The UST Executive Organization Constitution will create a new system for student organizations which will take effect May 3. However, newly elected student body vice presidents acknowledge the constitution is vague and say they do not fully understand how it will be carried out.
The constitution, which was passed on January 25th, contains the respective responsibilities of the newly created Campus Initiatives and Diversity and Inclusion boards, the separation of the former Student Government Association president position into the vice president of senate and student body president, and the new allocations process overseen by the newly created Treasury.
UST’s first student body president, Nadin Fallah, said the new system is not expected to be flawless, especially in its first year.
“We all acknowledge that it is a trial run and that there will definitely be things that aren’t perfect and there is definitely going to be things that we see loopholes in,” Fallah said.
“…I am excited about seeing what it is that we didn’t think of when we were creating the system [and] seeing where it is where we can strengthen the holes.”
Fallah said each subsequent student body president can mold the position to fit his or her goals for that school year.
“It’s interesting, because the terms of the presidency are actually not super specific, which I think was very purposeful in order to give the candidate for presidency the opportunity to shape the position according to their vision for the year, ” she said.
Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Samaria Herbert said the “very vague” language in the new constitution will actually help her organization achieve its plans.
“I have more of a free-range with [my position], so whatever ideas I come up with… as far as implementing them and choosing what happens on campus, it’s a little bit easier for [the Diversity and Inclusion Board],” she said.
However, Vice President of Senate Jack Dowling talked about the importance of setting a good example.
Dowling said that what he and the Senate does its first year under this new constitution will set a precedent for future student government leaders at UST until there is another constitutional change “some decades down the road.”
Still, Vice President of the Treasury Anthony Aquila said he was unsure about how the next school year will be like with the newly created treasury board.
“I hope Treasury is a good thing,” Aquila said. “We’ll see what happens this first year. It’s going to be tough, but we’ll see what happens.”
While the creation of the Treasury is supposed to facilitate student organization funding requests by serving as a “one-stop shop”. Aquila noted there are potential problems with the new allocation system. Under the old constitution, allocations were handled by senators who had been directly elected as student representatives, he said. The new constitution, however, allows students to elect vice presidents, but it is the vice presidents who elect the Treasury board that oversees allocations.
“It’s like a less-direct line of contact,” Aquila said. “I mean, it’s just more levels to cut through.”
Aquila said each vice president will be able to nominate people to the Treasury, and that this process will then narrow down a list of approximately eight nominees to vote for.