Members of Bowdoin Student Government voted this week against a constitutional amendment that would have led to the biggest revamping of personnel since the current constitution was written three years ago.
The meeting's agenda consisted purely of constitutional changes as the organization looked to restructure its staff in its last big move of the year.
The amendment failed despite a push by BSG President Haliday Douglas '05. Thirteen of BSG's 23 members supported the measure, which needed a fourth-fifths majority to be sent to a vote by the student body.
"I think it had incredible potential," Douglas said of the amendment. "I think either way, what does need to happen in the future is that BSG needs to constitutionally build in more functionality to its officer positions."
The amendment would have condensed the positions of Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Government Affairs into a position called Vice President of Internal Affairs, while also combining the Vice President for Facilities and the Vice President for Student Affairs into the position of Vice President for Student Organizations.
"From experiences this year and in past years, this officer structure seems the most logical from a few standpoints," Douglas said. "It would be nice to build in some accountability, and that's what the proposal was for. Without it, BSG will continue to be open to the motivations of the individuals in the office, which varies from year to year, and that's unstable policy."
Vice President of BSG Affairs DeRay Mckesson '07 said that currently overlap exists in some of the positions because BSG "as we know it was built on people" and not the institution itself.
Douglas said, "The big issue is that these positions, the ones that currently exist now, were written for specific individuals when the constitution was written three years ago."
The amendment also called for the renaming of the Treasurer position to the Vice President of Student Activities, which Douglas said would be "a title change, not a responsibility change."
Despite the failure of the amendment to pass, sophomore Charlie Ticotsky said that the meeting and process was still successful.
"I think it went as well as it could have gone considering the length of the amendment," said Ticotsky. "People really had a healthy debate about it for awhile."
Mckesson, who abstained, said that the timing may have been the overriding factor in the vote against the amendment. There was concern that the student body would not have ample time to vote on the amendment before BSG elections take place.
BSG Secretary Matt Wieler '07 said, "Institutions always resist change. They weren't quite clear as to what they were voting on, and they wanted more particulars."
Because the changes did not pass on Tuesday night, the restructuring, which has been in development since last spring, will not be implemented next year, even if passes at a later date.
"I do think it had a lot to do with resistance to change, and I do think it had to do a lot with complications with timing," Douglas said. "What did happen [Tuesday night] was a democratic process, and what was decided was that we would remain the same next year."
While the Staff Restructuring Amendment did not pass, BSG will place on the Spring popular election ballot a Half-Year Amendment, which allows for those who will be away from Bowdoin for half the year to run for one semester. The proposal, which calls for two half-year representatives in the fall semester and another two in the spring, passed with 19 votes.
While any student who intends to be at Bowdoin for half the year can run for the position, the spots are ideally designed for members of the junior class, which loses 60 percent of eligible candidates to study- away programs.
"There was a general feeling in the body that every year sophomores are lost, who are productive members of BSG," Ticotsky said, who was involved in the writing of the amendment. "We wanted to have continuation and the opportunity to keep those involved who would normally be lost."