R&E proposes voting changes; IFC rush begins

GRADUATE STUDENT MIKE CAIOLA DISCUSSES the graduate council’s plans for the First Annual Graduate Symposium, which will be held on May 1 of this year.

After a welcome back greeting from Grand Marshal Marcus Flowers ’16, the Student Senate convened for the first time this year at 7:03 pm on Wednesday night. After postponing the minutes approval for the Senate meeting that evening, committee reports ensued, beginning with the Rules and Elections Committee. Chairman Victoria Tong ’16 proposed a modification to the current voting process, suggesting the implementation of an “instant run-off voting system” that allows voters to rank candidates in order of preference.

The currently unchaired Student Government Communications Committee was called upon next for a report after the R&E. Flowers implored those interested in running to submit their responses to him to fill the vacancy following the resignation of graduate student Jen Church, who now serves as the Senate-Executive Board Liaison.

Due to concerns raised over the datedness of faculty profiles on the Rensselaer Undergraduate Research Program website (, members of the Academic Affairs Committee performed a complete scan of the site over the break and plan to update the outdated profiles for students seeking research experience with faculty. The committee has also obtained a list of the fellowships promoted by the Institute, including deadlines and eligibility; however, it is uncertain whether the list is current or not, so the information will be reviewed and updated as necessary.

The Union Annual Report Committee met on Saturday to finalize the Fiscal Year 17 UAR. The committee is awaiting final details and hope have the report ready this week.

The Facilities and Services Committee received approval for its weR Gold water bottle project; however, its McNeil Room tables project had been declined. An alternative fundraising idea is being formulated.

The Web Technologies Group raised the concern of Shuttle Tracking server malfunctions, as well as discussed Concerto and Flagship Docs that are still undergoing maintenance and upgrading. Also, a new project is underway from the request of the Department of Admissions. The objective is to create a self-guided tour application by prospective RPI students. This concluded the committee reports.

The Senate-E-Board Liaison reported that budgeting has been finalized, and the appeals received would be heard on Thursday, January 28. Every aspect had increased, but didn’t exceed 2.5 percent overall cost increase.

The Graduate Council announced they saw good attendance at their Winter Graduate Fest, wine and cheese night, and hockey night events. They also expressed excitement over the upcoming First Annual Graduate Symposium on May 14, where graduate students will be able to showcase their work.

Fraternities are pushing towards a larger spring recruitment period, according to newly elected Greek senator C.J. Markum ’16, representing the Inter-fraternity Council. One means of doing this will be by extending the rush period from two to three weeks.

Near the end of the meeting, discussion was held regarding a student’s inability to attend classes in West Hall. The student has a disability that prevents him from reaching his classroom, and, at the time of the meeting, it was unclear if RPI had made accessibility accommodations for him. Since the matter is of a legal nature, the Senate moved to suspend action until a response is procured by the administration. Senator Paul Ilori’17 emailed the senate following the meeting, stating that the student was being accommodated. The meeting adjourned at 7:53 pm.