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Student Senate holds final meeting under Robinson administration

| Thursday, March 30, 2017

The last Student Senate meeting of the current administration took place Wednesday, and saw the passing of two resolutions. One to amend sentence-level errors in the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body (SS1617-34) and the other to officially commend the Notre Dame fencing team in the wake of its 2017 NCAA Championship (SS1617-35).

Resolution SS1617-36, “A resolution supporting the release of aggregate data regarding sexual assault reports”, after lengthy discussion, failed to pass. Another resolution, SS1617-37, “A resolution supporting the adoption and implementation of Callisto,” failed to receive the unanimous Senate vote required for it to be discussed and voted upon.

Student body president, Corey Robinson, began by delivering his final State of the Student Union Address, expressing gratitude to all of Student Senate for their work this year.

“I want to use this time to express my deepest gratitude to each and every one of you,” Robinson said. “This past year has been probably the greatest honor of my life, being able to serve the student body alongside each of you … It’s been awesome working with you guys, and I really think we did a great job, this year, improving the student experience. There’s a lot of work to be done, but when I look at this room, I see people who are going to continue, whether that be in student government, or in their dorms, or in their clubs, moving forward … That gives me so much hope, right now in this turbulent time in our country, because it rests with you all.”

Senator Zachary Huber briefly described SS1617-34, and said the purpose of the proposed amendment was for ”fixing an error that we had before with how some of the stuff was ordered.” The resolution passed.

Resolution SS1617-35, “A resolution commending the University of Notre Dame fencing program on its 2017 NCAA championship” was also described by Huber and passed unanimously without discussion.

Incoming Judicial Council president Matthew Ross announced his endorsement of freshman Colin Brankin for the position of Student Union Parliamentarian. The Senate unanimously approved his position.

Senator Jade Martinez introduced resolution SS1617-36, entitled “A resolution supporting the release of aggregate data regarding sexual assault reports.” The resolution’s written purpose was that, if passed, the Senate would “fully support the administration’s release of aggregate data once per semester of all sexual assault reports, starting Fall 2017.”

Senator Isabel Rooper, a member of the Policy Committee, supported the resolution.

“Without quantitative data on this issue we are unable to evaluate whether our current system is functioning appropriately,” Rooper said. “Similarly, it’s difficult to compare Notre Dame to other universities when we don’t have this actual data released, and finally, as a Catholic university, Notre Dame has to ask more of itself than other institutions.” 

During the question and discussion periods, several members of the Senate expressed concerns about the resolution, including Judicial Council President Caitlin Geary.

“I would very strongly urge you to add a clause in this before we would pass this to define what sort of aggregate data we’re looking for,” Geary said.

Chairman of Campus Affairs Tim O’Connell said he felt the wording of the resolution should be more specific.

“I don’t think the resolution as it is is going to get what you’re looking for,” O’Connell said.

Senator Rebecca Georgiadis requested that the vote be made by ballot. The motion passed, with all voting in favor except for Senator Martinez, who abstained.

After more discussion, Senator Sebastian Lopez requested for discussion to cease and to move to a vote, which unanimously passed. The final vote, made by ballot, was insufficient to pass the resolution. Overall, 19 votes in favor were received, nine in opposition and six abstentions.

Senator Martinez introduced another resolution, SS1617-37, “A resolution supporting the adoption and implementation of Callisto.” The resolution called for Callisto to be implemented as a sexual assault reporting software no later than Fall 2017. Because the resolution had not been scheduled beforehand, the Senate voted on whether or not to hear it. The vote was not unanimous, so the resolution was not heard.

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