The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Constitution remains unfinished

Matt Bramanti | Tuesday, March 30, 2004

In a marathon meeting Monday evening, members of the Council of Representatives inched toward finalizing the student union constitution by Wednesday’s deadline, but several points were still up for debate.

Members were initially scheduled to vote on the constitution at Monday’s meeting, but a procedural rule derailed that possibility. Council bylaws mandate that resolutions must be presented in writing 72 hours before they can be voted on.

Among the points of contention was the role of the Executive Programming Board, a proposed body that would “facilitate the coordination, communication and calendar setting” of all student government programming bodies.

Student Union Board manager Charlie Ebersol said the Executive Programming Board will help to minimize problems in scheduling a broad spectrum of campus-wide events.

“It’s to make sure the groups don’t conflict,” Ebersol said. “It’s to level the playing field for all organizations that program events.”

However, some members expressed concern that the proposed constitution puts the president’s executive assistant – essentially a chief of staff – at the head of the Executive Programming Board.

Brian Coughlin, the COR adviser from the Student Activities Office, said the arrangement introduces an unnecessary layer of bureaucracy into the programming process.

“Everyone seems hell-bent on keeping a chief of staff position, but we don’t have anything for that person to do,” a visibly agitated Coughlin said.

Following the lengthy – and heated – discussion, members discussed the role and name of the Student Union Board for nearly half an hour. Some members, like Hall Presidents’ Council co-chair Sarah Keefer, said SUB’s image could use a makeover.

“SUB doesn’t have a very positive connotation in some circles,” Keefer said.

However, not all members agreed. Jimmy Flaherty, who was unanimously confirmed as the new SUB manager, said the existing name has brand recognition among students.

“SUB … is a branded name on campus,” Flaherty said.

He said any name change would be expensive, as programmers would have to replace stationery, signs, office supplies and other materials to incorporate the new name. He estimated the cost at somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000, but declined to cite specific documentation.

Cavanaugh senator Jordan Bongiovanni acknowledged that although council members disagreed, the council will still approve the constitution on time.

“We’ll get it passed,” Bongiovanni said. “These things aren’t going to make people not pass it.”

In other COR news:

u Members unanimously app-roved the new SUB Board of Directors. Flaherty will assume the role of SUB manager, Bridget Meacham will become director of programming, Jon McCarthy will become controller and Heather Kimmings will become director of operations.

u Members also unanimously approved Brin Anderson as the new Judicial Council president. Outgoing Judicial Council president Elliot Poindexter praised Anderson’s experience in the student union.

“She has been very involved with student government over the past two years,” Poindexter said. “She has my approval.”

u Poindexter also announced that off-campus elections will be held this Wednesday.

u Off-campus president Sarah Blake announced her organization will sponsor the last off-campus dinner of the semester on Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. at Buffalo Wild Wings.

u Sophomore class president James Leito said his class council will sponsor a pizza giveaway tonight at 9 p.m. in LaFortune. He encouraged students to pick up free pizza from local restaurants.

u Chief of staff Pat Corker announced a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament will be held this weekend, with proceeds benefiting a family seeking to adopt a child. Would-be card sharks can sign up in the dining halls during dinner hours today through Thursday. The entry fee is $10.