The Senate began its five hour meeting with three more petitions. The first was “Install Water Bottle Filling Stations around Campus,” sponsored by Emily Farella ’16. Farella has been working with Vasuda and the Facilities and Services Committee on the project already; the purpose of the petition was to gauge whether there was interest among students for it to be implemented. Graduate Senator Timothy Krentz asked why specialized filling stations would be necessary in place of a sink or water fountain. Many senators expressed that having them around would encourage more people to use their own reusable water bottles, and it would making filling tall water bottles easier. The Senate charged Austin Miller ’17 with assisting Vasuda and Farella with the project in a 17-0-2 vote.
The next petition was “Bring Big Name Concerts Back to RPI.” The two reasons senators cited for the lack of big name concerts at RPI are that the Times Union Center in Albany is generally a better venue, and that UPAC does not have enough money to pay for big name bands. Thomas Alappat ’17 made the point that Albany is out of the way for RPI students, so when promoters are scheduling tours, taking a day to travel to Albany is not worth the cost. The Senate then charged Alappat with further investigating possibilities with UPAC Concerts in a 17-2-0 vote.
The last petition on the agenda was “Bring Beer Back to Grand Marshal Week.” Miller was concerned with the number of liabilities the Rensselaer Union would be taking on, such as underage drinking and drunk driving. Paul Ilori ’17 said that he had talked with President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16 about possibilities, but that discussion was still in the early stages. Graduate senator Jenn Church pointed out that the Graduate Council hosts many events with alcohol without any issues, and that the important part is that the events are held in a controlled environment, such as the Pub, where IDs can be monitored. Since most undergraduates are underage, Kyle Neumann ’17 asked if it would be worth spending the money for a small percentage of the student body. Graduate senator Spencer Scott responded, saying that the beer is bought through the Rensselaer Union at the wholesale price of 70 or 80 cents per beer. In a 14-4-1 vote, the Senate recognized the petition and charged Ilori with further investigation.
Next the Senate saw motions on changes to its bylaws. The first was on Senate-Judicial Board separation,moved by Justin Etzine ’18, which stated that no voting member of the Senate shall hold a voting position on the Senate and any position on the J-Board, effective at the start of the fall semester. This was made because Krentz currently serves on both bodies, and he felt he should not be able to hold both positions. The other motion would prevent voting members of the Senate from also holding voting positions on the E-Board. Although this has not yet been a problem, it was motioned to prevent any future PU from appointing members of the Senate to the E-Board. Church was opposed to this motion because the graduates already struggle to get students involved in student government, and this could stretch their current numbers even thinner. The vote failed 13-4-1 because it required a two thirds majority of the total voting membership.
E-Board appointments were tabled until their meeting was finished, so the Senate moved to various appointments of their own. Kelly Dearborn ’16 was approved as the Undergraduate Council president, Edward Qiao ’18 was approved as treasurer, and Chris Paradis ’16 was not approved as Web Technologies Chairman, 8-4-6. Emily Phillis ’17 was approved as co-chairman of the Rules & Elections committee, with Ilori serving as the other chairman until Phillis has been properly acquainted with R&E procedures. Victoria Heisler ’16 was approved as GM Week committee chairman.
With the E-Board meeting finished, the Senate began their appointments for E-Board. Donna Grace Moleta ’18, Conrad Mossl ’17, Emily Farella ’16, graduate Saurabh Dargar, Charles Bittner ’17, Nicholas Schlatz ’16, Jeremy Feldman ’16, Gregory Bartell ’17, Alexander Benzell ’15, Harrison Kang ’16, and Shannon McComb ’17 were approved. Andrew Sudano ’17 was appointed E-Board liaison in a 10-2-4 vote. Shoshana Rubinstein ’16 emphasized that he knows what needs to be done in order to be successful. In addition, Sudano expressed he was “deeply sorry for what happened,” but still feels there are things he can do to help.
Finally, the Senate saw a motion regarding the RPI Bookstore situation. This motion, accompanying discussion, vote details, and a description of the situation are included in the article titled, “Follett slated to manage Rensselaer Union Bookstore.”