The Student Senate is taking a closer look at its governing obligations this semester to reassess its role at the college and ensure the senate is fulfilling its responsibilities.
“It may not be the most fun part of the meeting, but it’s the most important,” said Senate President Josh Villanueva when the group got to the item of the agenda titled “Responsibilities.”
The senate typically evaluates all the senators progress in completing their assigned duties in each of the senate’s regular meetings, but this time senator progress was also discussed within the context of changes to the Standing Rules and Bylaws, which are the fundamental rules that govern the senators’ powers and responsibilities.
Changes have already been made to the group’s Bylaws and Standing Rules. The first change came on Sept. 21, when the senate removed a ban preventing it from purchasing meat products for events.
Senator Kenny Igbechi said he wanted the senate to be more inclusive and that it was not the senate’s role to tell students what they should and should not eat. To compromise with former senators who spoke during the meeting and disagreed with the proposal to remove the ban outright, a verbal agreement was made to have meat, vegetarian and vegan options at each event where food is offered.
Friday’s meeting solidified a proposal to make it easier for the senate to make online purchases of business cards and other items usually made from non-recycled paper. The final vote on whether to reduce limits on such purchases will occur on Oct. 12.
Currently, the Bylaws restrict senators to purchase only recycled paper for senate activities. Although the college makes recycled paper easily available, Senator Christopher Lee said he wanted to make sure the senate was not inconvenienced when paper materials needed for senate business could not easily be found containing recycled paper.
Amy Collins, an advisor to the senate, requested a change to the rule requiring clubs to re-submit their club charters each year and be approved by the senate for re-establishment. She said that she wanted the change because clubs have historically not followed this rule and it is not necessary overall.
Already-chartered clubs have instead been submitting Club Rosters each semester, which require the signatures of at least 15 people and for there to be a main person of contact. After some discussion, the rule was ultimately changed so only clubs which have been inactive for three years or more need to submit a charter.
The other major change to the Standing Rules was eliminating the requirement for elected senators to reach out to the student body via tabling and instead requiring that they have two office hours each week. Office hours will be posted on the senate’s website in the near future. Appointed senators will still be required to table.
With applications to join the senate officially closed, the senate plans to interview 11 people to begin appointing new senators to several unfilled positions on the senate in its next meeting Oct. 12. Positions include Vice President of Internal Affairs, Commissioner of Sustainability, and Commissioner of Academics.