The AUC Student Senate passed a new constitution that will go up student referendum on Thursday Dec. 15, the last day of classes. The constitution was sent to the general assembly last Thursday in an email for public discussion and informational purposes.
The constitution was drafted by an ad-hoc committee of the Student Senate known as the Constitutional Formation Committee (CFC). The CFC is composed of eight student senators and one Student Judicial Board (SJB) member.
The chair of the CFC Ahmed Aboul Enein told The Independent what makes this constitution different from the previous one.
“(The new constitution) is more organized. It restructures things in a way that makes real checks and balances within the Student Union. It has an entire section on student rights, which is important and is something that was missing from the old one. It includes more separation of power and equal distribution of power between the different branches of student government because in the old one, the Student Union, (which is )the executive branch, was much more powerful,” he explains.
The proposed constitution was written by the CFC over the summer. They met twice a week for a period of around five months according to SJB member Amr Abaza.
Abaza spoke to The Independent about the process of writing the new document: “We did this after having read other constitutions from (other universities) around the world (especially) from the United Kingdom and from the United States. After having done that research, we thought about what parts of these constitutions would be applicable to AUC life. It was then presented to the senate over a series of meetings, which they then approved.”
The proposed constitution will now go to a university-wide referendum, and if a simple majority vote for it next Thursday, it will be implemented.
“The main difference between the two constitutions basically is everything,” revealed Abaza.
He elaborates, “From a very superficial level, the Student Union used to be the executive branch, but now the word ‘union’ encompasses executive, judiciary, and legislative branches underneath. On a more technical note, the biggest change, which is causing a lot of controversy, is that no longer will student judicial board members get elected by elections. It’s now (by) nomination. The Student Union President will propose a couple names to the senate. The senate will then cross examines these names, meet with the candidates, interview them, pass their names through a series of tests and then approves eight of them to constitute the court.”
Student senator Aly Zein, who is representing undeclared students, gave his thoughts on the constitution.
“The main changes that I understand is that there are now three branches: legislative, executive, and judiciary which will make the system more integrated,” he says.
When asked what members of the general assembly should do if they have a problem with any of the articles, Zein said that they should voice their concerns to their respective senator who will then be the liaison between the CFC and the general assembly.
Salma Barouky, the legislative representative for business administration students also shed light on what she thinks about the constitution.
“I think (the new constitution) is going to help the students because it emphasizes their rights. What I really fear right now is the referendum, and that the constitution will not be passed by the general assembly because people don’t understand it. There are many misunderstandings at the moment. I really hope people vote for this constitution, but I hope it’s people who have read it, know the differences, and fully understand it,” she explains.