Last Wednesday’s Student Senate meeting began with a brief recess to give Grand Marshal Marcus Flowers ’16 the opportunity to retrieve the new Senate polos from the Student Government Suite. Once the senators had received their polos, the meeting began with committee reports.
During the Facility and Services Committee’s report, Michael Han ’16 opened discussion on FSC’s water bottle filling station project. According to Han, they are slightly short of their intended $1,500 goal to purchase a water bottle filling station. He asked the Senate to help out by purchasing water bottles if they had not already done so, and proposed using some of their budgeted money to help reach the goal. Graduate student Jen Church noted that some of the budgeted money would need to go toward the Union Annual Report fliers, a joint project between the Senate and Executive Board. Paul Ilori ’17 was in favor of the idea, saying that the money tends not to be used and this would be a good cause. Graduate student Tim Krentz was also in support of the idea, but wanted firm numbers from FSC before the Senate makes a decision. He then motioned to close the discussion until numbers were available, which passed 20-0-2.
Samantha Notley ’18 of the Student Life Committee along with graduate student Emily Downs presented on their progress of the preferred names petition. Currently, Rensselaer only lets a student change his or her name with a court order, which can be difficult to obtain. The goal of this project is to allow students to self-identify without the struggle of getting their name legally changed. Currently, schools such as Harvard University, Cornell University, and Princeton University allow students to use preferred names except in some legal situations.
During the discussion of SLC’s presentation, questions were raised about how student IDs would work with preferred names. Joshua Rosenfeld ’16 pointed out that some places accept them as legal forms of identification. Downs said that the RIN would still go to the person’s legal name, so it should avoid the issue in most cases. CJ Sloat ’19 noted that Greek organizations use both student IDs and state issued IDs as forms of identification for parties. Having different names on the two IDs would pose problems for their system. It was suggested that some subtle identifier marking the ID as a non-legal ID could be a solution to the problem. However, Downs said that the reason for having a preferred name is because the person does not want to be identified in any other way, and as such making a marking on the ID would defeat the purpose. No motion was made as the petition is still in progress, so with the conclusion of the discussion the meeting closed.