Executive Board takes on risk management and budgeting

With the start of a new semester, the Rensselaer Union Executive Board wasted no time in addressing their responsibilities. To begin their first meeting, Director of Student Activities Cameron McLean presented on the importance of risk management.

McLean stressed the need of Board members to be ever vigilant in the decision–making concerning funds, student and faculty safety, the precedent they set, and situations in which the E-Board would be held liable.

While it seems an over-discussed topic for many members of the E-board, McLean’s 23 years of experience provided prime examples in which the potential risk of a decision was not thoroughly investigated. It was because of these few incidents that she instructed on accountability. The E-Board members agreed with the points she made.

Member of the RPI Dance Team Rachel Stagnitti ’19 appealed to the E-Board to subsidize $1,078 to offset the cost of a Universal Dance Association professional training event. In a usual case, the E-Board would subsidize 40 percent of travel expenses but in the Dance Team’s case, the professional trainers were brought to campus. Thus, the amount presented was 40 percent of the cost of the UDA event.

The E-Board was torn on how to treat this situation, given that no organization before had requested a subsidy in line with the Union’s travel policy with no students actually traveling. Moreover, the members of the Dance Team were under the impression that this event had been approved by the E-Board. It was revealed that while there was a vocal statement of permission there was no paper trail to follow. In other words, this event had not been placed into their budget.

The Policies Committee informed the E-Board that guidelines to assist in future like-situations would be made. In the first motion of the night, the members of the Executive Board approved the Dance Team’s subsidy request in a 14-3-1 vote.

President of the RPI Players Emily Phillips ’16 and Business Manager Bryan Johns ‘19 appealed to the E-Board for $1,168.85 from their equipment budget to purchase three amplifiers. The current amplifiers at the RPI Playhouse were installed in 1997 with a 20 to 30 year guarantee. While it was noted that the amplifiers had begun to suffer back in 2014, it was not until this past summer when the Playhouse was opened to Young Actors Guild and Alpha Psi Omega that alarm was drawn to it.

It was brought to attention that no additional cost for installation would be necessary, as Players alumni planned to do the installing themselves. The motion to subsidize the Playhouse $1,168.85 was approved 17-0-1.

Policies Committee member Matt Rand ’19 presented an amendment to the Rensselaer Union Executive Board Special Rules of Order under Electronic Voting. This change would disband the use of the phrase “Facebook group” in favor of the broader term “the preferred method of social media used by the Executive Board.” This change would allow for future E-Boards to navigate any media of their choice, given the E-Board chooses to conduct any electronic voting. The motion to make this change was unanimous with one abstention: Rand.

President of the Union Chip Kirchner ’16 closed the meeting to guests after brief reports by McLean and himself. These reports included updates on the Union website, different workshops E-Board members would be attending with their clubs, and a vote yet to be disclosed to the public.