On Monday, The Badger Herald Editorial Board called for changes to the timeline set forth by the Associated Students of Madison Constitutional Committee regarding its constitutional revision process. “In an ideal world,” the editorial states, “we’d like to see this come to a vote at the end of November.” After outlining a rough one-month plan for executing the closing stages of the reform process, it concludes by arguing that ASM must swiftly “finish the document” if it hopes to regain any semblance of legitimacy.
The board’s recommendation is both naive and dangerous. First, ASM extended its timeline in order to solicit widespread input and feedback from stakeholders within and outside student government. As the initial round of listening sessions comes to an end, we have a wealth of information that the committee will systematically process in order to make revisions to the draft constitution. This is the most critical stage since our work began in June, and any attempt to rush through revisions not only does a complete disservice to every student on this campus but also serves to undermine the legitimacy of these reform efforts.
Second, the worst thing ASM could do right now is place constitutional changes before the student body that have not undergone a comprehensive vetting process. Any premature approval of this governing document could very well leave student government in a dangerously precarious position. Students are awaiting a structure that better serves their interests and needs, not one that perpetuates the same problems, albeit under a new government.
Lastly, ASM has been criticized in the past for not actively seeking input on any number of its initiatives. If there is one student government “project” that warrants the involvement of the student body, I certainly hope it would be the creation of a new constitution. For a paper that never fails to rip ASM for lacking foresight, it’s rather ironic that the Herald is encouraging a quick conclusion to a process that will affect the lives of students for some time to come.
Chair, ASM Constitutional Committee