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Senate bestows emeritus status on former leadership

| Thursday, April 12, 2018

Student senate voted to bestow emeritus status on the former student body leadership Wednesday.

Former student body president Rebecca Blais, former student body vice president Sibonay Shewit and former chief of staff Prathm Juneja all received the status by unanimous decisions.

Student body president and junior Gates McGavick presented a resolution highlighting the achievements of Blais.

“Rebecca committed herself to ameliorating the issues of sexual assault on campus through her work on the committee of sexual assault and prevention, her discussion with administrators to release climate data, her current work on Callisto and her dedication to the safety of all the University,” McGavick said.

Parliamentarian and freshman Halena Hadi read the resolution regarding Shewit’s efforts as student body vice president.

“Sibonay faithfully and dutifully chaired one of the most active senates ever by fostering relationships with each senator, bestowing on them a mindful integration of the mission and character of the University of Notre Dame,” Hadi said.

Hadi also presented the resolution on Juneja’s work in student government.

“Prathm utilized his role in student government to connect the Notre Dame community with the South Bend community, especially as it pertained to civic engagement and voting to enhance conversations on voting rights, diversity and inclusion,” Hadi said.

The senators passed an order adding the position of diversity council chair as a non-voting member of senate.

Diversity council represents all the clubs on campus for underrepresented students.

“[Underrepresented means] students that are here at the University and are here to stay and are part of the Notre Dame family, but it’s really easy for them to feel like the adopted cousin,” diversity council chair and junior Alyssa Ngo said.

The current members of senate, despite representing all of the students on campus, might not do the best job of giving voice to the underrepresented because of their own lack of diversity, Ngo said.

“If you think about the diversity statistics at Notre Dame, and then see if that number matches the people in this room, I think it’s quite clear that it doesn’t,” Ngo said.

Ngo said she hopes to improve the relationship between the department of diversity and inclusion in student government and the diversity council.

“Kaleem Minor — who is the vice chair of diversity council right now — he served as the first-ever director [of the department of diversity and inclusion],” Ngo said. “He felt that the relationship wasn’t that great. … They were two groups with the same goal … but they didn’t come together to plan anything.”

The senators passed the order, making Ngo a non-voting member of senate for this year, with one abstention and one opposition.

Junior Michael Conlon presented to student senate regarding upcoming events for the unveiling of The Shirt.

Conlon, head of external relations for The Shirt Project, announced that former Irish football player Jaylon Smith will be a guest speaker for the ceremony on April 20.

“He ended up getting drafted in the second round by the Dallas Cowboys and had a really successful rookie year,” Conlon said. “He came back from injury and played really well in the NFL.”

The senators also passed resolutions changing the names and descriptions of two student government departments.

The department of campus technology changed to the department of campus technology and innovation, and the department of university policy changed to the department of university affairs.

“This is just a technicality to update job descriptions and also the name of the department to make it more encompassing of the roles of the director,” junior Corey Gayheart, student body vice president, said.

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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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