I hope everyone has been having a great week.
This past week the Union Executive Board added a clause to the by-laws detailing an academic requirement for being on the Board. The addition says: “All members of the Cabinet [the Board] must be in good academic standing at the time of appointment. This includes having a cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.5 at the time of appointment.” There is a similar article added pertaining to the President of the Union, the only changes include that the requirement begins at election rather than appointment.
There were a variety of reasons for adding this change to the by-laws, the simple and most important being that the Board believes that education comes first. We are all attending Rensselaer for our education, and we feel that grades should not be affected by the large time commitment necessary to being a Board member. The Board felt that the 2.5 GPA with good academic standing would allow enough of a margin that no member of the Board would have a hard time academically. This is especially important for the PU, who contributes a significant amount of time each week to their duties. This amendment is another way to ensure that the PU is less likely to suffer academically or be dismissed from the school for academic reasons because they would be starting their term with at least a 2.5 GPA.
The main reason for specifying “at the time of appointment or election” was so that students wouldn’t be dismissed from the Board at the end of the fall semester should their GPA drop. The most important job of an Executive Board representative is to meet with clubs, help those clubs develop budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, and gain a good understanding of those clubs’ needs. This allows the Executive Board member to accurately represent each one of their clubs during the winter budgeting sessions in January. We wanted to avoid a situation in which a Board member would be dismissed at the end of the fall, leaving their clubs without representation in budgeting.
One concern with this change is that it would be a violation of privacy for students. We have decided that in order to keep from violating this privacy, the Executive Board application would have to be signed by the Director of the Union or someone from ALAC before it was handed in. This signature would validate that the student had fulfilled the requirements without having any information regarding GPA released to the PU.
Overall, this change to the by-laws should show the Executive Board’s commitment to putting academics first while still being committed to the important job of helping manage the Union.
I’d like to add one last plug about elections before I end my article. Campaigning for elections is well under way. Please take the time to check out all the candidates and ask them questions. It is really important that you understand where they stand on student issues and what things they plan to develop and change throughout their term. Most candidates will have a platform available for you to read, and you should definitely make sure to see where they stand. This is a great opportunity for students to give input and participate in student government and the elections process.
If you ever have any questions about the Union or the Executive Board, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.