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Student senate looks ahead to coming year

| Thursday, January 19, 2017

The student senate looked ahead to the final two and a half months of its term at its meeting Wednesday night, going over student body presidential election rules, presenting committee plans and discussing potential speakers for future meetings.

In light of the upcoming student body presidential elections, Judicial Council president Caitlin Geary answered questions and reminded senators about election rules outlined in the Student Union Constitution: Campaigning cannot take place on the second and third floors of LaFortune Student Center; campaigning cannot start until Jan. 31; and senators cannot endorse or express support for candidates. 

“I realize that you guys are going to know people and you guys are passionate about things. You are able to work on their campaign team but what you cannot do is endorse … basically you guys cannot have any personal or public appearances indicating your support for a candidate,” Geary said.

Dillon Hall senator Tim O’Connell, head of the campus affairs committee, said the committee may approach the Huddle Mart to ask for bigger coffee cups and thicker sleeves, after the LaFortune student convenience store switched to compostable materials. O’Connell said the committee will also explore establishing laundry quota for on-campus residents or allowing the use of Flex Points for laundry and finding out the tobacco status of the University.

Cavanaugh Hall senator Brittany Benninger, head of the sustainability committee, said her committee’s goals were to bring sustainability-focused organizations to campus.

“We really want to get something on campus to bring an outside perspective,” she said.

Benninger said her committee also wants to get involved with the City of South Bend’s sustainability initiatives and improving sustainability in LaFortune.

McGlinn Hall senator Maria Palazzolo, head of the community engagement committee, said the committee wanted to invite South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to a senate meeting, but they would probably not move forward with that goal until after the election for the Chair of the Democratic National Committee, for which Buttigieg is running. She said the committee may bring a downtown South Bend leader to a senate meeting instead.

Palazzolo said her committee would also support South Bend First Fridays, advertise Transpo’s services to students and work on a taxi bill of rights for students.

Flaherty Hall senior Jade Martinez, head of the recently renamed student relations committee, said her committee was working on allowing more campus organizations to plan stress relief activities, since only the Student Union Board (SUB) currently plans them. She said her committee would also work on raising student awareness of student government and putting safety doors in campus buildings so that students can go into a dorm space late at night.

The senate then discussed ideas for presenters at future meetings. Among the suggestions were the campus architect, Notre Dame’s general counsel, representatives from RecSports, representatives from the University Counseling Center and members of the student governments of Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross Colleges.

In addition, Dunne Hall senator Matt Donahue updated the senate on a recent faculty senate resolution asking the University to declare itself a “sanctuary campus,” committing to protecting undocumented students.

“It was great to see that they were kind of considering the same issues that we were,” Donahue said.

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About Emily McConville

Emily McConville is a news writer and photographer for the Observer. She is a senior studying history and Italian with a minor in journalism. She is from Louisville, KY and lives off-campus.

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