Student Senate Debates New Constitution

Joel+Sati%2C+Alexander+Stone%2C+and+Axel+Clyde-Posset+discuss+a+draft+of+the+new+senate+constitution+%28Photot+Credit%3A+Julia+Junghans%29.

Joel Sati, Alexander Stone, and Axel Clyde-Posset discuss a draft of the new senate constitution (Photot Credit: Julia Junghans).

The Rockville Student Senate seems to be caught up in internal politics which precludes it from serving its purpose. The senate is supposed to serve the students of MC, but they are bogged down by an unclear and convoluted constitution.

 

The most confusing part is the section on the election process and position succession. Specifically, as has happened in the past, the elected president stepped down and the vice president became president.

 

The vice president position became vacant but the channel for filling it was confusing. “Right now there is really no hard and fast set of rules… to make sure all executive cabinet positions are filled” Joel Sati, former vice president said.

 

According to the senate’s mission statement, the organization is meant to represent the student body of Montgomery College. It is also supposed to “enhance the quality of students’ academic and social experiences on campus.” But currently, the constitution is holding them back from those duties, senate President DeVaughn Page said.

 

The Constitutional Committee has been trying to reconstruct their constitution since fall 2012. The senate aims to make it more concise and clearly outline the rules. Sati said the committee wants “to make sure we have a clear constitution that is easy to follow.”

 

While the senate is deliberating over phrases and policies, it is not holding events for students. It needs to run efficiently so it can serve students.

 

In the Constitution Committee’s meeting on Friday, April 18, Committee Chair and Chief-of-Staff Axel Clyde-Posset proposed a succession policy based on the votes in the senate elections. If the vice president position becomes open, the person who ran in the election and got the second most votes would fill the role.

 

Senator-at-large (non-executive senate member) Mason Rockwell Buran said there is only a limited time period where this policy would remain effective.

 

Sati proposed a succession policy where the vice president vacancy would be offered to eligible executive cabinet members. They would have right of first refusal and if all executive members refused, the position would be opened up to eligible senators-at-large. Committee members agreed this would create a straightforward process.

 

Clyde-Posset said the committee included a clause addressing when students can run for senator-at-large positions. Students running must have served on the senate for one semester. A debate topic was whether senators who joined halfway through the semester could run for executive board positions. In the new draft of the constitutions, senators-at-large for the spring semester shall be selected at the latest, in the last two weeks of the fall semester.

 

Rockwell Buran proposed midterm elections for chairpersons of committees, requiring elections between semesters. If a chairperson is deemed satisfactory and serves his/her position well, they will be re elected into the same position. But if committee members see a need for change, a midterm election can elect a new chair.

 

“It’s not going to be an impeachment process where it can really polarize the senate, but rather a mid-year review where we can elect another member to be a chair or co-chair” Rockwell Buran said.

 

Student member of the Board of Trustees Alexander Stone collaborated with Sati in writing a clause about mid-year reviews. The draft of the section outlined the process in which committee members would submit evaluations at the last senate meeting of the semester. Depending on the results of the reviews, the ethics board would have the power to remove the chair and the committee would then elect a new chairperson.

 

Under the current constitution, the Constitutional Committee’s new draft must be approved by two-thirds of the senate.

 

Page said the committee hopes to finish writing the constitution and get it ratified before the end of the semester. “We’re still writing, it’s probably going to be another week long process” Stone said.