Rosen’s amended constitution finally comes to vote

March 21, 2014

When Ricky Rosen ’14, student union president, was elected in April of last year, one of his top priorities was amending the Student Union Constitution.

“It was one of my more prominent initiatives, but I wasn’t the only one that saw the need to move forward with these constitutional amendments,” Rosen said in an interview with The Hoot this week. “But I am definitely excited to see it be pushed through. It is something I will be able to look back on [after graduation].”

Rosen’s vision is about to come to fruition. The Constitutional Review Task Force (CRT), assembled early last semester, finalized a list of proposed changes this week.

“The constitution is one of the most important documents in regard to Brandeis,” said Rosen.
Of the major changes set out in the new constitution, one of them is that the Finance Board will now be known as Allocations Board (supposedly, so that students will no longer confuse the F-board and the Treasury). There will also be an addition of a senate representative onto F-board. According to the official CRT list of changes, this alteration will “ensure that the Senate has a liaison in the allocations process, and if students have concerns with their club’s funding, they can bring the concerns to their class or quad senator, who is their closest link to the Union, rather than the Allocation Board.”

Another major change is in regard to the Community Enhancement Fund. Currently, the Union Finances section of the constitution includes a Capital Expenditures and Emergency Fund (CapEx), which includes $150,000 reserved for emergencies. This money is taken out of the Student Activity Fund, thus each student contributes some of it. Over time, it has been drastically underused. The new constitution will rename this fund, the Community Enhancement Fund, increase it to $250,000, and only $50,000 will be reserved for emergencies.

“[With the old constitution] we have a lot of funds that students pay for that they don’t have access to. We are hoping to make the funds more accessible,” said Rosen.

Other changes include requiring senate approval for F-board decisions, and altering the language of the constitution overall. Rosen reported that previously, the constitution was 25 pages long, which was not convenient for students looking to read it.

“We reduced more than 50 percent of excess language in each section of our Constitution by simplifying terminology and making phrasing more concise,” stated the CRT list of changes.
They also proposed adding Intra-Union Meetings to the Constitution, so that Union branches could more easily collaborate.

While these changes are still not finalized, Rosen insists that they have been well thought over by many branches of the union.

“Although they are proposed, we have been doing correspondence with students, with clubs, and more to ensure support,” he said. The CRT board itself also has members from different areas of the union serving on it.

The altered constitution will be presented to F-board on Friday morning, in case the board has an objection to any of the proposed changes. Then, if all goes well, the constitution will pass in front of the Senate on Sunday. If approved, the student body will then vote, potentially as early as Friday, March 28. Students may also vote Monday, March 31, out of respect for students observing Shabbat.

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