuffie 13, Clark initiated the rewrite in the hopes of clarifying the responsibilities of each organization.

Our constitution is completely outdated, Clark said. We need to completely revamp it. Our constitution is not reflective of how our government is run, and so we want it to be more of a working constitution instead of an obligatory necessity. Under a new constitution, Student Council and Senate would have equal legislative power.

The Constitution dictates that Student Council was originally created by Senate as a subcommittee to regulate procedures for student activities and organizations, while Senate exists to legislate within the jurisdiction of the Campus Government rules for the regulation of student life and extracurricular activities.

Because there are more representatives, its a good arrangement of different facets of Kenyon, but in Senate, due to the persons we have, it is more of the interrelationships and the professional relationships between students and faculty, whereas Student Council is more of the different types of student lives, Clark said.

The Constitution also states Senate has the power to initiate legislative proposals without input from Student Council, though any proposal can be sent back to Senate if a
majority of Student Council has concerns about it. How its set up right now is that there is the Government Constitution and its basically Senate constitution, Clark said. I do not think that Student Council should have their constitution under Senates. The way that it is now functioning, it is a partnership.

Currently, decisions made by Student Council, like the budget for Summer Sendoff, do not have to be approved by Senate, and many members of Senate and Student Council attend each others meetings. Part of the goal for an updated constitution is to eliminate some of that redundancy. [Senate and Student Council] are kind of parallel groups. Their responsibilities overlap somewhat and theres a lot of, in my opinion, unnecessary overlap, said Business and Finance Committee Co-Chair Andie Asimes 13. We handle different aspects of student life, but I think that the way its set up now, it makes it hard for one person to get something done because there are so many different channels that you have to go through. I think if we could streamline it in some way I think it would be beneficial to have one organization that everyone knows is student government.

The ability to amend the Constitution lies solely with Senate, but the process of amending and updating it is being handled mainly by members of Student Council. According to the current constitution, proposals for constitutional amendments are allowed from Student Council. We know what the other [group] is thinking and were very much involved in the other ones affairs, Clark said.

Though any actual rewriting will not begin in earnest until next semester, Student Council members are in the process of writing job descriptions for all current Council positions, and will form a subcommittee to focus on the project in the upcoming weeks.

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