USG to undergo constitutional changes

By Luke Nozicka

Changes in the Undergraduate Student Government constitution have been proposed in a new document written by the International Affairs Committee. Changes included a name change, distinctive district representation and more senator expectations.

IAC met Tuesday evening in Morris Library Room 510B to discuss changes made in the new constitution.

USG will be renamed as the Student Government Association, and will be referred to as SGA. USG President Adrian Miller proposed the name change at its first constitutional convention meeting this year.


Sen. Christopher Wheetley said the biggest change is redistricting representation.

USG has 42 seats, and the new constitution would include 50.

“45 of those seats would be divided up into the eight academic colleges based on the enrollment numbers of those colleges from the previous year,” Wheetley said.

IAC will use the SIU Fact Book, released in April each year, to decide how representation would be divided for the next academic year.

The other five seats would be at large and will not open until the fall semester. Seats are currently petitioned for in the spring. The five would not represent a specific college, yet different characteristics of students within the university. Race and disability were two examples used at the meeting.

The current constitution states representation is divided into colleges, undeclared majors, the College of Nursing and on campus living areas.

“From conversation with people that were here when the document was originally created, is that it was divided up that year by enrollment numbers by people in those areas and it hasn’t been updated since,” Wheetley said. “So it’s rather out of date.”


Wheetley said dividing constituents into individual colleges would narrow each student into one constituency, creating equal representation across the university.

This would eliminate Greek life seats, on-campus housing seats and College of Nursing seats. While the university has a nursing program through SIU-Edwardsville, there is no college on the Carbondale campus.

Wheetley said terminating the on-campus housing seat would be a hot topic at the next USG meeting April 1. He said the new constitution does not allow on-campus students to be represented twice, along with their distinct college representation.

Off-campus students do not have separate living representation through the current constitution. If senators cannot support the single representation through a student’s college, USG may explore the alternative to have an off-campus representative, Wheetley said.

“It’s just so everybody has one vote,” Sen. Steve Smith said. “It’s kind of unfair to (off-campus students.)”

Sen. Kane Hudson said housing is a vital part of the university, and the seat should not be eliminated.

“We need to be aware that certain interest might be different from the major from the actually housing,” Hudson said.

Sen. Daniel Schmidt said the senate should negotiate to find a middle ground. He said the senate should assign three of the five at large seats to housing; one for East campus, one for West campus and one for off-campus.

Smith said this would still be unfair representation, as East campus has more than three times the number of people as West campus, and more than half of the student population lives off-campus.

Another change concerns academic standing with senators. The current USG constitution states executive positions require a 2.5 GPA, but specifies no academic standard for senators. The new constitution states all USG members must have “good standing,” academically with the university.

Smith said senators who fail to remain in academic good standing could be impeached.

Under the new constitution, senators may miss one meeting, and may miss two if a proxy fills in. If these expectations are not fulfilled, senators will be up for impeachment.

USG will discuss amendment changes at the next USG meeting April 1.

Luke Nozicka can be reached at [email protected]on Twitter at @LukeNozicka, or 536-3311 ext. 268.