UGBC Proposes Restructuring
Published: Monday, February 4, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 4, 2013 00:02
In last year’s UGBC presidential election, Chris Osnato, A&S ’13, campaigned on bringing change to the UGBC. During his term, Osnato and his vice president, Kudzai Taziva, A&S ’13, have worked with the heads of ALC, GLC, and Senate to draft a new constitution for UGBC. This coming Sunday, ALC, GLC, and Senate will vote on the final draft of the constitution and, if passed, the new constitution will take effect for the 2013-14 academic year.
“The impetus behind this process was to take the organization, strip it down to its bare parts, and build it back up,” Osnato said. “We came up with three things that we wanted our student government to be: gets work done through policy and action, student oriented, and representative. The way UGBC is structured is with four branches. There are four presidents and four vice presidents. When you look at our organization, there is no distinct constitutional power structure.”
Under the current constitution, UGBC is broken down into four branches: ALC, GLC, Cabinet, and Senate. The president and vice president of UGBC lead the Cabinet, and each of the other organizations elects its own leadership. In the proposed constitution, there are only two branches: the executive branch and the legislative branch.
The new legislative branch is the Student Assembly, which would replace the current Senate. It would retain many of the functions of the current Senate, as well as add some new policy related responsibilities. The executive vice president, elected with the president as in the current constitution, would serve as the president of the Student Assembly and be responsible for appointing the chairs of the different committees.
“We have expanded the Student Assembly to 50 students,” Osnato said. “This includes the current class structure, but it also guarantees representation for every school. There are the two representative board chairs, ALC and GLC, and there is also a group of representatives from the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, RHA, and registered student organizations. These are students that are active and involved, but don’t always feel like the government represents their interests and their needs. This structure allows those people to have an elected voice guaranteed.”
The new executive branch would incorporate the functions of Cabinet, ALC, and GLC within it under the leadership of the president of UGBC. Directly under the president is the Executive Council, which is composed of the president, the executive vice president, and the vice presidents appointed to lead the five divisions of the executive branch—financial affairs, student programming, student organizations, student initiatives, and diversity and inclusion.
“The vice president’s role in each division is a bit different,” Osnato said. “Within the Executive Council, the vice presidents would report back from their division and advise the president on relevant issues. We want these positions to be devoted to advisory aspects and oversee their divisions. They will also be going out and meeting with administrators. The way we currently have it structured, given the amount of work that they will be doing, all of the vice presidents will be paid.”
In the current structure, only the president and vice president receive a stipend. It is uncertain whether there would be more money appropriated for the new vice presidents or whether each of them would be paid less than the current vice president.
Under this structure, ALC and GLC would take the form of representative boards, each one responsible for determining its own composition and leadership, in the division of diversity and inclusion.
“The ALC and GLC are now officially under the office of the one student body president,” Osnato said. “They still carry their heritage with them and they still have chair people that they appoint, but they are fully now within the Undergraduate Government of Boston College. Now, the people who are elected as chairpersons of those respective groups now serve as members of the Student Assembly.”
“The representative boards will serve to make LGBTQ needs apparent to the whole organization,” said Joshua Tingley, president of GLC and A&S ’13. “This makes it clear that the issues of LGBTQ students are the issues of the whole student body and are at the forefront of the work that the UGBC is doing. The new representative board is going to respect the history of the GLC and not drastically leave behind well-known programming and advocacy that we have been doing. The board is going to be doing a lot more policy work, which is a new step for the GLC. I think that these changes are a great step for the undergraduate government to be doing.”