The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Government’s revised constitution approved by faculty

Photo by Shirley Liu for The Lafayette
The revised Student Government constitution requires approval from both the faculty and the Board of Trustees.

Despite not having its required quorum, the faculty voted in favor of the revised Student Government constitution at its meeting on Monday. This will allow the Board of Trustees to consider it at its meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 7, potentially paving the way for the final approval and implementation of the new constitution.

Mechanical engineering professor and Clerk of the Faculty Joshua H. Smith wrote in an email that this semester, the number necessary for a quorum of the faculty — which consists of “half of the individuals with faculty status in residence” — is 106. At its peak, only 95 voting faculty were in attendance at Monday’s faculty meeting. 

According to section 44 of the 12th edition of “Robert’s Rules of Order” the parliamentary procedure that the faculty follows, decisions can be made only when a quorum is present, barring certain circumstances.

Smith wrote that the decision to hold the vote without the quorum was made by President Hurd in consultation with the chair of the Student Life Committee, librarian Janna Avon, and with the guidance of the Parliamentarian, psychology professor John Shaw. 

“Since the Faculty were aware that the Board had the SG [Student Government] Constitution on its agenda, it was decided to proceed with the vote so that the Board’s discussions would informed by the Faculty’s actions,” he wrote. 

Given that the vote was made without a quorum, the faculty plans to ratify this vote during its next meeting on Jan. 24. This procedure is in accordance with “Robert’s Rules of Order,” he said. 

Specifically, Smith pointed to section 40, writing that “at least in the tenth edition” it states that “where an important opportunity would be lost unless acted upon immediately, the members present can, at their own risk, act in the emergency with the hope that their action will be ratified by a later meeting at which quorum is present.”

Student Government members are unsure what will happen if the faculty does not have a quorum or declines to ratify the vote on Jan. 24 even if the Board of Trustees were to approve the constitution at its Dec. 7 meeting. Approval from the faculty and Board of Trustees is necessary before the Student Government constitution can come into effect.

According to Student Government Public Relations & Marketing Committee Director Trebor Maitin ’24, the potential of having the constitution come into effect in January will not impact Student Government elections. Under the new constitution, elections will be held in February, Student Government Vice President Fatimata Cham ’23 said.

While the elections were initially planned to be held during the current semester, the timeline was pushed back after the Student Government constitution was sent back for additional edits and could therefore not be voted on at a faculty meeting in October. The Student Government voted to amend its constitution and bylaws in September. 

“I would hope that faculty can come through for the student government in January so that we can finally get this process over with,” Maitin said. 

Disclaimer: Managing Editor Trebor Maitin ’24 is the PR & Marketing director for Student Government and News Editor Emma Chen ’24 is a representative on the Equity and Inclusion Committee. Neither contributed writing or reporting to this story.

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About the Contributors
Nathan Kornfeind, Editor-in-Chief
Nathan Kornfeind is a senior from the Lehigh Valley studying  Government & Law and German, with a minor in History. He has been writing for The Lafayette since his first semester on campus. In addition to his role with the newspaper, he is the president of German Club.
Shirley Liu, Managing Editor
Shirley Liu manages, edits, and manages edits.

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