Meeting for the last time of the 2008-2009 school year in the Round Room of the Ford Center for the Fine Arts last Thursday, Student Senate assembled with an extensive list of constitutional and bylaws amendments that were, for the most part, left for next year’s senate to tackle.
The amendments were specifically targeted to the Finance Committee Regulations, Special Interest Housing in the Constitution, and a variety of bylaws and constitutional amendments sponsored by Senator Allison Ehrhard.
The first proposed amendment was quickly approved by unanimous consent the changes to the Finance Committee Regulations, which among other things, rose the funding for unbudgeted clubs to $500.
Next, a lengthy discussion of Residential Quality of Life regulations occurred. In some cases, necessary clauses of the Bylaws had never been actually written.
Student Senate Committees
Section 5: Residential Quality of Life Committee
A. The Residential Quality of Life Committee shall represent student views on all matters relating to the Campus Life Office of Knox College and will assist the Office in identifying programmatic, developmental and operational deficiencies within the residential environment, and work collaboratively with this office to identify solutions and assist in their implementation.
B. The Residential Quality of Life Committee shall, with the assistance of the Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life, review applications for Special Interest Housing grants. Using criteria established and approved by the Senate, the committee shall make a recommendation to the Student Life Committee, who will formally approve grant selection. Grant selection must also be approved by the full Student Senate.
C. The Residential Quality of Life Committee may review any Residential Learning Policy that affects students and may introduce motions and/or recommendations to the Senate based on those policy reviews.
D. The chair of the Residential Quality of Life Committee shall be a member of the Executive Board and shall be elected in the Spring Term campus-wide elections.
I. Purpose of Student Senate
Section 4: Housing Powers
A. Special Interest Housing (SIH) shall be the responsibility of the Special Interest Housing Ad-hoc Committee
B. The SIH ad-hoc committee shall be composed of all the representatives of the Residential Quality of Life Committee, and the Dean of Residential Learning (ex-officio) with the following exceptions:
a. Any member of the Res. Qual. Committee has to declare if they intend to apply for an SIH house before the ad-hoc committee is formed. These people cannot be on the SIH ad-hoc committee.
b. Any member of the Res. Qual. Committee who comes forward and declares that he or she has a conflict of interest at any time will be excused from the SIH ad-hoc committee.
c. Any member of the SIH ad-hoc committee can come forward at anytime during the SIH housing process and declare a conflict of interest and ask to be replaced on the committee.
C. If a member of the Res. Qual. Committee cannot serve on the SIH ad-hoc committee the following process will be used to appoint the appropriate number of members to the SIH ad-hoc committee:
a. All current senators who are not currently applying for an SIH house will have their names randomly selected. Names will be randomly chosen until all the vacancies are filled. When a senator’s name is pulled, he or she may choose to decline to be on the ad-hoc committee.
b. This committee must be approved by a majority of the senate.
D. If the chair of the Res. Qual. Committee is unable to serve on the SIH ad-hoc committee, then he or she will appoint an eligible member of the Res. Qual. Committee to serve as the chair of the SIH ad-hoc committee.
E. All members of the SIH ad-hoc subcommittee (including the Dean of Residential Learning) shall commit to be present at all meetings.
F. All SIH applications will be blind other than two declared representatives for each house.
G. Criteria for evaluation of SIH applicant groups must be decided on and presented to the Senate for approval prior to the committee’s presentation to campus.
H. SIH does not guarantee an accepted group a small house. All groups must first apply for programmatic early block housing. If a group feels that they need a house, they must provide support for this request in their application. However, there is no guarantee that any small houses will be given out during the SIH process.
I. The SIH ad-hoc committee shall give a presentation to the campus about the SIH application process during week five of Winter Term.
J. Housing applications shall be due during the seventh week of Winter Term, giving the SIH ad-hoc committee a minimum of three weeks before the end of winter term to review applications. Furthermore, groups must submit a ballot statement (275 words maximum) summarizing their group and their goals.
K. During the seventh week of winter term, groups’ ballot statements will be sent out to current full-time students, who will then vote on them. These applications shall be blind to avoid bias.
L. The SIH ad-hoc committee shall use the results of this online voting in their SIH decisions. How these decisions factored into their final decision shall be made known in the final SIH presentation to Senate.
M. Alternatively, or in addition to a ballot statement and online voting fair, the SIH ad-hoc committee may choose to hold a housing fair, at their discretion. However, this fair will not include voting, so as not to give larger groups an advantage.
N. The SIH ad-hoc committee shall review all SIH applications, and hold interviews with each prospective SIH group during the first two weeks of spring term.
O. By the third week of spring term, the SIH ad-hoc committee shall make their final recommendation to the Student Senate in the form of a Res. Qual. Consent agenda with each group being voted on separately.
P. During the discussion in Senate of the recommendations, the SIH ad-hoc committee shall give a presentation specifying how and why they made their SIH choices.
Q. Recommendations made by the committee can be approved or denied in the following manner:
a. If a senator wishes to remove a group from the Res. Qual. consent agenda he or she must propose the removal of a group, and receive a second. Any group being removed will require a 2/3 majority of the senate for removal.
b. If an applicant group is denied by the ad-hoc committee, a Senator can make a motion to have that group approved. Any group being approved will require a 2/3 majority of the senate for approval.
R. The Special Interest Housing Criteria may be amended by a two-thirds vote of those present at a general meeting.
Finally, the list of resolutions sponsored by Senator Ehrhard received both support and contention, and were ultimately all either voted down or removed from consideration until next year.
The Student Senate Executive Budget was expected to be approximately $56,000 for the coming school year.