Temple University Student Government’s Ethics Board has reviewed its bylaws and founding documents and passed a constitutional amendment while operating online.
The Ethics Board is made up of two separate bodies: the Constitutionality Council, which decides if resolutions conflict with the TSG constitution, and the Ethics Board Staff, which counsels the executive branch and parliament, said Bradley Smutek, a junior history major and the Parliament Counselor.
“We’re in sort of a gray area as to what branch we’re in,” Smutek said. “I’m executive appointed, parliament approved but technically in the Ethics Board Staff.”
Ethics Board members cannot hold in-person meetings or office hours, according to university policy, but they still have meetings through Zoom, said Zaria Glenn, a senior English and Spanish major and Chief Judge of the Constitutionality Council.
“It was definitely a weird start to say the least [now] that everything’s virtual,” said Glenn, who is holding her first position in TSG.
The Ethics Board refined its by-laws to ensure they do not conflict with the TSG constitution, wrote Zoe Raney, a senior global studies major and vice chief judge of the Constitutionality Council, in an email to The Temple News.
“The Ethics Board is in the process of reviewing our guiding documents and revising them,” Raney wrote. “In this way, the lull due to COVID has been helpful, because these documents have needed to be revised for some time.”
TSG passed a constitutional amendment on Sept. 15 restructuring the executive branch citing past administration’s lack of accountability and a more equal distribution of the workload, according to a TSG statement.
“That’s something all three branches have been working on for the past couple of weeks to get that done,” Glenn said.
The amendment split the two vice president positions in the executive board into three roles: Chief of External Affairs, Chief of Internal Services and a single vice president position, replacing the Vice President of External Affairs and Vice President of Services positions.
The Chief of Internal Services will oversee the Service Team of seven directors, and the Chief of External Affairs will oversee the four directors of the External Affairs Team.
The new vice president position will serve as the sole counterpart to the president, a duty both former vice president positions shared, according to the statement.
“With the Chief Internal Service and External Services Officer, there will be individuals who are fully dedicated to overseeing the individual teams, making sure that the directors are fully supported, as well as the platform points are being carried out to the fullest capacity possible within our single term,” said Quinn Litsinger, a junior political science major and the president of the executive board.
The amendment passed unanimously, wrote Issa Kabeer, a seventh-year graduate student pursuing a diversity leadership graduate certificate and the speaker of parliament, in an email to The Temple News.
Internal structural changes usually don’t need a constitutional amendment, but, since the vice president positions were written into the constitution, it was necessary in this case, Litsinger said.
TSG held a virtual town hall on Sept. 9 to introduce themselves to the student body, update students on their work over the summer and their plan for the fall semester.
In the coming weeks, the Ethics Board will review its Code of Juridical Qualification, the document outlining the qualifications one must have to serve on the Constitutionality Council, Glenn said.
“The beautiful thing is, when there’s no conflict, there’s really not much for us to do besides just hold ourselves accountable and hold the other branches accountable,” Glenn said.