2 out of 7 constitutional amendments passed by USUAA

On Friday, Oct. 6, USUAA voted on seven proposed amendments to their constitution but only two of them passed.

It isn’t unusual for the constitution to be addressed and revised, Alec Burris, USUAA president, said, since the changes occur as assembly members come and go.

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Photo credit: Jian Bautista

“The process that occurs every single year is you have a new administration, new senators and delegates that come in and they want to change something with the organization,” Burris said. “That’s generally where you see constitutional amendments occur with the USUAA bylaws.”

Caleb Berry, chief financial officer, has been a part of USUAA for nearly a year and said that these changes are typically necessary.

“They don’t occur every semester, just as needed,” Berry said. “We try not to change the constitution too much but when the situation arises, we’re definitely not afraid to do so.”

The adviser for USUAA, Kim Morton, said that annual revisions are typically desired to ensure the constitution reflects their objectives.

“Sometimes they get reviewed more often than that,” Morton said. “But generally speaking, you want to review them on an annual basis to make sure that the constitution, which is basically your policies and procedures for your organization, are continued to be in line with what your goals are for the organization.”

The proposed amendments included adding and removing information in various articles, adding a position of special ombudsman to assist the deputy ombudsman, as well as consolidating the president, vice president and chief financial and government relations officers on one ballot for elections.

Changes to the constitution are made for the student body, according to Burris, particularly since their role as student government is to serve and represent UAA’s student body.

“None of them were directly referred from students that they wanted these amendments, but a lot of them are designed to serve students better,” Burris said. “Specifically, when we look at amendment number four… [it] adds the position of deputy ombudsman and special ombudsman. So that’s something where the student ombudsman, which helps students with academic disputes and conduct violations — that position has had such a large caseload in the past couple years that we’re needing to give them an assistant to help them so that they can serve more students.”

This amendment, #18-04, passed along with amendment #18-03, which proposes to clarify the vice president’s duties and role within USUAA.

It adds two clauses to section three of article four, stating that the vice president works with USUAA assembly members and committees to support programs and events.

The other five amendments failed to pass, which means that they will not make it to the fall elections being held in November for students to vote on.

Burris said that for the amendments that do pass, USUAA will have 30 days to advertise them and let the student body be aware of the assembly-approved changes.

“If an amendment passes in an assembly meeting within 30 days of a student body election… there’s 30 days given to ensure that USUAA, as an organization, advertises to students what these amendments are so they can understand them and vote how they see fit on them,” Burris said.

Berry had hoped prior to the meeting that the seven amendments would pass and also be approved by UAA students.

Despite the outcome, Morton said that it’s important for USUAA to continue to improve the organization, for themselves and their fellow students.

“My ultimate goal for them is to leave the organization better than how they found it… but I certainly want them to feel like they are doing what they feel is the best thing for the organization and for the students at the university,” Morton said.

Since the elections will be taking place in the latter half of this fall semester, the changes made will not be effective until spring.

The general election will be held next month, Nov. 7 and 8. Students will be able to vote on the two passed amendments, as well as delegates and board members.