StuCo changes constitution to accommodate members

Kris Long, Opinions Editor

Student Council is currently in the process of implementing changes to make meeting attendance more flexible for StuCo members. The change comes after widespread violation of guidelines requiring members to miss no more than two meetings before facing impeachment. According to senior StuCo President Will Bannister the new requirements are  part of an effort to make StuCo rules generally more fair and efficient.

The issue of member attendance reached the point where almost 50% of members were eligible for impeachment — meaning they had missed two or more meetings. Current StuCO constitutional law mandates that all of those members be investigated and possibly removed from office. 

“A few weeks ago is when it kind of hit a critical mass,” Bannister said. “Because such a large percentage of representatives have already hit that line for impeachment, we went ahead and said that we’re going to make a temporary amendment.” 

The biggest issue with current requirements is that going through the formal impeachment process for all of the members in violation would take up a massive and unrealistic amount of StuCo’s time.

“We have to launch a formal investigation under the current constitution, which is a much lengthier process than just going to them and asking, ‘hey where are you?’ And making sure they show up to things,” Bannister said. “It would harm StuCo more than people not showing up for us to go through that investigative process.”

Along with that, many members who currently would have to be investigated have valid excuses for their absences. Students could be gone for school events or other legitimate reasons but not have their absences excused due to miscommunications.

“We have a lot of students who are involved in a lot of things,” StuCo sponsor Leslie Campbell said. “We meet during flex time, and I think we’ve got a problem with people who just need to use that time for other things.”

StuCo has written and passed a temporary amendment mandating only a 50% attendance rate and will vote on passing the bill next session. Freshmen are also now exempt from meetings when there is no bus to West Campus. While the rules will be looser, some members will still be subject to impeachment for their lack of attendance. 

According to Bannister, there’s still an expectation that students attend meetings; however the process will be less formal. Officers are also expected to prioritize attendance.

“Officers should be there. I think that is a priority,” Campbell said. “If they are an officer they should be at the meetings…  That’s part of being elected into that position you take on that responsibility.”

The constitutional committee will continue to meet this year to update the constitution and find better ways to hold officers to account.

“This year, in general, we are trying to make the constitution more equitable and also instate new ways to hold people accountable that are more efficient than the current investigation system,” Bannister said. “But we also don’t want to take away all of StuCo’s time so we can help the student body”