Student Senate

Senate expresses support for Greek community

The Interfraternity and Rensselaer Panhellenic councils held an open forum in the Darrin Communications Center on March 30. Prior to this forum, the organizations released The Greek Life Open Forum Questionnaire to the community to “collect data on certain points to help guide discussions,” as explained in an IFC instagram post. In a presentation to the Student Senate on April 8, Greek Senator Peter Gramenides ’20 displayed the results of this survey, then moved that the Senate resolve to support the Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils, as well as Greek life as a whole.

Gramenides presented the results, noting that 65.9 percent of respondents were members of a Greek organization. The survey was explained as a comprehensive review of the current beliefs of Rensselaer students. The full results were made public upon request from The Polytechnic. Some of the emphasized results included:

  • 95.2 percent response of “Yes” to “Do you believe Greek Life has value?”
  • 98.3 percent response of “Yes” to “Do you believe Greek housing/off campus housing should be on option for Summer Arch?”
  • 95.9 percent response of “No” to “Do you believe administration has the best interests of Greek Life in mind?”
  • 66.2 percent response of “Strongly Agree” and 20.2 percent response of “Agree” to “The GLTF has negatively affected recruitment”

The survey also included questions such as “Do you know what CLASS is?” “Do you believe the Greek organizations and athletics are held to the same standard?” and “Would you do Arch if you were not required to?”

After this presentation, a motion was read to the Senate with both whereas and resolution clauses, which describe the current state of Greek life and declare support of the IFC. The whereas clauses includes multiple references to the survey results, including the development of the questionnaire by the Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils, number of responses, and three specific question results. In the resolutions portion, the Senate recommended “immediate consideration” by administration of Greek housing availability during Arch, collaboration between the Greek councils and Student Government, and Greek student involvement in implementation of deferred recruitment. The motion also called for recognition of the value of the Greek community and an endorsement of its continued existence, as well as the recognition and endorsement of the results and findings of the Greek Life Open Forum Questionnaire.

During discussion of the presentation, senators voiced concerns about the last clause of the motion. Class of 2020 Senator Tahsin Islam voiced that administration has previously expressed distrust in surveys with disproportionate groups of respondents, and the majority of Greek responding students may call the results into question. He added that “the original intentions of the survey were different from what we are using it for now” and that he is “not the biggest fan of that.”

When discussion began on the motion, it was immediately suggested to strike “endorse” from the clause concerning the survey results. Gramenides moved to strike “endorse,” and during this discussion, the Senate came to the conclusion that they would prefer to strike the entire sixth resolve. Senators recognized the potential for unknown bias in the survey results, and were content with the acknowledgment in the whereas clauses.

Gramenides expressed the desire to change the current amendment, which struck “endorse and,” to make it strike the entire resolve. Through discussion, members decided to instead fail the current amending motion and pose a new one—though Robert’s Rules allows the amendment of any motion, including motions that are already making an amendment. The Senate then voted to close the queue in order to end discussion, which was corrected to a vote to call the question. They then voted on the original amendment of the sixth resolution to strike “endorse and.” This motion was voted on again after members requested clarification of its intent, and it eventually failed. Gramenides then motioned to strike the sixth resolve as well as “, and” from the fifth resolve. This motion passed. After unrelated discussion, Parliamentarian Colleen Corrigan ’20 moved to add “and” to the fourth resolution. This passed unanimously.

The original motion was not amended any further. The final resolve clauses passed 13-0-1, and the whereas clauses were verbally reported to have passed 13-0-1. Though, Class of 2020 Senator Joey Lyon, upon questioning from The Poly, said he voted against the whereas clauses. Also upon question from The Poly, the abstaining senator, Independent Senator Emmanuel Gerardino ’20, said he abstained from voting because he was confused by the amendment procedure.