The SGA constitution not only governs UM’s SGA, but also governs the student body as a whole; yet, just like the U.S. constitution, the number of students who have read it or have knowledge of it is low.
One of the most important things students should know is that the constitution states that anyone who pays the student activity fee, which is all students, is subject to the rules and regulations of the constitution.
This includes any amendments to the constitution and any bills passed by the SGA that would affect students.
Much like the United States, the SGA is broken down into three branches of government: the executive, legislative and judiciary branches.
There are four members of the executive branch who are elected by the student body. They are the president, vice president, treasurer and senior class president. All other executive positions are appointed by the SGA president or senate.
Members of the executive branch serve for terms of one year.
“Elected Executive Officers shall serve a term of one year or until successors are installed.” Article 5, Section 5.4.
The legislative branch of the SGA is comprised of the Senate. Their role is to make laws and act as representatives for the student body. Each class gets three senators and each of the different colleges gets one senator per 250 students enrolled in that college.
The adult returning, transfer, minority, international, athletic, commuter and residential senate positions all have one senator.
Most of the elections for SGA take place in the spring, but there are three exceptions. Both the freshmen and transfer senators are elected in the fall, while the residential senator is appointed by the director of housing.
If Senators leave or are removed from their roles, then it is the duty of the SGA vice president to find a replacement. These replacements are appointed by the VP, pending approval by the Senate and do not require a general election by the student body.
“The office term of each Senator shall run from the date of his/her installation as a member until the installation of his/her successor unless the member resigns or is removed from office.”
According to Madison Hollon, SGA vice president, the constitution was written in this manner to help make sure positions remained filled.
“We do this to ensure there are Senators to represent people throughout the summer, even though there are a slim number of students on campus,” said Hollon.
Currently, there are 25 vacancies which will have to be filled by Natalie Seavers, SGA vice president-elect.
The last of the three branches of government is the judicial branch. This branch is made up of the five members of the SGA Supreme Court. The judicial branch’s role is to interpret the constitution and to make judgements in places where the constitution is not clear.
The judicial branch may be called upon by the legislative and executive branches to answer constitutional questions.
The appointment of members of this branch are done by the SGA president, who may appoint two members per year, after which, “any remaining vacancies shall be filled from Supreme Court applications via nomination and approval by a majority of the voting members of the Student Senate present,” as stated in article 6, section 4.3.b.
Harrison Neville is the editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.