After eight hours of deliberation at Saturday’s council meeting, GPSA approved proposed amendments to the GPSA constitution.

Council Chair Megan McRoberts said 30 representatives worked to perfect the graduate student governing body’s constitution. She said the representatives’ dedication speaks to the document’s importance.

“People were discussing differences between ‘ands’ and ‘ors’,” she said. “There was much discussion about wording that isn’t controversial, but it can go on for a really long time for a large group to come to an agreement on a single document.”

GPSA included an item on the presidential election ballot for graduate students to vote on whether to approve the amended constitution. The election is April 4. The constitution includes 10 sections outlining the organization of executive, legislative, judicial and finance workings. GPSA held three open forums to clarify the document and take suggestions before the council’s approval.

Council Chair candidate Sarah Coffey said previously that the current constitution is unsatisfactory, and change is crucial to the organization’s future success.

McRoberts said that determining how to manage GPSA funding was challenging.

“We are trying to support student organizations and funding is the biggest way to access organizations,” she said. “The most substantive change was the creation of a finance committee specifically tasked with looking at the big picture and making sure funding processes align with one another and are accessible for students.”

Representatives discussed the power distribution between the president and council. Representative Japji Hundal said it’s unnecessary for the president to have council approval for every action.

“The president is the elected head of the organization,” he said. “I want this document to be fair to any future president because they are elected head of all graduate students, and then every decision they are making they have to come to the council for approval.”

Presidential candidate Joseph Dworak said the president and council should focus on collaboration.

“The organization should not be revolving around one person,” he said. “It is imperative for the president to listen to the council and not impede on their processes. If the executive is too aggressive and doesn’t allow council to have a voice, there is no balance. Right now it is very lopsided.”

McRoberts said every article was discussed and approved.
“I think our two goals of the meeting were to clarify the processes and to make the constitution a clear and accessible document,” she said. “I think we achieved those two things.”