Student Senate votes to revise student body constitution

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief

The Student Senate voted Wednesday to approve the addition of a bill of rights to the student body constitution as proposed by the Student Supreme Court.

The bill of rights will only go into effect if the student body votes in favor of it when ballots are sent out for positions on the senate via email.

Student Body President Shirmeen Ahmad said a debate for those running for positions is coming up on March 22.

Elections will be open March 23 and March 24.

She said two executive positions are contested, and the senate’s goal is to have at least 1,000 students participate in the voting process.

If approved by the student body, the bill of rights will create provisions for students to bring cases of violations of those rights to the Student Supreme Court, which consists of five justices appointed by the student body president.

Ahmad said the constitution indicates that the Student Supreme Court has oversight over the bill of rights, but the current version, which was last updated in 2014, does not contain a bill of rights.

Ahmad said the constitution cannot be fully revised as quickly as bylaw changes get through, but amendments can be made to the bill of rights in the future if issues arise.

Chief Justice Cole Hildebrand said the court would decide whether or not each case has merit and take action from there.

Considering the particular circumstances of each case, the court could then seek recommendations from the Student Senate or the vice president for student affairs, Hildebrand said.

He said the court has seen a few complaints this year regarding the grade appeals and student disciplinary processes, and the students felt no due process was in place to resolve their issues.

The proposed bill of rights consists of five articles.

Article I: Freedom of Expression indicates that students have the freedom to express their opinions on campus and the rights to petition, peacefully assemble and use the press.

Article II: Classroom Freedom indicates that students’ grades are to be based on an academic basis with no regards to the opinions they express in the classroom.

Article III: Due Process gives provisions for students’ right to due process in all disciplinary and appeals processes, including that they are entitled to be notified of alleged violations in a timely manner.

Article IV states that the bill of rights does not serve to deny other rights retained by students, and Article V specifies that the bill of rights may be amended according to Article VIII of the constitution.


Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].