By Laken Franchetti, News Editor and Andrew Thibaudeau, Staff Writer
The Student Senate at Gettysburg College has made adjustments to its constitution, and Parliamentarian Joey Labrie ’25 said he believes these changes will allow the Senate to be more transparent and accessible for students.
Labrie is responsible for revisiting and revising parts of the Student Senate Constitution. He said he believes that the newly ratified amendments will create useful and worthwhile conversations that benefit the campus community.
“My single goal was to create a document that would promote constructive dialogue between students and faculty alike, create a dynamic institution that could quickly respond to problems, and fundamentally improve accessibility to the Gettysburg College community,” said Labrie.
According to the constitution’s changes, it is compulsory for committees involved with the Student Senate to hold outreach events. These will inform students at the college of any pertinent information which they may not have been able to access before.
Throughout this amendment process, class officers and student senators have become more available as class cabinets are required to attend biweekly meetings. Senators must also hold office hours so they can obtain feedback from others. One of the larger changes to the constitution altered the official duties designated to the officers, and charters have been delegated to Senate committees to help them better understand Senate operations.
Senator and Chairman of the Senate Opinions Committee Michael Woods ’25 believed that these changes and alterations to officers’ official duties will allow the Senate to become more effective in addressing campus issues.
“In the previous version of the constitution, the duties of specific positions and committees were often confusing, and could be interpreted in different ways,” Woods said. “Furthermore, the responsibilities and jurisdictions of many senate committees overlapped, which created confusion and gridlock. I personally believe that these changes will help to better ensure that the senate works for the student body. For instance, the combination of specific committees gives students a clearer idea of where to go to advocate for changes in issue areas including safety, wellness, and more.”
Senator and Chairperson for the College Life Advisory Committee Andrew Lemon ’24 echoed similar thoughts on the constitution changes.
“These changes are designed to make the senate more inclusive and open to the public, giving the study body a direct voice in the policy of the senate,” Lemon said. “I believe that the constitutional changes will help Senate adapt to the growing needs of our student body and campus, and I am happy to see initiative from more Senate leadership to help build the body to meet the evolving needs of students.”
Throughout the rectifying process, Labrie has stated that he will amend the Constitution in a manner that will allow it to meet students’ needs and stand the test of time. The Student Senate journal is a testament to those ideas.
The establishment of the Student Senate journal is what Labrie found to be the most consequential change to the constitution. He said he believes that the Senate may make mistakes that have been made before, and he credited these mistakes to a lack of communication between former and current leadership. By recording all Senate activity, Labrie said he hopes that the Senate will be able to mitigate these issues and improve efficiency moving forward.
Senate President Miranda Zamora ’23 felt that the constitution changes will better the campus community, and she credited Labrie with pursuing the changes.
“I feel that the changes that we have made will help us to better [address] the issues that students see on campus,” Zamora said. “I am incredibly excited about the changes and would credit the whole process to our [Parliamentarian], Joey Labrie. He is by far, the most experienced Parliamentarian that I have had the chance to work with during my Senate career and he truly went above and beyond to make the changes that the senate needed.”