Hello, RPI! At the general body meeting for the Student Senate this Monday, many important topics were discussed regarding the Union Constitution. The Senate voted on and passed three motions during the meeting, and each of them is important for the future operation of the student government. The first motion focused on the Independent Council. In the motion, it was outlined how the Independent Council was created to expand the social and extracurricular life of students who were not Greek and then explained how the Rensselaer Union now serves the intended function of the IC. It further stated that because the Independent Council operates separately from the Rensselaer Union, meaning it has its own constitution, it can dissolve itself. In the motion, it dictated that by dissolving itself, the responsibility for electing the independent senators fell to the Student Senate. These independent senators will only be elected by Independents and the voting status of the students voting in Grand Marshal Week will be determined by the Dean of Students Office.
The second motion in the meeting was the Senate’s approval of the Rensselaer Union Constitution as prepared and revised by the Constitution Committee chaired by Frank Abissi ’14. This committee was created last semester to assess the state of the current edition of the Union Constitution. By approving the new Union Constitution, the Student Senate has confirmed that it can now be voted upon by the entire student body in the upcoming Grand Marshal Week elections.
The new potential Constitution has many changes in it. One of the focuses of the new Constitution is the checks and balance of power in the student government branches. It also removes some unnecessary layers of bureaucracy within student government and streamlines the communication lines. In addition, it distributes new power to different government branches in order to empower them and increase their role. In terms of specific items, I will refrain from mentioning most of them now as future editions of The Poly will have articles that outline the different changes in more detail. The only specific fact from the new constitution that I want to mention is the representation in the Student Senate. During the meeting, the idea of removing the Greek Senators was discussed and a variety of different opinions were presented for keeping and removing them. In the end, the Senate decided that the Greek senators should retain their voting rights.
Finally, the last official motion of the meeting focused on approving the new Grand Marshal Week 2014 Elections Handbook. The handbook is prepared by the Rules and Elections Committee, chaired by Timothy Breen ’15. For those interested in running for something in student government, campaigning officially starts March 17 at 8 am. In addition, all potential candidates should be aware that this year, all candidates must attend an informational session or submit the results of the video quiz before campaigning. Candidates who choose to view the video must score 100 percent on the quiz. The video and the accompanying quiz will be posted to http://elections.union.rpi.edu by Saturday, March 15. If you are interested in running for a position and want more information about their roles please contact me at email@example.com. Finally, have a great Spring Break everyone!