A motion has been made in the Student Senate to amend the Rensselaer Union Constitution, moved by Alice Yueh ’12 and written by Christopher Girard ’14. The amendment, were it to pass, would add a senator position so that both the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council, which represent RPI’s fraternities and sororities, respectively, would be represented in the Senate.
The rationale for this amendment, said William Toth ’13, is the “IFC and Panhel are two separate organizations that represent widely different portions of the student body, not to mention that there are female students who are members of IFC organizations. They both operate differently and are governed by different sets of rules and other policies both here at RPI and nationally.” Additionally, each greek council holds authority for only half of the academic year. For this reason, if an issue like the Student Peer Alcohol Monitor program were to make it to the Senate, the Panhellenic Council would make the vote for greeks, although sororities social events are not allowed to involve alcohol.
Before the amendment passes, the motion must make its way through the Senate. Others, though, have expressed reservations regarding the content. Jonathan Goldszmidt ’13 explained the main source of disagreement, stating that when the Independent Council was formed, it was given one representative, and the IFC and Panhel were given one, to maintain a balance between greek and non-greek representation.
Goldszmidt, though, also offered a solution to the problem. He suggested that, if there were two greek senators, there should also be two representatives for the Independent Council. Girard acknowledges that this may be a valid solution to the issue presented by other senators. However, he emphasized to the Senate that, “if the Independent Council feels that it needs another Senator, then that is completely their business and not something we’re thinking about in our motion.”
If the motion passes through the Senate, it will then appear on a ballot for the entire student body to vote on. Once it passes the vote, it will then be presented to President Shirley Ann Jackson or her chosen representative for approval. Following Jackson’s approval, the amendment will then be added to the Rensselaer Union Constitution.
The Senate will debate, and potentially decide on, the motion at their meeting next Monday. The meeting is open to the general student body and will occur at 6 pm.