Internal structure changes approved
Three non-voting vice president positions added to the Board
In his second-to-last Executive Board meeting as president of the Union, Justin Etzine ’18 G ’19 presented a series of final amendments to the Executive Board Bylaws alongside Policies Committee Chairperson David Raab ’19. These amendments included a restructuring of leadership positions on the Board, changes to the PU’s responsibilities, the addition of an appeal process to the GPA minimum for E-Board membership, and changes to ease functioning of the Board over the Arch.
To begin, Etzine clarified that these changes were not created due to inadequacies of the current Board. Rather, they were changes he saw necessary from previous Boards’ inabilities to function efficiently. “This Board has actually operated exceptionally well,” assured Etzine. He then began the presentation on the amendments.
Two new vice president positions were created, alongside the renaming of the current VP position to “Vice President for Board Operations.” The new positions are entitled “Vice President for Club Relations” and “Vice President for Rules and Special Projects.” During discussion, Etzine revealed these positions were modeled after responsibilities he delegated to existing Board members Vice President Anissa Choiniere ’20, Club Operations Chairperson Caitlin Kennedy ’19, and Raab. These VPs will serve as acting PU when necessary, meet regularly with each other, and serve as a “check” on the PU. Each position is non-voting, and vice presidents will not be assigned clubs to represent.
The vice president for board operations will serve as the PU’s first point of contact for assistance in managing the committees of the E-Board. This person will meet regularly with all committee chairs, and supervise documentation.
The vice president for club relations will supervise and assist with the club representative duties of all Board members, and assist in training and guidance.
The VP for rules and special projects will fulfill the duties of the Policies Committee, which has subsequently been removed. They will advise the E-Board and PU on policies and host “working sessions” to propose changes to the Rensselaer Union Guidelines and Procedures when necessary. In a separate amendment, it was stipulated that these changes must be submitted to officers of the Union and Union Admin Office staff within 24 hours of Board approval.
Etzine also presented new responsibilities for outgoing presidents of the Union to assist the incoming PU in their transition to the role. This includes “providing guidance when asked,” and attending Executive Board meetings to “provide insight” unless the incoming PU requests that they not attend.
There were also additional restrictions placed on the PU in an effort to minimize conflicts of interest. An amendment specified that the PU may not be a president or treasurer of any Union-funded or recognized club. The clause specifies that the president will have one week to resign from their conflicting position once appointed.
In the original presentation, Etzine and Raab presented an amendment of the 2.5 minimum GPA requirement for serving on the Executive Board to a requirement of “good academic standing.” After a lengthy discussion, it was amended to instead create an appeal process to the PU, providing that the applicant waives their FERPA rights. This amendment passed 9-7-2 and can be read about in more depth here.
The final amendments of the presentation added to the Bylaws that students who meet the activity fee-paying membership requirement of the Union for the spring and fall semesters will remain members over the Arch semester. This allows for members of the E-Board to continue to serve throughout the summer. It was also codified that virtual meeting of the Board is allowed, as long as the meetings are publicly announced at least 48 hours in advance and open to all members of the Union.
The motion to approve revisions to the Bylaws of the Executive Board as presented by Etzine and Raab upon confirmation of the Student Senate passed 14-2-0. The Student Senate unanimously approved the revisions in their meeting on Monday, March 18.