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Senate discusses Student Life survey, referendum

| Thursday, February 17, 2022

Notre Dame’s student senate convened for its fifth meeting of the spring semester Wednesday night on the second floor of the LaFortune Student Center. During the meeting, the senate approved an order to establish a Student Life Survey.

Student body vice president Matthew Bisner opened the meeting by approving last meeting’s minutes and giving general announcements.

Liam Price | The Observer
Facilitated by student body vice president Matthew Bisner, the senate met on the second floor of Lafortune Student Center Wednesday to discuss student announcements and senate orders.

Bisner encouraged senators to write transition documents for their successors.

“We are approaching April 1 pretty quickly,” Bisner said.

In the process of senate transitions, Bisner told the senators, “your voice can kind of get lost, so do be in touch with your successors as they’re elected, I believe in the coming two weeks or so.”

Bisner also gave updates on campus COVID-19 procedures after meeting with University administration on Friday.

With a high demand at the beginning of the semester for diagnostic tests, Bisner explained, testing was limited to “only significant others and roommates.”

After positive test rates rose to 20%, the campus positivity rate is back down to about 6%, Bisner said.

There were no general orders planned for the meeting, but Keough Hall senator Benjamin Erhardt motioned for resolution SO 2122-17 — an order to establish a semesterly Student Life Survey — to be moved to general orders, which was approved.

Director of communications and co-author of the resolution Claire Crafts clarified that the survey was different than others Notre Dame students have been asked to take.

“This isn’t a student version of the Inclusive Campus Student Survey,” she said. “This is very particular to the student union and ‘What are topics like on campus that you think student government should be addressing?’”

After questioning, the senate voted on the order, which passed unanimously.

Bisner then moved the senate back into new business, and Erhardt began discussing new orders. Orders SO 2122-18 and SO 2122-19 called for a referendum and succeeding an amendment to the Student Body Constitution regarding the adjustment of Student Union funds allocation methods.

The purpose of adjustment, Erhardt said, is to shift a greater percentage of Student Union funds to clubs.

“And with so many clubs on campus, and with a campus population growing and expanding, there is a concern that possibly it may strain on the amount of money each club can get,” he said.

Having a referendum on student undergraduate student ballots would provide key input for the senate on how best to allocate the funds, explained co-author of the orders and Fisher Hall senator Maclane Farrel.

“Every year, you pay $190 into the fund,” Farrel said. “And so, we want to believe, or we want to hear the opinion of the students on where they want their money to be spent.”

When Bisner opened debate, Knott Hall senator Abraham Figueroa asked for caution with the resolution.

“I would rather have a piece of legislation that is thoroughly researched actively by a committee before we start voting on anything,” he said.

Bisner decided to send the orders to an Ad Hoc Committee on Financial Affairs, but the senators motioned to overturn Bisner’s decision by a vote of 11 to 10 and vote on the order on a later date.

With the orders of business finished and the floor open for announcements, St. Edwards Hall senator Michael Jekot yielded time to his constituent, junior Eoghan Fay.

Fay delved into the Chinese government’s arrest of Hong Kong democracy activist Jimmy Lai.

“I’m asking this Senate to call on the University to give Jimmy Lai [an] honorary degree to show that this University does not now, nor ever will, have any [ties with] Marxist oppression,” Fay said.

After further business regarding Siegfried Hall’s Day of Man fundraiser for the homeless, the Bengal Bouts fundraiser and sophomore prom tickets, the meeting was adjourned.

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About Liam Price

Liam Price is a first year Gateway student from Lambertville, New Jersey. He intends to major in political science, and is currently serving as a New Writer Editor for The Observer.

Contact Liam