To the Daily:

The new all-campus constitution being proposed by the Students for Progressive Governance is not progressive. It should not be approved by MSA this week or adopted by the student body in the March election. The last attempt to re-write the constitution by holding an unelected constitutional convention was ruled unconstitutional by the Central Student Judiciary and was ordered to disband. The convention was effectively reconvened as a student group in order to achieve the same purpose. The proposed new constitution is far less democratic, more bureaucratic, much more vague and omits many important rights and protections that are provided to students and student organization in the current constitution.

While the current constitution’s Bill of Rights protects against discrimination based on “race, sex, color, religion, creed, national origin or ancestry, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, Vietnam-era veteran status,” the proposed new constitution omits national origin or ancestry, gender identity and expression and veteran status. This is unacceptable. The proposed constitution also omits the Bill of Rights article on dissenting opinions, which under the current constitution protects the right to be graded solely on academic performance and not be penalized for disagreeing with a professor’s views.

The proposed constitution would give the MSA president the right to veto resolutions passed by the assembly. The assembly would then have to meet a two-thirds vote in order to overrule the veto. This would allow one person, the president, to severely undermine the ability of the assembly to put the democratic will of the student body into action. As we continue to face a crisis in public education and a decline in minority student enrollment, we cannot allow our democratic rights and our ability to mobilize the power of the student body to be abridged.

Kate Stenvig
Rackham Representative to MSA

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