LUCC redrafts constitution

Michael Schreiber

The Lawrence University Community Council, meeting in its general assembly, recently approved a package of LUCC constitutional reforms. The constitutional reform package must now be approved by the students and faculty of the campus community in a referendum before the changes can go into effect.
James Duncan-Welke, outgoing president of LUCC, described the reform package as consisting “mostly of housekeeping and reorganization.” Many of the changes to the constitution are meant to correct contradictions and ambiguities in the constitution as it is currently written. As such, Duncan-Welke said the changes should be viewed as “necessary, not controversial.”
One of the more interesting changes incorporated into the reform package is the creation of an LUCC public relations secretary cabinet position. Duncan-Welke said that creating such a position will allow LUCC to communicate with the campus community more effectively in the future.
Although giving Lawrence staff representation in LUCC affairs had been something that LUCC wanted to explore, Duncan-Welke said LUCC chose not to incorporate staff enfranchisement into this set of reforms. Instead, LUCC has delayed making this change until the change can be planned more carefully. LUCC did pass a resolution in favor of staff enfranchisement to signify that the issue is still active and important.
Because the changes are not particularly controversial, Duncan-Welke and outgoing LUCC Vice President Jeffery Solberg are working to prepare the referendum in such a way that students and faculty are still interested in voting.
Duncan-Welke stressed that he wants the referendum to be “transparent, not exposing students to an arcane parliamentary process.”
Solberg said he wants to familiarize the campus community with the LUCC constitution and make the proposed changes easily interpretable. Students and faculty will be able to vote on approximately 12 groups of constitutional changes in the referendum, with each group consisting of a number of related changes. Each change will have a rationale provided for it, so that students and faculty can decide if the change is worthwhile. With this setup, some elements of the constitutional reform may be passed while others are rejected.
LUCC plans to hold informational sessions for interested Lawrence community members before the referendum comes to a close. Ideally, Solberg and Duncan-Welke would like to see the referendum take place before the end of the term so the new LUCC administration is not burdened by it.
Solberg said the reform package is the product of “six to eight months of work.” Solberg made the constitutional reforms a priority during his tenure, even working over the summer to complete the overhaul.
Both Duncan-Welke and Solberg hope that students will take an interest in the constitutional referendum.
“LUCC runs according to a constitution and bylaws,” Solberg said. “If these are defective, LUCC malfunctions.”
Duncan-Welke added that the goals of LUCC “are to be effective, efficient and responsible in spending students’ money and serving the public interest on campus. This is hard to do without a well-written, efficient [constitutional] document.”
Duncan-Welke and Solberg said they would like Lawrence community members to contact them with any questions they may have about the constitutional reforms. Ducan-Welke can be reached by e-mail at Solberg can be reached at