A Side-By-Side Comparison of RHA’s Old and New Constitutions

Over the summer, the Office of Residential Life rewrote nearly every section of the old Residence Hall Association (RHA) Constitution, dissolving former club positions, creating new ones and shifting a significant amount of responsibility and control to the RHA adviser. Many of the rulings, however, do not come into effect until the 2018 spring semester. Until then, the RHA adviser possess almost all executive power. What follows are the most noteworthy changes from the old document to the new.

Amendments

Old:

“After R.H.A. members and its advisor(s) approve this Constitution, it can only be amended by a majority vote by the senate and executive board.”

New:

“ If the RHA executive board feels that specific aspects of the constitution should be changed prior to April 1, 2018, the board may propose those changes to the RHA Adviser. Those changes will only be implemented if approved by the RHA Adviser.”

Analysis:

Under the new constitution, any amendment prior to April 1, 2018 must be sanctioned by the RHA advisor. Previously, only a majority vote in the senate and executive board was required. A similar procedure will ensue post-April, where executive board members and residents of the general body will propose changes to the constitution.

Senators

Old:

“i) The Senate will contain of a maximum of 30 members made up of the following:
(1) A maximum of 12 McKeon Senators
(2) A maximum of 18 McMahon Senators.”

New:

“2. General body: By default, all residential students are members of the RHA general body.”

Analysis:

The RHA senate was disbanded with the new constitution. As a result, all residents are now their own representatives. Senators were responsible for organizing RHA programs and assisting the E-Board with their duties. These responsibilities have been passed on to the newly-created programming coordinator role.

Programming

Old:

“Is responsible for programming at least three events during their term, through exceptions to this rule may be made by the Executive Board.”

New:

“Campus-wide programs (one or two per semester).”

Analysis:

RHA used to host several large programs a semester for residents. Hereafter, these events will be limited to one tradition program a semester. This includes the annual RHA auction which last year raised nearly $6,000.

Disciplinary Procedure

Old:

“R.H.A. will vote to determine whether the impeachment is warranted. Everyone shares equal voting power and simple majority rules.”

New:

  1. “Any executive board member who fails to abide by the expectations set forth in the RHA constitution or the university and residential life policies may be placed on probation and/or terminated from his or her role on the executive board.
  1. This disciplinary action will be determined by the RHA adviser.”

Analysis:

In the past, impeachment procedures were decided by a majority vote amongst senators and executive board members. Now, disciplinary procedures are at the discretion of the RHA advisers. This includes probationary measures as well as the option to terminate the member from his or her role on the executive board.

Speaking with the Press

Old:

No ruling.

New:

“Executive board members are not permitted to speak to the press without the RHA Adviser’s prior approval.”

Analysis:

There is no mention of the press in the old RHA constitution, however, the new rules state that no member of the executive board is allowed to speak to the press without the RHA adviser’s approval. At the first RHA general meeting of the year, it was announced that any discussion was off the record.

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