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UGBC Makes Major Step Toward Significant Change

With The New Constitution Passed, UGBC Must Now Capitalize On Organizational Improvements

Published: Monday, February 11, 2013

Updated: Monday, February 11, 2013 01:02

Last night, the Undergraduate Government of Boston College (UGBC) passed the new constitution proposed last weekend, marking the start of a new era for BC’s representative student government. The changes that will be made before the start of the next school year are significant—the number of senators will be more than doubled, Cabinet will be modified into an Executive Council, and the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) and AHANA Leadership Council (ALC) will be united beneath a single vice president of diversity and inclusion, among other changes.

The passage of the new constitution is an exciting step forward for UGBC, and one that is encouraging for the organization’s future. Despite its shortcomings, the new constitution has the potential to result in tangible positive change in UGBC, which could lead to better representation of the student body. The Heights applauds the current executives of UGBC for spearheading the campaign to restructure UGBC, and appreciates the effort they have put in up to this point. In addition, congratulations must go to the voting bodies of UGBCALC, GLC, and Senate—who demonstrated prudence and dedication to the needs of the students in voting to pass the new constitution. The Heights was disappointed, however, with the fact that both GLC and Senate held closed meetings while voting on the new constitution. This lack of transparency did little to dispel perceptions that the UGBC is more than just an organization for insiders.

The work has just begun, however. The new constitution contains many promising elements—more diverse representation in the Student Assembly, streamlined and well-defined departments, and better inclusion of issues of sexual orientation and race, to name a few. Just because these elements are included in the constitution, however, does not mean that they will be implemented effectively. The current leaders of UGBC and those who will be elected in the next two months now bear an important task: the responsibility to set the tone for how the new UGBC will operate.

It is important to note, as well, that the new constitution contains elements that could potentially have negative effects. For example, it is possible that issues that have traditionally been dealt with separately by GLC and ALC will be neglected now that the two organizations are united beneath a single vice president. Every effort must be made to ensure that this does not happen. It is also possible that the five appointed vice presidents, who will be receiving stipends paid for by the student body, will not be held accountable due to unclear job descriptions during the transition period. Especially since these vice presidents are not directly elected by the students, it is imperative that they are selected from a highly motivated and dedicated talent pool, and that they earn the stipend with which they are being paid, rather than receive it undeservedly.

The students are ready for a change to their government, and this restructuring period is a chance for the UGBC to ensure that change occurs. Perhaps with a larger Student Assembly and more streamlined divisions, UGBC will be able to cast aside traditional criticisms of bureaucracy and inefficiency and become a united student government that can respond better and more directly to the diverse concerns of a similarly diverse student body.

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