GM Handbook approved; new position debated

At the beginning of their meeting on March 23, the Student Senate officially closed their March 9 meeting, which had to remain open for the electronic voting of the Grand Marshal Week 2016 Handbook.

The real meeting began with committee reports. During the Rules & Elections committee report, the GM Week Handbook was voted on for a second time, and was approved 23-0-2.

Academic Affairs Committee Chairman and graduate student Spencer Scott gave a report on their fellowship project. The purpose of the project is to improve support systems for RPI students seeking external fellowships.

Scott wants to “ensure that students at RPI who are seeking or eligible for external fellowships and funding sources have every resource possible made available to them.”

During their research, AAC found that RPI was lacking in resources currently provided compared to the other schools the committee looked at. Scott said that the administration is currently aware of the general issue and is working to improve their fellowship support.

Next, Student Life Committee Chairman Paul Ilori ’17 presented on suggested changes to the inclement weather policy, which would be sent as a letter to the administration.

SLC feels that the current policy could use clarification. In the past there have been issues with professors holding class and covering new material despite being officially canceled by Rensselaer.

The suggested changes were endorsed by the Senate and will be sent to the administration for consideration.

Justin Etzine ’18 presented the new elections website during the Web Technologies Committee report. He demonstrated the ability to add candidates, change election cycles, create parties, and add handbook information for the respective election. The site is currently live and in use for GM Marshal Week 2016.

During new business, graduate student Mike Caiola presented a motion to thank former Director of the Union Joe Cassidy for his service to the Rensselaer Union and the students. The motion was approved 22-0-2. Similar to the Mark Smith motion, the Senate will sign and frame the document to be presented to Cassidy.

Lastly, the discussion moved to the job posting regarding the Executive Director of Student Activities. This was a position posted on an executive job search website and whose responsibilities would include providing “leadership for a broad portfolio of co-curricular programs including the Student Union, Student Government, and Campus Recreation.”

President of the Union Nick Dvorak ’16 spoke about the posting, saying “we have very little to no information except from the posting.” He also called it “a bit foreboding” and said that “we need to have a thorough understanding of what is going on and the actions we need to make given the current developments.” At this point there was a motion to close the meeting, which passed 19-1-5.