The Undergraduate Student Government town hall, held for the purposing of reviewing the updated constitution, brought up concerns about the accessibility of USG and its constitution Wednesday evening.
“The goal is to try to make these documents as readable but as in-depth possible so people who want to see what USG is all about can understand it,” Senator Damon Reynolds said. “We should look at that goal as the big picture of what we’re trying to do.”
Speaker Nandan Tumu said USG hopes to make its updated constitution, as well as its organization, more accessible to the whole student body.
Tumu said that many students, including those in USG, have very little idea what USG does on a daily basis. Reynolds emphasized the need for transparency within USG.
“We have to find ways to communicate internally and externally,” Reynolds said. “If you ask any random student, they won’t know what USG does. We have to look at creating ways we can operate better and engage the student body.”
Town hall attendees addressed issues in the constitution that they said they hoped to bring to the attention of those in the Governing Document Review Committee, the joint committee of the original Governing Document Review committee and the ad hoc committee.
“(The constitution is) very dense (as is) … there’s a lot of information that is unnecessary,” Senator Dennis Mema said.
Senator Joshua Wojtyna said one of USG’s main goals is to fund Tier II organizations and that power should be reflected in the constitution.
“(Funding is) what USG is known for, and there should be some mention of our role in it,” Wojtyna said.
Dissent among the senators about addressing USG’s power over student organizations, as outlined in the constitution, brought up questions about the power USG legislation has on campus.
“The only thing we really have jurisdiction over is how we allocate money,” Tumu said. “We are the actual, recognized opinion of the student body... The most powerful weapons we have are our voices.”
Decisions made by USG can affect the student body in multiple ways, USG officials said.
Legislation passed Nov. 16 condemning cuts to mental health funding on campus led to university officials protecting mental health funding, USG President Irma Valverde said.
Tumu said the legislation passed by the senate alerted University of Connecticut administration to issues among the student body, giving USG power to voice the concerns of the students.
“We have a platform to put significant measurable pressure on administration to take notice of what we’re saying,” Tumu said.
The meeting concluded with plans to further update the constitution before the vote on the document Feb. 22.
Molly Desrochers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.