UMKC’s SGA adopts new constitution

The UMKC Student Government Association (SGA) unanimously passed a new constitution last week that will reform its legislative and executive branches.

“Here we are now with a structure that should allow us to give an efficient government for the students,” said constitution sponsor and Student Senator Trenton Garza. 

Garza (right) with SGA President Justice Horn (left)

The council is also pursuing the implementation of a supreme court and has already created new positions in both the executive and legislative branches. 

With respect to the legislative branch, the new constitution introduces committees to the student senate, where bills may be reviewed and amended, similar to how committees function in our state and national government. The constitution also creates a head of the legislative branch, the speaker of the senate, whose function is similar to that of the president pro tempore or the speaker of the house.

Outside of the changes in the new constitution, SGA has created new student liaison positions to act as student representatives to committees, similar to how non-voting delegates function.

Mirroring the structure and function of the state and national government is a theme that run’s throughout the SGA’s plans.

“In our current constitution, it blatantly states that we have to establish a supreme court,” said SGA President Justice Horn. “What we want to do is make sure all three branches of government are strong and representative.”

SGA aims to make student government more efficient. 

“The Student Activity Fee Committee (SAFC) needs big change,” said SGA comptroller Zane Heflin during a speech to the senate. 

The new constitution would place the SAFC under the executive branch’s oversight and require the committee to base funding for organizations and councils on their past use of funds.

“We want to punish poor management,” Garza explained. 

Discussion followed, ending in the proposal and adoption of an amendment allowing organizations the opportunity to make an appeal for a change in funding.

With the previously reported addition of a chief of staff and press secretary, as well as the numerous changes coming to the association, it is clear the SGA is undergoing a transformation. The current administration is preparing for a year of increased activity both on campus and on a state-wide scale. 

During his report to the senate, Horn explained that the next student representative for the Board of Curators will be appointed from UMKC and implied the university will be taking a more active role in the Intercampus Student Council. 

SGA hopes to encourage students to take action on campus and get involved.

“I have seen a hesitance from students… to fully embrace their voice,” SGA Chief of Staff Michael Jenkins said. “A personal mission of mine is to empower students to be the arbiters of their own ‘college experience.” 

By taking a more active role on campus with the new constitution, the SGA is as capable as ever to get this done.

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