Judicial, voting changes reflect goals of incoming, outgoing administration

4 months ago
Ruth Varghese
Mercury Staff

Student Government voted on new modifications to the constitution, including changes in representation and an increased role for the judicial board. The updates will go into effect May 1, when the new SG senators and executives take office.

After the changes to the constitution were made, each class — freshman, sophomore, junior and senior — now has six seats in the SG senate instead of one seat per 500 students. In addition, there will be one senate seat per 1,000 students in each academic school.

For the next election, students can vote for delegates based on the school they are in, such as EPPS or BBS, as well as their classification.

Akshitha Padigela, the current SG president, said it is important to have diversity in SG and having members from each program can bring in different perspectives.

“I also think it would be good because if you’re voting in your school, then you’re going to campaign in your school,” she said. “So we think that this in turn will cause more students to participate in elections because you’re really campaigning really hard in one specific school.”

When running for a position, candidates will list both their classification and program. Students can vote for candidates in their same classification and in their school. Candidates could win either one of the six seats for classification or one of the seats for every 1,000 students in each school. Padigela said she believes this will give more people the opportunity to be a part of SG.

Another change in the SG constitution involves the judicial board playing a larger role in Student Government. The responsibility of the judicial board is to interpret the constitution and determine whether the rules in it are being enforced.

“The people who really put in a lot of effort into it were some of the older people who had been through Student Government for a couple of years, so we were able to look at what issues we have, how we can fix that, and so really put that into the constitution,” Padigela said.

JW Van Der Schans, the SG president-elect, said he thinks the changes with the judicial board will improve accountability in the senate, leading to an improvement in communication.

“I’m really happy that these changes happened because Alex and I have been preaching (that) communication and accountability are the two biggest issues,” he said.

Van Der Schans said he believes the changes to the constitution will lead to larger effects on SG members’ involvement in elections and communication.

“Communication trickling down will show, ‘Hey, we’re out here, we’re ready to represent you. Come talk to us,’” he said.

Padigela and her colleagues, along with the administration and members of SG, worked hard to make sure the changes to the constitution would benefit UTD.

“We spent a lot of time on (the changes). We spent hours and hours and hours arguing over just one itty bitty little change, so we really did think things through,” Padigela said.