A new proposed student constitution, put together by English and comparative literature student senator Ahmed Aboul Enein, was presented to the Senate last Tuesday May, 10 in a senate meeting open to the general assembly.
The constitution, which has yet to be ratified, amended, or approved, is largely adapted from existing American university student constitutions, in particular the Baylor University student body constitution.
It keeps the branches of politics separate between judiciary, executive, and legislative but also allows for closer cooperation between the legislative and executive branches.
Under this new constitution, there would no longer be a Student Union, but rather a Student Government. The Student Judicial Board would be the judiciary branch and be remade into a student court. The senate would be the legislative branch, and the president and their cabinet, currently known as the SU high board, would be the executive. In addition to providing a different structure for student politics, this constitution extends students’ rights by placing money allocation in the hands of the executive branch of the student government as opposed to the Office of Student Development (OSD).
The constitution also extends students’ rights in the classroom, giving them a broader platform to express their ideas. When this proposed constitution was presented in the meeting, several issues were raised.
Mariam Hamad, political science senator, questioned the clause that would restrict candidacy for Student Government president to juniors and seniors. She claimed that sophomores could be just as capable and competent as juniors and seniors, and that it should essentially be up to the student body to decide.
Another contentious issue was that of the allocation of funds. Under this new constitution, half of the Student Government budget would go to student organizations and publications, as opposed to the current 35 percent.
Several senators as well as Student Union president-elect Ahmed Alaa Fayed took issue with this idea, as they believed more money should be in the hands of the executive branch. Another topic for debate was the proposed position of student body vice president as president of the Student Senate. The reason behind this idea is largely ceremonial, which seemed to be misunderstood by several senate members. Despite such misunderstandings, many senate members are enthusiastic about the proposal. Theater senator Marwan Abdel-Moniem was speaking to students on-campus about the constitution following the meeting, trying to rally support for the cause.
The proposed constitution, if approved by the senate, will then be put up for a university-wide referendum.
Disclosure: Ahmed Aboul Enein and Marwan Abdel Moniem are part of The Independent Staff.