After approximately eight months, the Student Union Senate passed a resolution 21–0–0 responding to the student petition Preserve the Student Union, which has received 470 signatures–the highest count found on an online student petition to date. The resolution included a brief description of the Rensselaer Union’s history, remarking that the Union, since its founding over 126 years ago, “has been widely hallmarked for its unique, student-run structure and continues to serve as a source of pride, spirit, and admiration for students, faculty, administration, and the greater Rensselaer community.”
Students have expressed concerns regarding “planned changes to the organizational structure of the Division of Student Life” and “the potential for planned changes to impact the Rensselaer Union’s student-run structure.” Recently, a posting of a Director of the Union position to William Spelman Executive Search was met with widespread controversy as students were not informed of the posting, which was later removed and edited by Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ‘17 and President of the Union Chip Kirchner ‘17. The Poly’s coverage of this is avaliable at https://poly.rpi.edu/s/o8hbd.
The Rensselaer Union currently stands as one of the last student-run student unions in the country and the resolution hopes to preserve the Union’s student-run structure, reaffirming that under Article V of the Union Constitution “the Director of the Union shall be employed by the Union” and “the Vice President for Student Life shall act as adviser to the Director.” The Senate also recommends that the hiring process involve the participation of students.
Further, the Senate “reaffirmed the importance of the advisory role of the Director of the Union in a student-run Rensselaer Union” and emphasized the Senate’s intent to continue its commitment to representing the interests and concerns of the student body.
The Student Senate also recognized the importance of “maintaining open dialogue with the Rensselaer administration” and expressed gratitude to the Division of Student Life for quickly removing the job posting until it could be reviewed by Ilori and Kirchner.