The Daily Northwestern

Committee will propose new constitution to ASG

Libby Nelson

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Senators will vote on a revamped constitution at Wednesday’s Associated Student Government meeting in an attempt to make its rules more streamlined and easier to understand.

The constitution, the product of an ad hoc committee headed by Communication senior Jack Vrett, is the result of two quarters of work. It was introduced at last week’s meeting.

Senators wrote the first ASG constitution in 1979. After more than 25 years of amendments, the current document spans 11 pages – the same length as the U.S. Constitution. Amendments were added without considering their impact on other parts of the constitution, Vrett said. The result was often repetitive or self-contradictory.

“We’re very rule-happy. We make up rules for all these different scenarios,” he said. “We require specificity in all cases.”

The new constitution is four pages long, but the committee made no deliberate or significant changes in meaning.

“When you change a word, you change the meaning of that rule,” Vrett said. “There was a long process of figuring out how we can say things clearly and succinctly.”

The 11 members of the ad hoc committee were selected by application during Fall Quarter. Vrett said they chose to change the constitution this year because he and co-chairwoman Jess Joslin, a SESP senior, are both graduating and can work on the project without conflict of interest or hope for personal gain.

“We’re not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for the health of the institution,” Vrett said.

While students will not immediately see the effects of the constitution, it will have consequences for them in the long term, with ASG less focused on bureaucracy, he said.

In addition to voting on the constitution, senators will also elect new members of the executive committee and the Student Activities Finance Board, said Speaker of the Senate Jon Webber, a SESP sophomore. There are three senator and three non-senator vacancies on each committee.

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