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Student senate deliberates on ethics report

and | Thursday, April 16, 2015

For two weeks, the Student Union Ethics Commission conducted a confidential investigation of an unnamed member of the Student Union after receiving a preliminary report of misconduct April 1. In the student Senate meeting Wednesday evening, junior Zach Waterson, Judicial Council president and chair of the Ethics Commission, requested a closed meeting to explain the Commission’s report, which found evidence of misconduct, and issue recommendations for further action to the Senate, Waterson told The Observer.

“On April 1st, Judicial Council received a report of misconduct against a member of the Student Union,” Waterson said in a statement after the Senate meeting. “The Ethics Commission convened and, after hearing from the allegation initiator, allegation respondent and witnesses, determined that misconduct had occurred.

“Pursuant to section 13.7 of the Constitution of the Undergraduate Student Body, we presented recommendations to Senate in a closed setting. Those recommendations were referred to committee for further review.”

The identities of all parties — initiator, respondent and witnesses — will remain anonymous, Waterson said. The Senate committee will determine timeline of any decisions.

The Student Union Ethics Commission is tasked with the job of making recommendations to the Senate or other University organizations “in the event of misuse of undergraduate student organization funds or misconduct of undergraduate student organizations and their members,” according to the Constitution.

Neither the Ethics Commission nor the Senate released a full report, meaning specifics such as the nature of the misconduct and the timeframe during which it allegedly occurred are still confidential.

“Since the recommendations contain sensitive information, I recommend a voting member of Senate move the Senate now be closed to non-members of Senate,” Waterson said in the meeting. “A motion to close Senate means all non-members of Senate are asked to leave, such as The Observer.”

The senators then engaged in closed discussion for a little more than an hour. The Ethics Commission can only make recommendations; the Senate will determine any decisions or actions in light of these recommendations.

Before Senate closed the meeting, the senators voted for Campus Life Council Senate representatives and selected  Fisher Hall senator Abraham Jenson, Sorin College senator Ethan Holland and Cavanaugh Hall senator Kathleen Rocks.

The senators then discussed their topics of interest for the 2015-2016 school year. Some of the suggestions included placing another Grab n’ Go station closer to academic buildings, reducing food waste by starting to compost and purchasing more hydration stations to place in the dorms, as well as in academic buildings such as Jordan Hall of Science and DeBartolo Hall. Another suggestion was made to put prices on merchandise from the Huddle in LaFun.

Addressing issues of campus safety was a major topic of discussion. John Kill, St. Edward’s Hall senator, said students are not adequately informed of incidents that happened on and around campus.

“I did not even know that there were two events that occurred off campus last week,” he said. “I think that a prevailing issue on this campus is ignorance of incidents that are reported to [Notre Dame Security Police]. The students do not know where they are occurring, what’s occurring and that could affect student safety.”

After closing discussion about topics of interest, the Senate approved the bylaws of the Student Union Senate and the Senate budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Next, Michael McRoskey, the director of the Department of Campus Technology, gave an overview of the new DARTing procedure changes that will be implemented for class scheduling for the Spring 2016 semester. While the new program has many of the same features, it will make scheduling easier, McRoskey said.

“You actually have class search and the registration all in the same window,” he said. “There’s a very visual way to see your schedule that shows up just like your week review.”

Other changes include the ability to create up to five schedule options and to sign up for one entire schedule at a time, McRoskey said. If there is a conflict or a class is full, the student will then be able to input their next choice in a complete schedule or address that conflict individually, McRoskey said.

There will also be the option to be put on a waiting list for a class that’s full, McRoskey said. When a spot opens, whoever is at the top of the waiting list will automatically be enrolled in the class, McRoskey said.

Additionally, the format is much cleaner, McRoskey said.

“It looks a lot better than it does now, and it will give you really good contextual reminders of why you can’t register for a certain class or what you need to do for error messages,” McRoskey said.

Kill, on behalf of the entire Student Union, then presented a resolution to commend University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh for his service to the University. The Senate passed the resolution.

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley was Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. She majored in English and the Program of Liberal Studies and hailed from Flushing, Michigan.

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About Lesley Stevenson

Lesley Stevenson is a senior news writer for The Observer after previously serving as News Editor and an Assistant Managing Editor. She is a senior from Memphis, Tennessee, studying Film, Television and Theatre (FTT) and American Studies and living in Breen-Phillips Hall. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @lcstevenson, and visit her website at lcstevenson.wordpress.com

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