Students to vote on new SGA constitution Tuesday

Katherine Martin

With just six days until the student vote on final ratification of the proposed Student Government Association constitution on Feb. 1, SGA members are encouraging students to vote in favor of the new document.

On Feb. 1, students can log on to MyBama to vote between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. There will be a large button linked to a poll and a PDF where students can read the proposed document.

James Fowler, president of the SGA, said the new constitution is an opportunity to strengthen the student government and to benefit all students of the University.

“This document passed the Senate unanimously and provides better functionality, transparency, accountability and inclusivity to the student government,” Fowler said. “I encourage all students to rally behind this opportunity to stand as a united body for the purpose of better government.”

The current constitution was written in 1996 so SGA could return to campus, Attorney General Ryan Sprinkle said.

Since then, he said, the student body has approved several amendments that were never written into the document.

The need for revision of the constitution, Sprinkle said, came last year after some members of SGA traveled to Pasadena for the National Championship game.

“There were a lot of questions after Pasadena as to the transparency and accountability SGA has had with the student body,” he said. “Last year’s administration assembled a committee to examine the constitution and they proposed a new constitution be written.”

When President James Fowler was elected to office he tasked Sprinkle with heading the Constitutional Reform Committee, Sprinkle said. The committee is comprised of six members, two from each branch of the SGA, one independent and one greek student.

Sprinkle said the committee began with four overarching ideals used to steer all conversation and decisions: transparency, inclusivity, accountability and transparency.

“The new constitution outlays the processes for selection of all different departments within SGA and also better defines the separation of powers,” Sprinkle said. “[It also] largely gives the Senate more autonomy and provides Senators a future with a more meaningful SGA experience.”

SGA Communications Director Ian Sams said the constitution is being put to a popular vote among students because it’s important for students to have a say in how their SGA is run.

“There’s really no other option besides letting the whole student body vote on the constitution,” Sams said. “It’s a monumental thing, and we need the whole student body to voice their approval before it can take effect. The SGA is more than just a student organization; it’s a governing body in some respects.”

Senator David Simpson, who served on the committee that drafted the new constitution, agreed.

“[Students voting] shows that not only the leaders of the SGA support the constitution, but students do as well,” Simpson said. “It’s going to have an important effect on their remaining time on campus. We want an SGA that will better serve us, and this constitution will do that.”

Students can also check out the Facebook page “ReNEW Government-Vote YES for the new SGA constitution” and sga.ua.edu for more information.