The Student Senate has posed five questions to the student body as referenda on the GM Week 2016 ballot.
1. Should the position Executive Director of Student Activities have administrative jurisdiction over the Rensselaer Union?
The Editorial Board votes NO. The Rensselaer Union is an auxiliary service of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and should remain that way. For 125 years, the Union has been student-run, with guidance from the administration on legal and HR matters. No issues have presented themselves that warrant a change, and we strongly believe that the Union can further extend the student life experience without an Executive Director of Student Activities having administrative jurisdiction over it.
2. Do you support the addition of student elected recent alumni to the Board of Trustees?
The Editorial Board votes YES. We believe that having recent alumni on the Board of Trustees would help represent student opinion and prevent an information disconnect that has occurred in the past. We are seeking to open more lines of communication with the administration, and having recent alumni elected by students on the Board of Trustees take huge leaps toward this goal.
3. Do you support student access to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s bylaws?
The Editorial Board votes YES. For an organization that we are a part of, we should have access to the rules they abide by. Other higher education institutions, both public and private, allow student access to their bylaws, and we see no reason we should not be granted the same.
4. Do you support restarting the practice of Student Senate discussion and endorsement of any changes made to the Student Handbook of Rights and Responsibilities?
The Editorial Board votes YES. While it is not the role of the Senate to write policy outlined in the Student Handbook, it should be the job of the Senate to listen to the suggestions and concerns of its constituents and express those opinions in discussion of Student Handbook changes. Restarting this practice would reopen lines of communication with the administration.
5. Should only student government—in conjunction with the Director of the Union—govern the future of the Rensselaer Union?
The Editorial Board takes no stance on this referendum. While we support the sentiment of the referendum, the Editorial Board was divided because of its wording. We believe that all students should be the ones governing the future of the Union; however, this referendum would suggest that only student government and Director of the Union should be in control, which we do not support. We feel that the Editorial Board would fully support a referendum that indicated only students, student government, and the Director of the Union should govern the Union’s future.