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Student Senate approves secretary, discusses residential life

| Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Senate met Wednesday evening to approve sophomore Mae Raab as the new Student Union secretary for the remainder of the 2015-2016 school year and discuss recent announcements regarding housing changes.

Student body president Bryan Ricketts nominated Raab for the position, citing her commitments to the Green Dot initiative and to fostering a “a safe and inclusive campus for all,” as a valuable addition to the administration. Raab will take the place of former secretary, sophomore Sibonay Shewit, who replaced senior Daniel Selhorst as student body chief of staff.

“Mae’s communications will be an asset as she crafts the minutes for our various committees, but more importantly, she is in it for the team and values the interpersonal relationships that she is able to build wherever she goes,” Ricketts read from his letter, addressing the Senate.

“I trust she will ably lend her skills to catalyze change on behalf of the student body,” Ricketts said.

Raab previously served on the residential life and gender issues committees, where her efforts aided in the completion of Dorm Week and the It’s On Us campaign launch.

Following the approval of Raab’s nomination, sophomore Rebecca Blais, director of internal affairs, resigned from her position, stating that her goals for the semester come into conflict with a stipulation of the Student Union Constitution that states, “Election Committee members may not campaign for any ticket while holding this position.”

In a statement, Blais said, “One of the duties of Director of Internal Affairs is to serve as a non-voting member of the Election Committee; therefore, in respect of the duties of my position and the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body, I am formally resigning my position on Cabinet in order to pursue a position in the next term of Student Government.”

Members of Senate proceeded to successfully vote on closing the previous semester’s discussion of Diversity Council leadership in order to move forward with other agenda items. The Diversity Council leadership had chosen not to attend the Senate meeting, according to Nidia Ruelas, student body vice president.

“We will be talking to Diversity Council about moving forward, … talking and working through issues, in terms of discussion about what it means to be in leadership and the kinds of responsibilities that exist,” Ruelas said.

The Senate proceeded to discuss recent announcements about future adjustments to housing, exchanging questions and giving feedback. Zahm House senator and sophomore John Julien addressed the rumors of removing common rooms from five-man rooms, which are often used as spaces for social gatherings, in order to accommodate overcrowding.

Julien and sophomore Wilson Barrett, the Keenan Hall senator, raised concerns about the impacts such actions would have on tight-knit dorm communities. Others expressed worries about effectively targeting overcrowding in dorms and the lack of transparency in the announcement of the temporary dorm movements.

Pangborn Hall is currently planning an open house for the residents of Walsh Hall, Badin Hall, and Morrissey Manor, according to Pangborn Hall Senator and sophomore Taylor Still.

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