TSG begins process to change constitution, bylaws

An ad hoc committee in Parliament proposed the changes last week.

TSG is nearing the end of the process to make sweeping changes to its constitution, which would further define roles of each branch and the positions within them.

A joint committee made up of representatives from Parliament and the Executive Branch unanimously approved the 19 changes to the constitution last week. Parliament unanimously passed the changes to the constitution at a special session on Monday. The Executive Branch will have completed casting its votes by Friday, completing the amendment process.

Parliament also approved 13 of 14 changes to its bylaws — almost all of them passed unanimously. Representatives did not approve the addition of office hours to their duties.

Parliament created an ad hoc committee in March to revise and clarify both the constitution and Parliament’s bylaws. The changes to the constitution include a greater separation of powers between Parliament and the Executive Branch, which created conflict between the two entities this semester.

“The changes go back to the formation of Parliament,” said Varun Sivakumar, an at-large representative and member of the ad hoc committee. “After our first semester, we realized there are some things we can improve on.    Both [Student Body President Aron Cowen] and the representatives submitted changes and we discussed the merits of each proposed change. We submitted the ones we thought would be the best.”

The proposed changes to the constitution would require Parliament to confirm the Executive Branch’s nominees for Parliamentarian, Auditor General, Secretary and Communications Director. The Elections Commissioner would be appointed by the Auditor General and Parliamentarian.

Under the revised constitution, the Parliamentarian would no longer be able to block changes to Parliament’s bylaws and the Auditor General could no longer block changes to the Executive Branch’s bylaws.

The revised constitution would also establish an Ethics Board, which was proposed by Activate TU’s incoming administration during campaigning. Under the Ethics Board, the Parliamentarian would investigate misconduct by members of Parliament — a responsibility currently held by the Auditor General.

Guidelines for amending the Elections Code would also be included in the revised constitution. The Elections Commissioner would draft an amendment and propose it to the Ethics Board.

Parliament unanimously approved Activate TU’s nominee Morrease Leftwich, a sophomore political science and Africology and African American studies major, to be Auditor General. Activate TU’s nominee for Parliamentarian, Jacob Kurtz, the current Tyler School of Art representative, was also approved to fill the role for next year.

The revised constitution does not allow executive officers or the Speaker of the Parliament to hold other executive board positions on other campus organizations without approval from TSG’s faculty adviser.

“There were objections to the amendment,” said Bridget Warlea, one of the multicultural representatives in Parliament and a member of the ad hoc committee. “Some members thought that taking them away from their offices would take them away from the communities they serve.”

Under the revised bylaws, the Secretary would not be able to serve as a representative on Parliament as the role would also complete tasks for the Executive Branch.

The current Secretary, Alexis Culp, is also Parliament’s RHA representative.

The revised bylaws also clarified that the Parliamentarian is not allowed to speak during a Parliament session without the Speaker’s permission.

The Liaison to the Parliament, who is appointed by the Executive Branch and serves as a go-between for Parliament and the Executive Branch, was also officially removed. The liaison resigned in February this year and Parliament has been functioning without the role filled since, said Parliamentarian Jemie Fofanah.

Amanda Lien can be reached at amanda.lien@temple.edu or on Twitter @amandajlien.

Editor’s Note: Varun Sivakumar is a writer for The Temple News. He played no role in the reporting or editing of this story.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect new information regarding Jacob Kurtz’s nomination and the role of the Secretary.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the Executive Branch appointed the Elections Commissioner. The TSG constitution contained an error which has since been fixed and now lists the Elections Commissioner is appointed by the Parliamentarian and the Auditor General.

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