Student vote approves USG constitution changes

This photo of USG caucus from Sept. 28 2016 shows members discussing the budget of the current year. A vote by USG last week approved four changes to the constitution, but the results for new USG senators are being temporarily suspended in the wake of two election violations cases. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

A vote by the University of Connecticut’s student body last week approved four changes to the Undergraduate Student Government’s constitution, but the results for new USG senators are being temporarily suspended in the wake of two election violations cases.

Two candidates for Residential Senators in the Buckley-Shippee area were brought before USG’s Judiciary on Friday for breaking the Residential Life program’s rules when putting up their campaign posters.

In one case, candidate Renukanandan Tumu had one vote for each poster removed from his election results, for a total of three votes.

Two other candidates were disqualified but have filed appeals to be decided upon by the Judiciary later this week.

The results for senator races will not be released until the case is resolved, Speaker of Senate George Wang said. As a result, residential senators elected in Fall 2015 will retain their voting and speaking rights in the Senate until the Judiciary resolves the cases.

The four constitutional changes on the ballot were approved and results have been released:

One of the votes asked for students to vote “I approve” or “I do not approve” on an amendment that required the president to devote one of his ex-officio seats for a senator to represent veteran students. An ex-officio senator can speak at senate but does not have a vote.

Students passed the amendment 2246 to 96.

Another vote raised the amount of justices in USG’s Judiciary from five to six. The Judiciary serves as the main regulatory body of USG and is responsible for officiating elections, as well as interpreting the Constitution and By-laws of the organization.

“Originally there was one justice for each standing committee in Senate,” Wang said. “Now that Programs Oversight is a standing committee of the Senate... the judiciary wanted to add a justice to attend those meetings.”

Students approved the vote 2158 to 96.

The other two votes were to “clean up” the Constitution following a change to how justices are selected, Wang said. Previously the student body elected them, but now they are nominated by the president and confirmed by Senate.

One vote clarified that all justices could be impeached. Previously the Constitution said “elected judges” could be impeached, according to Wang. This is dated considering that judges are no longer elected.

The change was approved 2136 to 94.

The other amendment removed language detailing the voting process for justices, which also is obsolete.

The change was approved 2165 to 94.

Wang said that these changes need to be made frequently to fix inconsistencies  that arise from other amendments.

“The Constitution is full of issues like this,” Wang said. “Often when senators bring a change before Senate and it passes, they don’t read the entire document that they’re changing.”

Wang said he would consider creating an ad hoc committee with the purpose of cleaning up these issues in the Constitution.

“As a result we have a document that’s not clean and I think it should be a goal of USG to look at the document and identify all the places there need to be changes made.”

Every year the speaker selects a deputy speaker. Wang said he prefers to wait until after elections to select his deputy so as to give all senators a chance. Wang jokingly referred to the selection process as the Annual Deputy Speaker Hunger Games competition in his email.

“It’s a lot less entertaining than the Hunger Games,” Wang said. “I wish I could hold a Hunger Games. Unfortunately, I just to have take applications and interview people.”

Chris McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at