By HANNAH GALEONE
On Wednesday, February 7 the Student Senate convened to vote on a new governing system as well as a recently re-drafted Student Government Association constitution.
The new constitution proposes that the Senate will be made up of 27 members including the president. These 27 members will be voted on by the student body — a drastic change from the constitution that is currently in place at UMW.
“Your representative is now elected by you,” said Matt Good, SGA Task Force Chair. Elections will take place through OrgSync between Tuesday, February 20 and Thursday, February 22. An email will be sent out about elections closer to the start date.
Another addition to the proposed SGA constitution is the creation of a new Advisory Board position. This position in the Representative for Inclusion and Civic Engagement, a community category that did not have representation in the past. This representative will be responsible for working alongside the James Farmer Multicultural Center as well as Sabrina Johnson, UMW’s newly appointed Vice President of Equity and Access.
The rewritten constitution was created after research was conducted and focus group information was collected by SGA. The information gathered from the aforementioned research and focus groups allowed SGA to determine what the UMW student body truly wants.
The UMW student body expressed confusion surrounding who was on SGA and what their roles and purpose were. Students also expressed their concerns with contacting members of SGA as well as the effectiveness of the student government.
“The new constitution is data driven,” says Good. “We want students to know to come to us and we want to promote that.”
After analyzing the results of the research, SGA decided to take action and rewrite the constitution. Another thing that drove SGA to rewrite the University’s student legislature was the year in which the current constitution was written — around 2006. SGA felt that the 12 year old constitution was too dated and needed a revamp.
“Just because [the constitution] works doesn’t mean it’s the best,” says Good. “We’re not effective, and some of that is systemic. So we wanted to know, ‘how do we correct that to set us up more for success?’”
When SGA looks toward the future, there are several things that they hope to see for the University and its students. Members of SGA hope that their efforts, alongside the newly drafted constitution, will create a more open and inviting relationship between the student body and student government.
“Everything about this [new constitution] excites [SGA],” says Good.
When SGA talked to students both within and outside of focus groups, they discovered that the student body has concerns but they do not step forward with them. Students would turn to social media, their friend groups, or classroom conversation when a concern or conflict arose. SGA hopes that with their new constitution, students will choose to bring their concerns and problems to student government.
“I think we can look forward to a more effective student government,” said Good. “[SGA] finds it hard to get things done when nothing is brought to us. We [hope that] more student concerns are [brought to SGA].”