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Members address, consider current and future objectives

Maddie Hanna | Thursday, January 19, 2006

It may be hard to imagine April 1 during the depths of a South Bend winter, but for the senators with long lists of plans at Wednesday night’s Student Senate meeting, the turnover date is clearly no longer a distant hypothetical.

The current designs sketched by Senate leaders are a mix of projects continued from last semester and new proposals.

Student body president Dave Baron said one of the loftier goals he and student body vice president Lizzi Shappell will pursue to round out their terms is to establish an endowment for student programming, specifically concerts and speakers.

Baron said recent discussions regarding Student Union fiscal policy and the carry-forward account made the possibility of an endowment – a much-publicized aspect of his and Shappell’s platform last spring – more timely. He will meet with Vice President for Student Affairs Father Mark Poorman on Friday,

Shappell, who urged senators to remain “very active until April 1,” said she and Baron met before winter break with marketing professor Timothy Gilbride and senior Brett Hummel to establish plans to research what students would like to see in future commercial development south of campus, a project announced by the University last spring.

There will be an attempt to reach closure on the messy issue of pep rallies, said Shappell, who has set up meetings with Hall Presidents Council members, Joyce Center officials and Athletic Department representatives.

“We’ll assess what happened with the past season, ensure we don’t have issues like last year,” she said.

Tickets will be another focus during Senate’s final months. Shappell said revisions to the bowl game ticket lottery system will be discussed, and University Affairs committee chair Matt Walsh said his committee will continue to develop a better basketball ticketing system, working with the Office of Information Technology to get the TicketShare program online.

Walsh’s committee will also investigate the possibility of adding stops to the free TRANSPO service and obtaining additional services from FedEx Kinko’s, as Walsh said the company previously promised.

“We’ve gotten to the point where they should be [offering those services],” Walsh said.

Minority Affairs committee chair Rhea Boyd said her committee will present its resolution to establish a committee to examine cultural competency at Notre Dame once more to the Faculty Senate in February, this time with statistics from the Office of Institutional Research.

Her committee is busily planning events for Black History Month, adopting the theme “Let it Shine: Great Achievements by Great Americans.”

The Academic Affairs committee will direct its efforts toward finalizing the College Readership Program in time for next fall, committee chair Chris Harris said. Other Academic Affairs projects include a forum to promote dialogue between students and faculty, the extension of library hours and “Majors Night,” a campus-wide event featuring representatives from each major, to be held from 7 p.m. to 9 on Feb. 2 in the Joyce Center Concourse.

Ali Wishon, Gender Affairs committee chair, said her committee would soon be presenting a report on gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, queer and questioning (GLBTQ) student needs co-authored by the University Affairs committee.

In addition to planning Sexual Assault Awareness Week, Wishon’s committee will help Mark Seiler’s Residence Life committee facilitate Alcohol Abuse Awareness Week in March.

The Oversight committee, chaired by Sujal Pandya, will finish revising the Student Union constitution as well as research ways to make the April student government transition smoother.

Baron said Community Relations committee chair Nick Guzman is working with the Notre Dame Law School to put together an informational event for students moving off-campus.

In other Senate news:

William Pryor, federal appeals court judge on the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, will speak at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 as the first installment of the “Catholic Think Tank” series, chief executive assistant Liz Kozlow said.

The location of the talk will be announced in the near future, Kozlow said, along with the location of a 7:30 p.m. talk on Feb. 23 by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, who recently made headlines as the first U.S. Catholic bishop to announce he was sexually abused by a priest in his childhood.

Chuck D, lead rapper of Public Enemy, will speak on “Race, Rap and Reality” at 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 2 in DeBartolo 101, Boyd said, as the keynote speaker for Black History Month events.