For the past year the Anglo-American University student council has been undergoing the process of updating the SC Constitution, which came into effect Sept. 9.
It was a lengthy venture that involved several stages including the entire student council, the SC advisor, and other faculty members.
“The involvement of so many people made this process rather complex – and therefore also lengthy – but in my view, it was entirely worth the effort because it meant that multiple voices, views, and valuable insights have been taken into account,” said Vendula Ženatá, Chair of the Constitutional Committee and SC Secretary.
Student council members from past years had informed last year’s council that the SC Constitution was outdated, which was confirmed by SC Advisor Dan Padolsky, who also noted that many of the rules stipulated in the Constitution had been failed to be followed in years previous.
Changing the Constitution consisted of multiple rounds and during the process new issues were brought to the attention of the council and subsequently incorporated.
“The student council decided to make multiple changes at once instead of voting on them individually, which also allowed them to return to decisions previously made and revise them if necessary,” commented Ženatá.
In the final stage the new Constitution was presented to Tomáš Vachuda, a representative of the AAU Administration, who confirmed the document adhered to the rules of the university, primarily the AAU Academic Codex.
Some of the noteworthy changes include the distinction between the Constitution and its by-laws. The new Constitution no longer stipulates rules and standards regarding how often the council members meet, how long the meetings must be, and what is an acceptable degree of absenteeism. Individual SC members will now decide this themselves as part of an agreement they will make immediately after being elected.
“Those are by-laws that according to the Constitution have to be agreed by the SC and are binding, but it us up to every SC to decide these matters for itself,” added Ženatá.
The previous GPA requirement for membership to the student council was also abolished altogether, as it was seen as a discriminatory policy not in compliance with the Academic Codex. Now SC members only need to be in “good academic standing.”
Furthermore, the number of seats on the SC has been reduced from 13 to 10 members, with one extra seat reserved for an Exchange Student Representative who can run in the year’s election or be nominated by the elected members.
The lengthy and thorough process was a difficult undertaking, but the new Constitution will serve as a more efficient document to guide future student council members, while also giving them more room to govern themselves.
“Generally, our aim was to ensure that the Constitution is a living document – that the members of the Student Council are very well aware of their rights and responsibilities and that they follow the Constitution at all times, not just when it happens to resonate with their actual practice,” said Ženatá.