The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

After a long summer of planning, representatives from student government and various special interest groups will descend on Houston Hall Sunday to evaluate student government structure at the University. According to a report to be given to the 24 delegates at Sunday's preliminary meeting, the constitutional convention will attempt to isolate "trouble spots" in student government. The participants will examine alternative government structures and the possibility of consolidating student government. The meeting will be the first of six over the next three months. College Senior John Wachs, co-author of the report to delegates, said that he first promoted constitutional reform two years ago, but the past two UA administrators rejected the idea. Wachs said he approached current UA chairperson Duchess Harris last semester, adding that she "enthusiastically received" the notion of constitutional reforms. Wachs said he hopes the convention will bring about a government structure that better addresses student concerns. The report says the current student government structure is not the result of a systematic plan, but rather of an evolution of "complex and illogical processes." It says the power division between the five main government groups the Undergraduate Assembly, the Student Activities Council, the Student Committee on Undergraduate Education, the Nominations and Elections Committee and the Social Planning and Events Committee must be reconsidered because the division dilutes the groups' effectiveness. The report also says the lack of accountability in the current student government structure and communication problems between the separate branches must be addressed. Nine more delegates, to be selected by the Nominations and Elections Committee, will join Sunday's 24 representatives by the next meeting. The delegates will meet every other Sunday over the next three months. According to Wachs, the delegates will set the agenda and establish rules of order during this Sunday's meeting. UA Chairperson Harris said last night that she has no specific agenda for the convention. "I would like to see students come together and voice their opinions to formulate a structure for a student government that will suit their own needs," Harris said. "I'm hoping that the delegates will be open-minded enough to unite and to keep in mind what's best for the campus and not just for their constituency." SCUE Treasurer David Kaufman, a Wharton junior, said last night that he hopes any new structure will still allow SCUE to remain "loosely associated" with the other student government groups. "We don't see ourselves as being directly under the UA," Kaufman said. "We hope to continue a good working relation with the UA and the other parts of government, but we are expecting to keep our autonomy because that has been very successful in the past." Several other student government leaders, including United Minorities Council Chairperson Nalini Samuel and Interfraternity Council President Bret Kinsella, declined to comment on the meeting last night.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.