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USG approves constitutional changes

By Jackie Wattles
On January 30, 2014

  • Neel Rana, center, speaks in at a USG caucus in this file photo. He presented proposed changed to USG constitution last Wednesday. USG senators unanimously approved changes to the USG constitution last night, Wednesday, Jan. 29. Santiago Pelaez/The Daily Campus

The Undergraduate Student Government unanimously approved changes to its constitution that reworks the districts from which senators are elected to the organization.
The USG constitution outlines districts and groups from which senate members are elected. The Constitutional Review Committee has been working on revisions to the organization's core document since 2009, and the changes approved Wednesday night rids the senate of class standing seats and seats reserved for multicultural and diversity representatives.

The revised constitution categorizes two types of senators: academic senators who are elected by constituents within their academic college and senators elected by "Residential Zones."

The senate has traditionally reserved seats for residence halls, on-campus apartments and commuter students. However, because interest in running for USG has typically waned among upper classmen, many residences - particularly Hilltop Apartments - have had consistently empty seats. In contrast, residence halls with a younger population typically saw competitive races with numerous candidates.

"The new system aims to keep the ideas of a community present in the Senate, rather than just specific residence halls," said Constitutional Review Committee Chair Neel Rana when he presented the proposed changes to USG members last Wednesday.
The initial proposed constitutional changes considered capping the number of seats in the USG Senate, but decided to leave specific numbers to the bylaws - which are more easily amended. At a caucus last week where USG members debated the potential changes, concerns were raised about a cap inhibiting USG to expand along with the university's population.

Enrollment is projected to increase drastically in the coming years as the recently approved Next Generation Connecticut fund - which will bolster the school's math, science and engineering programs - continues to attract new applicants and funds the expansion of campus.

There is no cap on the number of Residential Zones or total body membership, only a cap on the number of seats that can come from a single zone - which is 20.
The constitutional changes will still need approval from UConn's board of trustees and pass a campus wide vote in order to become effective. The referendum would take place along with USG elections in March.

See the full markup of the constitution below.

Approved USG Constitution Changes by jacquelineraew

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