USG senate approves updated constitution, institutional aid and feminine hygiene product resolutions

 The Undergraduate Student Government convenes for another week of business on Wednesday, Feb. 21. USG meets on Wednesdays. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

The Undergraduate Student Government convenes for another week of business on Wednesday, Feb. 21. USG meets on Wednesdays. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

An updated Undergraduate Student Government (USG) constitution, which revised the judicial misconduct review process, consolidated articles and made the document more accessible, passed with a 24-0 vote at Wednesday evening’s USG senate.

Following approval by the Board of Trustees, the updated constitution will be accredited, making it the new official constitution of USG, according to the updated constitution.

USG President Irma Valverde said the updated constitution includes changes in wording and structure that make it more accessible to the student body. Also added is a new grievance procedure for USG members that allows a private review of misconduct to be completed by USG justices before public impeachment.

According to the updated constitution, the new procedure allows for a review of the offending member by a special investigator appointed by the judicial branch. The judicial branch would be able to choose anyone they see fit to be a special investigator for each case.

The issue of potentially biased special investigators was addressed by Speaker Nandan Tumu, who said the judicial branch should be trusted to be impartial.

“If we trust the judgment of justice in other cases, there is no reason we should not trust them,”  Tumu said. “If they are unable to rule impartially, there is a procedure to reconcile that. At the core, we should trust our judiciary to make the right decision.”

Valverde said the updated constitution has a better structure than the previous constitution and is easier to read. The governing document review committee made it a goal to make the document more student-friendly, Valverde added.

“We created a table of contents to make it easier to find information… we also changed the font to just make it (look) more appealing,” Valverde said.

The document on the whole was cut down dramatically, going from 20 articles to 10, Valverde said.

“A lot of what we took out (of the articles) could be found in other parts of the constitution, we just put it all in one place,” Valverde said.  

A joint resolution regarding undocumented students’ access to institutional aid at the University of Connecticut was also passed, stating USG’s support for these students’ access to such aid.

“Fifteen percent of the tuition we pay goes back to state financial aid, and in turn goes back to students,” Senator Priyanka Thakkar, the author of this legislation, said. “Undocumented students pay it as well but (financial aid) doesn’t go back to them.”

The resolution states that USG seeks to represent each of the university’s students in all aspects, including financial aid.

Additional legislation regarding the USG Tampon Time program was passed, stating USG’s intent to ask the university to aid in paying for the feminine hygiene products for the program, which provides free hygiene products to students in various areas around campus.

Thakkar said passing the legislation is just the first step in growing the program with aid from the university.

“The program has grown too big for just USG to pay for it now,” Thakkar said. “We are looking to extend the program and don’t currently have the funds to do so.”


Molly Desrochers is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at molly.desrochers@uconn.edu.