This is a late, developing story. Check The Michigan Daily online Tuesday and in print Wednesday for the latest on the Central Student Judiciary ruling.
The Central Student Judiciary deemed unconstitutional the Michigan Student Assembly-led Constitutional Convention and disbanded the convention in a trial last night in MSA Chambers at the Michigan Union.
The convention had been an attempt to revamp the rules that regulate all students on campus.
Rackham Rep. Kate Stenvig objected to the constitutionality of the convention when it was first presented as a resolution during a weekly MSA meeting earlier this semester. After the resolution passed, Stenvig brought the case to CSJ.
Student General Counsel Jim Brusstar and Rules and Elections Committee Chair and Rackham Rep. Michael Benson argued the case on behalf of MSA. Until it was disbanded last night, they served as secretary and vice chair of the convention, respectively.
The justices found that the creation of the convention was not in compliance with the Student Constitution, which states that a convention may be formed only by the election of delegates.
Rather than hold a campus-wide election, MSA invited all students to apply to serve on the Constitutional Conventional. MSA President Abhishek Mahanti then reviewed those applications and selected about 40 students to serve on the convention. These 40 names were then presented to the assembly for approval.
CSJ ruled that this process did not suffice as an “election” as deemed mandatory by the constitution. As such, the body ruled the current convention invalid.
“The basis of the CSJ ruled that the convention should be proportionately represented by school or college, and serious questions were raised about whether or not student organizations should be represented at all,” MSA Vice President Mike Rorro wrote in an e-mail to all MSA members after the ruling last night.
Rorro, who served as chair of the Constitutional Convention, said after the meeting that MSA has other means of proposing amendments to the student body, though they are less efficient.
The student body must vote on any amendment to the Constitution, no matter how small. The Constitution requires one of three options to get an amendment added to the ballot to be voted on by the entire student voting population.
MSA can garner a two-thirds majority vote to get amendments added to the campus-wide ballot. Alternatively, a student or student group can petition MSA to add proposed amendments to the ballot. Each proposed amendment requires 1,000 student signatures.
The last option, which MSA officials chose and believe to be the most efficient for a major overhaul of campus policy, is to assemble a constitutional convention to present an entire amended constitutional document the student body can vote to approve.
The current Constitutional Convention was preparing a document to be voted on by the student body during the March campus-wide student government elections.
Rorro said he expects the amendment process will continue, just through different means.
“There are a couple of different ways to have an amendment to the Constitution,” he said. “I think that our re-writing efforts so far have been very productive and I’m really excited to continue them.”