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Senate approves pro-Israel, climbing and Panhellenic groups

Photo by Ian Klein

BY IAN KLEIN

At its weekly meeting on March 8, the Drake University Student Senate approved a new club that will promote Israeli culture and the state of Israel itself on campus.

The Senate motion for the approval of Students Supporting Israel states that the purpose of the club “is to be a clear and confident Pro-Israel voice on campus” and to “support students in grassroots Pro-Israel advocacy.”

Representing the club at the meeting were first-year students Sam Veytsman and David Schuller. Schuller told the Senate that “our goal is to familiarize students in the University and community with current events” and that “we believe in ensuring knowledge for students of Israel’s history, diverse people and its day-to-day reality.”

Veytsman and Schuller fielded questions about the club from senators who wondered what types of events the group would hold on campus and how they would converse with other groups on campus regarding the topic of Israel.

“Part of the education is having an open dialogue. We want to be another voice in the dialogue,” Schuller said.

Veytsman and Schuller indicated that the group would be willing to engage in panels with representatives from other student organizations regarding the topic of Israel.

Senators also questioned what motivated the formation of this club. Veytsman and Schuller said incomplete media portrayals of Israel and a lack of voice on Drake’s campus in support of Israel prompted them to organize the group.

Schuller, however, clarified that the group does not necessarily agree with Israel’s “policies, politics or its conflicts” but rather “supports Israel in its right to exist” as a sovereign state.

Veytsman noted that the group will receive resources from the national Students Supporting Israel (SSI) organization, which oversees SSI chapters across the country. Veytsman said the relationship between the Drake chapter and the national group will be “close” with the national organization funding “whatever we need.”

Sen. Jake Bullington argued that approving the club “is only fair and logical for a university that values dialogue and civil discussions around issues like this.” The Senate voted unanimously to approve the club.

Also seeking organizational approval from Senate were the Drake Climbing Team and the National Panhellenic Council. The Senate motion for the Drake Climbing Team reads that the purpose of the group is to “provide students with an opportunity to work with others as a team, train to compete competitively and to learn climbing skills.”

The Senate motion for the National Panhellenic Council states that the group seeks “to advance the collegiate experience of students of color and execute programming of substance in community, academic and professional settings.” Senate unanimously approved both organizations.

Other Senate topics included the 2018-2019 annual budget composed by the Student Fees Allocation Committee (SFAC), the creation of a new Senate position that would oversee organizational affairs at Drake and bylaw changes for the Student Activities Board.

Student Senate meets weekly on Thursday nights at 9 p.m. in Room 201 of Cowles Library.

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