SUNY SA to overhaul constitution

Student representatives of State University of New York’s Student Assembly have reached a consensus that the current assembly system is structurally flawed and needs revision in order to continue working as an organization.

Members of the assembly will rewrite its current constitution in the spring 2014 semester in an attempt to repair the system.

“The rewriting of the constitution is a result of the fact that SUNY [Student Assembly] at the moment is a fairly dysfunctional body,” Vice President of the Geneseo Student Association Katie Becker said. “It needs a little bit more structure in order to be truly effective in representing student opinion within the SUNY system.”

This plan has been taking shape since mid-fall semester, when a task force of students wanting to contribute ideas was developed at SUNY Fredonia.

President of the Geneseo Student Association Forrest Regan attended the SUNY Board of Trustees meetings on Nov. 14 and 15, at which he addressed the trustees about the current frustrations of those involved in student assembly government.

The lack of uniformity during student assembly meetings was one of his major points of concern.

“It is not structured in a way where it can give a coherent student voice to the trustees,” Regan said.

Regan and the rest of the task force want a complete re-drafting of the original constitution.

“It is beyond miniscule tweaks,” he said. “Everyone has really big ideas.”

Such ideas include implementing a Student Trustee on the SUNY Board of Trustees with the intent of improving communication between the student assembly and the SUNY administration and ensuring that student opinions are heard.

“I think there also should be a delegation process where the different voices are consolidated because, right now, you have about over 100 to 200 students trying to speak their own personal opinions when a lot of them are the same,” Regan said. “It’d be good to have different voting parties.”

“If there were ever any big problems within SUNY policy, it would be good for Geneseo to have a voice within that body,” Becker said.

As for Geneseo, a reformed system would encourage students to attend these student assembly meetings, giving them an opportunity to speak their opinions in front of the SUNY Board of Trustees.