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Senate brainstorms proposals, discusses ‘senior exclusion policy’

| Thursday, January 16, 2020

The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday for its first meeting of the 2020 spring semester. The minutes from the last Senate meeting (Dec. 11) were read and approved without objection.

Student body vice president Patrick McGuire opened with several announcements. He welcomed the senators back from the break, then reminded the senate about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Luncheon scheduled for 11:30 a.m. next Monday, at which activist and civil rights movement leader Diane Nash will be in attendance as keynote speaker.

“It’s a really important event, and I think it’s really important that we all go,” McGuire said. “We have been given tickets for the senate, and I highly encourage you all to go. If you can’t, then please give it to someone who can or who will go.”

McGuire also reminded senators of the other events planned for Walk the Walk Week, and urged senators to attend as many events as possible and to encourage their constituents to attend.

After several other announcements, McGuire suggested that for the rest of the meeting, senators and others in attendance could discuss potential resolutions they had been working on in December, and new resolutions could be proposed and brainstormed.

Quentin Colo, Off Campus Council senator, suggested a resolution encouraging the University to abandon the “senior exclusion policy” — a policy change aimed at reducing off-campus students’ access to on-campus activities and amenities.

“I know there was a resolution last year to encourage the University to get feedback on the senior exclusion policies and how students felt about it,” Colo said. “Although I have not looked at the feedback, I can probably assume what it’s saying, and I think it’s fair to say that the feedback’s pretty negative and students want the University to abandon the senior exclusion policies. I was hoping to propose a resolution … to encourage the University to abandon those policies.”

After several senators had offered their feedback and discussed potential measures Student Government could take, Colo asked sophomore class council president Jordan Theriault, who met with and interviewed associate vice president for Residential Life Heather Rakoczy Russell on Dec. 10 during a public meeting in the Dahnke Ballroom, to talk more about the discussion and the feedback that he has since received.

“After the meeting we sent out a survey form … we asked ‘Do you understand the policies?’” Theriault said. “So we were just trying to figure out if people understood that it’s kind of malleable. The response was kind of iffy, which was interesting because I think we kind of hoped, and the administration as well, to open it up to the class and make them understand that they’re willing to work and to give them ideas. From there, it’s kind of split between people who want to still abandon the policy and encourage the University to reevaluate the exclusionary policy, and the other half was different solutions.”

Theriault also mentioned that he had been working on a resolution with others regarding club funding, and encouraged any interested senators or other members of student government to speak with him.

After those in attendance had offered and discussed several other proposals, the meeting broke into several small groups to continue these discussions.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Quentin Colo as the Club Coordination Council’s Special Interest Division chair. Colo is the Off Campus Council senator, not the Special Interest Division chair. The Observer regrets this error.

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About Andrew Cameron

Andrew is a senior from Orange County, California. He is an associate news editor at the Observer, and is majoring in Biological Sciences and English. While he has greatly enjoyed his time at Notre Dame, during the winter months he often wonders why he ever left the perennial warmth of Southern California.

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