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J-Board overturns Student Activity Fee decision by Senate

Take travel precautions in hazardous weather, Student Life presents future plans

Happy Wednesday, RPI, and welcome back from a relaxing, well-deserved long weekend! We have a busy week ahead of us, and yet another traditional event this weekend, but before talking about campus life, I would like to take a moment to explain the current situation surrounding the Student Activity Fee, and how the Student Senate and Union Executive Board intend to move forward.

Last Thursday, the Senate ruled the motion for the Student Activity Fee as having passed 13-5-6. This decision was made with an understanding that such a vote required two-thirds of members who are both present and voting. However, it was pointed out by students and alumni that this precedent, adopted since the 43rd Student Senate, may be incorrect. To ensure the proper decision was made, I asked the Judicial Board to interpret the language present in the Union Constitution. J-Board determined that this motion did not pass. Their decision also has implications for the voting rights of the Grand Marshal and President of the Union in certain decisions.

Because the Senate voted while misinformed, they will be deciding whether to reopen the Activity Fee motion for discussion, via a Motion to Reconsider at this Thursday’s meeting. If the Activity Fee is reconsidered and passes, it will be sent to the Board of Trustees following standard procedure. If it fails or is not reconsidered, the E-Board will make alterations to the proposed fee and budget in accordance with Senate feedback, and will make a new proposal as soon as possible. In either case, this means you have more time to give feedback; if any students have thoughts, please email suggestions to me at, to Erin Amarello ’15 at, or talk to your senators.

Finally, the Student Life Deans and Directors will be presenting progress on the Student Life Performance Plans this week at 7 pm in Rensselaer Union Room 3602—the meeting room adjacent to the Shelnutt Gallery. At this meeting, they will be giving an overview of the Student Life Division’s plans for the upcoming year. Performance plans detail current, ongoing projects, as well as upcoming initiatives and programs, with a focus on the continued promotion and advancement of the Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students Initiative. The Senate will be present, and I have requested RPI TV to record the meeting. This meeting is open for all students to attend and to give their feedback, critiques, and input.

Outside of Student Government, as if Freakout! isn’t enough, this weekend marks yet another of our great annual traditions, the Winter Carnival! This year’s theme is AVALANCHE. The event starts at 11 am with Winter Olympics, Photos with Puckman, performances by various student groups including the Rensselaer Music Association, and, of course, free food! At 3 pm, Amarello, Anthony Barbieri ’15, and I will be judging Cardboard Sled Races put together by various campus organizations. At 4 pm the Carnival will feature womens’ hockey as they play against Cornell University, and the event will conclude with an open skate at the Houston Field House from 7–9 pm. Winter Carnival is a can’t-miss event—even if you won’t be there all day, come up to ECAV and have fun in the (all-too-present) snow!

On that note, this will be a cold week marked with several days of subzero temperatures. While we are fortunate enough to have warmer conditions than Boston or Buffalo, the trek across campus can still be a hazardous one. I would like to again remind our students and staff to stay safe, to avoid driving in questionable conditions, and to guard themselves against wind chill as we leave home each morning. With luck, we should finally have some warmer weather soon! As always, if you need anything, you may email me at, or come to my office between 12 and 2 pm on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Have a nice week, RPI!