Campus / News / Student Senate / April 10, 2008

Senate discusses theme housing

Last week’s Student Senate Meeting opened with a brief discussion over the funding items on the consent agenda, all of which were quickly approved. After announcing that the discretionary fund contained $13,961, the Treasurer Brian Normile stepped down from his position and the interim treasurer Alex Argyelan finished the report.

After dealing with these preliminary issues, and introducing the new senators for the term, the entire Residential Quality of life Committee came on the floor to discuss their recommendations for the Theme houses. They discussed the particulars of each of the four houses that they approved; those being Co House on 237 S. Knox St, Steak House on 270 W. Tompkins, Asian Cultural House on 530 S. West St, and PHAT House on 697 S. West St.

Discussion turned to the issue of Steak House. For the majority of the first hour of discussion, questions remained germane and pertinent to the topic, though there was some evident hostility in the chambers.

“I am aware that there may be some discontent,” Senate President Brad Middleton said. “I ask the senate to be mindful during our discussions we walk a thin line between making sure we get this right and going through application and redoing for what we already have done for a week and a half.”

Overall, in what was anticipated to be a very contentious discussion, the tone of the chamber remained professional during the first part of the discussion.

“Clarify for me; we have only four houses available?” senior Mike Giese asked.

“Yes,” Senior Maurice Harris said, “if we where to remove a house for any reason, we must remind you we have to assign all four houses, now remember if you choose not to choose a house, it would be left as an open house.”

“The houses are not the only place you can put students,” said Craig Southern, associate dean of students and director of residential learning. “These are theme areas, you don’t even have to use the houses, that’s not why most people apply. Theme houses are not just for theme, you can use other spaces.”

In response to questions that were posed about the proposed Steak House, sophomore Trevor Sorensen responded, as a member of Steak House, “We really want to make this house open to Knox. We want to have this house discussion based. None of the activities we have planned are just for males. We will organize trips to the symphony, for example. Dinner for a charity, dinner parties, social gatherings on weekends, rather than frat parties. Our doors would be open 24/7 more than willing to have people in the house. The members are also planning art and cinema events including movies nights, on top of regular student poetry and art shows.”

The four proposed houses were approved by the Senate.

After a brief recess, the Senate reconvened, and the Diva house was the major topic of discussion. In response to being denied a house, the members tried to secure a block of regular housing as a ‘theme’ area. Discussion went on for about an hour, during which some tempers flared, but in the end the application for the Diva House was denied by a 12-15-10 vote.

Andrew Polk

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