Student Senate Plans to Ratify Constitution

The Student Senate is ratifying the Constitution of the Student Association of Covenant College (SACC), after some non-substantive updates to bring it into better accordance with the Senate of recent years.

It was rediscovered by Molly Anderson, the 2013-2014 Student Body President, at the end of the last year. The vote for ratification will be placed on the November ballot for CAB Director and Treasurer, and needs a two-thirds majority in order to pass.

According to Elizabeth Coats, Senate Secretary, the SACC Constitution is a “broader, big picture kind of document,” which helps to more sharply define the relationship between the student Senate and the student body. Though other copies exist around campus, it is unclear who originally wrote it or when, or whether it had ever been officially ratified.

Included within the Constitution is a definition of the SACC organization and its members, which is described as containing “all full-time students and part-time students paying the student activities fee enrolled in the traditional, on-campus education program of Covenant College,” all of whom have voting privileges. Also listed is the official composition and functions of the Student Senate, as well as a definition of the Senate’s power, which includes accountability to the student body and the Board of Trustees and stipulations for transparency.

“The constitution is a great document because it works almost as the glue between the different nodes in SACC,” says Harris Stevens, Student Body President.”We actually have a document that’s like a graph of what SACC is.” According to him, Student Senate serves as an “oversight committee” for the different organizations and interests of which the Student Association of Covenant College consists.

The Constitution also has articles about the requirements for a senator holding office, policies for impeaching senators, and instructions for amending and ratifying the Constitution. As Article VII clarifies, the Constitution is separate from the Senate’s bylaws, which serve as “an operational manual” for the Senate’s day to day activities.

The Student Senate has appointed a subcommittee consisting of Harris Stevens, Evan Weir, Camellia Cornelius, Katie Tingle, and Sara Kaitlin van Puffelen to write a preamble for the SACC Constitution, in order to assist future Student Senates. They plan to release the entire document for public access upon its completion. Stevens and Coats stated that it would likely be distributed digitally, but could also be presented at the upcoming Senate Sundae Social on Tuesday, Oct. 14. The Social is intended to help increase awareness about the ways the larger student body can be involved with shaping the Covenant community and utilizing the resources available.

“Senate is a more accessible entity than I think some people realize,” Stevens said, noting his appreciation for the power of the student body to effect change through the Senate and Student Development. “All of the administrative oversight of Covenant is very open to talking with students about problems they have, or concerns, or things they’re upset about,” he said. “We’re ready to have conversation.”

The Senate office is located in the mail room by the calendar, and each Senator holds office hours listed on the Senate Bulletin Board. Also posted on this board are recorded minutes for all Senate meetings, which, with the exception of the yearly budget meeting, are all open to the student body.