While Thomas Jefferson may not have been at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he believed that the document should be rewritten every 19 years. While the U.S. Constitution has prevailed for more than 220 years, LSA Student Government’s Constitution, written in 1993, has reached its 19th birthday. LSA-SG’s founders created a strong foundation for our organization, but a lot has changed since then, nearly two decades later. This semester, LSA-SG decided to amend their constitution. The amendment process happens by and for the students, and in order to adopt the new constitution, LSA-SG needs the approval of the majority of student voters in the winter election.
LSA-SG has made tremendous developments over the years, and we have decided to update our constitution accordingly. While these changes serve to benefit our organization, the motivation behind making them is student driven: we want to reach out to each individual, and the revised constitution lays the foundations to do so.
One of the largest changes is to our mission statement. Old and dated, the original was long, repetitive and ambiguous. Collectively, we agreed to make it more succinct, focusing on our one, main purpose: “LSA Student Government shall be the democratic government representing the entire Student Body of the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. The Government shall actively seek the voices of LSA students and advocate their interests to improve academic and non-academic life.” We wanted to guarantee that our statement became short, simple and translatable by every student in the college, and we truly believe that we have succeeded in doing so. Our responsibility as a student government is to serve the students in whatever way possible. It’s important for LSA students to know that not only do we speak up to administrators, we are a resource to improve the college in a multitude of realms. We want to interact more with student organizations and different parts of campus. We are able to do this by awarding students money for events and simply listening to students’ desires.
Additional changes include eliminating the LSA Judiciary — which has not been represented in LSA-SG for more than four years — and expanding legal disputes through the Central Student Judiciary. Also, many terms, government positions and actions were phrased in a confusing manner. The new constitution is streamlined, organized and clearly defines these positions and procedures.
Members of LSA-SG approved the new constitution on Feb. 22 during our general meeting. During the All-Campus elections on March 21 and 22, we encourage LSA students to approve updates to our constitution. In addition, drafts of the improved constitution are available on the LSA-SG website (www.lsasg.umich.edu) for LSA students to review. We want you to know that these changes do not just benefit our organization but will improve the LSA community as a whole. Thomas Jefferson once said, “Democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work.” Let us work for you to improve the College of Literature, Science and the Arts. Please take the time to support the amended constitution and other LSA-SG projects by voting in the winter elections.
Allison Sherman is a member of LSA-SG Counsel and is an LSA junior.