Student Association to update constitution pending student approval

Illustration by Evan Hughes

Illustration by Evan Hughes

UMD Student Association (SA) is hoping to change its constitution. The UMD organization will be hosting spring elections this week March 28 and 29.Changing this document must be approved by the students and will be the first item on the ballot.  UMD SA Director of Rules and Elections Spencer Basarich was in charge of rewriting the new constitution. The executive board of Fall 2018 began noticing the Constitution was not keeping up with student focus and the removal of bylaws, and decided to amend a new constitution.

Most notable to students is the leadership change in top positions. The system currently operates under one president and four vice presidents. The four current vice presidents are, external affairs, student life, academic affairs, and administration and finance. The new constitution outlines that leadership would be changed to a president and their running mate Vice President, similar to the US government and other university governments, according to Basarich.


The two new leaders would then be incharge of selecting the team who they feel would best run their campaign the right direction. The vice presidents would become Chief Officers similar to Secretaries in the U.S government. However the new constitution is being voted on at the same time as new officers are being elected and therefore the position transition will come later.

“We have established a transitional timeline that will change over the name, structure and organizational changes immediately following student approval,” said Basarich. “Over the following weeks we will have the President appoint a Vice President (and the names of the current Vice Presidents switch to Chief Officers) and then fully adopt to [the] new Constitution.”

With this timeline who the students vote for will still remain in office. The later transition allows their voices to be heard as they are intended to.

Additionally the voting system within SA will be changing with some votes losing their weight.

“We also decided to remove the voting powers from our Executive members, as in the old system they had an advantage in Congress with being able to block votes from occurring due to majority rules,” Basarich said. “This system makes the Representative-At-Large and Senator the voting members and these positions are extremely important, and truly connect the voice of students directly to us, while still keeping Student Association accessible, efficient and accountable.”

All positions being voted on this week will be President, the four Vice Presidential positions, Senators and Representatives-At-Large. Representatives-At-Large are the most important positions overall, according to Basarich.

Basarich encourages students to come out and vote. The elected officals are the voice and representatives of the students. With the new initiatives and efforts he hopes to see further student engagement.

“UMD SA has worked hard to figure out new and better ways to connect with the campus and get the message out of what we do on your [the students] behalf. We want to see you engaged with us and us more engaged with you,” Basarich said.

For further details on the new SA Constitution click here. Voting will take place this Thursday and Friday via the UMD email.

NewsHeidi Stang