In this week’s Student Senate meeting, the Senate discussed their new website, amendments to the Grand Marshal Week Handbook, progress in the Hospitality Services Advisory Committee, and the Research Index proposal.
Tina Gilliland ’15 presented the new student government website. The purpose of the new website is to have a centralized location for all student government information, while still maintaining separate identities for each branch of government.
Next, Paul Ilori ’17 presented to the Senate on changes to the current GM Week Handbook. The first amendment was to allow campaigning for the current elections until 12 am on May 13, 2015 and prevent campaigning for the 2016 elections until the next Handbook is published. Ilori stated that May 13 was chosen to account for any unforeseen problems that might occur before the election is determined. Anthony Barbieri ’15 expressed concern over the wording of the second part of the amendment. As it stood, campaigning for the 2016 elections would be allowed to start as soon as the Handbook is released, which is sooner than the Rules and Elections committee intended. After the first amendment failed to correct the problem, the wording was changed to allow campaigning to start on the date described in the 2016 GM Week Handbook. With the new wording, the amendment passed 18-0-3.
The next Handbook amendment dealt with posters, requiring all candidate posters to have takedown dates, be double sided if posted on a window, and to avoid “egregious” postering. Steven Sperraza ’18 was concerned that the term egregious was too vague. Ilori retorted, saying that making it any more specific would make it difficult to fix unforeseen problems. Andrew Sudano ’17 felt that leaving the term vague is giving the Rules and Election committee, too much power. Sudano, who feels he and his constituents were the reason this amendment was brought to the Senate, said the purpose of his extensive postering was to help get the students to know him. Shoshanna Rubinstein ’16 emphasized quality over quantity: since the Rensselaer Union has a poster limit, she proposed amending egregious to say no more than “X” number of posters for a single candidate on a postering surface; surface being defined at the discretion of R&E. “X” was determined to be 100 posters per surface. Michael Han ’16 was concerned over what R&E would define as a surface. Graduate senator Jenn Wilcox proposed amending surface to being the inside and outside of a single building. The Senate discussed defining a surface as a building, but the motion to amend failed 4-10-7. Gilliland then proposed splitting the amendment into two parts: separating the takedown dates and double sided posters from egregious postering. The first portion then passed, while the second portion was failed by the Senate.
Joe Venusto ’17 presented on the progress the HSAC has made this year. HSAC has worked with Sodexo to determine what the dining situation would look like for the coming year. Some changes include a slider to pick the number of meal swipes per week, guest swipes separate from regular swipes, possible changes to the dining hall hours, and more readily available weekly menus. There was also discussion of creating an all flex meal plan and extending flex to be usable in Troy, however this is still in the early stages of planning. Since HSAC was created this year, the Senate voted 18-1-0 in favor of keeping the committee to expand on its ideas for the following school year.
Marcus Flowers ’16, Jessica Krajewski ’16, and Ilori presented on their Research Index Proposal. The Research Index would be a combination of an archive and directory for student research on campus. The archive would be compiled information on past research done by students, so current students can pick up where they left off. The directory would allow interested students to find current research opportunities from professors. There was concern that if some professors refused to use it, students would not use it because not all opportunities are presented. Flowers hoped that the initial success of the system would encourage professors to use it, while Krajewski suggested that a form would be sent to professors. Wilcox was interested in having graduate students be a part of the system, as they often have more interaction with the undergraduates than the professors. Justin Etzine ’18 stated that whether or not he is re-elected a Senator, he would ensure that the Web Technologies Group follows through with the proposal. The proposal passed 18-0-1.
Finally, some changes to the Senate bylaws were presented, with only minor fixes, considered friendly, raised by the senators. The changes passed 19-0-1. The committee chairs gave a brief summary of what was discussed in their committees. Before closing, Gilliland felt that the problem of egregious postering was not yet resolved. Her motion to reopen discussion received a second, but before any changes were made the Senate motioned to adjourn and will consider the problem at the beginning of their next meeting.