PU elaborates on Union Constitution changes

Hello again, RPI! Thanks to everyone who came out for the Union After Dark event on Friday, as well as those who came out for the first annual RPI Wellness Day on Saturday. Both events were huge successes, and we hope to continue these programs later in the semester. The Union Executive Board and Student Senate continued their fierce tradition of Broomball this past Sunday at the Houston Field House. I am pleased to report that the E-Board crushed the Senate 4-1 in convincing fashion, although a great time was had by all. Full coverage of this event should be available
on RPI TV soon!

This week, I would like to spend some time talking about proposed changes to the Rensselaer Union Constitution that have undoubtedly been covered in this issue already. Over the last 3-4 months, members of the Senate and Union Executive Board have been reviewing the current Constitution to see how it compares functionally to current Union and club operations. Originally written in 1987 and last amended in 2011, the current document is full of unclear phrasing and out-of-date text that is overdue for a major overhaul. In many cases, amendments to the original articles have not been properly documented or clarified, making it necessary for one to read the 10+ page document to fully understand just one aspect of the Union. As such, this sub-committee sought to re-organize the text in a concise manner, and then investigate contextual changes as necessary.

In terms of actual changes to the document, there are several small additions that I would like to cover. First, the current Greek Senator position shall be split into an Interfraternity Council Senator and a Panhellenic Council Senator. To account for this change, there shall now be two Independent Council Senators. This change brings the total voting membership of the Senate from 24 to 26 voting members. Second, in the event of the resignation or removal of the President of the Union, the Executive Board By-Laws shall now dictate the person who will preside over the Executive Board until a new President of the Union can be confirmed by the Senate. Next, in the event of a tie in any valid election, the Senate By-Laws shall now dictate when and where a runoff election would be held. In conjunction with these changes, many organizational and small grammatical changes were made to the document in an effort to clarify and consolidate articles and amendments.

The result of this work is now available on Flagship Documents, and can be seen on page 2 of this week’s Poly. These changes were approved by the Student Senate at their General Body Meeting on March 4, and have already been submitted to the President’s Office in accordance with the Constitution. This motion will now be presented to the student body on all ballots during GM Week elections on April 11 for approval. This vote signifies an important step in the evolution of the Union, and I encourage everyone with questions to contact myself or Senate Vice-Chair Charles Carletta ’14 ( with questions, comments, or concerns.

In Executive Board news, last Wednesday saw a return to normal, with clubs coming in to present proposals to the Board. Crew was on the agenda to discuss two requests, and both were subsequently approved. The first dealt with necessary repairs to one of their boats, which, if left unaddressed would cause large logistical issues for the club. The second request was for entry fees to a regatta in April that had been left out of their FY 2013 budget in error. If you would like more information on how to get involved with Crew, contact President Alexander Lin ’15 (

The RPI Solar Car Racing Team came into the Board requesting to change their name to “Rensselaer Electric Vehicle.” This proposal was brought on by the requirements of competition as to better align with the functions of the design, and was approved by the Board. If you are interested in learning more about this project, contact President Kristin Sechrest ’14 ( for more information.

Tonight’s meeting will feature several more club proposals, with Jazz Ensemble and programming for GM Week expected to be on the agenda. Union Executive Board meetings are held on Wednesdays at 8 pm in the Shelnutt Gallery and are open to the public. If you would like to learn more about how the Union operates or about clubs in general, I
encourage you to attend!

As always, if you have any questions or comments regarding the Union budget or matters for the Executive Board, feel free to stop by or e-mail me ( My normal office hours for this semester are at 6–8 pm on Wednesday nights, although I am frequently in my office at other times and am happy to discuss anything that might come up. Until next week!