July 18, 2018 | ° F

Constitution draft nears completion

Consolidation of the University's student government could be coming.

The conception of the final draft of the Rutgers University Student Assembly Constitution is nearing completion, after student leaders reviewed the document late last week, said Ryan Cooke, student representative for the Board of Governors and Livingston College senior.

"There was a mostly positive reaction," said Yonaton Yares, vice-chair of RUSA and School of Arts and Sciences junior. "There were some suggestions that really made this document a better one."

Yares and Chris Keating, RUSA chair and Rutgers College senior, drafted the constitution during the winter break.

"We've been working on a new constitution since we came into office," Yares said.

Part of this effort was the creation of the Constitutional Review Committee, which was suspended Jan. 7th, said Cooke, former chair of the committee.

"[The draft] reflects the Committee's principle outline: simplifying the structure of student government, consolidating meetings and centralizing the model around the University's unity," Cooke said.

The final body will consist of 90 members, not including the directly elected chair, vice chair and treasurer, Keating said.

"This directly elected body is optimal and as evenly distributed as our unique campus will permit," Keating said. "There are 48 School of Arts and Sciences students directly elected as Campus Council Representatives and 24 School of Arts and Sciences students directly elected as Senators. Finally, there are approximately 18 professional school students."

In addition to altering the structure of student government and its elections, the new draft calls for a new campus council to represent off-campus students, which includes students who commute from further than New Brunswick, Piscataway or Highland Park.

"Traditionally, the off-campus population has been ignored," Yares said.

Campus councils and professional schools will have two representatives per class as opposed to three, which is an alteration the Review Committee made, Cooke said.

The draft regulates all legislative power to RUSA. Most of the power that campus councils and professional schools have would be redirected into their eight representatives with the adoption of this draft, according to the document.

But Keating said the redirection of power and consolidation of structure will ultimately result in a benefit for all concerned with the New Brunswick/Piscataway campus.

"In two years, once the provisional amendment period is over and the structure is perfected, the current freshmen and sophomores will inherit a student government that is most efficient and makes sense," Keating said.

Within the next week and a half, the final draft will likely be voted in the referendum, Cooke said. The referendum will likely take place two Wednesdays from now, during the traditional weekly Wednesday night meeting.

During this period of time, the draft will travel through several more committees to be reviewed, Cooke said.

"This is a worthwhile document," he said. "If it were to go to vote today, I would vote yes."

Sara Gretina

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