January 25, 2012

Student Senate implements new attendance policy

Student Senators who will not be able to attend Senate meetings for a term are now able to appoint their own replacements for the duration of their absence.

Interim Vice President junior JC Weinberg announced a new attendance policy during last Thursday’s regular Senate meeting designed to make sure the general assembly can make quorum each week.

“We came really, really close to cutting quorum last week because of all the people who were going to be excused for Greek things, but also people who are going to be excused for the entire term,” Weinberg said.

The new policy states that senators who have more than two unexcused absences will lose their positions. It allows senators who will not be able to attend general assembly meetings for the term to appoint a replacement, pending approval of the general assembly, to serve for the duration of the absence.

For any absences that exceed one term, a special election will be held to fill the position. The absent senator must still attend Senate and faculty committee meetings.

“Senate can’t do anything if we can’t make quorum,” Weinberg said.

In other Senate business, the Special Meeting on the Use of the Restricted Fund (SMURF) has begun reviewing and investigating ideas for spending the nearly $130,000 fund it controls.

According to Interim Secretary post-baccalaureate Tim Schmeling ’11, SMURF talked about a karaoke machine, espresso machine, campus music venues, green rooms and a rock-climbing wall. Schmeling said the last idea would cost $92,000 and requires further consideration.

Also, due to an oversight, the balance in the Dean’s discretionary fund, which is appropriated by Senate, was rolled into the Senate restricted fund. That balance was moved back to the Dean’s fund.

Senate committee reports

Finance — The Finance Committee approved a $1,500 additional funds request to bring spoken word poet Black Ice to campus. This was approved by the general assembly.

ABLE went over its fall term budget by $68.49, and the committee deducted 150 percent of that overage from the club’s winter term budget. Similarly, Model United Nations (MUN) went over its budget by $182.73, but instead of imposing the 150 percent deduction, the committee decided that MUN will not be allowed to apply for additional funds during winter term.

Sustainability — Committee chair sophomore Max Potthoff said the drying racks purchased last term will soon be available, and he will be making an announcement during this week’s meeting about a new Green Fee project.

Dining Services — Committee chair junior Kaitlyn Duling said that peppermint syrup for coffee will soon be available in the Gizmo. She also announced that the Peoria bakery from which the college has been purchasing organic bread has gone out of business.

Residential Quality of Life — Committee chair senior Ellen Jackson said the special interest housing process will begin soon.

Faculty committee reports

Executive Committee — ExComm is looking at three different proposals for a new daily course schedule. This issue is also being considered by the Instructional Support Committee, which sent out a survey to faculty about scheduling concerns.

Campus Environment —The committee set its agenda for the term, which includes looking into purchasing rock display cases, considering selling advertisements in academic areas and reviewing land use and landscape master plans.

Admission, Retention and Placement — The committee reviewed data from a freshman survey and found that there is an “alarmingly high” rate of students who are mentally unstable and have a lack of social confidence.

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