By Gianni Marabella
On Monday ASWU announced that their constitution will be amended for the first time since 2013. There will be five amendments that will be opened in order to be voted on individually by the student body starting on March 19 at 8 a.m. and ending on March 20 at 5 p.m.
Two of the five amendments have to do with altering the powers held by the judicial branch. Currently, judicial rulings can be overridden by the senate with a two-thirds majority vote. Amendment four would remove the Senate’s power to do this.
“We believe Judicial should be an independent branch of student government and be able to hold the executive branch and senate accountable for their actions,” ASWU President Jack Wellman said in his email explaining the proposed amendments.
To ensure accountability on behalf of the Judicial Branch, the ASWU staff advisor would be in charge of holding Judicial to the ASWU constitution, ASWU bylaws and the University’s student code of conduct.
In addition to this, amendment five would have judicial comprise of three justices as opposed to five.
“ASWU believes the amount of Justices is excessive in comparison to the average workload that is generally available,” Wellman said. “Per the Chief Justice’s recommendation, Judicial work would be more efficiently done with just three highly committed Justices.”
Another substantial proposal can be found in amendment three, which suggests that ASWU have two Senators from the American Studies Program (ASP) instead of just one. Given that each CLA class has five senators, each individual senator represents under a hundred people. The ASP Senator has historically represented the entirety of the program within ASWU, which is over a hundred students. The decision to propose this amendment was made in tandem with the Tokyo International University of America (TIUA).
Amendments one and two call for clarifying changes in the language of the current constitution. Amendment one suggests ensuring that all language within the constitution is gender neutral, along with making some other stylistic and grammatical changes. Amendment two would remove the end-of-semester progress report and change the language to guarantee that the President instead communicate regularly with the student body over the course of the year.
Amendment two would also state that it is the Senate’s responsibility to approve and remove the affiliation of student organizations. While ASWU already does this, it isn’t currently clarified within the constitution.
“This is something that ASWU has always done, so this amendment would not change the substance of what we do, rather it would bring our constitution in line with what we do,” Wellman said.
For more information, students can refer to Wellman’s email sent on March 12, which contains two PDFs explaining the proposed amendments.