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The Boiling Point

Constitutional convention will revitalize Just Community


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By the Boiling Point Editorial Board

 

In 2003, Shalhevet’s students, faculty, administration and staff together created a constitution that outlined the purpose and practice of Town Hall, school election guidelines, and a procedure and policy for bringing proposals to the community to debate and decide. Over time, much of the constitution was lost, and the Agenda Committee essentially made up rules and policies as needed.

In the last few years, Town Halls have almost always been about hypothetical moral dilemmas, so a constitution outlining a process for proposals was not entirely necessary. But this school year will be different.  New Agenda Chair Daniel Lorell has made Town Halls all about proposals. Three were brought to the first two he chaired, last spring while the then-seniors were away. Two were passed by the student body and staff in that room, with the okay from administration.

This is encouraging to us, as it is a sign of the Shalhevet’s Just Community moving towards a more democratic ideal.

Now the Agenda Committee has decided that the best way to revive our constitution is to create a constitutional convention. The Boiling Point not only strongly encourages this but also calls for it to be a democratic and fair procedure. Rewriting the Constitution with input from the entire student body will revitalize the Just Community, because the student body will own it. The hardest part of organizing the convention will be actually following through, and we believe that the only way for the Just Community to live up to its name will be for this convention to take place. We will be watching to see this follow through.

Without a constitution, there is nothing stopping anyone on Agenda or in the Administration from making up rules as they go, perhaps to avoid a proposal even being discussed in Town Hall, let alone voted on. Our recent elections have had different rules every year, always arrived at at the last minute and sometimes resulting in bad feelings, suspicion or chaos.

This is why it is so important to have a functioning constitution, not an old one whose amendments and sections we follow only partially. The new constitution should be a representation of the current student body, not the student body of 2003, and a democratic constitutional convention is the way to achieve this.

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Shalhevet news online: When we know it, you'll know it
Constitutional convention will revitalize Just Community