Revising Senate Constitution and By Laws
November 22, 2016
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No matter who you are, Senate has affected you in some way, whether it be their involvement in Prom, Homecoming, or the Prospective Student Open House. But, for the first time since January of 2001, Senate is about to undergo a major change: the student-led revision of their Constitution and By-Laws.
Every Schedule A that the Student Senate doesn’t meet, a small, devoted group of Senators gets together before school and discusses ways that they can amend the Senate Constitution and By-Laws to work more efficiently and make them more relevant to the U-High of today. Their first meeting occurred on the second Schedule A of last month (October 28).
Possible changes under consideration include changing the amount of times Senate meets per month, altering the manner in which Student Body/Senate elections are conducted, and the creation of smaller committees within Senate for myriad purposes.
One of the most active students at this first meeting was senior class president Advika Kamatar, who feels that the revisions are going to be helpful to the Senate, and by association, the student body, in the years going forward.
“In the spirit of democracy it’s our duty to follow the Senate Constitution, and we can’t follow a constitution that’s outdated,” Kamatar explained. “It’s important to have a defined procedure to follow in situations we might not have encountered before.”
The idea of amending the Constitution was first brought up by senior Josh Henderson, a member of U-High Senate. Henderson said the idea for change came to him while reading over the current document. “I realized how out of date it truly was,” Henderson said.
Henderson specifically cited how the Constitution allows hopeful Senators to give a speech in front of their class, when in reality, Senate only allows prospective Class and Student Body officers to give a speech.
Though weighty topics such as election procedure were already being discussed, U-High’s Faculty Senate Sponsor Dr. Robert Fitzgerald saw the first meeting mostly as a jumping-off point.
“(The group of students) started to find areas that there could be possible changes made, such as the way in which students vote for their Senate representatives, such as class officers, or the Student Body president,” Kamatar said.
Fitzgerald expressed his hope to “tie up some loose ends concerning the constitution, committee work, elections, and expectations for individual officers and senators,” citing issues such as how many times per month Senate should meet.
On the topic of the role of the Constitution for Senate, Fitzgerald stresses the importance of it as a general guideline, but not as a strict set of rules to abide by.
“(Senate) is not so much about adhering to every word of the Constitution but being able to fulfill its charge, as not just a governing body, but a body somewhat responsible for maintaining a positive school climate each year,” Fitzgerald explained.
Regardless of any document, he still holds the same high expectations for the Senate as effective members of the U-High community.
“I always want members of U-High senate to do whatever they can to engage their classmates more to make sure there is a positive culture and climate,” Fitzgerald said.