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Senate discusses IDEA Center, amendment

| Thursday, September 7, 2017

 Wednesday’s Senate meeting began with Vice President Sibonay Shewit calling to attention the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which hit the Gulf Coast in late August.  She encouraged the assembled senators to publicize the Stand With Houston fundraising campaign.

“Spread the word,” Shewit said. 

Next, representatives from the Innovation, De-risk and Entrepreneurship Acceleration (IDEA) Center gave a presentation to the senators.  The Center focuses on commercialization and entrepreneurial activities.  It is open to all majors, and there are many opportunities for students. Examples include online submission, working with the Center through year-round paid internships, competing in contests and participating in the events and lectures hosted by the Center. The IDEA Center hopes to have a minor available to all majors soon.

Another major part of the meeting was an amendment proposed by Matt Ross, president of Judicial Council, aiming to increase the number of people on the election committee from seven to 11. The amendment was spurred by the fact that five members of the seven person panel must be present to conduct business. Given students’ different schedules, Ross said such a quorum is often difficult to achieve.

“There have been problems in the past,” he said.

Under the proposed new system, seven members of the eleven person panel would need to be present to conduct business. When the committee is active during election seasons, only seven members would need to respond to notification of an allegation in order to consider it. 

Senators questioned the necessity of such an amendment, the fairness to the members of the committee and the event of recusal of a committee member.  After a lengthy discussion, senators voted down the amendment.

Freshmen Class Council elections will be delayed as there is no election committee.  This issue will be addressed in the near future.

The meeting ended with more announcements made from various members of the Senate regarding sustainability, mental health on campus and other initiatives.

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