SGA votes against constitutional changes

The Student Government Association tabled amending its constitution until next semester after one amendment was voted down by two-thirds of the Senate following a lengthy debate.

The amendment, to have only spring elections as opposed to elections every semester, failed by 14 votes to 6 votes at SGA’s April 7 meeting. Senators had broached concerns regarding the effects of the change.

Sen. Parker LaBoiteaux said he worries that students who are “fired up” in September will have lost interest by the spring elections.

“People would be fired up and want to make a change,” he said. “They could be involved in November.”

LaBoiteaux pointed out that in the 2007 spring election, which centered around a controversial free speech policy, 31 students ran to fill 15 open seats. In the fall election, he pointed out, only 19 students ran for 15 seats because he said much of the momentum had died down.

He added that having the elections only in April would make it harder to have a representative cross-section of students, as the higher turnout would force out lesser-known candidates.

Sen. Jake Lehnert said he appreciated both sides, but echoed LaBoiteaux’s concerns. Lehnert said he wants more non-Greeks to participate, but “people are going to vote Greek.

He added that “people who are not Greek aren’t going to get votes.”

However, SGA President Alyse Bender, said one election per year would draw more students.

Sen. Mike Tobergta agreed, noting that the Senate typically has one or two openings at the beginning of each semester. Only 12 students turned in election packets for the election.

Bender also said all other Kentucky schools only have one election each year.

The amendment would have saved SGA approximately $1,000 each year.

SGA did, however, unanimously approve the other amendment, which eliminates the Judicial Council as an elected entity. Instead, members would be appointed by a two-thirds vote from the Senate.

Bender said that it’s simply formalizing a common practice, since few individuals run for the council. No one is running in the spring election for the open seats.

“Essentially, it’s what we do with the Senate if we have an opening,” she said. “They’re going to be appointed anyway.”

However, the constitution will remain in its current form. Because the election amendment altered many parts of SGA’s constitution, Bender said that the document must be rewritten before it can be sent to NKU’s Administration for approval. SGA can then vote on the constitution with only the amendment it approved.

Nevertheless, that won’t happen in time to have it on the ballots for the spring elections. The student body must approve the constitutional amendment as a referendum before it can be enacted, meaning any changes to SGA’s constitution must wait until the fall semester.