Fabulous 50: Student Government Constitution

NC State students approved a new Student Government constitution in March 1969.

NC State students approved a new Student Government constitution in March 1969.

Fifty years ago on 19 March 1969, NC State students approved a new Student Government constitution.  A total of 87.5% of students who voted supported the new constitution, although only 14% of the student body participated in the election.

The driving force behind the new constitution was Student Body President Wes McClure, who was in his second term as student leader.  In 1968 during his first term, he first proposed a new constitution, which was rejected by student voters, perhaps because the Technician student newspaper panned itMcClure then decided to run for re-election, determined to get a new constitution approved, and he and Student Government spent the next year getting input and crafting a new document that would meet voter satisfaction.

Wes McClure served two terms as NC State Student Body President.  Here is an ad from his 1968 re-election campaign.
Wes McClure served two terms as NC State Student Body President.  Here is an ad from his 1968 re-election campaign.

 

The new 1969 constitution contained a number of significant changes from the old one.  It increased student input into fee budgeting, created a more accountable budget process, installed a new Student Senate that mirrored the Faculty Senate, and separated the executive branch from the legislature branch through a new Student Senate president position. The new constitution also eliminated secretarial positions and created a cabinet under the executive.  In a 2014 oral history interview, McClure remembered how the 1969 constitution came about, how it was crafted, and what some of the significant features were.

The campaign ad above can be found in the Wesley McClure Student Government Campaign Advertisements and Newsclippings (MSS 00401).  To look at this or the print copies of the 1968 and 1969 Technician issues linked above, you can place your request through the Special Collections online form (All Technicians 1920-2005 are available online.)