Pomona, Scripps Vote to Restructure Student Governments

Pomona College and Scripps College students recently voted to revise the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) constitution and bylaws and Scripps Associated Students (SAS) constitution, respectively. These changes primarily involved internal restructuring, but also addressed a variety of other issues. Pomona’s voting period concluded Feb. 15, while Scripps’s ended Feb. 24.

ASPC’s amendments passed with 91 percent approval from voters, well above the necessary 60 percent threshold. Four hundred students voted on SAS’s amendments, with at least 85 percent of voters supporting each amendment. SAS rules require that one-third of the student body vote on amendments, and that at least two-thirds of voters support them.

The changes to ASPC’s bylaws and constitution include adding a mission statement to the ASPC constitution and a code of ethics to the bylaws, revising various position titles to better reflect ASPC members’ duties, and eliminating unneeded committees and positions while adding new ones to reflect organizational changes.

SAS revised its constitution to more clearly define the SAS membership to include all Scripps students, redefine the SAS Board, designate certain members of the Board as officers of SAS, and add and dissolve certain positions and committees.

According to ASPC President Christina Tong PO ’17, one primary motivation for the ASPC restructuring was that the ASPC constitution and bylaws had not been updated in ten years and had become outdated.

“There’s a lot of change that happens at the college,” Tong said. “We basically had outdated bylaws and constitution.”

One significant change to the ASPC bylaws was the addition of a code of ethics, requiring senators to act in the best interests of the student body, be transparent in their communications with students, not misuse their power for personal benefit, recommend appointees based on merit, and be accountable to the senate and student body.

“I think it’s important given our country’s climate that ASPC states very clearly and loudly that we are abiding by those,” Tong said.

The changes to ASPC also emphasize 5C collaboration more than the previous constitution and bylaws did. The college-town committee was changed to the external affairs committee, and will now supervise consortium-related affairs.

“One of the things that has been missing from ASPC is focus on 5C affairs,” Tong said. “I think that’s going to be a big thing going forward, so that we can have better working relationships with the other colleges.”

Tong believes that the elimination of the student media committee is particularly significant. It reflects changes in the organization of media outlets like KSPC and TSL, which were formerly under ASPC supervision but have become 5C organizations.

“Over the years, the role of ASPC in media organizations has changed a lot,” Tong said. “[TSL is] a 5C organization now, along with KSPC and other [outlets], so our commissioner of communications position was no longer needed.”

Some of SAS’s constitutional changes are similar to those made by ASPC. According to SAS President Sneha Deo SC ’17, student input was the driving force behind these changes.

“I proposed these changes collaboratively with the full SAS Board based on feedback from the general student body,” Deo wrote in an email to TSL.

Many of these changes are technical in nature and are designed to clarify SAS procedures and protocols.

Clearly defining the membership of SAS to include all Scripps students is important for voting on constitutional amendments, which “must be made by two-thirds approval in a vote where one-third of the membership voted,” Deo wrote in a statement on the SAS website.

Naming the SAS president, executive vice president, vice president for student activities, secretary, and co-treasurers of SAS as officers of SAS allows these members to enter into legal contracts for SAS, sign checks, and acquire a SAS debit card.

SAS also eliminated certain SAS Board chair positions and combined responsibilities of these chairs under new or existing positions.

“We are trying to make SAS Board positions more functional and more equitable. By combining the responsibilities of some positions, we hope that each board position has a clearer relationship to students,” Deo wrote in a statement on the SAS website.

Finally, SAS added a variety of existing committees, which have been meeting unofficially, to the Constitution.

“All of these committees already exist, but some of them convene unofficially, making it hard for admins to be held accountable to student perspectives … These standing committees will hold the SAS Board accountable to a wider variety of student voices,” Deo wrote in a statement on the SAS website.

The revisions to the ASPC constitution can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1oyq9qKy_oKligro-y92s7SI2ifCa9N2BLHTfc0rlRI4/edit and the revised bylaws can be found at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1nVpnXYlbWRaK-Og9ogi9ecfVE9Wt_eT8Yg8rG1VyICQ/edit?usp=sharing. The specific changes to the SAS constitution can be found at http://sas.scrippscollege.edu/spring-2017-elections.html.

This article was updated on Mar. 4 to reflect that ASPC had published the changes to its constution and bylaws.