Hello RPI! At the last Senate meeting, the Senate voted on a Union Constitution Amendment which would provide a full Senate seat (including voting rights) to both the Interfratenity Council and Panhellenic Council. Currently, there is one Senate position which switches between the two organizations. The motion would put the amendment up to a campus wide vote during GM Week if passed by the Senate. The vote for the motion came back eight in favor, seven against, and one abstention. As this is a tie, the Grand Marshal receives a deciding vote. I voted in favor of the motion, giving it a simple majority. At the time, I believed that the amendment would move to a campus wide vote.
Upon further examination of the Union Constitution, I have determined that the motion to amend needed a two-thirds majority of the entire Senate membership to pass. In addition, it needed to be one month in advance of the election. As these conditions were not met, the motion to amend did not pass.
I apologize for this oversight. Our Senate is chartered by the Union Constitution. This document also governs the Executive Board, Class Councils, and more. As the constitution is a living document, it outlines a process for amendments. It is important that we take this opportunity to become more familiar with the document and the amendment process. While we may not always realize it, motions to amend the Constitution are significant changes. Since these amendments affect every student, they have a stricter set of rules. It is my hope, that through this process, more students will become aware of the importance of the Union Constitution, and the provisions inside of it.
At the same meeting, the Senate also discussed two motions which will affect future Senates. The first was a motion to amend the Senate Bylaws to include a GPA requirement of 2.33 for Student Senators, and 2.5 for the Grand Marshal. Additionally, the Grand Marshal would be required to remain in good academic standing. This motion passed with a majority.
Amending the bylaws is a different process than amending the Union Constitution. First, the proposed amendment must pass with a simple majority of the Senate. The amendment is then sent to the Rules and Elections Committee, which determines whether or not it is in accordance with the Union Constitution and other official documents. The findings are presented within three weeks, and the amendment is voted on again by the Senate. For the amendment to take effect, the Senate must approve with a two-thirds majority. The GPA requirement amendment will come back to the Senate for final approval no later than April 16.
The third motion discussed dealt with the GM Week 2012 handbook. This motion instructed the Rules and Elections Committee to amend the handbook to include the same GPA requirements discussed in the bylaws amendments. R&E will discuss the amendments and make a final decision. Should the committee choose to accept it, the amendment will come before the Senate for final approval, requiring a simple majority.
I hope that this has been informative! If you have any questions about the outlined process or for the Senate, please e-mail us at JustAsk@rpi.edu.