Bill 48sl17, "Constitutional Amendment to Guarantee Public Scrutiny and Accountability When Issues of Significance are Under Consideration by the Student Government Association," Submitted by President Jon Darby, Raj Tilwa Executive Vice President, Max Zoberman Campus Services Chair and Sophomore Representative.
Article II(3) of the Student Constitution of Emory University states, "The SGA shall serve as an advocate for the students of Emory University, shall ensure that their rights are respected, shall act as the official voice of the student body, shall represent the students’ interests in all matters, and shall enact legislation with these goals in mind."; and,
an informed student body is necessary to ensure that members of the Student Government Association are fulfilling the purpose described in Article II(3); and,
introducing a public scrutiny requirement will ensure that the student body is informed of "Issues of Significance" under consideration by the Student Government Association, providing students the opportunity to express their opinions on such legislation and actively participate in the democratic process; and,
the burden of informing the student body that "Issues of Significance" are under consideration by the Student Government Association lies with the organization itself; and,
a public scrutiny requirement will ensure that legislation concerning "Issues of Significance" is carefully considered, increasing the likelihood that adopted legislation is in the best interest of all students at Emory; and,
incorporating a public scrutiny requirement into the Student Constitution will ensure that the requirement cannot be suspended for legislative convenience and will bind future iterations of the Student Legislature; and,
all of the above justifications are manifested in the Constitutional Amendment described in Exhibit A.
Therefore, be it enacted by the 48th Student Legislature of Emory University that, if approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the legislature or twenty-six (26) votes, whichever is greater, and approved by a simple majority of the students voting in a campus referendum, the text described in Exhibit A be added to the Student Constitution.
Student Constitution of Emory University
SECTION 5: PUBLIC SCRUTINY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
- Decisions undertaken by the Legislature concerning Issues of Significance shall be subject to public scrutiny. ‘Issues of Significance’ shall be defined as follows:
- Changes of any kind to this Constitution.
- Changes of any kind to bylaws, codes, or governing documents concerning the laying and collecting of fees, including but not limited to the Student Activity Fee.
- Changes of any kind to bylaws, codes, or governing documents concerning the allocation and distribution of fees, including but not limited to the Student Activity Fee.
- Changes of any kind regarding the manner in which offices are chosen.
- Changes of any kind to the number of Divisional Councils.
- When dealing with an Issue of Significance, the Legislature shall make every effort to notify the Student Body. Requirements of Notification:
- The duty of sending the notification shall lie with the Speaker of the Legislature.
- The first notification must be sent no later than noon on the day the Issue appears in written legislation in the ‘First Readings’ section of the Agenda.
- Notification shall, at minimum, come in the form of an email sent to all students enrolled at the University containing the following:
- The date on which the Issue will appear in written legislation in the ‘First Readings’ section of the Agenda.
- The date on which the Issue will appear in written legislation in the ‘Daily Calendar’ section of the Agenda.
- The times and locations of the Legislative Sessions at which the Issue will appear on the Agenda.
- The date, time, and location of the Public Forum described in Article IV(5)(C).
- The Title(s), Author(s), and Full Text of any legislation concerning the Issue.
- A vote of the Governance Committee shall determine whether the Requirements of Notification have been satisfied.
- The Legislature shall host a public forum in which the Issue of Significance shall be discussed and debated. The forum shall:
- Be attended, at minimum, by representatives from all branches of the Student Government Association, the author of the legislation concerning an Issue of Significance, the Secretary of the Student Government Association or designee, and a representative from each Divisional Council.
- Be hosted in a location such that no undue burden is placed on any student who wishes to attend, regardless of division of enrollment.
- Be accessible to those not physically present, whether by live-broadcast on the internet, conference call, or similar means that allows real-time participation in the forum without being physically present.