Campus / News / Student Senate / February 23, 2011

Senate considers constitution changes

Last Thursday night in the Round Room of the Ford Center for Fine Arts, Student Senate reconvened to discuss changes to the constitution, which a specially-created Special Committee on Rules (SCOR) has been rewriting and revising.

SCOR wanted the Student Senate’s opinion on several issues. The first was a quandary presented to Senate as “The Open Meeting Continuum.” SCOR wanted Senate’s opinion as to whether Senate meetings should remain open to the public, but with the ability to call a closed meeting in the event being open to the public would hinder productivity, as policy stands now. Additional possibilities presented were meetings always being open or always being closed, regardless of the nature of the discussion. After a straw poll, Senators overwhelmingly favored the current balance of open-meeting policy.

The next issue presented was, “What direct democracy-type should students have?” Currently, Senate operates on a two-part system: an initiative, which is a petition signed by a certain number of students that forces Senate to consider a vote on an issue and a referendum, which is a petition signed by a certain number of students that forces a campus-wide vote on the issue.

It was proposed that the term “petition” be re-defined so that a petition signed by a certain number of students could bypass Senate’s consideration. Students were skeptical of this; another straw poll was taken, and Senate passed the petition, but with additional conditions to prevent the passing of any radical or otherwise ill-advised propositions.

The third issue brought to Senate by SCOR was that of how much control Senate should have over Student Housing. The question was whether Senate should be put in charge of deciding where students live or whether the Campus Life office should continue operating under its normal schedule. The Senate straw poll indicated that most Senators felt the current operating system was sufficient.

After the SCOR presentation, there was a brief discussion over whether a Grab-N-Go at the C-store should be open for dinner.

Allison Bader

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