Hidden Stories: A Secret Rewrite of the Senate Constitution

“In this column, one extraordinary event, but went by largely unnoticed, is examined each week”

Unnoticed amidst the fervor of the Talent Show, on Wednesday January 21, two senators gathered at one end of the wooden table in the High School Common Room. This is not unusual; senators are commonly friends outside of the classroom. What was unusual are the participants, these aren’t just any senators. On one side was the President of the Senate, Duong Nguyen, next to him was the Events Coordinator, Trung Tran; both huddled around Trung’s computer screen while having an animated conversation. The Vice President, Jonas Fiebrantz, was supposed to be at the meeting as well but he got stuck selling tickets for Talent Show. Even with the missing “Big 3” member (an unofficial nickname for the top echelon of the Senate by its very own members), the meeting continued as plan. They were observed to be meeting in public space once again on the 23rd, discussing the same agenda . That agenda? Rewriting the UNIS Hanoi High School Senate Constitution.

This document has probably never been seen by the normal UNIS Hanoi high school student. Unlike most constitutions in the world, the creation of this constitution was kept secret (just like most of the Senate’s meeting). The author of this article was not able to discern the date for the creation of the very first UNIS High School Senate Constitution, he does know that the latest edition must have been written, at most, since last year. Something else also done in secret. Apparently, this rewrite is just following tradition.

But this rewrite is of such magnitude, that even the other Executive members (Treasurer, Secretary, Communications Officer), the Senate Representatives and the Event Committee Members were unaware of this undertaking. The President of the Senate was slightly aghast that the Flame is running an article on constitutional changes and that many Student Rep and EC Members will learn of the rewrite with their Flame Friday update. He says the new version will be presented to the Senate at their next meeting. This author is willing to bet there is a 70% chance the President has probably sent an email by now notifying his senators. Nevertheless, what kind of changes are we talking about here that requires so much secrecy?

Summary of the Senate Constitution drawn by the Big 3
Summary of the Senate Constitution drawn by the Big 3

Well, from what we know so far, the document is sitting at 2400 words (about half the size of the Constitution of the United States of America), with promises from the Vice President to be “nice and comprehensive”. The new constitution is aimed to touch every aspect of the Senate. How it’s run, who will run it, how to get pick to run it, how to pick the ones who will be in it…etc. The Big 3 has given The Flame an exclusive summary of the constitution as shown in the diagram above which they says contain “hints” to what the new constitution will be about.

Now, for the rest of the article, please be noted that this will be interpretation or speculations about the new constitution based on the diagram and other unofficial sources that this author may have.

Let’s begin.

The diagram clearly shows the President on top with his crown, and the red scythe and hammer characteristic of communism drawn next to him. When people talk about communism, everyone thinks of the Lenin-Stalin centralized model of communism in the USSR. This regime is noted for its centralized authoritarian government (even though communism promoted equality). It seems with the new constitution the President will be given more authoritarian (some might even say dictatorial) power over the workings of the Senate.

Under the President is the “guy with the voice” and the “guy with events”. This reporter was able to listen in (I was a sneaky guy) on the 21st meeting and able to determine that these two are equivalent to the current Vice-President and the Events Coordinator. It seems that the Officers system is being replaced by the Arms instead, where one Arm controls the Student Rep and the other handles Events. Aside from the change in power, these guys also got new names. It was a long list that included “Supreme Student Representative”, “Praetor”, “General”, “Secretary of the People”….etc. Finally, their new names are to be Chief Executive Student Representative (CESR, say Ceasar) and Chief Executive of Events (CEE, the Holy See). The standard Officers are no where to be seen.

It seems power is being consolidated on top with the new constitution. The Senate Reps and the Events Committee Members are even called by their leaders: “minions”, signifying their new role in the future. While laughing, Trung would comment “nobody is going to sign this constitution”. Something this reporter says is impossible.

Between the three, Duong, Jonas and Trung control the entirety of the Senate. Whether it is superior confidence or effective rhetoric from years of training in Forensic Club and MUN, the Big 3 practically makes all the decisions. When asked if the Big 3 have all the power in the Senate, Vice President Fiebrantz was at least cordial about the reply, mentioning that power rests in the Student Reps (who currently suppose to acts as the legislative branch of the Senate), nearby was Senate Rep Sebastian who shook his head to Jonas’s comment and say “Yes” when asked the same.

To say the constitution will not be signed is merely a joke, Trung knows it will get passed. And judging from how power is already being distributed within the Senate, this constitution will only affirm the current oligarchy-authoritative government structure into legal writing.

So what should we worry about? The system currently works fine as our new tyrants are truly altruistic in their intentions for UNIS Hanoi. I guess the only thing you will have to worry about are the new rounds of interviews for positions on the Senate.

We can’t comment on the meaning of the feces-making unicorn. Remember to comment!

A copy of the 2014-2015 constitution has been reproduced below:


Senate Constitution 2014-2015

Officers Positions and Duties


A responsible leader of the Senate who:

  1. Takes a position of leadership during meetings, chairing them in a respectful and orderly fashion in correspondence with the weekly agenda;
  2. Assumes responsibility for ensuring that all members and their respective ideas and voices are equally represented and considered when partaking in meetings or discussions;
  3. Takes initiative and is dedicated to the fulfillment of requests;
  4. Behaves as a role model, not only for Senators, but the wider community.
  5. Liaise with administration on behalf of the Senate and student body.

Vice President

An equally responsible Senator who:

  1. Takes a position of leadership during the meetings for the Student Representatives, chairing them in a respectful and orderly fashion in correspondence with the weekly agenda;
  2. Is responsible for planning/organizing Morning Meetings and delegating senators to be MC.
  3. Is ready to take leadership responsibility for the president, if absent.


A reliable and organized Senator who:

  1. Records minutes for the Representatives meeting, which are to be forwarded to all Senate members and relevant personnel;
  2. Files and organizes the minutes for future reference at the conclusion of each meeting;
  3. Organizes an appropriate agenda prior to all meetings, which is to include all issues sent in by Senate members before the upcoming meeting;
  4. Emails the document to all Senate members and relevant personnel at least one day prior to the meeting in question.


A responsible and trustworthy Senator who:

  1. Monitors and is aware of the Senate’s annual budget;
  2. Informs the Senate of significant financial activity;
  3. Authorizes all transactions, deposits, and withdrawals to and from the Senate account, co-signed by the Senate supervisor;
  4. Reimburses Senators and other students who have paid costs on behalf of the Senate when costs have been incurred;
  5. Produces a document of the revenue and expenditures of a Senate event;
  6. Keeps an organized filing system that in which all account statements, receipts, and relevant documents are stored, which are to be shared with the Senate upon request;
  7. Presents a summary of all financial transactions at the conclusion of each school year.

Communications Officer

A Senator who:

  1.  Plays the lead role in promoting the Senate to the student body by maintaining Senate informations portals such as Facebook.
  2.  Publicizes Senate events using various forms of media.
  3.  Gathers all relevant information regarding the approaching event and organizes relevant data into a concise, legible format to be updated as planning progresses – to be presented to the Senate each meeting with updates; Is available to all Senators.

Events Coordinator

A Senator who:

  1.  Plans, organizes, and keeps track of all the main high school events of the year.
  2.  Coordinates and works with the Event Organizers to make the events happen successfully.
  3.  Updates the Senate with the progress and the current plan of the Event Organizers at the beginning of each meeting.
  4.  Works in conjunction with the Communications Officer to successfully publicize events.
  5. Takes a position of leadership during the meetings for the Events Organizers, chairing them in a respectful and orderly fashion in correspondence with the weekly agenda:


Senators Positions and Duties

Student Representatives

A group of highly open-minded students who:

  1. Listens to the suggestions of the student body and bring the issue to the attention of the rest of the Senate during each meeting.
  2. Works cooperatively to turn suggestions of the student body into a reality.
  3. Always take initiative in looking for ways to improve the high school life of the student body
  4. Helps out with the Events Organizers on large events such as Prom, if needed.

Events Organizers

A group of highly creative and organized students who

  1. Works cooperatively with each other to plan, publicize, and carry out current and upcoming high school events.
  2. Reflects on the successfulness of the events to improve them in the future.
  3. Devise new events for the high school student body that will promote student life, and high school spirit.

Responsibility of Individual Branches

Student Representatives Events Organizers
High School Day High School Day
Prom Prom
MSHS Talent Show MSHS Talent Show
Extended Morning Meetings Extended Morning Meetings
Attend administration meetings Movie Nights
MC Morning Meetings Spirit Week
Listen to student suggestions Candy Canes
Carry out student suggestions HS Dance
Increase High School Spirit Winter Social

Meeting Timeline

First 5 Minutes:

– Everyone meet in one room, Give updates, general information and plan for today’s meeting. President chair the meeting.

Next — minutes:

– The events organizers go to one room and student representatives go to another room.

– Events Coordinator, Treasurer, Communication Officer will go with events organizers. Events Coordinator chairs the meeting. One of the events organizers will take minutes

– Vice President, Secretary will go with student representatives to separate room. Vice President chairs the meeting. Secretary will take minutes

Last 5 Minutes:

– Everyone come back to one room and give general information and updates to the rest of the senate. President chair the meeting.