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Senate discusses Observer editorial

| Thursday, February 8, 2018

Student senate discussed The Observer editorial “We deserve better” in senate Wednesday before holding a second, closed meeting to hear an appeal regarding a recent sanction placed on the Kruszewski-Dunbar ticket.

“It’s not just this [editorial] but just how senate’s been talked about recently,” Sibonay Shewit, student body vice president, said.

Student body chief-of-staff Prathm Juneja took issue with the portrayal of student government in the editorial.

“When context is absent from something, it’s really easy to make assumptions,” Juneja said. “That [editorial] probably got thousands of views, so our goal is to see if we can reach that same audience.”

The student government executive cabinet plans to write a response to the editorial and letter to the editor published in The Observer.

“It’s not going to be an attack by any means,” Juneja said, referring to the Observer editorial as an attack against student government.

“The purpose of the response is to focus on what context was missing in the pieces that were written about us,” Juneja said. “I agree that there are changes that can be made to Student Government, but there are also things that we do well.”

Shewit did not disclose whether the response had been written yet or when it would be released, but did say that it would attempt the clarify the reasons why the three senate meetings were closed, as well as the separation between Judicial Council and Executive Cabinet.

“We by no means mean to speak for you guys or any member of the Senate, we just think that there are facts that need to be added,” Shewit said.

O’Neill senator and junior Sebastian Lopez delivered a speech, light-heartedly referencing his dorm’s history which led it to be deemed “the angry mob.”

“Since its inception, O’Neill Family Hall has stood defiantly in the face of oppression and tyranny,” he said. “In 1996 when Grace and Flanner halls were going to be converted into administrative buildings, the men of Grace Hall stood up and in response they protested. And they lit bonfires all across the quads.”

Lopez finished by motioning to “fight against tyranny” by closing the senate meeting.

The proxy member for Sorin Hall, Mark Spretnjak, seconded the motion. Spretnjak, a sophomore, was standing in for Sorin Hall senator Nick Lucci.

Lopez and Spretnjak were the only two members of senate to vote in favor of closing the meeting.

Sophomore Zachary Spitzer, proxy for Dunne Hall senator and sophomore Patrick Quinn, said senators should discuss student government initiatives with their dorms.

“One of the things that I feel really really helps out with Senate is when Senators individually speak to members of their dorm on these issues,” Spitzer said. “I know that Senate would like to make group statements on stuff that happens in the Senate meetings, but I really feel like when Senators really are transparent with people of their dorm on the individual level that really helps.”

Associate news editor Natalie Weber and news writer Alexandra Muck contributed to this report.

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About Mary Bernard

Mary Bernard is a senior with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the Social Media Editor for The Observer, managing and overseeing all things audience engagement.

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