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Senate passes two amendments to constitution, hears student union address

| Friday, November 6, 2020

The Notre Dame student senate gathered Thursday evening for their penultimate meeting of the semester to hear the State of the Student Union Address, given by senior and student body president Rachel Ingal and a joint presentation given by the Student Union Ethics Commission (SUEC) and the Committee on the Constitution (CC).

Student government chief of staff and senior Aaron Benavides ran the meeting because Sarah Galbenski, senior and Student Body Vice President, could not attend. He began with a few executive announcements, the first of which was a reiteration of the message that Fr. Jenkins sent to students Thursday evening emphasizing the importance of following COVID-19 protocols for the rest of the semester. Fr. Jenkins also announced that dining halls will no longer be open for indoor dining.

“Just please do your best to be as safe as possible,” Benavides said. “Things are pretty concerning right now with regards to COVID-19. As we face the Clemson gameday weekend, we all want to do our part to make sure we can make it through these next few weeks.”

He also gave an update on the Academic Council, which finalized and unanimously approved the Title IX recommendations permanently during a meeting Wednesday.

Ingal gave an update on a meeting Thursday with Campus Life Council (CLC). They discussed ways to encourage safe behavior at the Clemson game Saturday, the election and how to support students during this time. They also discussed mental health issues and how to carry forward the lessons they have learned this semester as spring semester approaches.

“We’re trying to create some safe spaces and election-free zones so students who feel exhausted or burnt out by all of the political discourse have a place to go for their mental health,” Ingal said.

Benavides also said the lottery for tickets to the rescheduled Town Hall on Trust with Pete Buttigieg will remain open until 5 p.m. on Friday.  There are already over 700 entries for around 100 seats available, so people who want to go should submit their name soon, Benavides said. The town hall will take place Monday at 7 p.m.

Ingal then gave the State of the Student Union Address. She began with a heartfelt appeal to the difficulties students have faced this semester.

“I know this year has been dynamic, frustrating and exhausting at times, but I first want to say that I am incredibly proud of the way that you all have continued to serve the student union in the midst of the chaos,” Ingal said.

She acknowledged the senate’s steady service to their peers, although every student has had to face heavy emotional weight, she said.

She said she has used the data from a survey taken by around 1,000 students work with provost Marie Lynn Miranda to modify the spring semester schedule in hopes of better addressing student concerns.

Thomas Davis, a junior, led the presentation given by the SUEC and CC. He first reminded Senate members to complete their required GreeNDot training.

The presentation mainly focused on issues with the constitution, namely with its length — currently 49 pages. The CC, Davis said, is looking to shorten that.

The Senate also approved two amendments to the constitution, the first revising the Hall President’s Council (HPC) and the second revising the Student Union Board (SUB). Each amendment revised the bylaws, respectively of HPC and SUB, to more clearly reflect their internal procedures and operations.

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