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Senate to rework Lockwood proposal

Kaitlynn Riely | Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Student Senate decided Wednesday to send back to the Oversight committee a resolution that would require the student body president to attend all Community/Campus Advisory Coalition (CCAC) meetings and provide the Student Senate with “any and all documentation pertaining to the CCAC.”

The resolution, proposed by Siegfried senator Jim Lockwood, refers to the coalition created by the South Bend Common Council to bring together city, resident, student and college representatives from South Bend. The CCAC’s goal is to help the Council identify neighborhood concerns related to the local colleges, to propose solutions, and to develop long-term strategies regarding community relations.

The CCAC was created as a final amendment to the party permit ordinance passed by the Common Council Sept. 24.

Lockwood’s amendment calls for the student body president, or “any qualified person acting on behalf thereof,” to give the Senate documentation from the CCAC meetings.

“This shall include (but shall not be limited to) agendas and minutes, speeches and presentations, discussions and debates, and the introduction and passage of any measures,” the proposed amendment reads. “The student body president must provide said documentation to the Student Senate at its first regular meeting after any meeting of the CCAC.”

Lockwood asked the senators to support his resolution proposing the amendment.

“I just think informing the Senate of the issues that are taking place in the council meeting will allow us to go back to our dorms, like we are supposed to, and tell our constituents, what the city has – concerns a, b and c – and how we can address this, so it doesn’t escalate into any rift between the University and the community,” Lockwood said.

Oversight committee chair Ian Secviar said the amendment was passed unanimously in his committee. He compared the proposed ordinance with current language present in the Constitution, stating that the student body president is required to report to the Senate about what takes place in the Council of Representatives (COR) meetings.

“I don’t think that this is any way out of sync with what’s been previously put into the constitution,” he said.

Student body president Liz Brown disagreed with Secviar’s comparison between the proposed amendment and the wording stipulating that she report back about COR meetings. She said the COR reference is “extremely general,” whereas the proposed amendment details the documents the student president must bring to the Senate.

Brown said she found the proposed amendment “overbearing.”

“There is nowhere else in the constitution where the student body president is required to bring documentation such as this back,” she said.

In some situations, Brown said, the CCAC may discuss issues that would require the meetings to be closed.

“I would just say that, in my experience in the last couple months, in all the discussions of the [South Bend Common Council’s party permit] ordinance, there are certain things that shouldn’t be distributed to the wider public during certain points in discussion,” she said.

Brown said there are other ways to include a provision in the constitution to require the student body president report back on the CCAC.

“I think there’s a way to do it,” Brown said, “and I think this is overbearing.”

Secviar said the Senate should clarify the student body president’s role on the CCAC to give a description of how the president should interact with the coalition, and also with the Senate after CCAC meetings. He said language can be changed later if it is found to be too restrictive.

“The constitution is a living document,” Secviar said. “It’s not a big deal to repeal or change things. In fact, that’s why my committee exists.”

Keenan senator Gus Gari proposed an amendment to the amendment, although it was later voted down. He proposed changing the amendment to read: “The Student Body president shall attend meetings of the Community/Campus Advisory Coalition (CCAC) as the representative of the student body of the University of Notre Dame. The Student Body President or any qualified person acting on behalf thereof shall brief the Student Senate with regards to the CCAC.”

Further debate ensued about the language of the amendment to the amendment, so the Senate decided to send the resolution back to the Oversight Committee.

Secviar invited the senators to attend the committee meeting to give their recommendations and also invited them to e-mail him with comments.

Following discussion of Lockwood’s proposed amendment, the Senate voted to send a letter to University President Father John Jenkins requesting he make “minority faculty recruitment and retention” one of his administration’s top priorities for the academic year.

“While the University has made tremendous efforts to attract minority students through programs such as Spring Visitation Weekend,” the letter said, “we feel there has not been equal emphasis on recruiting and retaining minority faculty.”

The letter, presented by Multicultural Affairs committee chair Ninny Wan, is a follow-up to a similar letter sent by the Senate to Jenkins last March. The letter said student government has yet to receive a response to the last letter from the President’s Office.

The letter from the Senate to Jenkins passed with 21 senators voting for it, four against and three abstaining.

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution saying it “respectfully encourages [the Office of Information Technologies] to establish an online printing quota depository system.” Academic Affairs chair Carol Hendrickson and Pasquerilla East senator Kelly Dunbar presented the resolution, which suggests creating an online system where students could use credit or debit card payment to increase their print quota.

Notre Dame students receive a $100 print quota each academic year. Currently, to add more money to their print quota, students must do so in 115A DeBartolo Hall.

In other Senate news:

u Student government will host a student-faculty debate Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Dooley Room of LaFortune. The topic is religion and politics.