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Group reviews election dates

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Members of the Campus Life Council (CLC) discussed the controversy surrounding student body election dates as well as the possibility of implementing a security e-mail list and a “diversity designated” course requirement Monday at their second-to-last meeting of the year.

During a March 15 meeting, the CLC discussed a resolution proposing election deadline compliance but ultimately failed to reach a conclusion since next year’s election dates were not known at the time. Two days later, a heated 90-minute Student Senate discussion focused on a resolution proposing to change next year’s election dates. The resolution did not pass, leaving many members of student government wondering about next year’s situation.

Brin Anderson, president of the Judicial Council, which was the driving force behind the election date resolutions, acknowledged dissent to the proposed changes. Previously, rectors argued that earlier election dates would not give students applying for resident assistant positions or study abroad programs enough flexibility in running for a position in student government.

“It’s complicated because I respect and understand the way rectors want to [conduct elections] on their own terms,” Anderson said. “But you get problems when students are moving off campus.”

Anderson said she felt the resolution was a lost cause at this point, noting that Siegfried senator James Leito would be taking up the issue next year pending the Council of Representatives’ approval of him as Judicial Council president.

“I think my best advice regarding this resolution is not to pass it,” Anderson said.

Leito said he planned to structure next year’s calendar by the end of this semester and would present it to the CLC early next fall in order to receive rector input.

“As long as there’s communication, I think it’ll be all right,” Leito said.

Responding to questions about the benefits of early election dates, student body president Dave Baron said a longer transition period would help newly elected senators adjust.

“You need that amount of time to ‘transishe’ correctly,” Baron said. “Senators need a month to learn the procedures and come to an adequate number of meetings.”

Given the logistical difficulty in planning the election dates, Leito said there was no perfect solution.

“Having five things decided by March 1 – that’s just something we’re going to have to deal with,” he said.

A resolution, read by O’Neill senator and security task force chair Alex French, regarding an off-campus security e-mail list was passed unanimously and forwarded to Student Affairs. The proposed e-mail list will be sent bi-monthly to all undergraduate and graduate students with information provided by NDSP and the South Bend Police about recent security issues off-campus.

French said NDSP had been enthusiastic about his committee’s proposal.

“They’ve been greatly in favor of it,” French said. “[NDSP assistant director] Phil Johnson said he’s been trying to look into something like this before.”

In order to determine student interest, French said the e-mail would be sent out twice before the end of the year to see how many students unsubscribed from the list.

Cavanaugh senator and social concerns task force chair Jordan Bongiovanni said her committee had been “narrowing down its direction” with the goal of instituting a “diversity designated course” requirement.

The course will not be an additional requirement, Bongiovanni said, but would count towards another already existing requirement. She gave an example of economics majors being able to take a course about the economics of Latin America to fulfill the requirement.

“We’re finding that we’re merging with part of the upcoming Board of Trustees report,” Bongiovanni said. “A big question for our task force would be, do we want our goals to diverge with the BOT report, and how?”

Baron said he thought the social concerns task force should continue to work closely with himself and former student body president Adam Istvan as they developed their BOT report.

“We’ve really been able to use the research that this task force put together to create a model,” Baron said.

In other CLC news:

A vending resolution passed several CLC meetings ago is still pending, Istvan said. He apologized for the delay in sending it to Student Affairs.

“I completely dropped the ball on that one,” Istvan said.

With the end of the year fast approaching, Baron told committee members to think about whether or not they would like to write a letter to next year’s CLC urging the continuance of their committees.

This action was taken by last year’s social concerns task force, Baron said.