Students voted to pass a new ASBSU constitution, what’s next?

Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

The Boise State student body voted to pass a new Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) constitution on April 5. The new constitution is set to take effect on May 6, according to Honors College Sen. Ethan LaHaug.

The new constitution will rename positions, introduce newly elected positions and dissolve the Inclusive Excellence Student Council (IESC) and Funding Board into a new three-branch system.

In preparation for the new elections, outgoing ASBSU President Adam Jones introduced election code changes that will end ASBSU’s runoff voting system and roll back campaign finance restrictions for future ASBSU candidates.

Newly elected positions will include the associate vice president (AVP) of ethics affairs, AVP of greek affairs, AVP of student relations, academic senators and the review board chief. LaHaug said they are looking to hold elections in September. 

The review board will make up the new judicial branch. The review board will consist of a person elected to lead the branch, and seats appointed by the previous president, the incoming president, the AVP of academic affairs and by the AVP of the IESC. After positions are nominated, they need to be confirmed by the Senate.

“It might be a little complicated this year because we had intended the system to be in place sooner than it ended up being, because administration had some final checks they wanted to do, which prevented us from putting in a special election so it had to be in the general,” LaHaug said. “For some of those appointments, they have to be confirmed by the outgoing Senate, and we’re no longer in session. So it may end up being that the board only has three or four members next year.”

The funding board will now reside solely in the executive branch, no longer requiring a general assembly vote to pass bills to fund student groups and individuals. The AVP of student organizational affairs will now be the AVP of financial affairs, who will appoint the rest of the funding board and begin functioning over the summer.

[ASBSU constitutional convention.]
Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

LaHaug said the funding board will still operate autonomously from the president despite being in the same branch.

Regarding election code, ASBSU Code Change 06 was introduced by ethics officer Lacy O’Dell and outgoing student body president Adam Jones during the last ASBSU general assembly session on April 12.

Much of the code change involved replacing the names of certain positions and committees that will not exist under the new system. 

Major changes to the document include getting rid of ASBSU’s instant runoff system, in addition to campaign finance regulations being cut from the previous document. 

An entire section on campaign finances was struck out, as was a sub-section related to reporting financial endorsement. Candidates running will no longer have to report their campaign donation. Caps on donations to executive ticket elections are now lifted, which were previously capped at $1,600 and all other tickets at $800. 

A subsection that read, “In no way can items or money be given in return for a vote,” was also struck out.

“If you had a lot of money or if you were funded by other political organizations that are funding your student government candidacy, then you have a significant advantage compared to other candidates who aren’t taking outside endorsements,” incoming ASBSU President Chey Sheen said. “Especially if you don’t have to report that, then you could do whatever you wanted with the money. You could bribe people, which could ultimately come out to be a skewed unfair election. I think they took out a lot of code that was helping keep candidates in check.”

In-state representative Sebastian Griffin introduced an amendment during the introduction of the bill that ultimately unstruck a section that read, “No items of significant value may be distributed for the purpose of campaigning.”

Jones had two more lengthy code changes he wanted to introduce during the April 12 session, but was denied by O’Dell, who said she was only made aware of the code changes minutes prior to the meeting. 

Jones objected, reading out text messages between him and O’Dell from the night before, where O’Dell agreed to introduce a code change. O’Dell made a point of clarification that the text messages were in reference to the election code change 6, reiterating that she was not aware of the other two code changes until a few minutes before the final meeting. 

Due to the code changes not being introduced, the incoming administration will need to introduce their own version of those changes to ensure the current code matches the new constitution.

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