By: Yossi Zimilover | News  | 

Six Amendments to Wilf Campus Student Constitution Ratified

Six amendments to the Wilf Campus Student Constitution were ratified on Monday, Dec. 24. This marks the first time since Spring 2017 that the Constitution has been amended.

The approved amendments vary in topic including giving those in the Makor College Experience Program and undergraduate Katz School students the right to vote in certain student government elections, empowering the presidents of student government to fill vacant positions and eliminating prerequisites for the YCSA Secretary/Treasurer position.

Approximately 215 students submitted their ballots for eight proposed amendments that were approved by the General Assembly. (The General Assembly is composed of the Presidents of YSU, SOY, YCSA, SSSBSC and the Senior Co-Chair of the Student Life Committee). Six cleared the necessary three-fifths affirmative threshold required by the Constitution.

The Constitution mandates that there “shall be a General Student Body Amendment Votes held each semester” and that the “fall semester vote must take place within the two weeks prior to Reading Week.”

Below is an analysis and contextualization of each of the amendments:

Note: The amendment numbers correspond to the numbers that appeared on the ballot and on the document that was sent to students by the Canvassing Committee on Dec. 20. The titles are unofficial and were written by the author to highlight the major point(s) of each amendment.

Ratified Amendments

Amendment 1 - Prerequisites for YCSA Secretary/Treasurer Eliminated

The first approved amendment eliminated the requirement for the YCSA Secretary/Treasurer to be “at least a junior” and to be “a full-time student of the Yeshiva College for at least one semester prior to taking office.” A minimum number of semesters and class standing will no longer be prerequisites necessary to be elected to the position. This amendment comes after the Fall 2018 Wilf Student Government Elections and subsequent student court case in which a student who won the election for YCSA Secretary/Treasurer was deemed ineligible for the position to due to his sophomore status.

Amendment 2 - Student Government Presidents Given Power to Fill Vacant Positions

This amendment gave the president of the respective student councils the ability to appoint students to unfilled student government positions within their councils. The appointments must then be confirmed by the “majority opinion of the General Assembly.” Previously, if a position was unfilled after a spring election, the Constitution mandated that an election for that position be held in the following fall, and if a fall election position was unfilled, the position would remain vacant for the remainder of the year. For the current academic year, YCSA Secretary/Treasurer is the only unoccupied position on the student government.

Amendment 4 - Repealing Section Regarding Editing the Constitution

The third approved amendment repealed Article XIII, Section II of the Wilf Constitution. The section read, “the original body of this Constitution shall remain unedited and unchanged in any manner. All changes to the Constitution shall be addenda to the Constitution. As a notice of the amendment, an asterisk may be placed in the point of amendment. On any point of contradiction, the amended text shall supersede the original text.” According to the explanation written by the General Assembly, the “intention of the amendment was to allow future General Assemblies and Student Bodies to amend this constitution (within reason) while still remaining true to its central tenets…” The explanation appeared on a document that was attached to a ystud email to the male student body on Dec. 20.

Amendment 5 - (A) Removal of the YSU Vice President of Class Affairs Position From YSU List in Constitution    (B) Granting Undergraduate Katz School Students the Right to Run and Vote for YSU Freshman and Sophomore Representative Positions

Amendment 5 had two distinct results. Firstly, the amendment eliminated the position of YSU Vice President of Class Affairs from the list of YSU positions in the Constitution. The position was previously included in Article II, Section II, Subsection 2, which listed all the positions that comprised YSU. Due to the fact that the sixth proposed amendment (see unratified amendments below) did not pass, it is unclear if this amendment is effective in removing the position from YSU. Additionally, if the amendment is deemed valid, it is unclear if it is effective immediately and removes the current YSU Vice President of Class Affairs from office, or will only affect the future student government composition. As of the time of publication, there has been no student court case to decide on the matter.

The second element of this amendment now grants eligibility to those in undergraduate programs in the Katz School to run and vote for YSU Freshman and Sophomore Representatives, respective of their class standing.

Amendment 7 - YSU Chain of Command Shifts from YSU VP of Class Affairs to YSU VP of Clubs

This amendment shifted the responsibility of the YSU VP of Class Affairs to the YSU VP of Clubs, in regards to the inability of the YSU President to perform his duties. Previously, the YSU VP of Class Affairs would temporarily or permanently act as YSU President based on the circumstances outlined in Article II, Section II, Subsection 5. Now, the role belongs to the YSU VP of Clubs.

Amendment 8 - Makor College Experience Program Students Granted Right to Vote for YSU and SOY Positions

The final ratified amendment granted students enrolled in the Makor College Experience Program the right to vote in the elections for YSU President and VP of Clubs, and SOY President, Vice President and Public Relations Secretary. The Makor College Experience is a program for young men with intellectual disabilities on the Wilf Campus run by Makor Disability Services. According to their webpage, the program gives individuals an “opportunity to be part of the YU community while gaining skills and exploring opportunities as they transition to a life of independence.”

Traditionally, only those enrolled in the undergraduate programs at Yeshiva College or Sy Syms School of Busines had the ability to vote in student government elections. “More than anything else, the guys in our program just want to be included. It’s amazing how so many people in various roles at YU have embraced us,” remarked Dr. Stephen Glicksman, Director of Clinical Innovation at Makor. He added that “the fact that this amendment was entirely initiated by an individual Yeshiva College student who saw an opportunity to help the Makor guys be more involved in campus life makes this particular act of inclusion all the more gratifying.”

Unratfiied Amendments

Amendment 3 - Wilf Student Life Committee Senior Co-Chair Nominated by YSU President and Confirmed by General Assembly

This amendment would have given the YSU President the ability to nominate and the General Assembly the power to confirm the Senior Co-Chair of the Wilf Student Life Committee. Currently, there is no established procedure for how the Senior Co-Chair is given his position. Traditionally, the position has been nominated by the previous year’s Senior Co-Chair. The Senior-Co Chair is an unelected position and has a vote on the General Assembly.

Amendment 6 - Role and Responsibility of YSU Vice President of Class Affairs

Amendment 6 would have repealed Article II Section IV of the Constitution. This section discusses in length the role and responsibility of the YSU Vice President of Class Affairs. Due to the ratification of Amendment 5, it remains unclear what the significance of this section of the Constitution is and whether it does not allow for the removal of the YSU VP of Class Affairs.

To see a detailed breakdown of the voting percentages, please see the document that was shared by the Canvassing Committee.

Click here to view the Wilf Campus Student Constitution. Note: This is the most recent version available online. This version does not include amendments that were added after 2014.

Photo Caption: Wilf Campus Student Constitution
Photo Credit: The Commentator