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Student senate calls for removal of Cosby degree, passes constitutional amendment

| Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Student Senate passed a resolution recommending that the University revoke Bill Cosby’s honorary degree this week. Eight amendments to the Student Union constitution regarding elections were also passed at Wednesday night’s meeting.

A committee consisting of Badin Hall senator Alex Fincher, Ryan Hall senator Isabel Fox and Pangborn Hall senator Taylor Still presented their resolution to recommend that Bill Cosby’s honorary degree be revoked, citing in the resolution that he “admitted under oath to using illegal sedatives to coerce women into sexual intercourse.”

“Mr. Cosby’s association with these behaviors is in direct conflict with the University’s stance, as stated in du Lac, that ‘sexual assault is inconsistent with the University’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the Notre Dame community expects,’” the resolution stated.

The Senate voted to pass the resolution, student body Parliamentarian Sara Dugan said.

The constitutional amendments covered many areas of student body elections, including the campaign process, election dates and finance for elections.

All physical campaigning materials must now be no larger than 11 by 17 inches — clarifications for where materials can be placed were also addressed.

Previously, classrooms could not be used at any time for campaigning, but a new amendment states that classrooms cannot be used for campaigning during a class period or during an exam.

Elections for student body president and vice president will now be on the fourth Wednesday of the second semester. If necessary, the runoff election will still be held on the following Monday.

A new subsection regarding student body election finance was also added:

“The Judicial Council shall make available funds to reimburse the candidates for student body president and vice president of expenses incurred for the purpose of campaigning. These expenses must have been presented to the Election Committee. Reimbursements shall not exceed the campaign spending limit [$200], and the Judicial Council president shall approve these reimbursements.”

Sophomores Daniel Cohen and Alexandra Henderson were approved as the Student Union Treasurers after being nominated by current Student Union Treasurer Mason Shinn.

Student Union Board (SUB) Director of Operations Rebekah Rumschlag, on behalf of the selection committee, said the committee chose junior Louis Bertolotti to serve a second term as the Executive Director of SUB.

“I am fully confident that Louis has the skills, expertise and attitude necessary to choose and work with the rest of the members of SUB to maintain SUB’s standard of excellence in the upcoming year,” Rumschlag read from her letter.

Michael Meyer, an associate professional specialist in the Mendoza College of Business, was awarded the Frank O’Malley Undergraduate Teaching Award after being nominated by two students, student body secretary Mae Raab said in an email.

The Irish Clover Award is given to two individuals — students, faculty, staff or administrators — who have demonstrated exemplary service to the Student Union. This year’s award was given to Bryan Ricketts, student body president, and John Ritschard, a worker in South Dining Hall, Raab said.

Ricketts was nominated by senior Zach Waterson, the outgoing judicial council president.

“He has dedicated an incredible amount of time to the Notre Dame Student Union, serving as a role model for younger student leaders and as a resource to his peers,” Waterson said in his nomination letter.  

Another committee including Dillon Hall senator Michael Finan, Cavanaugh Hall senator Kathleen Rocks and St. Edward’s Hall senator John Kill presented two resolutions regarding Notre Dame’s partnership with Zhejiang University, Raab said.

The first resolution requested transparency regarding the partnership and the second proposed the creation of a standing committee “to represent the Notre Dame community, which shall be comprised of faculty, staff and students with the express purpose of discussing, assessing and making recommendations regarding the University’s partnership with Zhejiang University.”

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley is one of the Associate News Editors for The Observer. A junior majoring in English and the Program of Liberal Studies, she hails from Flushing, MI and lives in Flaherty Hall.

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