BY BETH LEVALLEY
Student Senate fiercely debated whether to split the facilities and technology senator title into two positions for the 30th session of Senate.
The Student Senate Structure Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of Vice President Zachary Blevins and Senators Cecilia Bernard, Kevin Kane and Kerstin Donat, vouched for having one facilities senator and a separate technology senator. The changes would be implemented in the fall of 2016.
The debate on this position led to an open discussion about the structure of the senate and whether or not it is the most efficient it can be.
Sen. Olivia O’Hea was the first to speak about this decision.
“Something that irks me and comes off bad to students is that all of the changes seem like short term fixes to long term problems, and that splitting up the facilities and technologies position for me typifies that short-term fix mentality,” O’Hea said.
The committee cited the pure amount of work that a facilities and technology senator faces as the main reason for the split.
“I know that it seems like a lot right now, but I think the restructuring of some of these other positions will remove some of that burden,” O’Hea said.
O’Hea refers to other positions having an effect on senate structure, which is mainly the addition of a health and safety senator. This senator would focus on student safety and sexual assault on campus.
The other factor in this decision is the role of the student services senator, who currently works with the Student Services Center and Alysa Mozak on services for mental health.
Student Body President Kevin Maisto did not back the committee’s recommendation to split up the facilities and technology senator.
“This is the one thing that I just can’t support,” Maisto said. “A lot of the elements of student services that are initiative-based are now being absorbed by health and safety.”
Maisto believes that the health and safety senator can take over the role of mental health on campus, which would leave the student services senator with the task of “customer service” for the campus.
This would alleviate some of the workload from the facilities and technology senator, evening out the tasks among more senate members.
During the Student Senate retreat, the majority of members felt that they could do more for campus as a senate member.
Maisto cited working with Drake Public Safety Director Scott Law as one of the biggest roles the facilities and technology senator would pass on to the health and safety senator.
While the voting will happen next week, Student Senate ended the discussion by amending the motion to keep the facilities and technology senator as one position.
Other changes in the senate structure include removing the community outreach senator-at-large, supported even by current Community Outreach Senator Daniel Creese.
Sen. Donat said that this would not put more work on the Community Action Board, but instead eliminate redundancy on campus.
“What Daniel is doing now is exactly what (the Community Action Board) is doing at the moment,” Donat said. “Instead of having two people working on the same thing, there will only be one.”
Senate also agreed to change the title of the diversity interest senator to equity and inclusion senator, which coordinates with the new title of the Office of Student Inclusion, Involvement and Leadership.
Finally, the committee proposed to elect the student body treasurer from a separate ballot alongside the executive elections instead of the senator-at-large elections. This would allow for a finance-focused student to run for an exact position.
Student Senate also confirmed the election schedule for the year.