At its first meeting after break, Bowdoin Student Government (BSG) began business by discussing proposed changes to its constitution. The BSG Affairs Committee had produced several pages of changes that were described as necessary to update the outdated constitution.
Vice President for BSG Affairs Chris Breen ’15 commented on the changes.
“Basically the constitution is a little outdated right now. It has a lot of terms and responsibilities that don’t exist, or have been changed,” said Breen. The motivation for the changes was to “flesh out all these problems in it, and make it easier to read, and clarify some of the stuff that wasn’t really clear, and eliminate the stuff that wasn’t relevant anymore,” he added.
The largest structural change made to the BSG assembly was to replace the seat of the Inter-House Council (IHC) President with a representative of the McKeen Center. Both IHC president and vice president are voting members of the assembly. The written proposal argued that this change would “be beneficial to campus as it would formally connect the Center, and the volunteer organizations that operate within it, with the assembly.” Breen argued that this would not diminish the voice of the IHC in the assembly, considering that the seat of the IHC Vice President would still remain.
IHC President Neli Vazquez ’14 asked that the when assembly considers the changes, they remember that “IHC is representative of a large portion of the student body, and that extra vote does count.”
The rest of the changes to the constitution are small and largely cosmetic. Most changes involve updating the names of the various boards and committees that BSG interacts with. For example, the Entertainment Board is still listed under its previous name, the Campus Activities Board, and numerous references in the old constitution contain committees that no longer exist.
One of the notable changes was to delete several clauses that implied that BSG had to confirm members appointed to the Judicial Board. According to the current BSG constitution, the body also has the power to remove members from the board.
Addressing this change, President Dani Chediak ’13 stated, “We have never had the power to do that, and that has never actually happened.” According to Chediak, when the constitution was rewritten ten years ago, the president had included the clause in the constitution in the hopes of having the assembly assume that power, but the Judicial Board or Administration has never allowed it.
Chediak said that removing the clause was one of her overall goals as BSG President: to “make sure that everything we say we can do, we actually can do.”