The Student Senate meeting opened Wednesday, March 30, with a presentation by the Rules & Elections committee. With Grand Marshal Week nearly here, campaigning is in full swing. One form of campaigning that candidates have taken is using Facebook profile photo filters. Members of R&E were in speculation over whether or not this is an active form of campaigning; the committee has ruled that it is not.
The Academic Affairs Committee is working on their end of the year presentation and are enjoying continued support from the School of Engineering. They have expressed concern over the new Summer Arch program and are interested in collecting students interested in getting involved on the subject. For those interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Hospitality Services Advisory Committee brought up a popular complaint amongst students: the lack of self-service in Commons Dining Hall. A poll was made last year of students’ opinion of the food at Commons, and thoughts for creating a similar poll for this year were mentioned.
The Student Life committee reached out to the Auxiliary, Parking and Transportation Services over the topic of shuttles to Crossgates Mall. They reported there was enough funding to run three trips a semester and the on-campus white busses would be used. A digital sign-up form will be created. If proven successful, there is potential for trips to be made to other destinations, such as the airport, train station, and bus station.
SLC is still making reviews of the clustered access proposal, which would garner RPI students universal access to the on-campus residence halls. A survey was sent out by the Resident Student Association. The survey rated the different conditions of the residence halls, outlining what should be changed or added.
The Web Technologies Group again announced their website for the upcoming GM Week elections and it can be found at http://elections.union.rpi.edu/. Beyond repairs to the student government web-based document archive Flagship Docs, they are working on creating a new service. The app would follow a student from their freshman year through to graduation, filled with information pertinent to that student, such as major-specific coursework, learning management system, health and wellness, and other extensions. They are currently open to ideas.
The Graduate Council announced a stipend increase for graduate students of $3,000. Beyond this update, graduate research continues, and graduate student events persist.
The “Preserve the Student Union” petition on the RPI petitions website garnered the largest number of student signatures in the shortest amount of time ever. In seven hours, 442 students signed and committed themselves to the cause of the petition. The author of the petition, Greg Bartell ’17, presented before the Senate with a suggested motion stating: “The Rensselaer Union 46th Student Senate hereby resolves: 1. To recommend to the President of the Institute and Board of Trustees the institution of a system where recent alumni are appointed as members of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees, to be voted on by each graduating class and serve a two-year term exempt from fundraising requirements. 2. To recommend to the President of the Institute and Board of Trustees the restoration and creation of proper channels for communication between students and the President, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and relevant trustee committees. 3. To recommend to the President of the Institute and Board of Trustees the recognition of the Rensselaer Union as a true auxiliary service of the Division of Student Life.”
The Senate was torn on whether or not to pass this motion before creating referenda to gather student opinion. Bartell responded with the point that students were in support of the petition based upon the sheer speed at which they agreed. Members of the Senate responded with their worry over appealing to the Board of Trustees without the necessary data and have composed and issued referenda to the student body.
An idea to split the motion into three separate motions, with separate committees to target their individual purposes, was made and voted upon. The vote failed, and the motion remained intact. After much debate and discussion, an amendment was made to the end of the motion. The amendment charged these resolutions to an ad hoc committee. The motion was tabled until the next week’s meeting.
The referenda created in response to this petition are listed below.
Should the position Executive Director of Student Activities have administrative jurisdiction over the Rensselaer Union?
Do you support the addition of student elected recent alumni to the Board of Trustees?
Do you support student access to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s bylaws?
Do you support restarting the practice of Student Senate discussion and endorsement of any changes made to the Student Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities?
Should only student government—in conjunction with the Director of the Union—govern the future of the Rensselaer Union?