Campus / News / Student Senate / May 21, 2008

Unanimous consent in final Senate meeting with full agenda

In the final Student Senate meeting of the 2007-2008 academic year, a full chamber tackled numerous end of term issues, and managed to reach unanimous consent on all issues, including an unprecedented unanimous roll-call vote.

One major item of business, presented by the sustainability committee and Helmut Meyer, was a resolution to go trayless in the Hard Knox Café and the Oak Room. The resolution would reduce water usage by about 60 gallons per day, and also cut food waste by 30-50%. According to Meyer, some modification to the dishwashing system would be necessary but entirely feasible. Chairman Harris asked what would happen to the trays if they would no longer be needed, and suggested that they be sold to the Knox community at large to provide funds for Wallace lounge. Helmut said that the time to modify the conveyor belts would put the implementation of the plan to fall term, and that he would be taking suggestions on and looking into what should happen to the trays. Overall, the resolution passed by unanimous consent.

After the vote, Meyer surprised the chamber with the unveiling of a new reusable takeout container system. The containers are made of semi-clear blue plastic, and are microwave safe. Participation in the program would require an initial payment of five dollars per student upon the first usage. Students could then check out a container, and could get clean ones upon returning of the previous container, which would then be washed by the dish room and be ready to use again. If a container is lost, another fee of five dollars would be charged. Helmut asked the chamber if this system should be made mandatory, thereby completely replacing the Styrofoam take-out container system. In a non-binding straw poll, the chamber voted overwhelmingly in favor of a mandatory system.

Another item on the floor was the ‘Single Port Resolution,’ presented by Steve Hall and Michael Leon of the Technology Committee. The proposition was to do mass deactivations of about half or more of the Ethernet ports across campus, to essentially have one port active per room. According to Chairman Leon, about 84% of students use wireless network access over Ethernet or wired internet access. This resolution would allow the tech department to focus more attention on the wireless network and to improve it. “What this proposal is really about is … not providing a facility that’s not being used,” Hall said. Furthermore, this would save money by no longer having to maintain and replace all of the ports and the 75 switches in the residence halls. “The future of the world is wireless… and Knox really has an opportunity here to move down that path,” Senator Briggs said. The resolution also passed by unanimous consent.

Next item up was a resolution concerning computer center backups, also presented by Steve Hall. The point of the resolution was to move the time of the system backup from 2a.m to 6 a.m. Monday morning, during which time students could be knocked offline and unable to use the internet if they switch from wireless to Ethernet or vice-versa. Hall expressed concern that senate was not the correct avenue for this business, and Senator Briggs later amended the resolution to leave greater freedom of choice to the tech department, which passed by unanimous consent.

A further topic of discussion was a resolution for the records committee, presented by Graham Troyer-Joy. Essentially, the resolution wanted to rename the Communications Committee to the Records and Accountability Committee, and to shift the duties more towards those ends. The communications officer would still exist, but the committee would have a new non-voting chair. One senator suggested that the term ‘accountability’ be taken from the name. The vote on this item also passed by unanimous consent.

On a more procedural note, a proposition of regulations for the green fee came before the chamber. The item dealt mainly with the projected $18,000 yearly provided the green fee total by establishing a maximum $10,000 grant for any one project from the fund. Senator Briggs motioned to lower the max level of funding from $10000 to $5000, and on a straw poll, the chamber voted slightly against the change. Overall, the proposition also passed by unanimous consent

At the end of the year, the Senate discretionary fund was left with $3500, after the return of funds from the Anti-Philosophy Club and some last minute appropriations. Club budgets from KARES and the Knox Community Garden were also presented, and both items passed unanimously.

Andrew Polk

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