Campus / News / Student Senate / February 11, 2010

Senate votes down Gizmo smoking ban

Last week, the Knox College Student Senate convened at 7 pm on Thursday with one major controversial issue on the docket for the night: a resolution to ban smoking on the Gizmo patio.

Safety and Services Chair Gabe Paz tabled the resolution from the prior week’s meeting. Paz cited the resolution’s lack of availability prior to the meeting, but there was no impediment to the item reaching the floor this week.

The debate was initially limited to 30 minutes on the issue of the smoking ban. Several minutes in, Senator Kaeli Wineburg proposed the resolution be amended to say that half of the Gizmo patio be made not smoking and the other half be designated smoking, which was accepted by the sponsors of the item.

Senators discussed a variety of options on the subject of enforcement and alternatives, and several concerned students addressed the chamber as well. After around 25 minutes of discussion, the question was called and the resolution ultimately failed in a vote of 20-21-3.

Also featured in last week’s meeting was an impromptu discussion on the subject of ‘student autonomy,’ prompted by Senate President heather kopec. When asked about the source of the discussion, kopec said, “This has been floating around for the past few years.”

The discussion as a whole elicited a variety of responses on a wide range of smaller subjects such as club funding and senator involvement.

“Sometimes, we get caught up in trying to better ourselves personally,” junior Senator Abraham Diekhans-Mears said. “Sometimes, we lose our focus […] I would like to see better cooperation between the student government and the administration and the student body as a whole.”

Dean of Students Xavier Romano also joined the discussion, supporting the idea of student government as a whole.

“I have yet to be surprised by a Student Senate that doesn’t act in the best interests of the larger student community,” Romano said.

Ultimately, the discussion resulted in no action, though senior Senate Vice President Trevor Sorenson suggested that more autonomy-themed resolutions be brought to the floor in the coming weeks.

Finally, Senate Chairwoman Creal Zearing announced the current totals for the bottled water initiative, with over 500 students signing up to receive a stainless steel water bottle in return for pledging not to buy plastic water bottles on campus.

As of last week, the Student Senate Discretionary Fund retained approximately $39,000 for the rest of the year.

Andrew Polk

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