By: Jared Scharf  | 

13 Proposed Amendments Ratified Into Wilf Constitution, 18% of Eligible Voters Participate

Wilf undergraduate students voted on Dec. 16 to ratify 13 proposed amendments into the Wilf Campus Constitution. 186, or 18% of eligible students, participated in the voting process. All 13 proposed amendments were passed, despite an error resulting in an initial announcement that only eight were passed.

The amendments were first drafted and proposed by the Amendments Committee to the Wilf General Assembly (GA) — a voting body consisting of four student council presidents and the chairman of the Student Life Committee. The GA voted to place 13 amendments on the ballot to be voted upon by the student body. Amendments require 60% approval from voters to be ratified into the constitution.

“I’m proud to have worked with the other members to come up with a host of suggestions to improve our Constitution and present them to our fellow students for a vote,” said David Tanner (YC ‘22), chairman of the Amendments Committee.

The amendments covered a variety of issues relating to the constitution, some of which included grammatical, syntactical and semantical revisions. There were some more significant amendments, such as lowering required class standings for certain positions, extending the timing for submitting a petition for a new club, restricting Katz and Makor students from voting for certain positions, implementing a system for emergency amendments and an archive for student court opinions, election results and versions of the constitution. 

Akiva Poppers (SSSB ‘22), president of the Student Organization of Yeshiva (SOY), was involved in the drafting and passage of the amendments. “My main goal throughout the processes involved was to bring forward and discuss a myriad of suggestions and corrections which I and other members of the Amendments Committee and General Assembly believed to be beneficial to the Student Body and/or refine the constitution in a logical way, and allow the Student Body to decide whether we were correct,” he told The Commentator.

The link to vote was sent through a private email list by Dovie Solomon (SSSB ‘21), chairman of the Canvassing Committee, at 6:00 a.m. on the day of vote. The email did not explain the purpose of the vote, nor did it specify when the polls would close. 

The polls eventually closed at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17. At 8:04 p.m. Solomon sent a message to the “WCSG Announcements” WhatsApp group — a group for “official updates … regarding Wilf Campus Student Government” — reporting, with a detailed breakdown of the results attached, that only eight amendments were passed and five failed to receive the 60% approval necessary for passage. 

On Friday at 12:36 p.m., Solomon sent an update to the group noting that the “The Canvassing Committee erred in their initial tabulations of the Amendments.” The initial error of the Canvassing Committee was counting abstentions along with the “nay” votes, resulting in five amendments being rejected. Solomon, in the update, explained that abstentions are supposed to count as blanks and not count against the 60% necessary to pass an amendment. “With the new tabulations, all 13 amendments have passed,” he said. Solomon posted the updated tabulations on Sunday at 4:09 p.m. Students have not received an email announcing the results of the vote.

The following is a rough summary of the 13 amendments to the constitution, all of which received the 60% necessary for ratification.

Amendment 1- Cleaning Up the Constitution

The first amendment rewords and restructures unclear or unspecific clauses, removes redundant clauses and makes various grammatical changes to the constitution.

Yea - 82.3% (126) 

Nay - 17.6% (27) 

Amendment 2- Clarifications and Logical Specifications

The second amendment states the process by which student government officials may take temporary leaves of absence. Additionally, the amendment modifies the Yeshiva Student Union (YSU) VP of Club’s role regarding student complaints and control over YSU’s financial records and provides modifications for club rules, events, and non-club events. The Yeshiva College Student Association’s (YSCA) name was also changed to the Yeshiva College Student Council (YCSC), reverting back to its original name. There are also various rules regarding student council elections and committee appointments.

Yea - 69.3% (97) 

Nay - 30.7% (43)

Amendment 3- Lowering Class Standing Requirements for Certain Positions 

The third amendment allows juniors who have completed four semesters to act as YSU VP of Clubs, and sophomore and juniors who have completed two semesters to act as YSU VP of Class Affairs. Additionally, class representatives do not have to be a member of their class up to the incoming academic year; instead, this is only required from Election Day through the end of the upcoming academic year.

Yea - 70.9% (105)

Nay - 29.1% (43) 

Amendment 4- Period and Timing for New Club Petition Submissions

The fourth amendment increases the deadline for new club petitions from one week to two weeks. Additionally, the requirement for club petitions to be announced within the first month of fall classes was reduced to within the first two weeks of fall classes.

Yea - 74.5% (102)  

Nay - 25.5% (35) 

Amendment 5- General Assembly Powers and Positions

The fifth amendment institutes new rules for the GA. For example, the GA is now required to approve a YSU VP of Clubs replacement, whereas previously they did not. Furthermore, the amendment provides for a process by which a majority of the GA will be allowed to remove members of the Canvassing Committee without impeachment proceedings. 

Yea - 64.9% (85)   

Nay - 35.1% (46)

Amendment 6- Katz & Makor Rewrites and Clarifications 

The sixth amendment rewords and modifies texts relating to the representation of Katz and Makor students in student government. Katz and Makor students will not be able to vote for the YSU president, SOY president, class representatives and other positions. However, the amendment provides positions in YSU for the Katz representative and the Makor representative. 

Yea - 78.1% (107)

Nay - 19.7% (27)

Amendment 7- Rewriting Everything Relating to Committees

The seventh amendment rewrites Article IX of the constitution, clarifying the role of committees and committee members. The Amendments Committee has been elevated to membership in student government. 

Yea - 75.5% (102)

Nay - 24.4% (33)

Amendment 8- Rules for Tied Elections and Situations Where There is No Winner in Fall Elections

The eighth amendment lays out a process for determining the winner of a tied fall election. Furthermore, the amendment ensures that presidential and vice presidential positions receive redo elections in the spring if no candidates are elected in the fall.

Yea - 72.2% (96) 

Nay - 27.8% (37)

Amendment 9- Canvassing Committee Chairman and Replacements

The ninth amendment corrects previously inaccurate wording of what positions the chair of the Canvassing Committee may not hold; it also stipulates that a replacement’s replacement must come from the same council, and not the same “school” as it was phrased previously. 

Yea - 66.4% (83)

Nay - 33.6% (42)

Amendment 10- Student Court-Related Changes

The tenth amendment clarifies the requirements in order to be a member of student court as well as updated procedures and policies in the situation that a member of the court needs to be removed and/or replaced. A simple majority vote of the GA is needed to remove a justice instead of the previous 4/5. Additionally, minor laws relating to oaths and appeals are stated. 

Yea - 67.2% (84) 

Nay - 32.8% (41)

Amendment 11- Impeachment Proceedings

The eleventh amendment augments the number of votes needed to begin an impeachment trial. Now, 1/3 of the student body, instead of the previous 2/3, 3/5 of the GA or 2/3 of Wilf student government members are necessary to begin impeachment proceedings.

Yea - 70.7% (94) 

Nay - 29.3% (39)

Amendment 12- Emergency Amendments

The twelfth amendment creates “a mechanism for emergency amendments” that would be able to be passed anytime during the semester, motivated by events that occurred in the Spring 2020 semester, when, due to COVID-19, “the student Student Body was unable to vote on an amendment to reduce the signature requirement for candidates for Spring 2020 Elections, resulting in numerous students failing to make the ballot.”  

Yea - 65.6% (86) 

Nay - 34.4% (45) 

Amendment 13- Creating Archives of Student Court Opinions, Election Results, and Versions of Constitution 

The thirteenth amendment requires the Student Court to archive and maintain the archives of various student-court documents and information, which the student body is permitted to view. This amendment was proposed due to “numerous requests from students.” A website hosting the archives was launched following the passage of the amendment.

Yea - 83.5% (111) 

Nay - 16.5% (22)

Photo Caption: The Wilf Constitution
Photo Credit: The Commentator