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January term, BSC changes laid out across the table

Student Senate was quick and efficient this past week as it gave its recommendation on future J-terms and passed several motions.

The most vigorous discussion had to with how J-term registration will look in the future.

Currently, registration from J-term is by paper, or hard copy, and students must turn in a form signed by their advisor to their dean’s office.

Drake is now looking at three different ways of registration: continuing the current paper system, electronic registration by credit hours the same or interested students electronically wait-listing themselves for a J-term class and allowing the professor to choose from that waitlist based on pre-requisites and other criteria.

Sen. Breanna Thompson voiced her support for any form of electronic registration due to her own experience of trying to register for J-term.

“Registration really needs to be changed to electronic,” Thompson said. “I tried to register from abroad and it’s a huge hassle for both sides on the communication end.”

There were some concerns voiced over both electronic options.  Some senators wondered if “credit-based” registration would prevent underclassmen to get the opportunity to get into a J-term class, allowing classes to be dominated by juniors and seniors.

Sen. Dan Pfeifle wondered if the wait-list option was instituted, would bias on the professor’s part creep in, as they would be given complete control over who was or was not allowed into the class.

Faculty Senate approved the electronic, wait-list option while Student Senate ultimately voted in favor of the electronic, by-credit option.

Continuing from last week regarding the changes to the Board of Student Communications, Senate passed two motions to finalize those changes.

First, almost all of BSC’s bylaws were removed from Student Senate’s bylaws, granting BSC almost complete autonomy from Student Senate.  The BSC will now have its own bylaws which will be found in the BSC Policy Document.

Second, Senate approved the establishment of a separate campus media fee under the BSC.  Originally, campus media funding was taken directly out of student activity fees since both were under Student Senate.  Now both fees will be separate.

Senate voted to allocate money for three events. One was to send a representative to a TEDx conference in order to obtain a one-year license to host a TEDx event here at Drake.

TEDx events are similar but work on a local level and can feature numerous TEDTalks.

The main source of debate over obtaining a license to hold a TEDx event is that the license is held under a single person, not an institution.  As a result, each time Student Senate or Drake will ever want to hold a TEDx event, they will have to send the organizer to obtain the license themselves. This is a policy of TEDx and there is no way around it.

Some senators did not see the rush to allocate the money now as there is no deadline to obtain the license and wanted to wait until they had fully communicated with Drake administration to work out the details of the potential event.

Senate allocated $206.25 to the Drake Women’s Ultimate Club for transportation and registration costs in order to participate in the “Ames to Please” tournament in Ames, Iowa.  This will be a warm-up for the club before competition starts in the spring.

A further $349 was allocated to the group F (Forget) Bottled Water for their “Shock Week,” Nov. 12-15, which will focus upon advocating that Drake no longer sell bottled water.  They will be handing out water bottles, selling T-shirts and will show the documentary “Tapped.”

Senate also voted to support the movement of parking on 25th street by the Drake Law School to the other side of the street in order to promote safety as cars driving along it have a hard time seeing pedestrians.


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