While the student senators waited patiently for the Academic Affairs Committee to arrive, the sounds of Phoenix entered the Fishbowl in Cowles Library.
The agenda for the evening was sparse — No motions to be voted on.
Once the AAC arrived, the meeting started, and only lasted for 40 minutes. Chair of the AAC, Sen. Stephen Slade apologized for the delay explaining they were in a committee meeting with the new provost, Deneese Jones. During the meeting, Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari spoke about some of the safety concerns students have been having recently.
“You might be aware of a shooting that took place last night (Sept. 5) over by Drake Park,” he said. “That’s a second time we’ve had something in that area.”
Bakari said the university deemed the shooting not a threat after calls to campus security, marketing and President David Maxwell.
He explained that to deem an incident not a threat to campus various factors have to be taken into consideration such as are students involved, the location of the incident and what type of incident.
“The president is concerned,” Bakari said. Because of this concern they are setting up meetings with the chief of Des Moines Police to talk about crime trends in that area.
Slade brought up frustration from social media that night when students wanted clarification on the location of the incident. Tweets went out from the Des Moines Register saying the location was Drake Park, but there was confusion as to if it was Drake Park apartments on 34th Street, or the Drake Park area just east of campus.
He said it might be good in the future to get some sort of communication about an incident on or near campus.
“It’s a tough call sometimes,” Bakari said. He said there is some caution to make sure all the information they send out is confirmed.
Student Body President Amanda Laurent began the meeting with discussion about committee appointments and a new weekly blog she is starting for Senate. Her blog will be posted every Monday on the Senate website (drakesenate.com).
“This past Monday was low-key, but next Monday I hope to get into meatier issues,” she said. Laurent said a monthly newsletter would also be going out at the end of the month to keep the student body informed.
Vice President of Student Life, David Karaz took the helm of the meeting next to speak about how many committee applications went out and the start of Senate Executive meetings. Senate Exec is made up of the nine senators-at-large, the student body president, the vice presidents and the first-year senator once he or she is elected.
Karaz added that all members of Senate could attend those meetings, even if they are not an at-large. The exec meetings are more of an informal meeting for the senators to discuss what will be coming up around the table in future meetings.
He spoke about a Student Senate Five-Year Strategic plan that was produced by former senators and the Senate Feedback Initiative.
“Five years ago, there was a strategic plan that student senate put out, and it was never touched, and it has not to be found,” he said. Once a month, senators would bring one person (administrator, Des Moines Leader) and set them up with a senator to discuss what the organization does and then have
meeting. At the end of the meeting feedback would be provided to the body.
“And if we were to do this, I would make sure not to lose it,” Karaz said.
After office reports, Senators offered up news from their committees. A flurry of proxies spoke up for their respective senators who were out because of previous commitments.
Slade talked about his committee’s meeting with Jones.
“She’s definitely a very fun woman,” he said.
In that meeting, she asked the committee what they thought was going well at Drake, and what challenges they saw the university facing that they would be willing to work on. Slade asked the senators around the table to put in their thoughts on those questions.
At the end of the meeting, Laurent touched on the Knapp Center weight room and informed the table that the weight room was not paid for with students’ tuition, but rather special gifts to the university. She said sports clubs could use the Knapp Center weight facilities as long as there was a coach.