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SGA’s proposed constitution cuts the number of elected representatives by more than half

College presidents, freshman senators eliminated

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 18:04


The Student Government Association is slashing the number of elected senators and increasing the number of appointed positions as part of a secretly-drafted revision to its constitution.

SGA members debated and ultimately approved the draft constitution during a regularly scheduled senate meeting that was abruptly closed to the public Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Several interested students, who were on hand to watch the process, were ejected from the meeting by SGA officials. SGA by-laws require a two-thirds majority vote before it can enter an executive session, however Michael Falotico, SGA executive vice president and presiding officer of the senate, closed the meeting without following this procedure.

Student power redistributed

The proposed constitution makes several changes in addition to cutting the senate to a fraction of its original size.

In many cases, the revision also removes responsibilities from the hands of elected students and gives those powers to the appointed SGA staff instead. The proposed constitution also abolishes a branch of government, mandates event participation of senate members, formally assimilates the University Programing Board into the SGA and enshrines a right to tuition and housing payments for some SGA executives.

How do we vote?

Students must now vote on whether or not to ratify these changes during a campus-wide referendum, which is scheduled for March 14 and 15, during the SGA elections. Falotico drafted the proposed constitution and said he doubts students care about the changes. He added that he believed most students don’t even read the constitution.

“These are very mundane things,” Falotico said.

Reduction of senate

Khaled Badr, SGA president, refused multiple requests to comment about the constitution, but did say that “when you elect someone you trust them.” According to Shannon Donaldson, vice president of communication, the reduction in the number of senators is the single biggest change.

“Less representation will equal more accountability,” Donaldson said.

The student senate seats have been cut down from 24, based on the proportional system established by the current constitution and Loyola enrollment numbers, to eight representatives. Many of the cuts come through eliminating the at-large, college president and freshman senator seats.

“The main change is downsizing senate to ensure more efficiency,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson initially said she was unsure of the fate of freshman senators; however, she confirmed the freshman senate seats were eliminated. Mention of their positions does not appear in the spring 2013 revised constitution draft.

Donaldson said that much of the senate debate over the constitutional changes has centered around the lack of a role for those freshman senators.

Mara Steven, SGA chief justice, said the removal of freshman senators would allow SGA members to be more “efficient.” “Senate will be an upperclassman thing,” Steven said. “Freshman senators historically have not been a constant part of SGA.”

Donaldson said she felt senators had different feelings regarding the elimination of senate seats.

“Senators were understandably upset at first; their positions in SGA were threatened,” Donaldson said.

Senator opinions

Jasmine Barnes, SGA senator-at-large, said SGA tries to have the backing of the Loyola community when making decisions.

“Loyola’s Student Government Association has been charged with amplifying the voice of the student body and I believe that we do our best,” Barnes said. .

But not all senators said they are happy with the constitutional changes. Many senators oppose these changes, but told The Maroon during background interviews that they could not comment about their opposition because they feared for their positions on senate. These senators said members of the SGA executive staff have told them that if they communicate with reporters without having the vice president for communication involved in the interview, those senators would be removed from office.

Eddie Murray, president of the College of Social Sciences, said he’s “not a big fan of the changes.”

Murray does not believe the entirety of Loyola students will be completely represented if the new changes to the constitution are passed by an upcoming referendum.

“I don’t believe eight students can represent the student population of Loyola equally,” he said. “Too many walks of life to be represented by eight kids.”

Murray said he believes the changes will be “disenfranchising” the Loyola minorities and international students. 

When asked why the senate would approve the constitution, he clarified that he could not speak for anyone else, but he said he believes SGA senators “don’t actually know what it comes with,” he said.

While Murray said he believes senate needs more accountability, he said he disagrees with SGA’s proposed tactic.

“Accountability can be achieved without cutting us in half,” Murray said.

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19 comments Log in to Comment

Fellow Journalism Student
Fri Mar 15 2013 22:08
I would like everyone to see how Falotico called Lucy out indirectly about her misuse of quotes and how she likes to take them out of context. Pack News got an interview with Falotico (and Badr but he doesn't ever say anything), you can see it here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wJ3anQujpo&feature=youtu.be
Lucy Dieckhaus
Fri Mar 15 2013 00:42
I would be more than happy to sit down and discuss my article with any interested Loyola student. Please feel free to contact me at ljdieckh@loyno.edu.
Not An SGA Member
Wed Mar 13 2013 17:53
"Yeah, I guess if I got caught trying to hoodwink the student body, by defense would be to call the reporter a liar ... Keep up the good work there SGA "
She is a liar. There are quotes that she doesn't even include, because it wasn't anything that she could twist around. She even admitted that she twists things around. The bottom line is I cannot even name who half of the senators are, or even the study body president for that matter. Why should there be a bunch of a people sitting around doing absolutely nothing? I'd rather have 1 person in student government doing an effective job than 10 doing nothing. Lucy has approached SGA members and hounded them for interviews, and they refuse to speak to her because all she does is twist what they say around. This is a Student Body Government not the U.S. Congress! In actual governments there are closed meetings, and in plenty of student body organizations there are closed meetings. So SGA can't have one? Lucy will make a great reporter in the future. She'll have plenty other lying bitches like her to learn from.
Anonymous
Tue Mar 12 2013 22:31
Yeah, I guess if I got caught trying to hoodwink the student body, by defense would be to call the reporter a liar ... Keep up the good work there SGA
Fellow Journalism Student
Mon Mar 11 2013 22:42
"The senators don't do ANYTHING that's why their sizing down. Lucy is clearly trying to stir the pot and make it seem more interesting than it is. She's a liar, and all she does is twist what people say."
I agree with this statement 100&! She is NOT a good journalist. She is blowing this way out of proportion. Yes, they are doing things very sketchy and its good for us to call them out on that but at the same time, printing lies and taking quotes out of context and quoting people who asked not to be quoted is ridiculous.
BACK THE PACK
Sat Mar 9 2013 11:59
Sooooo.....ELECTION OVERSIGHT will be done by the VP of Communications? The same one that THREATENED Senators who would dare talk to the student-run newspaper??!

and drafting a secret constitution ala Morsi in Egypt? I thought frats were supposed to be conservative, but these guys are operating like fascists.

This has no place at Loyola. THROW THE BUMS OUT!!!

Proud Alumni
Sat Mar 9 2013 01:11
Thanks Eliot. You were a great president. These clowns only wish they lived up to your legacy.
Anonymous
Sat Mar 9 2013 01:08
MDXL isn't going to stand for this are we?
Elliot Sanchez
Fri Mar 8 2013 23:18
Wow. As a former SGA president, I'm genuinely sickened by this. There is very real money at stake, and the combination of SGA and UPB means even more. The added details about consolidating control of elections away from an independent entity, the stifling of dissent among elected representatives, and the personal financial gain of the officials behind the change takes it into the realm of the absurd. Since graduating I have worked in Louisiana politics for several years and have never seen anything remotely this corrupt.

I can only hope that current students respect Loyola, themselves, and their tuition dollars enough to replace this administration as soon as possible. If not, I really worry about their willingness to do so as citizens.

Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 19:13
I've got to hand it to Falotico ... I wouldn't have dreamed of this much of a naked power grab back when I was SGA Vice President.
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 16:58
Lucy, this is the type of journalism we need. Thank you for taking the courage to shed light on what may be considered a controversial subject. Keep articles like this coming!
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 16:55
i think good leadership begins with organizational transparency. i feel as if our sga could improve on this through not making major community decisions in executive session and then being shady about communicating those intended changes.
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 16:34
Sounds about like how student Senates work at most other similarly-sized universities. Efficiency should certainly improve. But this was obviously the wrong way to go about making this happen. The secret session raises suspicion about what should have been commonsense changes to the constitution.
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 16:22
So basically if this happens it would be two organizations running SGA...and we all know which ones...
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 16:04
The senators don't do ANYTHING that's why their sizing down. Lucy is clearly trying to stir the pot and make it seem more interesting than it is. She's a liar, and all she does is twist what people say.
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 14:40
this is clearly a loving homage to Chavez...
Pissed off Freshman
Fri Mar 8 2013 14:39
We are NOT going to stand for this. Freshmen, who's with me? We have to stop this!!!! We need to stop these changes and make sure Freshmen always have our voice, even if SGA is a bunch of tools who can't get anything done. It isn't right for them to take our money AND our voice!
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 11:16
This is absolutely insane. Our student body would never allow this and would want better for our students than these jerks at Loyola seem to want for their students. Leadership doesn't mean taking unilateral control.
Anonymous
Fri Mar 8 2013 10:44
um, dictatorship anyone?

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