Brenna Smark, Reporter
The ASPCP Constitution and Bylaws is the governing document of the Associated Students of Pierce College Puyallup. It lays out ASPCP’s responsibilities and how to go about appointing or removing members of student government if necessary. ..
The constitution expands on how committees are formed and lays out the requirements that student government has to abide by and the actions that have to be taken if student government leaders decide to make ratifications to the document.
While the constitution is open to student input, students typically don’t get involved.
“Students typically don’t care to get involved with this kind of thing because it really is just guidelines on how we’re supposed to run things as an organization here,” Martin said. “Unless it’s something that affects them as students directly, they typically don’t have an interest in getting involved.”
Operations Senator Carly Tryon said most of the students don’t even know what the constitution is or what it does.
“A lot of the students don’t realize what we’re doing, whether it be committees, planning activities and events or just anything involving student government in general,” Tryon said. “A lot of what we do does fall behind the scenes, but it’s something that’s still there and impacts how we serve them.”
Despite the constitution being overlooked by students, student government asks the student population to be involved. In order to make changes or ratifications to the document, the students must vote on the issue.
Martin says that the current changes being made to the constitution will be going out to the students soon in a way they hope to be more convenient and productive.
“We’re hoping to do the voting process online this time through Canvas. It’s not official yet, but we’re in contact with the people who are working with us on that,” Tryon said. “Before, the voting process had all the students in one building at one time. This time, we hope to have students access it at home on their computers, so that even the online students can participate in this.”
Martin said having the students vote is just a portion of the process under which changes ratifications are made.
“The process is meant to be all encompassing, so there’s a reason for having the students vote and for doing things the way that we do,” Martin said. “It’s not a difficult process, but it definitely takes time, though Carly (Tyron) is the one who types it up and makes all the official changes.”
This year, student government has added the vice president of clubs and organizations position, and the new position needs to be added into the constitution and bylaws.
“The only reason we’re making this change is because that position wasn’t in the constitution before, and it has to be put in there because the individual filling that position is a voting member of student government here,” ASPCP President Madi Martin said.
Some wording also needed to be changed in the constitution. Tryon said these changes mainly go along with the changes occurring due to the new positions.
“Some of the titles are different this year. For example, instead of there just being a senator, there is an entire board now,” Tryon said.
Some of the descriptions of the current positions in student government are being tweaked as well because the positions themselves are undergoing some changes.
“Those positions and responsibilities of those people have evolved, so that we’re best serving students and that’s what we’ve found the organization needs,” Tryon said.
Martin said while most of the changes are minor, there’s some discussion on making changes to the ASPCP committees section of the constitution.
“There’s a portion of that section in the constitution that we feel has become quite outdated,” Tryon said. “What’s stated under that portion doesn’t even have anything to do with how we run things anymore, so there’s definitely been some discussion on what we can do about that.”
Martin said finding changes that need to be made come few and far between. The last time the constitution was updated was in May 2013.
Tryon said the process for making amendments is all laid out in the constitution and bylaws itself. The student government talks about it and the constitution determines the need. Then, the constitution is used to approve amendments as student council. Then the constitution gets moved to student voting.
“While a lot of what we do goes unnoticed by students, it is required that we get a certain percentage of student vote in order for the changes to amended into the constitution,” Tryon said. “The percentage differs between amending the constitution and amending the bylaws, but it’s still required that we get the student vote.”
Martin and Tryon said they’re hopeful that students will be more apt to participate through the online form of the voting process. They said one of the goals of the online voting is so students can more clearly look at what’s being changed, so they can assess how it’s going to affect them.
“We are required to show students the original constitution before the changes and also show them the changes we are trying to make. This helps them make a more informed decision based on how it’s going to affect them, but most likely it’s not going to affect them at all,” Martin said. “There’s really no way that these changes can negatively affect the students, so we’re hopeful on getting these changes ratified to better improve student government and to better serve the students.”
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