The 47th Student Senate met for the first time on Thursday, April 28 to begin necessary appointments and handle business that the 46th Senate was unable to finish before the end of their term.
First were officer appointments made by Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ’17. Daniel Rogers ’17 was approved unanimously as interim secretary and as Senate treasurer. Jennie Miller ’19 was approved unanimously as parliamentarian. Finally, Joe Venusto ’17 was approved 16-0-2 as vice chairperson of the Senate.
Matthew Rand ’19 and John Fantell ’19 of the Executive Board visited the Senate to go over changes to the E-Board bylaws. Many senators took issue with a change that would allow the approval of something that goes against the bylaws by having a three-fifths majority vote.
Samantha Notley ’18 asked how the E-Board came to the decision that the bylaws could be overruled with a three-fifths vote. Rand said that there was much discussion among members about whether it should be a super majority or just a simple majority, and that they eventually came to the conclusion that sixty percent was appropriate.
Graduate student Anthony Ashley asked about the intent of the change. Fantell said that it was intended for the E-Board to operate in a “more fluid manner,” allowing them to temporarily suspend the bylaws when appropriate with a vote and approval from the President of the Union.
Ilori was not in favor of approving their changes, saying that the Senate cannot give the E-Board the power to circumvent the Union Constitution, which would defeat the purpose of the checks and balances built into it. Justin Etzine ’18 made a motion to table the voting until the Senate’s next meeting, which passed 15-1-2.
Next up, the Community Relations Committee, an ad hoc committee from the 46th Senate chaired by Notley, was approved 16-0-1 as a permanent committee.
A motion was brought forth to honor the late administrative assistant Michele Edwards for her work in the Administration Office of the Rensselaer Union. The motion, which cited her dedication to students, friendly face, and welcoming attitude she brought with her to the Union passed 18-0-0 and will be signed by the members of the Senate.
To conclude the meeting, Ilori reminded senators that he would be beginning talks with the Vice President of Student Life Frank E. Ross. He asked anyone interested in participating to contact him for more information, senator or otherwise.