Senate voted to approve a series of updates to its constitution and bylaws.
While the previous week’s meeting featured an extended discussion regarding concerns over the graffiti wall, Senate opted to delay further discussion of it to their next meeting in order to collect more student opinions. Senate reported that 250 students had already responded to the survey on the graffiti wall that was sent to campus.
New Clubs Approved
Two groups came before Student Senate for approval as official student organizations: Educational Studies Club and Nepali Club.
The representative for Educational Studies Club explained the group’s purpose as being to assist education majors, working with the local school district and to bring in speakers related to education. The group was approved.
The representative for Nepali Club expressed that with 24 Nepali students at Knox, they believed it made sense for them to form their own specific group, which would allow them to spread awareness of Nepal and hold events related to their culture. Senate voted to approve the group.
Updates from Exec
During the report by the Health and Wellness committee, an update was given on the status of the Accessibility Task Force. The ad hoc committee was established by Senate in November, called upon by Senator Ashely Kerley, senior. Kerley was struck by a vehicle on South Street, which resulted in her having issues with mobility on campus.
The Accessibility Committee met to discuss issues like the sidewalks and where ramps could possibly be installed, and how they could assist students who have issues getting around campus.
Secretary Kathryn Allee, sophomore, reported on the completion of a webpage for Student Senate on the Knox website, a long discussed project for Senate. The website currently features names of senate members, contact info and information on the different committees.
Campus Life Chair Carly Rieger, sophomore, discussed a meeting that was held by the Knox Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investment (KACSRI).
KACSRI has to this point been focused on the issue of ensuring Knox does not make investments in private prisons, working with the Board of Trustees on the matter. Rieger described the committee as now split on rather to continue by focusing on different issues to advocate for divestment from Ñ such as fossil fuels Ñ or to focus on advocating for positive investments in certain areas, such as in environmental change.
Rieger stated that while the committee knew the advantage of advocating for divestment was that student support could be generated for certain issues, they did not necessarily want to be bringing new divestment demands to the Board of Trustees every year.
Sustainability Fund request
Sustainability Committee member Patrick Mulchrone, sophomore, presented a funds request that came as a result of Knox’s administration asking for assistance with paying the salary of the Director of Sustainability, Debbie Steinberg.
$20,000 was requested from the funds of Senate’s Sustainability Committee, which would go towards covering Steinberg’s salary for the remainder of the year. Mulchrone commented that while this figure seemed significant, they would still have $67,000 available in the sustainability fund.
Mulchrone stated that the request came about due to the school realizing Senate’s Sustainability Committee had a large amount of money available, and that using those funds for the Office of Sustainability would give the school flexibility elsewhere.
Sustainability Chair Neori Yasumaru, sophomore, said that President Teresa Amott had described the move as a one time subsidy while the school reorganizes its financial situation, with the intention being to not draw from Senate funds for this purpose again.
Senate voted to approve the request.
Senate voted on the constitutional changes its executive members presented to the general assembly at the previous week’s meeting.
The majority of the changes which were described as largely involving rule clarifications and changes to phrasing Ñ were approved by the general assembly.
However, a proposed addition to Article II of the constitution, which would require senators to maintain good academic standing while they hold a seat, caused discussion over confusion on the exact standards and how the rule would be applied.
Senate agreed to delay a vote on this addition to the constitution, with Senate’s exec to look into how other clubs with similar requirements phrase the rule.
Senate also voted on proposed bylaw changes which would lower the amount of senators per class year to five and eliminate the Dining Services Committee, moving its responsibilities to the Campus Life committee.
As was explained at the previous meeting, Senate’s exec believes it will become easier to fill the seats of Senate by lowering the amount of members and that the Dining Services committee no longer has enough responsibilities to be necessary. Senate voted in approval of the changes.
The next meeting of Student Senate will be held on Thursday, Feb. 20 in the Trustees Room of Alumni Hall.