February 15, 2012

Senate passes resolution on diversity, looks at Union

In light of the recent campus-wide discussions on the issue of diversity at Knox, Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution stating, “Diversity is an integral part of the campus and community.”

Post-baccalaureate representative Tim Schmeling ‘11 and treasurer senior Sara Ahmed brought the resolution to Senate during last Thursday’s regular meeting. According to Schmeling, the resolution was designed to broadly state that diversity is important to students and to fall short of endorsing any particular measures.

“Given the current climate of diversity and the discussions therein, it behooves the Student Senate to at least take some kind of position,” Schmeling said.

Seymour Union changes

Dean of Students Debbie Southern and Director of Information Technology Services Steve Hall presented to Senate their ideas for the Seymour Union in keeping with Southern’s goal to make it more of a student union.

According to Southern, the union is very “piecemeal,” and she expressed her goal “to figure out what we need to do to the student union.” She talked about the Student Senate office in the Taylor Student Lounge and the Campus Safety satellite office as good measures, but she said this is still piecemeal.

Southern said she would like to transform the Carl Sandburg Study Lounge, or at least part of it, into office space for the Director of International Student Services. After her conversations with Hall, she said there is also the possibility of moving the computer help desk into that space, if not into the Founders Lab.

A few senators were excited about having the help desk in Seymour, but some other students in attendance were rather unhappy with the idea of removing the 24-hour study space.

“The study lounge is actually the only place we can study after everything is closed on campus,” senior Celestina Agyekum said, noting that Founders and the Taylor Lounge are too loud. “Taking that space … is putting a lot of students out of a place to study.”

No action was taken.

Digital signage resolution

Vice President junior JC Weinberg also presented a resolution that would advocate digital signage around campus, which would cut down on the amount of campus-wide emails, which Weinberg called “advertising.”

Senators had some issues with the wording and the intent of the resolution and it was tabled for the Feb. 16 meeting.

In other Senate business, the general assembly confirmed junior Dan Moriarty as an interim senator for junior Kenton Tilford, who had a scheduling conflict. Moriarty is the third interim senator this term under Senate’s new attendance policy.

Committee reports

Finance – Senate approved an $80 additional funds request for a Pre-Law club event. Additionally, Ahmed gave an update on discretionary fund expenditures, reporting that there is $25,816 remaining.

Special Meeting on the Use of the Restricted Fund II – Co-chair Ahmed said there will be a decision on SMURF II projects in the third week of February.

Sustainability – Chair sophomore Max Potthoff announced the first Green Fee request this year. KARES will use Green Fee money to bring author Paul Greenberg to campus.

Dining Services – Chair junior Kaitlyn Duling announced that Dave’s Gator Sauce will soon be available in the cafeteria, and the committee is working to get paper cups instead of plastic in the Gizmo.

Faculty committees

Instructional Support – Freshman Senator Robert Turski said the committee is talking about the lack of elevators in certain academic buildings.

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