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Senate passes resolutions to increase diversity in academics, swears in new senators

| Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Notre Dame student senate convened Wednesday on Zoom, passing two resolutions and approving an order to appoint new Howard and Carroll Hall senators for the remainder of the 2020-21 term.

Judicial Council President, junior Thomas Davis served as the temporary parliamentarian for the meeting. 

To commence, student body vice president, senior Sarah Galbenski briefly updated the senate on the assurance of confidentiality during contact tracing calls and news that they are “very hopeful” that the state of Indiana will allow Notre Dame to become a vaccine distribution site. 

The senate’s first resolution Wednesday advocated for diversity of all forms within the academic colleges at Notre Dame. The resolution was drawn up and proposed by sophomore Lauryn Pugh, the director of academic affairs, with assistance from a member of the First-Year Undergraduate Experience in Leadership Brian Joseph. 

Joseph gathered data on the diversity of different academic colleges during Summer Scholars at Notre Dame.

“We wrote this resolution to call for a promotion in the preservation of all forms within the academic colleges,” Pugh said. 

The resolutions reasoned for the leaders of the academic colleges to consider the importance of informed citizens engaging in civil discourse. Ultimately, the senate voted in favor of the resolution without debate. 

The second resolution passed recommended the expansion of reliable University-sponsored bus services to Chicago airports. In previous years, the University has partnered with Coach USA’s bus services to transport students to Midway and O’Hare airports. Unfortunately, there were many complications, which lead the University to end its partnership with Coach in the fall of 2019. 

The resolution was drafted by the co-directors of student life, junior Ian Baker and senior Isabel Edgar. 

“There were a lot of issues with the contact. It was very unreliable for students. They did put in place some expedited buses to get to the airports burning peak time. However, students would buy tickets and the bus would be full or they would completely miss their flight time,”  Edgar said. 

Currently, the University has a temporary partnership with Royal Excursions. There were four expedited buses used at the end of last semester and three at the beginning of this one. Edgar claimed that Royal Excursions is a very reliable service — thus, the resolution reasoned for the University to expand the number of expedited buses provided. 

Edgar shared that there would hopefully be a survey sent out to the student body reviewing both bus companies. 

Diversity Council chair, senior Estefan Linares asked in the chat function on Zoom if Royal Excursions will transport to both Midway and O’Hare. Due to the higher prices at one of the airports, Linares sought to ensure no income disparity in students who can receive a bus ride to the airport. Edgar reassured Linares that transportation will be provided for both airports. 

The senate ultimately voted in favor of passing the resolution. 

Lastly, Wednesday’s meeting saw the swearing-in of two executives after the order to appoint senators to serve the rest of the term was passed. Each appointee was recommended by their hall president to fulfill the role temporarily. First-year Peyton Mueller was sworn in as senator of Howard Hall and sophomore Will Forsen of Carroll Hall. 

Galbenski concluded the meeting by sharing that Margaret Morgan, the director of the Center for Student Support and Care, will present at the next senate meeting. 

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