RU’s Student Government Association voted down proposed changes to their constitution and bylaws during their weekly meeting on Monday, April 14.
The changes considered were proposed by Senators Lee Hicks, Adam Kidd and Benjamin Brightman.
Many of the revisions proposed involved organizing and reformatting current bylaw articles; however, new procedural guidelines and government structures also came to the table, including the addition of a full-time judicial branch to uphold balance and objectivity.
The newly-proposed Supreme Court, composed of an appointed Chief Justice and six Associate Justices from different classes, would have been responsible for conducting SGA elections — a duty currently performed by an Electoral Board — as well as investigating candidate qualifications and any alleged rule violations during campaigns.
The court would also have carried out more traditional judicial roles, like hearing cases and interpreting the Constitution and bylaws when questions arise, and carrying out impeachment procedures if necessary.
The proposal called for the replacement of “executive assistants” by an expanded 16-member cabinet to aid in the executive process, and would allow the President to create other cabinet positions if needed.
Many previous cabinet positions would have still existed, such as the Director of Communications, but many new offices were proposed within the cabinet to perform essential executive tasks.
The Director of Athletic Promotions, a new office included in the proposal, would have facilitated communication between the university’s athletic programs and the SGA, and would also have been responsible for planning at least two “School Spirit” activities each semester.
This new requirement of the office follows with 2008-2009 SGA President Matt Williams’ plan to bolster school spirit at RU and get the student government more involved with athletics and Highlander pride.
A Director of Virginia 21 was also proposed to replace the office of the Legislative Action Coordinator, taking on the responsibilities of monitoring the votes of Senate members on issues of interest to the student body – and even lobbying delegates of the Virginia General Assembly to support or oppose legislation of interest to Radford University, if needed.
While this new doctrine proposed by Hicks, Kidd, and Brigtman would have eliminated some positions within the SGA, it would have made up for any reductions by expanding the cabinet size and adding a much needed judicial branch.
The proposal was aimed to create a larger student government with more specialized offices, allowing officials to focus on specific tasks without being overwhelmed – a justifiable expansion for a growing school. With new buildings going up and the student population rising, a larger, more influential student government must keep up with progress.
Though the changes were not approved, the SGA has not given up on reformatting and expanding the student government.
Senators are expected to bring a new, more gradual proposal before the Senate before the end of the Spring semester.
Anyone interested in attending SGA meetings may do so — all students attending RU are automatically members. Meetings are held every Monday in the Bonnie at 5 p.m.