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Board of Governance: Officers debate roles

Megan O'Neil | Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Officers debated the role of Notre Dame and Holy Cross student government representatives to the Board of Governance at Monday’s meeting, with members disagreeing about the three inter-campus positions that exist.

Some board members claimed the three offices are redundant, while others said they provide a unique perspective for the board in its decision-making process.

The re-evaluation of the cross-campus positions came amidst a year-long effort by BOG to revamp the existing Student Government Association Constitution. Under the current document, a representative from both Notre Dame and Holy Cross attends the weekly BOG meetings and holds full voting privileges. A Saint Mary’s representative then attends Notre Dame student senate meetings. The Saint Mary’s representative, however, is unable to vote. Board members discussed whether BOG should relinquish the vote for the visiting representatives.

“I didn’t realize we didn’t vote over there; I thought Lindsay’s position was a voting position,” said alumnae commissioner Anna Bauer. “I think it says a lot about the cooperation between the schools. I don’t think we should do it out of vengeance … but the positions should be reciprocal.”

Junior class president Sarah Catherine Brown expressed her discomfort at the idea of a Notre Dame or Holy Cross student casting the tie-breaking vote on an issue relevant only to the Saint Mary’s student body. Student Body President Elizabeth Jablonski-Diehl said it seemed irrational for such an officer to vote on financial allocations that pertained solely to Saint Mary’s.

Other officers agreed and questioned whether a representative both to and from Notre Dame is even necessary.

Lindsay Evans, the current Saint Mary’s representative to Notre Dame, admitted that the positions might be redundant. She said that she and Notre Dame representative Allison Ferber know the same information and simply cut it in half to convey to fellow BOG officers as a formality. The advantages of having representatives between the schools however, should not be overlooked, she said.

“I see both sides of this,” Evans said. “Times when I feel I should be able to vote and when I think they should be able to vote because students use both campuses.”

Public relations commissioner Stephanie Patka expressed concern that eliminating the representatives’ ability to vote at BOG meetings would undermine the positions and minimize the participation of those officers.

“What does it imply when we say we want them to stay active but don’t want them to vote?” Patka said.

She added that BOG should establish its own stance on the subject, not turn to Notre Dame for answers.

“If we are looking to Notre Dame for the standards, that takes away from the character of this board,” Patka said.

Board members chose not to make a final vote on the issue at Monday’s meeting. Instead, they will continue the discussion next week and examine the possibility of creating a new position of Saint Mary’s representative to Holy Cross.

In Other BOG News:

uHoly Cross College is hosting a Toys for Tots auction Thursday, Dec. 4 at 8 p.m. The event, which will include items such as home-baked goods, laundry service and dinner dates, will raise money to purchase Christmas gifts for local underprivileged children.

uSGA is sponsoring its first bus trip to Chicago on Saturday, Dec. 6. Tickets, which are free, will be available starting today at 11 a.m. at the Haggar front desk. Students can receive two tickets per ID.