Student Senate voted on the student activity fee for the next academic school year and discussed the inclusion of a Winter Term reading day in future academic calendars last Thursday in the Trustee’s Room in Alumni Hall.
Senate’s exec began the meeting by announcing their nomination of Jonathan Doriscar, sophomore, to fill the senate’s vacant sophomore seat. Vice President Robert Draper, junior, explained that exec chose to make a nomination after no candidates ran in the election for the open seat. Senate voted to approve the nomination of Doriscar.
Vice President of Finance Paul Eisenmenger was present at the meeting to report to senate on administration’s proposed student fees for the 2020-21 school year, including the recommendation of raising the student activity fee by $6 for total fees of $789 per student. The student activity fee covers the costs of student organizations on campus.
In senate’s discussion of the fee, senate members agreed on the importance of ensuring student organizations can remain funded, but voiced their concern over the ongoing increases in Knox’s student tuition. The assembly voted in favor of proposed raise of the student activity fee, but also approved a motion to work on sending a letter to the administration regarding the rising tuition.
During class reports, complaints were brought up to senate exec about the Dining Services survey that was sent out following their meeting on Oct. 10, with concerns mentioned about the survey’s formatting and the nature of the questions. Senate’s exec acknowledged the issues and stated that they will attempt to go through a better review process in the future.
During committee reports, students from the Faculty Executive Committee brought up that faculty had been debating the merits of having a reading day in the middle of winter term versus having a longer spring break, and were interested in hearing student opinions on the matter.
This year’s academic calendar included a reading day Winter Term, considered an equivalent to the Day of Dialogue in Fall Term and Flunk Day in the spring, but faculty were considering whether this day off should be included in future years’ schedules. Not having the reading day would allow spring break to be a day longer.
Senate set aside time for a full discussion of the question. Some voiced support for the reading day over concerns about students’ mental health during the winter term, while others noted that the length of spring break does make a significant difference for those who come to Knox from greater distances. The possibility of sending a survey to campus about the issue was also raised.
Senate decided to end their discussing by holding a straw poll, with senators favoring the reading day by a ratio of 2 to 1.
During new business, senate also voted to approve Knox Powerlifting as a new student organization on campus, and fund requests from the Culinary, Friends of Green Oaks and Smash theme houses.
Culinary House’s requests was $75 for supplies for a bonfire event. Friends of Green Oaks House’s request was $25 to cover the cost of a bonfire event that was already held. Smash House had two $70 requests for upcoming gaming events.
The second of Smash House’s events was approved with the condition that they look into using the reuse kits offered by the Office of Sustainability for student events, which includes cups and silverware to help cut down on their event costs and waste.
The next Student Senate meeting will be held on Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Alumni Hall Trustee’s Room.