Student Senate debates constitution revisions

John Davidson, staff writer

Student Senate took part in its longest session of the semester on Wednesday night, debating revisions for the constitution. With just one meeting remaining for the semester, coming to terms on amendments was necessary.

The meeting started as usual, with the head of each committee discussing the business of their respective committee. After senators approved three appropriations, they brought the revision of the constitution to the floor for debate.

The first issue dealt with conflicting articles that gave different qualification requirements for serving on Senate. Senator Raymond Dunaway moved to duplicate the wording from one of the articles to match that of the other.

To pass, the motion required a three-fifths vote, but it failed by a count of 7-5. Eventually, the group agreed to remove one section entirely.

The next issue concerned qualifications to be an executive officer. The current constitution requires one semester of service on the Senate, but treasurer Asleigh Thomlinson moved to require two prior semesters on Senate.

“I personally don’t agree with that,” said Dunaway. “I feel that if a person is qualified and capable and that person has the ability to serve, then there is no reason that a student who has served that one semester would be unable to fulfill their duties as the treasurer or the secretary.”

Senator Cory Garr asked that the room meet in the middle and stick with the current system.

Garr said, “As far as getting people into the role of leadership, I think that it is good to allow people through student elections to run for the positions of treasurer and secretary.”

Thomlinson’s motion was voted down.

Dunaway then asked to remove the article that stated that distance learners couldn’t serve as members of Senate.

“I am a distance learning student and without this amendment I will not be able to serve in the spring,” said Dunaway.

Senator Mary Duncan strongly supported Dunaway.

Duncan said, “There are a lot of students that can bring a lot to Student Senate, such as Raymond, that take distance learning classes, but still possess the leadership traits we look for in Student Senate.”

The Senate passed an amendment stating that distance learning students wouldn’t be allowed to run for executive offices, but would be allowed to serve as Senators. Everyone acknowledged that Dunaway would be fully capable of serving in an executive position, but that he was more of an exception than the rule and that they needed to look out for the best interest of Senate in the future.

The final talking point of the night was in reference to absences in Senate. Dunaway moved to have the maximum number of absences be reduced to four, whether excused or not. This brought about a large debate.

A number of members felt that students should understand the time requirements of Senate before running. They argued four absences would be more than enough.

“If you make a conscious decision to run and you know that you are going to have too many obligations to be there, that’s something that you probably need to get figured out personally,” said Garr.

Senate was unable to agree on the wording, however, and moved to put this issue off until the next Senate meeting.

The meeting was ended with a brief presentation on the new apartment complex to be built on campus.