Phalanx Honor Society denied funding

PRESIDENT OF THE UNION MATT RAND ’ 19 DISCUSSES potential funding for Phalanx Honor Society photography and media costs.

President of the Union Matt Rand ’19 began his first Executive Board meeting with a presentation from former PU Chip Kirchner ’17. Kirchner, in a last act as PU, brought forward recommendations that RPI TV undergo conflict resolution and leadership training, as well as removing their exception for community membership, which currently consists of 40 percent of the club. The recommendations were brought due to an email sent to the relevant bodies regarding the resignation of their president, Dan Bruce ’18.

Kirchner felt that the email’s tone suggested that the purpose of the email was to discredit Bruce, rather than apologize for the circumstances surrounding his resignation. In addition, Kirchner cited instances where RPI TV had ask for “their” allotment of Grand Marshal Week mugs prior to GM Week, and unauthorized access to Field House locations.

Members of RPI TV were not present at the meeting, leading to a division among members of the E-Board about whether action should be taken immediately. Conrad Mossl ’17, among others, argued that he would like to hear from members of RPI TV before following through with the motion. On the other hand, Chris Hoskins ’17 argued, “Lots of the issues have been publicized, taking the step is important.”

Eventually, a motion to begin a review of the operations and leadership of RPI TV and present recommendations as necessary. The motion passed 12-1-3.

The Phalanx Honor Society came before the Board to ask for money to cover the cost of their Tapping ceremony. Phalanx was forced to use external video, sound, and photography contractors for their event, largely due to Accepted Students Day, which occurred at the same time.

RPI TV usually films and streams the ceremony for Phalanx, however, then-President Bruce expressed concern about finding members available for the event due to Accepted Students Day. Bruce’s resignation made the coverage of the event unclear, and since no formal request had been made to RPI TV, Phalanx determined it was best to hire an outside company.

A similar issue occurred with the sound system. The system in the Heffner Alumni House was experiencing difficulties, and Media Operations was unsure if it would be able to repair the system before the event. UPAC Sound said that it would be unable to cover the event. Due to the fact that President Shirley Ann Jackson, vice presidents, and deans would be in attendance, Phalanx contracted an external company.

Lastly, the funds for the photographer that covers the event ended up in the wrong account, unable to be accessed by Phalanx. The honor society was asking for $2385 to cover the costs.

Members of the E-Board were very hesitant to fund the group. Ines Roman ’17 said that because Phalanx is an honor society with restricted membership, the Rensselaer Union was not obligated to assist them. The first motion to cover the cost for Phalanx failed 0-8-4. A second motion was brought forward that suggested the Union loan Phalanx the money, with the goal of repayment by the beginning of fiscal year 2020. The motion failed 10-0-2 due to needing three fifths of the voting body to pass.

The last motion of the evening was to appoint Rasika Ekhalikar ’18 as Vice President of the Union. The motion passed with only Ekhalikar abstaining.

Rand concluded the Executive Board meeting with his weekly President of the Union Report in which he discussed the upcoming week’s agenda and events.