Senate tackles new campus changes
The 26th session of Student Senate gathered itself in room 201 in the library. The room called the “fishbowl” by many students because of its two-windowed walls, will become the new home for Senate this year.
Student Body President Amanda Laurent stated this was to create better transparency for the students. Its new location offers Senate more room and allows visitors more space to sit, as the Drake Room in Olmsted offered challenges if the audience grew in numbers.
The beginning conversation began with Marc Davis, special project coordinator for Cowles Library. He said the library’s 24-hour study space would have an open house on Sept. 14. Then two days later, the space would become available for use.
“Essentially we’re going from 7 a.m. Sunday morning until we close at 9 p.m. Friday,” Davis said. He added that access to the study space would be through proximity cards.
“There will be an application… A web based form to fill out,” Davis said.
Davis said the cards would be free, but if they were not returned at the end of the year there would be a fine of some sorts. He said that students are asked to not share the cards, as they agree to terms to “keep it (the study area) a safe Drake space” and the cards would only be authorized for the students who applied for it. Any student can apply for and receive a card.
Davis said there would still be extended hours during the busy seasons for the library and a Xerox machine would be available for use in the study area.
Vice President of Student Life David Karaz handed over the floor to Matt Van Hoeck.
Van Hoeck, chair of the Election Commission, discussed the new timeline for the First-Year Senator position.
The EC decided to move up the process, to better acclimate the new senator to the procedures around the table. A non-mandatory meeting for prospective candidates is set for Sept. 8, and then petitions for the position will be available on Sept. 17. The election will officially begin on Oct. 1. After fall break the new senator will join the table.
Sen. Stephen Slade asked who sets the timeline for the First-Year Senator election.
“It’s the sole discretion of the election commission, there are election commission bylaws that you guys (Senate) approve for the general election, but there are no dates set for the First-Year one (election) in the bylaws,” Van Hoeck said.
Sen. Bre Thompson announced that about seven new organizations are looking to be formally recognized by Senate.
She also gave an update on Study Abroad Scholarship Initiatives.
“They’re running it again this year… unfortunately, it’s not an endowment,” Thompson said. Since the scholarship offered is not an endowment, once the funds run out, it might not be offered again.
Technology Liaison Joey Gale, discussed the use of Blackboard 8 and 9, and the broadband update on campus.
Gale said about 10-15 percent of professors are using Blackboard 9 right now.
The transition to the new broadband will be finalized on Sept. 30, with 500 Wi-Fi hotspots around campus instead of 300.
“This means we will have access in places we would have never thought before,” Gale said.
Slade, the chair of Academic Affairs, said his committee was working on advising issues.
After the senators finished their reports, new business entered the floor.
The senators voted unanimously to appoint Aaron “Frank” McGown as the new student body auditor. The previous appointee, Adam Lutz, had to step down because of a bylaw stating that the auditor cannot hold an executive position on an annually funded group. Lutz is currently the chair of the Student Activities Board’s Band Committee.
The voting for this motion was randomized — instead of alphabetical order (which it had been in the past) — to encourage senators to vote against motions it they so choose, even if the rest of the senators are voting in favor of motions.
The next two motions appointed the Senate Judicial Committee and president pro-temp.
Sens. Zach Keller, Emily Grimm, Gale, Slade and Thompson were appointed to the Judicial committee with Keller being named the chair. Slade was named the president pro-temp.
Then Van Hoeck rejoined the conversation as a representative for “Bulldogs for Barack.” Bulldogs for Barack was seeking to be recognized as an Ad-hoc group (as it would be only active this semester). Van Hoeck said the main goal of the group was to “register students to vote in Iowa” as well as work on getting a satellite voting center in Olmsted. The organization would also work with all political groups on campus.
That motion was passed by acclimation.
At the end of the meeting, Laurent brought up the issues and discontent brought up with the Knapp Center weight room.
“It’s being addressed and we’re working on it,” she said.
Treasurer Michael Riebel said to contact director of recreational service Michael Ciegelmen with any concerns or input regarding the weight room.
“Give them feedback,” Riebel said.