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Senate votes to suspend off-campus council elections with unopposed candidates

| Thursday, April 20, 2023

Liam Price
The Notre Dame student senate gathered in Mendoza College of Business building Wednesday afternoon to pass one senate order and another senate resolution during the meeting.

Wednesday afternoon’s Notre Dame student senate meeting featured a debate on the best state and a promotion for Baumer Hall’s “Fr. Pete [McCormick]” shirt sale, but it began with an ad-libbed prayer.

Notre Dame student senators typically volunteer ahead of time to lead opening prayer for a given meeting, but at the start of Wednesday’s, student body vice president Aidan Rezner offered the opening prayer to any senator who wished to lead it right then. Fisher senator Joseph Tunney raised his hand.

“Heavenly Father, thank you for allowing us to gather here,” Tunney said. “Please bless everyone in this room. Help us to do our work quickly, efficiently and with the hearts and minds of a group that keeps in mind the interest of the student body at Notre Dame. Help us to get through this week … In your name, we pray.”

Editor’s note: Tunney is a former sports writer for The Observer.

Student union secretary Isabella Tardio took roll call for Wednesday’s meeting and asked the senators their bucket list vacation spots for the meeting’s question of the day. Rezner added another feature to the roll call section of the meeting’s agenda: “Pick One,” for which he put Duncan Hall senator Jacob Zybura on the spot, asking Zybura why he thinks New Jersey is the best state.

“What more could you want in a state? It’s got the beach. It’s got the city. It’s got some beautiful mountains, believe it or not,” Zybura said. Zybura’s hometown, according to the senate directory, is Clifton, New Jersey.

“All right,” Rezner said to Zybura. “I’d argue that California has that too, but that’s fine.” Rezner, for his part, is originally from Corona, California.

After the opening prayer, Rezner moved the senate into executive announcements, promoting events hosted by student government’s various executive cabinets in the upcoming week. Rezner noted that Denim Day, held on Thursday, April 20, is the student union’s most important event for the rest of the academic year.

“Make sure to wear your denim tomorrow,” he told the senators. “Make sure your dorms know to wear denim tomorrow. [It is] very important to show awareness and support. So jeans, denim jackets, all those are good things. And that will happen tomorrow to show our support for survivors of sexual violence.”

Rezner, who was presiding over the senate for the third meeting of his term, had finished the rest of the executive announcements and was moving onto new business when Carroll Hall senator Hunter Brooke, the runner-up vice presidential candidate in this year’s student government elections, raised his hand.

“Can I ask a point of order? I may have been completely asleep, but did we forget to approve the minutes?” Brooke asked.

It was true. Rezner had not approved the prior meeting’s minutes after Tardio took roll call and before executive orders. 

“That’s on me,” Rezner said, and then he quickly fixed his error by approving the prior meeting’s minutes with an unanimous vote from the senate to do so.

Brooke then gave another motion to move up the meeting’s two agenda items from new business to general orders, and there was no objections from the senate.

Liam Price | The Observer
During the executive announcement portion of Wednesday’s meeting, student body vice president Aidan Rezner reminded senators to wear denim Thursday, April 20 for Denim Day in order to raise awareness about sexual assault.

Two items passed during general orders

The first item on the agenda was a senate order to suspend off-campus council elections. Knott senator Clay Chauncey made a motion to dispense the reading portion of the order, which was approved with a senate vote. During questioning, Rezner told the senate that the order’s reasoning was obvious: “There’s only one party running,” he said.

Isabella Marchetti and Aubrey DiStefano are the only juniors running for off-campus council president and vice president, respectively, in the upcoming off-campus council elections. Suspending the election simply facilitated a quicker electoral process for the unopposed candidates. The senate agreed with Rezner, providing no debate on the order and no dissent in the senate during voting.

The next agenda item was a senate resolution “to fix the Baumer Hall sign,” which Brooke, as a co-sponsor for the resolution, read out loud to the senate.

The “whereas” statements of the resolution explained that a “sign on the southeast section of campus near the Morris Inn contains names and directions to many nearby dorms, but conspicuously lacks any direction or identification of Baumer Hall.” 

Furthermore, the resolution also stated that Brooke and Keough Hall president Derick Williams “have discussed this issue” with individuals from the Office of Facilities Design and Operations, who have “placed an order for necessary materials.”

Brooke read that the resolution calls upon the Office of Facilities Design and Operations “to efficiently and effectively add a sign designating Baumer Hall to the outdoor signage in question.” The resolution also states that, on behalf of the entire “student union and student body,” the senate “extends its full gratitude and thanks” to the office and the other individuals from the University who have helped with the issue.

Baumer Hall senator Thomas Kluck said that Brooke came to Baumer Hall in January and asked members of the hall what the student union could be doing better. “We said, you know, ‘we want this sign,’” Kluck told the senate. “It’s not that hard of a fix and we want it done. Somebody’s got to get it done.”

The resolution passed with no opposing votes, and Rezner moved the senate into announcements.

Brooke raised his hand again, announcing that Carroll Hall’s Lakeside Music Festival is this Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. At this point, however, it was Rezner who corrected Brooke.

“We’ll have to get it approved first, but hopefully it will happen,” Rezner said. “But we can’t announce it officially.”

Kluck announced that Baumer Hall will be selling shirts depicting Notre Dame director of Campus Ministry Fr. Pete McCormick in Baumer Hall from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the meeting came to a close shortly after with the unanimous vote by the senate to adjourn the meeting.

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About Liam Price

Liam Price is a sophomore from Lambertville, New Jersey. He majors in political science and English, currently serving as a New Writer Editor for The Observer. He enjoys playing pick-up basketball at North Dome and listening to "Take a Load Off Your Feet" by the Beach Boys on repeat.

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