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Senate meets over Zoom, temporarily extends term

| Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Student body vice president Patrick McGuire called the senate to order by banging his hydro-flask on his desk, while the group convened over a Zoom video conference call Tuesday evening. 

Isabella Volmert | The Observer
The student body senates meets over a Zoom conference call, Tuesday, March 31. Vice President Patrick McGuire, second from right on the top row, got creative and used a picture of the normal meeting space of the senate as his background for the call. The Observer took this screenshot of the video recording of the meeting.

The last time the senate met was Wednesday, March 4, one week before the decision to move the University to remote learning changed the Notre Dame experience for the foreseeable future. During that meeting, Associate Vice President of Residential Life Heather Rakoczy Russell spoke with the senate about the on-off campus differentiation policy.

After calling the senate to order, the group comprised of current senators, student union officers and observing newly elected senators and newly appointed officers got to business. The senate first heard a nomination from 2019-2020 Student Union Board (SUB) Executive Director Eric Kim for the 2020-2021 SUB Executive Director. Kim nominated current junior Mairead Pfaff of Pasquerilla East Hall for the position.

“She has been in the Student Union Board for two years and has grown SUB to indescribable length,” Kim said. Using the option “Yes” in Zoom’s “participants” function, the senate approved the nomination. 

Using the same method, the senate approved the nomination of Matthew Bisner for the position of 2020-2021 Judicial Council President. Bisner is a current sophomore living in Sorin Hall who was the Judicial Council Vice-President of Elections and Chair of the Elections Committee this past election cycle.

Outgoing Judicial Council President Halena Hadi said, “He has been an incredible Vice-President of Elections, demonstrating tremendous strength and composure through a tumultuous election season.” 

After congratulating the newly appointed officers, mostly by using the clapping hands emoji chat function, the senate heard and voted on two resolutions. The first was a resolution suspending several items of the student body constitution in light of the delay of the semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The current student body senate’s term was slated to end today, Wednesday, April 1. The resolution, “A Resolution to Ensure a Proper Student Union Transition Amid COVID-19,” extended the 2019-2020 senate’s term to April 8.

McGuire explained in an email the senate will meet for the final time Wednesday, April 8, during which it will complete its business and according to McGuire, have a tentative update on the on-off campus differentiation policy from Russell. 

The April 8 meeting will conclude the 2019-2020 senate’s term and the new senators will be sworn in. “At the end of this meeting, I will motion to close the 2019-2020 Senate’s term, and then we will immediately follow with a meeting of the new Senate led by Sarah Galbenski. In this meeting, oaths of office and confirmation of key positions will take place,” McGuire said. 

To conclude the meeting, the senate passed a resolution which altered the constitution to make the role of student nion Parliamentarian a position under the Judicial Council. Hadi explained in an email, “The Parliamentarian was moved under Judicial Council explicitly, as they were formerly listed as part of Executive Cabinet, despite being selected by the Judicial Council President. The new Parliamentarian will be selected by the incoming Judicial Council President, my successor, Matthew Bisner, whose nomination was approved today.”

Hadi suspects the nomination of Parliamentarian will come in the next few weeks.  

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About Isabella Volmert

Isabella "Issy" Volmert is a senior majoring in English and minoring in theology and journalism, ethics and democracy at the University of Notre Dame. She currently serves The Observer as assistant managing editor. Follow her @ivolmertnews for niche JED Twitter content.

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