This week, the Student Senate discussed the Union Annual Report document. Last week, the Senate approved the Union Activity Fee, but did not approve the UAR because it still required minor grammatical changes. Thomas Alapatt ’17 presented the document in full this week. Since most questions had been asked the previous week, the motion quickly went to a vote and was approved 16–0–0.
Next was discussion of the Executive Board’s proposed bylaws changes. The first motion, regarding grammatical changes, was unanimously approved without discussion. The second motion, regarding the creation of a communication committee, was ruled out of order by Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ’17. Graduate student Anthony Bishop appealed the motion, saying that he saw no reason why the E-Board should not have its own communications committee. Etzine responded, saying that if the E-Board wanted to talk about their role, he would welcome that, and that there have been problems with E-Board members attending the Student Government Communications Committee. The Senate voted the appeal down.
The third change, regarding established committee responsibilities, was unanimously approved.
The Senate then discussed the petition Don’t Force Sophomores to Live on Campus. Etzine explained that he had brought the petition up during his meetings with Vice President for Student Life Frank E. Ross III. Etzine feels that there is not much that could be changed, but that Ross was receptive to the ideas regarding reducing the financial burden of on-campus housing and required meal plans. Jennie Miller ’19 expressed reservations about endorsing the petition. She was worried about the logistics of the change, and the commitment involved in finding an off-campus apartment which would need to be sought out during a student’s first semester at RPI. Erica Braunschweig ’17 supported the petition, citing an increased freshman class size cutting into residence hall space historically filled by sophomores. The Senate voted to recognize the petition 15–1–0 and voted 13–1–2 to task it to the Student Life Committee.
At the end of the meeting, Etzine began discussion about the E-Board’s proposed communication committee. Ilori called the motion “disrespectful,” and wished the E-Board had discussed it with him before bringing a motion forward. Alappat explained that the motion was brought forward to start a conversation, and cited the Student Government Committee’s large purview and understaffed committee. Matt Rand ’19, chairperson of the E-Board’s Policy Committee, told the Senate that the proposed committee would be the best way to go about communicating what they do in E-Board. No motions were made regarding the discussion.