Senate seeks input on Core Curriculum

This week’s meeting opened with reports from the committees of the Senate. Steve Sperazza ’18 spoke on behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee, and started discussion at this week’s Senate meeting on collecting feedback about the Core Curriculum changes that were discussed last week. He encouraged people to send feedback to chairperson Varun Rao ’18. Facilities and Services Committee Chairperson Austin Miller ’17 said that the Department of Public Safety is looking to have officers go to dinner at Commons on either November 15, 16, or 17 in order to get feedback from students and share new initiatives.

Chairperson Justin Etzine ’18 of the Student Life Committee shared that the committee has a draft proposal on campus study spaces to share with the Senate next week. He also mentioned that the questions for the anonymous Counseling Center survey have been created, and that he has reached out to Residence Life about a survey on resident hall feedback.

Sidney Kochman ’19, chairperson of the Web Technologies Group, told the Senate that the hosting services Webtech previously ran needs to be shut down due to technical reasons, and that the group is also looking for ways to improve Flagship Docs. Finally, Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ’17 gave the Community Relations Committee report and said that Russell Sage College is holding a mixer for RPI students Friday night, and that he wants senators to attend.

One of the few orders of business at the meeting was the appointment of Leo Gallo ’19 as the chairperson of the Community Relations Committee. The post has been vacant for about a month since the prior chairman stepped down. Gallo said that he seeks to work with Russell Sage College, downtown Troy businesses, and even schools in Albany in order to encourage RPI students to explore more of their community. Etzine asked him about specific goals and Gallo responded that he hoped to have at least one student event with Sage or UAlbany beyond Friday’s mixer.

The Senate also addressed the unsponsored petition, Make Career Fair a Student Holiday, which received over 292 signatures of student support. Last week, Ilori had emailed Registrar Sharon Kunkel to ask about the feasibility of changing the academic calendar in order to accommodate making the fall Career Fair a student holiday. Kunkel wrote back saying how a day would most likely need to be taken from elsewhere in the schedule and suggested having class on either Columbus Day or the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as possible places to reallocate a day in the schedule. Etzine added that the original sponsor of the petition, who wishes to remain anonymous, told him that if classes cannot be canceled, then professors should be officially advised not to have assignments due or give exams on the day of the Career Fair. Ultimately, after a brief discussion on whether the Student Life Committee or the Academic Affair Committee should take on looking into accommodating the Career Fair, a motion charging it to AAC passed 21-10.