Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hightower proposes constitution revisions

Student Association senate officers’ desire for compensation led President Essence Hightower to propose changes to the SA constitution regarding student compensation, term extension and overall improvements.

“Ultimately, I just knew there had to be a constitution change,” Hightower said.

Hightower presented a draft of the proposed revisions to the 57th legislation via email Sept. 27. All the changes would begin with the 58th legislation. She said the idea stemmed from students involved with the SA wanting compensation for their work. Other SUNY campuses pay its senate officers according to Hightower. One of the lead changes pertains to compensation for SA executive council members and senator officers starting in the 58th legislation

The changes to the constitution will also create a new SA executive director position who would oversee officers and keep track of office hours, changes in the vice president and speaker positions and change the term duration of senate officers in future legislations. The revision reads “The term of office for elected officers of the Executive and Legislative Branches shall begin on the day after Spring Commencement at 12:00am and conclude on the following spring Commencement at 11:59 p.m.”

If approved, the SA will have to allocate compensation for the executive vice president position from its budget. Vice President for Student Affairs Bryan Hartman said the SA could consider raising the SA fee to compensate for the new position. However, he said it was unlikely because it could recieve student backlash.

The proposed constitution revisions were approved by the SA executive council meeting during its Oct. 7 meeting. Hightower presented them to the senate Oct. 9 and got a unanimous approval from the senate officers.

SA Executive Vice President Charlye Hernandez assisted Hightower with the constitution revisions and said he is in full favor of it.

“I’m happy about compensation for the senators and officers of the SA,” Hernandez said. “Other SUNY schools are getting compensated and [SUNY Plattsburgh] is one of the few that doesn’t. The [SA] is a lot of work for students and they don’t get anything back for their hard work.”

Before the proposed revisions go through, it must receive two thirds of a majority vote from the student body. Student will be able to vote on the proposed revisions during SA elections in November.

“I think [the proposed revisions] is something we can get two thirds of the student body to agree on,” Hightower said.

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