Wednesday, February 15, 2012

U of L's SGA's Newly Revised, Outdated 1971 Constitution

While the changes made have made the lines between the different branches more clear, it doesn't go far enough., in the Overly Cumbersome and Fascist Constitution. Constitutional Convention needs to be called. 7. Add a Supremacy Clause to U of L's Constitution. Bring The Administration under democratic control. The students at the University shouldn't just vote...

...for a student body President, but for the President of the whole school. The Administration's Budget should be our Budget. The University of Louisville's Administration's Powers should be our Powers. I see that it's 41 pages, with an 8 point font, so it's carrying on the Kentucky tradition of being more a legislative document, than a real, live, governing Constitution, and usually, as with the Kentucky Constitution, it's only those folks who have read the thing that dictates how the meetings progress, and even those folks don't know every line, sentence, and paragraph, so it becomes whatever those few folks who have even took out the time to read the damn thing, think, and all humans are prone to error. In fact, I was lied to, by an Associate Justice, because I was told that in order to address the Student Body, the Senators, that first, a Senator had to sponsor me, in order for me to be allowed to say anything. But reading this long-41-page-8-point-font-document, in the beginning, under Section 2.4, "Petitioning", it says that all members of SGA have a right to petition for a redress of grievances. Since 2.1.1, under "Membership", says that "all part-time and full-time registered students of the University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, are members of SGA". So whenever a student claims that SGA doesn't do anything for them, that's because they suck at doing things for themselves, and for others, since they themselves are SGA, whether they know it or not. This also means that all actions that U of L's SGA does, or declares, they literally are representing the entire student body. The government of SGA is 20,000 members strong, even if only 2,500 of them vote. Section 4.7.5 restricts candidates to only running for one position. Since turnover on SGA is yearly, to have good candidates to be able to maintain their own positions, while also reaching for higher positions, is sound reasoning. We had John Weber, Abigail “Abby” Smith, Ben Donlon, and Alexandra “Alex” Millson express an interest in running the show, and never did they come to any SGA meetings. Whether that was on them, or the current SGA, who knows, but it's tragic to not utilize every capable and creative mind we got out here, especially if they have the passion, and the know how. With a Parliamentary System, there's competition, but then there's also coalition building afterwards, and everybody gets to play a part in the Student Government. There aren't many folks actually wanting to further the Cause of the Students, to expand Student Power, and therefore, the process for inclusion should be as liberal, and welcoming as possible. More diversity creates more ideas, and in the great pool of ideas, the best ones should prevail. Not the most popular one, but the best one. Not the idea from the guy who is nice to you, but the best ideas should succeed. Period. And only with an open discussion forum, where the public is allowed to speak freely, is where a truly democratic body of student representatives lie.

Section 4.11.1, there are 2 reasons given for when and how an Executive Member of SGA can be removed, and are as follows: 1) gross failure to carry out the required duties of the office, as Constitution states, AND; 2) For Acting Against the Best Interests of the Student Populace. This second one opens the door for lots of folks being sued for allowing tuition to rise. With this Clause, no President of SGA should ever be allowed to vote for tuition ever again, not without somebody who cares to sue them with the student SGA Supreme Court, because voting against tuition is clearly acting against the best interests of the students.

The Supreme Court does not protect the students. In fact, it's the opposite. The Supreme Court never prosecutes The Administration. The Administration, they always protect, and any case they deem as “frivolous, or has no merit” (6.9.1), by any arbitrary standard, is thrown out. With any petition they reject, especially one that complied with every Constitutional requirement (such as name of person being sued, their address, etc.), they must write an opinion about why it was rejected, which can be a minor victory for anybody, because even if they reject your petition, if it was well-written, and complied with the Constitutional requirements, they must write a response. They must! The Supreme Court Chief Justice has to assign it out to one of 6 Supreme Court Associates/Bitches. A petition being filed against the Board of Trustees, or President Ramses, or the Professors, or the Faculty, or Staff, or Physical Plant, or Campus Police, would go nowhere. But a petition, by any of the 19,000 students, can push the proceedings for impeachment, or set-up some sort of courtroom drama, where everybody on both sides are full of bullshit, in order to attack us the students. That's bullshit. This means that SGA's Supreme Court can only hurt students, and nobody else. Not the person you just got mugged by. Not the Board of Trustees who just rose your tuition. Not the police officer who just manhandled you. Nobody else. Since the Supreme Court is forced Constitutionally to be anti-student, a change in the Constitution is needed. A major change. A change big enough to call for a full-on Constitutional Convention. In the meantime, the Supreme Court should have a minimum, if non-existent role. Since traditionally, they have been only known to exclusively “sue” regular students, then every student at U of L should be very weary of them. Plus they are young, so they haven't held power before, and the allure of the precious might just inspire some Joseph McCarthy to come rear out his anti-Communist hating head, and persecuting everybody who reads a book. In the SGA's By-Laws, which is ANOTHER governing document, but this one is written to dictate how the meetings of SGA (or is the SGA Constitution University-wide?) will be ran. Chapter 102, titled “Open Meetings”, it says “all meetings must be open, except those dealing with a new “appointment, discipline or dismissal” (102.1). So this means all Administration meetings should be open to the public, and if not, then the Supreme Court should confront them, or else the Supreme Court is admitting that they are inherently anti-student, which means that they hypocritically violate their own terms for the Executive office. How can we expect the Supreme Court to know what is in the “Best Interests of the Student Populace” (UofHell SGA Constitution 4.11.1), and what isn't, when their entire nature is to be against the students exclusively? The only way the Supreme Court can claim some legitimacy is to “sue” somebody from the Administration, because until they do that, then U of L's SGA Supreme Court can only claim to be a bunch of children running around an island, like the Lord of the Flies, where Ralph and Jack are at each other's throats, and Piggy, the character who represented civilization, is destroyed. There should be some idea of justice in the judicial branch, and justice is not blind, it sees the wrongs of those who wear the suits and sit in the offices, just as equally as anybody else. And if I was mugged on campus, would I file a complaint to SGA? If not, why not? Is it because it's not a serious place for Student Power? Or is it because a “mugger” isn't a “subject” which is subjected to the oppression and the fascist overreach The Constitution is supposed to be a governing document, and with so many students coming and going, why wouldn't it be brief, and just offer the basic guidelines to run a country, just like the US Constitution was? The SGA Constitution for U of L is cumbersome, and lengthy because it's a legislative document, and not a governing document. U of L's SGA Constitution is also missing a Bill of Rights, which could potentially give some overzealous, immoral, and criminal Court be tempted with overreach, and could violate the Rights guaranteed in the Bill of Rights without feeling they've gone past their authority. Freedom is Speech is nice, and if we don't have Freedom of Speech at U of L, a “liberal” arts college, then where do we have it? In the Supreme Court case Taylor v. Beckham (1900), which was the Court case for the assassination of William Goebel, Kentucky's Governor, and the only Governor in the US to ever be assassinated, the US Supreme Court did not take up the issue of whether or not the government owns the buildings in which they occupy, and I'm not sure if this has been figured out. If not, then that means, until a Supreme Court decision comes down to reverse Taylor v. Beckham (1900), then we the students own the whole school. Also the newly Revised 1977 U of L SGA Constitution, which has gotten lots of praise recently, doesn't have many of the basic safeguards for a democracy. While they have runoff elections, they don't use the IRV system, which is easier, and only takes one vote, and it ranks the candidates, which encourages more candidates to run for office, and it doesn't tax anybody for voting for who they believe in. If that person doesn't get the required votes, then their second place pick will their vote. It offers more choices, makes voting go by in one round, and encourages as many candidates, and slates, to run for office as possible. Also the democratic issues of Referendum, Recall, and Initiative aren't codified. Plus, the Senate is just a unicameral body, with no quotas for People of Color, or Women. It needs to be Bicameral, and it needs more women and colored folks. Because of these reasons, and more, the words in U of L's SGA Constitution needs to be looked at closer, or else rewritten entirely.

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