USG debates amending constitution, proposals

Written By Amanda Andrews, USG Beat Writer

The United Student Government (USG) engaged in heated debate at this week’s legislative body meeting concerning Senator Mathew Johnson’s list of proposed bylaw changes and amendments to USG’s

Nearly the entire legislative body agreed in discussions over the last month that the current version of the USG constitution is in need of revision. USG’s rules committee, headed by Parliamentarian Matthew Spadaccia, oversees proposed amendments and is generally the authority on USG’s constitution. 

Johnson submitted his list of proposed constitutional changes to Vice President Brittany Arp, who then forwarded it to Parliamentarian Spadaccia to be reviewed by the rules committee. However, Johnson insisted on passing out copies of his proposal to the other senators during the legislative body meeting. 

The 13-page document is a “transition of bylaws into [USG’s] constitution” with the aim of making USG’s constitution “easier to understand,” according to Johnson.  

Many senators drew objections to the sweeping nature and lengthiness they felt of Johnson’s suggestions, including Senator Alexa Lake. 

“As it stands, the laws that we follow are tiered and the constitution is the highest tier and everything flows under that,” Lake said at the meeting. “This change is so overarching. It not only blurs the lines between those tiers but it blocks us in. Bylaws are easier to amend, and we can change that with time.”

Discussions on the issue lasted for another 20 minutes until the adjournment of the meeting, leaving no time for open floor. 

As the term implies, open floor is where the student body has the floor to speak and is allowed to comment, ask questions and address issues with USG directly at the end of each meeting. 

Parliamentarian Spadaccia insisted, despite the legislative body’s vote to table discussion on Johnson’s suggested changes, the rules committee would still review Johnson’s proposals, although it might take a considerable amount of time to do so. 

USG senators also heard from the Director of the Counseling Center, Kurt Kumler, at the beginning of the meeting. He described the services the Counseling Center provides, the changes that the center is implementing and addressed questions from USG senators. 

Kumler started in his position at Point Park University two weeks before the fall semester began. He was the Director of Counseling Services at Carnegie Mellon University for nearly seven years and was a staff therapist for five years at various universities and

“We’ve got a brand new website that is actually accurate, actually has information that we hope is useful,” Kumler said. “I encourage you guys to check it out.” 

Kumler stated that more edits were in progress on the Counseling Center’s website, including a Frequently Asked Questions page for students to reference. Kumler took questions from the USG senators they felt would be appropriate for the FAQ section.  

USG also held a Student Concerns table from 4:30-5:30 p.m. outside of Point Cafe this past Monday. USG holds Student Concerns tables every two weeks where students can directly address concerns and complaints with USG senators.