A year and a half ago, I assumed my role as parliamentarian of the Student Association, charged with ensuring the SA justly represents the student body through the constitution. From senators to committee chairs to college presidents, I try to keep every representative transparent and accountable to the 3,910 undergraduates on campus.

Three years ago when the current constitution was ratified by the student body, the SA entered into a pact with the student body. The SA leadership is empowered to represent and advocate for the student body only when it meets these predetermined rules established in the constitution. These rules cover the allocation of blanket tax funds, the approval process for student clubs, the purpose of the SA standing committees, the representatives on Faculty Senate working groups and more, all designed to promote student body opinion. Because of the SA’s complexity, you may expect the constitution would also be complex. The constitution along with bylaws provide ground rules for the SA to follow, ensuring that student opinions are at the top of the agenda in every decision made.

Over my time as parliamentarian, the constitution has inhibited the SA’s ability to represent the student body, despite the best intentions with which it was drafted. While we like to think transparency and accountability are synonymous with being constitutional, they have fallen second to the constitution’s strict directions. Outdated processes and unnecessary constitutional requirements sidetrack the SA from focusing on listening to student opinions.

With this in mind, Senate convened the Committee on Constitutional Revisions and charged the committee with a general review of the constitution. As a committee, we hoped to create a long-term, readable document as constitutions are not meant to be revised every three years or utilized by only the parliamentarian. It should serve as a steering document for the SA while still flexible as new terms begin and end.

Our work culminated in what I believe is a strong document that will be able to serve the student body by holding their representatives accountable and enable the SA to fulfill that same role long-term. In light of the upcoming election, I encourage everyone to read the new constitution and determine for yourselves whether this new document will lead to your representatives being held accountable to your interests. At the end of the day, the constitution is meant to serve you. Help the SA serve you more effectively, and vote yes for the new SA constitution.