Senate hears petition presentations

In their last meeting of their term, the 45th Student Senate met to tie up loose ends and look at their year in review. Since the previous week’s meeting ended in the middle of discussion on poster takedown dates and visible content on both sides, the Senate resumed with that queue. Paul Ilori ’17, as head of the Rules and Elections committee, motioned to withdraw the amendments since it was so far into campaigning. This passed 16-1-1 and the Senate moved on.

Jesse Freitas ’16 presented to the Senate on Save the Trees, the first petition to reach 250 signatures on the new petitions website. Kyle Keraga ’15 emphasized that the purpose of this presentation was to determine if further action should be taken by the Senate and if so, what that action should be. In short, the Save the Trees petition was created to keep the campus beautiful. Freitas pointed out in his presentation that recently more trees have been cut without any sign of new ones being planted, leaving eyesore tree stumps across campus. Thomas Alappat ’17 pointed out that the stumps needed to be kept in some places, like next to the Rensselaer Union, to prevent erosion. Keegan Caraway ’18 suggested that this become a joint project with the Facilities and Services Committee and sustainability clubs on campus. The Senate then motioned to charge FSC with investigation of possible solutions and Jessica Krajewski ’16 with further investigation, passing 17-0-1.

The second petition was presented by Harrison Leinweber ’18 on multiple points of access. Leinweber is of the opinion that since theft was the problem, students should be responsible enough to lock their doors. Having only one door to access one’s dorm is frustrating for students, especially when they are forced to walk to a further door in bad weather. The idea of having clustered access was brought up by Leinweber and multiple senators. Lexi Rindone ’15 suggested that students be surveyed for what doors they would most like to have access to. The Senate charged the Student Life Committee with investigating the issue in conjunction with the universal access initiative already in place. The motion passed 16-0-2.

Changes to the Undergraduate Council bylaws were next on the agenda. There was discussion on whether or not the bylaws should be discussed this meeting or postponed until the next Senate convenes. Rindone pointed out that the first few meetings of the new Senate are always very full, which might get the bylaw changes pushed to the fall semester. Undergraduate Council President Jacob Derechin ’15 made clear that if the new Union Constitution changes pass, the current bylaws will be ineffective at governing the Council. Graduate Jenn Wilcox wanted to delay the bylaw changes, saying that the legislation needs to be submitted at least a week beforehand to be properly reviewed by senators. The Senate voted 11-8-0 in favor of viewing the bylaws presentation this meeting.

Derechin presented to the Senate on changes made to the Undergraduate Council bylaws. Most of the changes made were to make the Council’s bylaws consistent with the new constitution changes. Other changes included making the president and vice president voting members on the Council and the creation of a treasurer, director of public relations, and E-Board liaison positions. These positions may be held by any member of the Rensselaer Union except for class president and vice president. When the discussion queue opened, there immediately was a motion to postpone discussion until the next Senate and before May 23. This failed 8-9-1. There was more discussion on whether or not discussion should be postponed before Caraway expressed that he was satisfied with the document and that since the Senate voted to discuss the bylaws, they should focus on the bylaws. Justin Etzine ’18 asked why there needed to be an E-Board representative on the Council. Derechin explained that the role was created because the E-Board better understands risk and liability management, which will help the Council for budgeting decisions. Otherwise satisfied with the document, the Senate passed the new bylaws 10-1-6 contingent on the Constitution changes passing during Grand Marshal Week.

To conclude the meeting, each committee chair presented their Year in Review, explaining what they have achieved and their goals for the following year. Finally, Keraga thanked the Senate for “working their way through the seven circles of legislative hell,” concluding the last meeting of the 45th Student Senate.