April 20, 2011

Senate debates new constitution

The Student Senate Special Committee on Rules (SCOR) proposed a new constitution and set of bylaws last Thursday during the regular Senate meeting; these proposals were then subject to discussion and amendment by the Senate at large.

SCOR has been working this year to study the Senate constitution and survey student representation organizations at other schools for ideas that could benefit the Knox system. This was the culminating event of the process, and it is expected that the Senate will vote this week on the new constitution and bylaws as amended.

Other than one change to the wording of a clause in the proposed constitution, no amendments were made. The only major debating and amending was directed toward the new bylaws.

There was some debate about the new representation system. Residential Quality of Life Committee chair and sophomore Katie Wrenn took issue with grouping freshmen and transfer students together.

“Transfer students and first-year college students are definitely different in the groups that they would be representing,” Wrenn said. She proposed having one or two “transfer representatives” for the transfer student population.

Vice President and senior David Barton agreed, and he proposed a structure of representation by expected date of graduation as an alternate solution. But ultimately, no changes were made.

Senate President and senior Sam Claypool proposed a series of amendments. Her first amendment would return the power to chair the Executive Board to the president, as the new bylaws listed the vice president as the chair.

Senators SCOR member and junior Sam Frank and sophomore Michael Gasparro, both of whom are running for vice president for next year, opposed her amendment, which ultimately passed.

Among Claypool’s other successful amendments was a provision to restore the position of the first-year liaison to the Executive Board.

Frank proposed his own series of amendments, including a policy which would require that any changes to stipends received by Executive Board members or Senators at large be approved by a majority of the Senate, which passed.

As part of its regular business, Senate approved two new clubs, as recommended by the Finance Committee: Poetry Club and Blessings in a Backpack.

Senate Treasurer and junior Gordon Barratt also noted in his report that if Senate keeps spending activity fee money at the current average rate, it will run out of money after the second-to-last meeting of the term.

The Sustainability Committee recommended a $1,200 expenditure from the Green Fee account for a summer gardening position, which was approved.

Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with Patch.com, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.

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