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Group discusses newspaper program, V-Day

Amanda Michaels | Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Student Senate covered issues ranging from V-Day proclamations to constitutional amendments at Wednesday’s meeting so productive that it elicited a closing round of applause from the senators themselves.Tracie Sexton of the USA Today took to the podium to give an update on the College Readership Program’s progr-ess so far and to answer any of the senators’ questions.Sexton reported the free copies of USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times placed in different locations across campus “won’t stay in the bins.”Because of the high student response, Sexton said they are already increasing the number of newspapers distributed, as the current 1,200 are gone by early afternoon. The free four-week trial of the program, organized through the committee on Academic Affairs, will be used to gauge not only the College Readership Prog-ram’s popularity, but also the possible size of the budget if Notre Dame were to accept the full service. A proclamation declaring Notre Dame a “rape-free zone” and welcoming V-Day – a movement to stop violence against women – to campus was next introduced by committee on Gender Relations chair Lizzi Shappell, who yielded the floor to V-Day student organizer Kaitlyn Redfield.”[The proclamation] is obviously a symbolic measure, because we don’t expect Notre Dame to become a rape-free zone just with this,” Redfield said. “But as students, we need to take a stand on the issue of violence against women.”The proclamation was unanimously passed.The committee on Oversight then brought two constitutional amendments to the table regarding the make-up of the Executive Policy Board and the Executive Programming Board.The first amendment was the addition of the student body president as a member of the Executive Policy Board, suggested by current student body president Adam Istvan.”It just makes sense for the student body president to be there at these meetings,” Istvan said. “It’s a natural adjustment to the constitution.”The second made several changes to the Executive Programming Board, including the removal of the Student Union Board manager and one of the two Hall President’s Council co-chairs and the reduction of Board meetings to once every other week.”The director of programming from SUB is already on [the Board], so right now having the manager there too is superfluous,” Dave Baron, chief executive assistant and chair of the Executive Programming Board, said. “Having the second in command for SUB on there fits with the fact that it is composed mainly of vice presidents from the various councils.”Baron added the Board recommended the amendment unanimously.Both amendments passed without opposition.A resolution regarding the presidential Anti-Sweatshop Task Force was introduced by the Committee on University Affairs.Currently, the student body president sits on the Task Force, along with a collection of administrators, counsel and the University president. The resolution proposes the student body president nominate a student to fill their position on the board for the duration of their term.”We recognize that the student body president already has many duties to fulfill, and that it makes more sense for someone more knowledgeable on the topic of human rights to attend the meetings,” Katie Boyle, committee on University Affairs chair, said.Again, the resolution was passed unanimously and will now be pursued through the University administration.As the last item of business, Brendan McHugh of the Committee on Residence Life spoke about his research into a file-sharing program called Ruckus Network.An alternative to Napster, Ruckus would provide Notre Dame students with a legal alternative to pirating music for a cost of $6 per month. Ruckus offers not only music, but a group of 50 movies per month on a rotating basis and can be customized to allow lectures taped on campus to be downloaded.”If we had had this last year when Desmond Tutu was on campus, his speech could have been videotaped and put on the Web site,” McHugh said. “A wider range of people would be able to see campus speakers.”The drawbacks to the program, besides its monthly cost, include the fee charged for every song downloaded from Ruckus and burned onto a CD or transferred to an iPod and the 1,000-student user minimum for the service to be installed.

In other Senate news:u Judicial Council President Brin Anderson told senators to remind their constituents that voting in the runoff election for student body president – between the Dave Baron-Lizzi Shappell and James Leito-Jordan Bongi-ovanni tickets – will take place today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.