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Weekly Update [Week 14]: Constitutional Amendments

Amidst writing final papers and preparing for final exams, the Council convened this week for our final meeting of the academic year to discuss and pass a number of constitutional amendments.

Summary of Weekly Meeting

In the weekly meeting on Friday (22 Apr), the Council voted to pass eleven substantive amendments to the Constitution.

Amendments of note include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Reduction of the number of members in the Judiciary from 9 to 7 (Article V, Section 3.1)
  • Switch from the Kemeny-Young voting system to the instant run-off voting system for elections (Article VI, Section 3.4)
  • Separation of Presidential and Vice Presidential races (Article VI, Section 3.8)
  • By-elections to be held at the beginning of Semester 2 instead of whenever a vacancy opens (Article VI, Section 5.2)

A full report of all the amendments passed as well as the rationale for their passing can be accessed here: Constitutional Amendments Report (22 April 2016)

A copy of the updated Constitution with the amendments marked in red can be accessed here: Constitution (22 April 2016)

Read a more detailed account of the meeting here: Weekly Meeting Minutes (22 April 2016)

Final Thoughts

Time has truly flown over the past few weeks and the semester has swiftly come to a close. On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank the student body, staff, faculty, and all others who are part of the Yale-NUS community in one way or another for supporting us and our work over our term. It has been our honour to serve the College, and we hope that the work which we have done has been useful. As we break for summer and prepare for the upcoming elections, it is our hope that more students will be drawn to take up the mantle of representing and advocating for the student body, and that the Yale-NUS Student Government will continue to be an important and effective institution.

Wishing all a restful summer and so long until August!

 

Regards,
Joceline Yong
Director of External Communications

Weekly Update [Week 13]: Elections Committee formed, call for Constitutional Amendments

This week we wrapped up most of our projects and begin preparations for the next round of elections by forming the Elections committee.

Project Updates

From Academics, the Council has published a memo summarising student feedback gathered on the Science Common Curriculum via focus group discussions held in March 2016. This memo was sent to the faculty committee on 12 April and will serve to inform their decision-making and the final report the committee will produce. The memo can be accessed here: Memo on Science Common Curriculum Feedback

Applications for the Elections Committee closed last Friday (15 Apr) and the final committee was formed as follows:

  1. Scott Currie (Council convenor)
  2. Isaac Lee (Council convenor)
  3. Adrian Stymne (Arbiter)
  4. Angela Ferguson (Arbiter)
  5. Dave Chappell (Arbiter)
  6. Holly Apsley (Arbiter)
  7. Pragya Sethi (Arbiter)
  8. Wu Junn Kit (Arbiter)
  9. Yun Do Ung (Jonas) (Arbiter)

The Elections Committee will be meeting over the next two weeks to publish an Elections Code to be used during the upcoming elections.

The Council is preparing to propose and vote on amendments to the Constitution during our next meeting on 22 April (Friday), 6.15pm @ Saga Anteroom. These proposed amendments are based on our experience working with the Constitution, and are in preparation for the next Student Government. If you have thoughts on our proposed amendments (see link below for our current proposed amendments) and/ or suggestions for other possible amendments, you can submit your thoughts using the following form (http://goo.gl/forms/VhsCRSM2lt) or join us for our meeting.

Summary of Weekly Meeting

In the weekly meeting on Friday (15 Apr), the Council formed the Elections Committee and discussed the need-based stipend, which the Council approved in-principle. The need-based stipend will provide up to 5 members of the Student Council with a one-term scholarship of $500/- for their work in Student Council. The stipend recognises the time commitment necessary for Student Council members and the broad nature of the Council’s contribution to the student body as a whole. The stipend is not a salary, but financial support to allow students to serve when they might otherwise need to put that time into a paying job. The Judiciary will be considering the constitutionality of the need-based stipend over the coming week and provide comments.

Read a more detailed account of the meeting here: Weekly Meeting Minutes (15 Apr 2016)

Final Thoughts

With the semester and academic year winding down, so too is the term of this Council drawing to a close. As we wrap up our projects for the year and begin preparations for handing over to the next Government, it is timely that we pause to reflect: on what we have achieved, what we could have done better, and what we can do to ensure that our successors build upon what we have done to make the Government an even better representative of the student body. If you have any thoughts or reflections on any of the above, we would be happy to hear from you via our feedback form or email.

 

Regards,
Joceline Yong
Director of External Communications

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