Senate reestablishes Union Constitution Committee

Monday’s meeting of the Student Senate began with a presentation by Marcus Flowers ’16, head of the Academic Affairs Committee on the committee’s projects. While there was no motion put forward for this committee, there were a number of points which needed to be communicated to the members of the Student Senate. The presentation included highlights and details on some of the committee’s more high-profile projects. Projects included public directory or job listing for research projects, and work with the Faculty Senate’s curriculum committee. Elaboration for these projects was given by Flowers after being questioned by members at the meeting.

Graduate senator Spencer Scott mentioned expanding ALAC mentoring by including professional clubs that dwelled within a particular subject. Scott stated that because these clubs involve such a wide range of class years, it may be a good base when starting this project.

This meeting was the second in a series of monthly interactive meetings between the Student and Faculty Senates. During these discussions, Flowers was able to give more information on his work with the Faculty Senate and their related projects. The Faculty Senate’s Curriculum Committee is looking into the current circulating curricula and judging their effectiveness, need, and overall relevance to its course. Flowers stated that there was an opening for a student representative in the committee. This position would allow one to convey thoughts of the student body directly to the faculty. Those interested should contact Flowers at flowem@rpi.edu. Lester Gerhardt, president of the Faculty Senate, was in attendance. Gerhardt suggested that the Senate concentrate on its most critical projects this semester and do further surveying to map student need. In regards to the research directory project, Gerhardt suggested keeping in mind that many such projects were interdisciplinary and this may bring up problems in the future.

The Senate proceeded to process the motions at hand for that week, the first of which dealt with the reestablishment of the Constitution Committee. The motion would create a group which would review the current governing rules for RPI’s Student Government and see if any changes needed to be made. If so, the committee would send the changes as motions to be voted on by the Senate. After this approval, their fate would lie in the hands of the student body who would vote directly on the amendments during GM week. Paul Ilori ’17, stated his disapproval of this addition due to its appearance to the student body. According to Ilori, the creation of the Constitution Committee would seem like the Senate was not making progress in regards to constitutional issues. Senator Michael Han ’16 disagreed by stating that the document needs updating and it is the responsibility of the Senate to review, but after the issues of last year, the committee has a clear need for transparency. In the end, the committee was formed by a vote of 19-1-2.

Next, the Senate approved the appointment of Nathan James ’16 as the chairman of the Constitution Committee. As an alternate member of the J-board last year, Nathan attested to his knowledge of the Constitution and prior leadership roles as experience necessary to lead the committee. James was not a member of the committee last year and felt he brought a fresh perspective. James was approved as chair with a vote of 16-1-5.

Soon after, appointment of graduate senator Jennifer Wilcox to the chair of the Communications Committee was moved. Wilcox stated she planned to improve transparency within the Senate and Executive Board with the expanded use of social media and tabling. She says that her studies as a graduate student will not interfere with her work and she is excited about the thought of working closely with this committee and other Student Government groups. Wilcox’s approval as chair passed with a vote of 18-0-2.

The meeting came to an end with committee reports, Melanie Todis ’17, chair of the Rules and Elections Committee, reported that work was progressing on projects including electronic voting and referendum sign policy. The Hospitality Services Advisory Committee sent their comments and thoughts to Sodexo’s regional manager at RPI, Matthew Mueller, some of which addressed the lack of Arizona brand drinks in Father’s. Hospitality Services Committee will hold a public meeting with Sodexo Thursday, October 9th. Community Relations Committee head, Morgan Schweitzer ’16, reported that the group was using social media to bridge the gap between the Troy and RPI students while E-Board-Senate liason Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 reported that a touchscreen Pepsi machine should be expected in Rathskellar by the end of winter break, at the latest.

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