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Proposed election changes debated

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Campus Life Council discussed both the difficulty in synchronizing hall election dates and the possibility of creating a new task force to combat violence against women at Monday’s meeting.

A resolution regarding election deadline compliance was presented, which requested greater assistance from the Office of Student Affairs and residence hall rectors in ensuring a smooth transition between student government administrations.

The resolution also stressed the necessity of increased communication between the Judicial Council and each hall staff regarding the election dates.

After Council members reviewed the resolution, voting was postponed due to concerns surrounding next year’s still-undetermined election dates.

“I would rather have a date by which they [the elections] need to be done, and the later, the better,” said Dillon rector Father Paul Doyle. Doyle expressed concerns that the proposed March 1 election date would prevent those rising seniors who apply for, but do not receive, resident assistant positions from participating in hall elections.

“I don’t see any compelling reason to do it [hold elections] at the same time in every dorm,” Doyle said. “I’m not asking you to push the date after spring break – I just want a chance to engage the upper class.”

Judicial Council president Brin Anderson and student body president-elect Dave Baron said the March 1 date had been proposed because it would allow for a longer transition period.

“March 1 was selected so senators can go to meetings and other transition meetings,” Baron said, noting these other meetings will be set up in the near future with the Office of Student Activities.

Cavanaugh rector Sister Pat Dearbaugh agreed with Doyle, saying she did not see the point of synchronizing the election dates.

“March 1 is way too early to do all this, when we have RA decisions to make, and to expect people to take over that early,” Dearbaugh said.

Cavanaugh senator Jordan Bongiovanni said increasing senior involvement in hall government, a concern of several Council members who mentioned the growing trend toward younger hall presidents, should be separated from the election date issue.

“I think we’re trying to solve two different problems here,” Bongiovanni said. “I think it’s student government’s job as a whole to encourage older leadership, if they see fit.”

Howard rector Kathy Brannock said another complication with the early election dates was the study abroad notification date.

“I would hate to have a student elected president get accepted to London and then withdraw as president,” Brannock said.

Baron acknowledged the problem and offered the possibility of talking to International Studies to see if they could push forward notification dates next year.

With the vending task force’s objective of sending a resolution to Vice President of Student Affairs Father Mark Poorman completed, Bongiovanni asked if a new task force should be created in its place.

In response, Baron proposed added attention to the problem of violence against women, saying, “This may be something to take up in another task force, or social concerns. This is something we need to look into.”

Baron said he felt male involvement in preventing rape needed to increase and brought up Men Against Rape, an organization he thinks could benefit the effort.

“Some of the efforts aren’t tailored towards men,” Baron said. “That’s something next year Lizzi [Shappell] and I are going to be working on.”

Student body vice president Karla Bell said that while the Gender Resource Center was designed for men and women, the male programs are not as effective.

“A huge problem is that they can’t get enough male involvement to make a difference, even for programs geared towards men,” Bell said.

In other CLC news:

u Bongiovanni and Baron met with Mark Roche, Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, and Professor Dennis Jacobs to talk about the implementation of a diversity requirement in the curriculum.

“We got a lot of great information which we’re excited to move forward on,” Bongiovanni said.

The next step for the social concerns task force, according to Bongiovanni, will be meeting with deans of all the different colleges for further discussion.