Senate discusses registration, amendments, alcohol policy
Mary Bernard | Thursday, October 26, 2017
Officials from the Office of the Registrar updated the Notre Dame student senate on the class registration project Wednesday.
Amika Micou, Chuck Hurley and Paul Ullrich explained and demonstrated the use of the new system, which will be implemented when students register for classes for the spring semester. The new process will allow students to create a mock schedule in a Notre Dame specific online planner, similar to the process available on websites like Coursicle.
“The plan … is integrated into the NOVO registration,” Micou said. “So, in two clicks, you have registered for classes.”
The system will allow for easier class searching with a wildcard search option, a calendar representation of the classes in the planner and the ability to switch to a different section of the same class without leaving the planner, the presenters explained.
The registration process will look very similar to the current system, with each student receiving a timed ticket to access registration for classes.
“I know all of you love waking up in the morning and registering early, so we won’t prevent you from doing that,” Hurley said. “The planning tool is not registration, and it’s important that you emphasize that.”
Senators will have the chance to try the new system before the rest of the student body and give feedback on their experience, Micou said.
An update to the co-exchange program between Notre Dame, Holy Cross College and St. Mary’s will also take place next semester. Students will be required to enroll in 12 credits in their home institution before enrolling in classes elsewhere, Hurley said.
Student Union parliamentarian Colin Brankin presented proposals for amendments to the Student Union Constitution to the senate, the largest involving the quorum and proxy policies for the senate. Currently, the quorum, which is the minimum number of senators that must be present in order for the meeting to take place, is set at three-fifths of members present. Brankin and his committee propose increasing that number to two-thirds, which is the quorum for every organization in the Student Union except for the senate.
“Nobody really knows why it’s three-fifths, so just for consistency’s sake, we are setting it at two-thirds,” Brankin said. “One of the other supporting reasons why we are changing it to two-thirds rather than just consistency is to hold you guys accountable. You ran based on the promise that you’d be here … and two-thirds will hopefully entice you to do so.”
Senate also discussed whether proxy members of senate, who attend in place of a senator who cannot attend, should count for quorum and should be allowed to vote. Currently, proxies do count for quorum, meaning there is no limit on the number of proxies that attend senate meetings. No consensus was reached on either issue.
Other proposed changes include allowing the chairperson, currently student body vice president Sibonay Shewit, to call for a paper ballot vote for any type of vote. As the constitution reads now, any senators can call for a paper ballot vote, but the chairperson cannot.
“Some people may be discouraged to [call for a paper ballot] for fear that people will automatically assume that they are voting a certain way,” Brankin said. “This way, it gives [Shewit] the extra ability to call for that. It will allow the voting members to feel more comfortable in how they vote, and to vote truthfully and honestly.”
Other proposed changes are organizational changes to clarify and condense parts of the constitution, with no effect on the constitutional policy itself.
The group will continue to discuss these proposed changes and will vote in the coming weeks.
Student body president Becca Blais, Shewit and student government chief of staff Prathm Juneja updated the senate on their report to the Board of Trustees.
The report regarded on-campus alcohol culture and was given to the Board over fall break. Blais said the Board asked questions, engaged with the report and were interested in finding solutions to make campus safer, especially with the new requirement to spend six semesters on campus.
The implementation of Callisto, a program to allow for easier anonymous recording and reporting of sexual violence on campus, will be voted on by Committee on Sexual Assault Prevention (CSAP) this Friday. Blais, Shewit and Juneja said they support the enactment of this program at Notre Dame.