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Student senate requests information on sexual assault

| Thursday, March 31, 2016

Student senate gathered Wednesday night to discuss and approve a resolution requesting the publication of a quarterly report detailing instances of sexual violence on campus.

The resolution was proposed by Keenan Hall senator, sophomore Wilson Barrett, and Cavanaugh Hall senator, sophomore Kathleen Rocks.

Rocks said because the student body does not receive a crime alert in response to every act of sexual violence reported on campus, students receive a false impression of how many instances of sexual violence are reported each year.

“The point of having these quarterly reports is so that students can understand the gravity and extent of this problem and hopefully be spurred to act on it,” she said. “We find it very important for students to be aware of what’s going on … When you go by the emails you think there’s only three, four, five [incidents]. It’s terrible to get those emails, but you don’t realize the extent of the problem.”

Barrett said he and Rocks hope this resolution helps students realize sexual violence is a community issue.

“It’s all public [information], so theoretically every student could do this, but this just makes students more aware and gets the information out there,” Barrett said.

Additionally, the group discussed and approved a proposal to amend the constitution of the undergraduate student body regarding the composition of the Club Coordination Council (CCC).

CCC president, senior Marisa Thompson, said the amendment would allow members of the CCC to hold a position on the Student Union, which was previously banned due to a perceived conflict of interest.

“Right now, as it stands, anyone who is on the Club Coordination Council cannot hold any other position within the Student Union,” Thompson said. “We didn’t think [this] was necessarily within the spirit of delineating those members within the constitution because we didn’t see there to be a conflict of interest in having those members explicitly defined in the constitution itself.”

Judicial Council president, senior Zach Waterson, said the amendment gives students more freedom to join clubs that interest them.

“The real crux of [the] amendment is whether or not they’re representing a body to the rest of the Student Union,” he said. “As the CCC reps represent a club to the CCC, it was Marisa’s judgment that holding that position isn’t going to put you in a conflict of interest because we don’t keep people in the Student Union from joining clubs.”

The senate also approved an amendment to the constitution of the undergraduate student body regarding the procedure for amendment.

Waterson, who proposed the amendment, said it states that before an amendment is proposed to Senate, the Judicial Council president and the director of the Department of Internal Affairs must be consulted about it, “specifically how consistent it is with the constitution.”

“Over the last year I have continued to … [move] Judicial Council to a collaborative role and as a resource for the other Student Union organizations, and collaborating especially in efforts pertaining to the Student Union constitution,” he said. “[This] also ensures that we don’t pass amendments that perhaps haven’t been fully considered or introduce further inconsistencies into the constitution.”

The Senate also voted to approve junior Paulina Eberts as next year’s CCC president. Thompson said in a letter that Eberts’ enthusiasm shows through her work with the CCC.

“[Eberts] has actively made an effort to engage in a wide variety of enriching extracurriculars as a member of the Notre Dame student body,” the letter said. “Her dedication to the CCC and its efforts on campus makes her well-equipped to serve as its president.”

Because this was the final senate meeting for the Ricketts-Ruelas administration, student body president Bryan Ricketts gave his State of the Student Union speech to the senate. Ricketts said over the course of the past year, he has learned what it means to be a student leader.

“It’s someone who actually has a desire to do something,” he said. “They believe in the ability of students to collectively make a difference. They believe in the value of engaging with difficult issues and that a commitment to change means that students can and should be partners in that change.”

Ricketts said he has also repeatedly asked himself, and challenged the members of senate to ask themselves, “Where were you when it happened?”

“As this term comes to a close, I’m happy with my answer to that question,” he said. “I hope you are too.”

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About Courtney Becker

Courtney is a junior from New York City majoring in film, television and theater with a minor in journalism, and currently serving as News Editor. She is a proud resident of Pasquerilla West Hall and a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

Contact Courtney