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Student senate selects chairpersons, votes on new amendment

| Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Notre Dame’s student senate convened for their weekly meeting Monday evening in Duncan Student Center, a change from last week’s meeting location in the Lafortune Student Center Ballroom.

The meeting began with a presentation on parliamentary procedure from sophomore Halena Hadi, a Student Union parliamentarian.

Hadi said parliamentary procedure was important for the senate to function properly.

“We use this to preserve your [senate participants] rights as members so that you can represent your constituents effectively, and so that you have the majority rule but to also protect the minority and their ability to be heard,” Hadi said.

In her presentation, Hadi addressed the different aspects and parts of the parliamentary process and how they relate to senate proceedings specifically. Some of the items reviewed were the meeting agenda and process, types of motions, importance of attendance and the right of senators and senate members to add items to the meeting agenda. Hadi also said voting was key in the senate.

“Voting is very important and we ask that you all do it, because that’s why you’re here is to vote, to represent your dorms and the other organizations you belong to,” Hadi said. “Always remember to second, always remember to communicate with your constituency, let them know what’s happening and get their feedback and bring that forth when you’re voting.”

The senate also elected committee chairpersons during Monday’s meeting. After the committees conferred amongst themselves, the nominations were brought to the senate floor.

Senator Zachary Spitzer, a junior representing Dunne Hall, was elected the chair of the Residence Life committee; senator Daniel Rottenborn, a sophomore representing Alumni Hall, was elected as the chair of the Sustainability committee; senator Andrew Seketa, a sophomore representing Zahm House was elected the chair of the Student Finances committee; and senator Bailey Baumbick, a sophomore representing Cavanaugh Hall, was elected the chair of the Student Wellness and Safety Committee. All of the nominations were unanimous.

In addition to these elections, the senate also elected senators Mark Spretnjak, a junior from Sorin College; Erin Hiestand, a sophomore from Ryan Hall; and Lindsay McCray a junior from Welsh Family Hall, to be the senate representatives at Campus Life Council, an assembly of faculty and staff that discusses important issues such as student and residence life, for the following school year.

The senate also voted on a constitutional amendment regarding the ability to have a permanent proxy for senior Samantha Scaglione, the president of Club Coordination Council (CCC). Student body vice president Corey Gayheart said the CCC had to hold their meetings at the same time as senate meetings because of CCC members’ academic commitments. Therefore, the conflict will prevent Scaglione from attending senate meetings. Therefore, Gayheart and Scaglione proposed the solution of a permanent proxy for the CCC president, which was brought to the senate floor in the form of an amendment. This amendment will apply only to the CCC and most likely be removed from the constitution once a more permanent solution is reached.

The proxy for the CCC president, senior Margaret Meserve, was appointed by Scaglione and will vote using a form that Scaglione will fill out instructing her how to vote prior to each senate meeting.

Though some senate members had clarifying questions during the debate, most were in favor of the change.

“If CCC is okay with it and they have thought about it and they have talked about it, then I don’t see a problem with it,” McCray said.

The senate approved the proposed amendment.

The amendment will change the text of the constitution to read, “The CCC president or a designated representative,” so that Meserve can attend the meetings without penalty of absence for president Scaglione. With the amendment, Meserve will be a proxy voting member of the senate each week. 

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About Claire Rafford

Claire Rafford is an English major and a Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor from the class of 2021. She is originally from Tempe, Arizona. Her skills include excessive Harry Potter trivia knowledge. That is it.

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