Editor'S Corner

Lack of discussion around UAR concerning

I was initially going to write a short piece about our recent lack of a sports section—stay tuned or skip to the end of the article for that—but then I went to the emergency meeting of the Student Senate on Sunday.

The Senate met to vote on the Union Annual Report for fiscal year 2019, which is a document that outlines the months-long budgeting process of the Executive Board and its decisions with the student body’s activity fees.

For full disclosure, I was a member of the Executive Board until I resigned on Tuesday, and I was also a member of the Union Annual Report Committee.

The lack of discussion around such an important document worries me. The meeting lasted just over 20 minutes, and only three members of the Senate spoke. It’s not that I think the UAR Committee was irresponsible—they worked tirelessly to prepare the document, along with the help of many wonderful people in the Union Admin Office—it’s that it seemed like many Senators didn’t care.

Members of the UAR Committee also failed to express their concerns. The document nearly didn’t get approved in the committee—with a passing vote of 9-7-0, in which I voted in favor—because of issues with the cover. Some members felt the cover, with the most recently approved Union arches logo, would affiliate the Executive Board with the Save the Union organization. Even though members who felt that way were at the meeting on Sunday and given an open environment in which they could share their opinions, it was never discussed. I’m certain many senators passed the document without knowing that those concerns existed.

I left that meeting feeling like barely any people read the UAR, which in turn makes me feel like many senators aren’t doing their jobs. Grand Marshal Justin Etzine ’18 also asked the Senate if anyone had not read the document and paused to allow for those who hadn’t to have some time to skim (and only one newly-installed senator, who had not yet received any student government-related training before the meeting, admitted to not reading it after a considerable pause). If everyone did in fact read it, then I’m even more worried about the sheer lack of opinions and the general sense of apathy in that meeting.

I understand that it is a 52-page document and that the Senate received it at 2:19 am on the day of the emergency meeting due to unforeseen time constraints, but the UAR passed the Senate 17-0-1. Throughout my time in student government and writing about the Senate, I have seen many pointless abstentions; but, if there were Senators in that room who didn’t read the UAR, this finally would have been an appropriate time to abstain.

Now, onto our recent lack of a sports section! The Poly seems perpetually understaffed, and this past year was no exception. It’s not that we don’t want to print sports; we simply do not have interested writers. It wasn’t fair to the people on The Poly to force the section week after week. However, if you are already interested in sports writing, definitely reach out by emailing sports@poly.rpi.edu or stopping by our office during any of our meeting times. We would love to have you.