Yale-NUS Prepares to Ratify New Student Government Constitution

After 50 hours worth of meetings, Yale-NUS College is finally ready to ratify its brand new constitution, following its a semester long review.Student Government Endorsement of the draft Constitution

During the meal times (8-10AM, 11:30AM-1:30PM, 6-8PM) on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 November students will be able to vote on whether or not Yale-NUS needs a student government and what form such a government should take. Members of the public can come to the dining hall anterooms during this time to cast their vote or contact the constitution review committee if they are unable to attend or on study abroad.

This follows the public comment period, during which students were able to submit amendments to the draft constitution. Students may view and vote on the amendments made in Student Government’s Direct Democracy Section.

Ahead of the ratification, the inaugural Student Government released an endorsement of the new constitution and the new changes it brings.

The committee also released voting guidelines ahead of the ratification and the The Yale-NUS College Student Government Constitution (Final Draft 24 November 2015).

Direct Democracy Vote on Constitution Review Committee Amendments (21/11/15)

On Saturday 21 November the Constitution Review Committee met to discuss the Amendments submitted during the two week public comment period. The committee to modify the constitution in the following ways:

Article 3 Section 8 Clause 5f (modification). Hold open meetings of the budget committee, except when making final decisions regarding the budget of the student organisations. For meetings in which final decisions on the budget of student organisations are made, minutes will be made public after the meeting has ended;
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article 3 Section 8 Clause 7b (modification). Seek out opportunities to establish relationships with parties external to Yale-NUS College, including College alumni and other universities,
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article 3 Section 11 Liaisons (modification). Section 11: Liaisons The Council shall, by a ⅔ vote of its members, appoint liaisons to organisations and constituent bodies of the College. Any member of the Council, with the exception of the President, Vice President, and Speaker, may be appointed as a liaison, regardless of other duties or positions. The Council shall appoint individuals to liaise with each of the following groups one the College. 1, Each Residential College; 2. Athletics; 3. Arts; 4. The Centre for International and Professional Experience; 5. Educational Resources and Technology.
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
​[1:56] Article 3 Section 8 (modification). Section 8: Directors The Directors are the heads of the portfolios within the Council; including the seven portfolios mandated by the Constitution and any additional Portfolios the President creates. The Directors shall oversee and advocate for students’ interests in their respective portfolios, give regular reports to the President and Council at large, and form, oversee, and disband committees. There will be a Director, and may be co-Directors of:
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article 4 Section 3 Clause 3c (modification). For the Budget Committee, which allocates funding to Student Organisations, have mixed membership. Half will be current members of Council, half outgoing and then adjusted for demographics. A member from the Dean of Students Office will also sit on this Committee. This committee will sit for the entire fiscal year, instead of the Council’s term of office;
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article V Section 8 (addition): Communication with Office of the Dean of Students: Should the Judiciary have knowledge that a matter it is investigating is in violation of the Yale-NUS College guidelines or the laws of the Republic of Singapore, the Judiciary shall refer the matter in its entirety to the Dean of Students promptly. The said laws and guidelines include but are not limited to: a. Non-academic uncivil behaviours, b. College policies on sexual misconduct, c. Community standards for student organisations, d. Residential Policy Guidelines, e. Any offence under the Criminal Law of the Republic of Singapore.
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article VI Section 2 1e (addition): Limiting the number of consecutive terms for any student to hold the position of President to two;
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article 3 Section 5c (addition): No Council member may remain in office as President for more than two consecutive terms.
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article 9, Section 6, Clause 1 (modification): If any member of the Council objects to executing a Council decision on any grounds, the said member will submit a letter to the Council within a week providing a reason for refusing to execute the decision;
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article X section 3, “petition” (modification). A motion initiated by a member of the student body to enact or overturn Government action. For required percentage of signatories consult Schedule 3.1
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
Article VI (modification) - Significant Changes that allow for Elections to start in the Fall Semester.
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain

These decisions will now be open to voting via the Student Government Direct Democracy Platform.

Constitution Review Committee Meeting 21 November 2015

Direct Democracy Vote on Student Government Decisions (26/10/15)

MOTION: This house believes that student vote on Identity Mascot should be based on description of Mascot suggestions without designs created by Yale-NUS students.
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
MOTION: This house believes that student vote on Identity Mascot should be based on description of Mascot suggestions without designs created by Yale-NUS students.
  • Yes (Bing, Feroz, Jared, Yongzhi)
  • No (Dave, Qistina)
  • Abstain (Jay, Tee)
  • Absent (Zach, Maria, Ami)
MOTION: This house believes that student vote on Identity Mascot should be based on description of Mascot suggestions standardised by the Identity Committee, accompanied by stock images (and where not available, using provided images).
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
MOTION: This house believes that student vote on Identity Mascot should be based on description of Mascot suggestions standardised by the Identity Committee, accompanied by stock images (and where not available, using provided images).
  • Yes (Bing, Feroz, Jared, Qistina, Yongzhi)
  • No (Dave)
  • Abstain (Tee, Jay)
  • Absent (Zach, Maria, Ami)
MOTION: Restructure of the Constitutional Review Committee, to enforce a structural abstention on the Secretary, and to institute a rotational Secretary position from members of Student Government.
  • Yes
  • No
  • Abstain
MOTION: Restructure of the Constitutional Review Committee, to enforce a structural abstention on the Secretary, and to institute a rotational Secretary position from members of Student Government.
  • Yes (Bing, Feroz, Jared, Qistina, Tee, Yongzhi)
  • No
  • Abstain (Jay, Dave)
  • Absent (Zach, Maria, Ami)

Minutes 26 October 2015

As mandated by Article V, Section 1 B of the Constitution: “The Government shall implement an online platform where students can vote on all preliminary decisions. If a majority of students vote against the decision within 48 hours, then that decision will be overturned.”

The Constitution Review Committee

The Constitution Review Committee is tasked to carry out the sunset period* mandated by the Constitution. This involves revising and re-ratifying the whole Constitution. To ensure the process is representative, the Government has set up a select committee made of 15 members.

12 were picked randomly from a pool of volunteers (adjusted for demographic representation) with public, non-government witnesses (Regina Ng ’18, Liam Rahman ’17, Victoria Kalinina ’17). 3 are current government members which serve as convener, devil’s advocate and secretary.  These are:

Public Representatives. Adila Sayyed ‘19, Anandita Sabherwal ’19, Avery Simmons ‘19, Isabel Perucho ‘18, Matthew Ware ‘18, Ng Qi Siang ‘19, Sara Rotenberg ’19, Subhas Nair ‘17, Swarnima Sircar ‘19, Tamara Burgos ’18

Government Representatives. Tee Zhuo (Convener), Dave Chappell (Secretary) Jay Lusk (Devil’s Advocate)

ROLES

  1. Convener. Organises and facilitates committee meetings. The Convener will have the same rights as any other member of the committee to vote and debate, but will maintain impartiality in application of rules of the convention. The Convener can relinquish his position to another member of the Convention for any period of time given a ⅔ majority vote approving such action in the Convention.
  2. Secretary. Takes careful meeting minutes and publishes said minutes as soon as possible after each meeting. The Secretary will have the same rights as any other member of the committee to vote and debate, but shall prioritise careful record keeping over debate within the committee. The Secretary may be assisted by any member of the committee or of the public given a ⅔ majority vote approving such action in the Convention.
  3. Devil’s Advocate. Ensures the Convention upholds high standards of revision throughout the process. The Devil’s Advocate will provide logical objections to each proposed action without prejudice. The Devil’s Advocate will only vote in the case of an exact tie between all other members of the Convention.

DUTIES

  1. Produce a new constitution by November 6th (Friday) 2015 23:59.
  2. Open a Public Comment period between November 6 (Friday) and November 20th (Friday) 23:59, where students can submit amendments to the constitution on an online platform. The convention will, with the help of the student government, plan numerous public comment sessions between these two dates.
  3. Maintain open and well-minuted meeting minutes for all official meetings of the convention.
  4. Meet no less than once per week except for week 7 and recess week between the date of its appointment and November 6th.
  5. Involve the public in the process starting from its appointment to ratification.
  6. Submit a final version of the constitution, after voting on every public amendment, by November 23, Monday 23:59.
  7. Work with the Student Government to conduct a ratification vote from 25th November to 26th November. 24th November is reserved for public debate over ratification.
  8. Disband 26th November 2015 at 23:59, unless extenuating circumstances allow for the Student Government to extend the convention’s duration.

OTHER DETAILS

  1. With the exception of the Devil’s Advocate, all members of the committee must commit to not running/standing at the next election.
  2. The Devil’s Advocate is exempt from (1) given that they only vote to break a tie. They have no personal views, and are supposed to question all suggestions and thus on principle opposed to every position.
  3. School administration and members of faculty to be barred from meetings and not allowed to vote or influence the convention in any way, unless invited by the committee (decision to be passed by ⅔ majority vote).
  4. Open-viewing and participation for any student for any meeting.
  5. A process will be created for submission and consideration of every idea/suggestion with regard to the constitution.
  6. Other members of the incumbent Government, and the dissolved ESC will be consulted where needed.

FIRST MEETING

  1. Our first meeting will be tomorrow, Thursday, from 1200-1300 hrs, at Saga Dining Hall. All meetings are public and open to student participation. This is the agenda for tomorrow’s meeting:
  2. Settle administrative details including regular meeting times, venue etc.
  3. Clarifications on roles, structure of the committee, duties, rules.
  4. Establish principles of review process, and set up said process, including public feedback mechanism
  5. Create timeline, set targets.

*Article VI, Section Two – “Sunset Clause Amendment”: At the end of every electoral term, students may call, via petition signed by 10% of the student body, for a ‘Sunset Period’ organised by the standing Government. During this period students shall review the Constitution as a whole and re-ratify each article. Any article which is not re-ratified must be revised and ratified, or removed.

Appendix I: Bylaws Set by the Elected Student Committee, 7: There must be a sunset period at the end of the two-semester term, which will be during the first two weeks of November in Semester One of the AY 2015/2016.

Committee Draw

Thank you to all who answered the Government’s call for student participation in committees! It was especially heartening to receive an enthusiastic response from the Class of 2019. Yesterday evening, witnessed by representatives from the student body (thank you Liam Rahman ’17, Regina Ng ’18, Victoria Kalinina ’17 !), public balloting with adjustments for representation was concluded. We are pleased to announce that the following students have been selected for the respective committees:


CONSTITUTION REVIEW (Gov reps: Dave, Jay, Tee)
Adila Sayyed ‘19
Anandita Sabherwal ’19
Avery Simmons ‘19
Isabel Perucho ‘18
Matthew Ware ‘18
Ng Qi Siang ‘19
Sara Rotenberg ’19
Subhas Nair ‘17
Swarnima Sircar ‘19
Tamara Burgos ’18
Will Goebel ’19


ACADEMICS (Gov reps: Jared, Jay, Maria, Tee)
Elaine Li ’19
Ling Xi Min ’17
Sanjana Tadepalli ’17
Sarah Novak ’18
Swarnima Sircar ‘19
Tamara Burgos ’18


IDENTITY (Gov reps: Dave, Jay, Zach)
Al Lim ’19
Che Wei Peh (Clara) ’19
Shaun Lim ’18


INTERNAL AFFAIRS (Gov reps: Dave, Feroz, Jay, Tee)
David Zhang ’19
Helena Auerswald ’19
Jamie Lee ’19
Kavya Gopal ’18
Lim Jun Rong ’19
Pragya Sethi ’19


COMMUNITY LIVING (Ami, Bing Lin, Dave, Jay, Yongzhi, Zach)
Avery Simmons ’19
David Chia ’17
Fatima Daif ’18
Isabel Perucho ’18
Matthew Ware ’18
Narayani Tulsian ’19
Taha Tehseen ’19
Vasudha Kataruka ’19
Wyin Kok ’19


STUDENT ORGANISATIONS (Feroz, Jared, Qistina, Yongzhi)
Anandita Sabhevwal ’19
Anshul Singhania ’18
Sara Rotenberg ’19


Please note that those have nominated themselves for the DDP committee will be voted on by DDP students, while the EVENTS committee will select students on an ad-hoc basis. 
For those who were not selected, fret not – there will be plenty of opportunities to contribute. For those who were selected, congratulations! Government representatives in your respective committees will be contacting you shortly. The Student Government looks forward to working closely with all of you in these various committees.

Call for Committee Members

The Student Government is looking for greater student involvement this semester. If you care about our college and making it a better place, we encourage you to volunteer forany of the committees listed below. The committee applicants will be sorted by RC and Class and then randomly selected. Each student will only be selected for one committee each, with the exception of the Constitution Review Committee. To apply, please fill out this form.

ACADEMICS: While the roles have yet to be determined, the Academics committee is looking to recruit 6 students who will be expected to meet once a week.

COMMUNITY LIVING: The Community Living committee is looking for 9 members concerned with students’ well being on campus to meet with the government once a week. Among other things, the Community Living Committee has worked on gender neutral housing, summer storage options and guest policies, as well as starting a conversation about community values at Yale-NUS. We look forward to continuing this work and hope that you will join us in doing so.

DOUBLE DEGREE PROGRAM (DDP): The DDP committee is created to ensure that DDP students have adequate representation in the student government. The four representatives to the student government will be elected by the DDP students from each class.

EVENTS: The Events committee is looking for students to help in managing government events on an ad-hoc basis. Roles and responsibilities will vary based on the event but would include setting up the venue on the event day and assisting the government in procuring refreshments, IT equipment, and other materials needed for the event.

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: The Government Affairs committee is looking for 6 Public Representatives, who will:
1. Scrutinise Government activities, call out discrepancies and inconsistencies
2. Act as check and balance, devil’s advocate
3. Be familiar with Constitution and help in its enforcement
4. Submit regular public reports on the Government for the student body. An example report can be found here: https://drive.google.com/…/0B-Qe_sZvzjx1RDdVdlFXeF9RN…/view…

IDENTITY: The committee on Yale-NUS College Identity is looking for three students who are extremely passionate in shaping the institutional identity of the entire college. This includes how the college is portrayed in general and more specifically the nuances of our relationships with both Yale and NUS, and how we as students represent the college in our outside endeavours. The commitment includes a few meetings each month with senior administrators and student government members to discuss what steps must be taken in the short run and long run to develop Yale-NUS identity.

STUDENT ORGANISATIONS: The committee will comprise of 2 Student Government members, 2 DOS staff, and 3 students, who will meet 2-4 times a month. Student Organisations committee members will :
1. Review existing applications for student organisations,
2. Update a listing of active student organisations,
3. Handle feedback from or regarding student organisations,
4. Make recommendations or raise substantial concerns to the Student Government.
More information can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/principlesofrecognition

CONSTITUTION REVIEW: The Student Government is starting its first ever full review of the Constitution, following its ratification last year. As such, we are calling for students to actively participate in the review process. This will involve re-looking and possibly removing, rewriting and adding articles of the Constitution. The government is looking for around 12 members for this committee who shall be expected to meet once a week.

Constitution Sunset Clause

The Student Government is starting its first ever full review of the Constitution, following its ratification last year (see footnote for more details), and we want your input. As such, we are calling for students to actively participate in the review process. This will involve relooking and possibly removing, rewriting and adding articles of the Constitution. If this is of interest to you please fill out the following Sunset Clause Application.