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Senate Corner

Student Senate proposes changes

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September 26, 2013

The Student Senate Executive Board passed a motion drastically changing the bylaws of Senate.

Motion EX-13-14-02, simply titled “Bylaw Amendments” was proposed by Vice President Anthony Sumnicht and seconded by Ethics Chair Nicholas Vanden Heuvel. This motion will now move from the Executive Committee to the whole Senate, where it will require a week for introduction and then a majority vote to pass. The potential changes will be effective immediately.

The proposed changes to the bylaws intend to address a number of issues. The first is repetition and discrepancies among the Senate’s other governing documents. The motion also creates a paid non-voting Public Relations Administrator position on Senate. Lastly, the motion helps to clarify who is part of the Senate, and how far the Senate’s power reaches.

This motion will create much shorter bylaws, cutting the existing bylaws nearly in half. This is achieved by removing sections of the bylaws that appear in other governing documents. Detailed descriptions of committee and member duties were removed to give the senate the ability to function with more flexibility.

The Public Relations Administrator position would be altered to open up the position to all students. The motion also creates a small stipend for this position. This Public Relations Administrator will help Senate engage more effectively with students.

Currently some sections of the Senate bylaws have jurisdiction over all students. The proposed motion pulls back the authority of the Senate, and clarifies who is a member of Senate. With the proposed changes, Senate will consist of the current 25 voting members, all student members of Senate, Advisory and University Committees.

There are also a few other changes in the motion. One creates a new ethics and demerit process. Another removes the power of discretionary spending by Senate leadership.

The Student Senate Executive Committee would like to straighten our governing documents early in the year, so we can focus more on the issues that students care most about.  These changes should help establish a better foundation for the Senate to achieve its goals.

Anthony Sumnicht is the 2013-2014 vice president of Student Senate.