Student Senate approves new deadline, conditional standing for student organization constitutions

Senate votes in favor of resolution to allocate $4,132.80 for an additional Counseling Services employee


Photo by Kendall Ruchti

From left to right: senators Paul Solier, Ashley Sukhu, Ryan Bell, Steven Witzeling, Alec Putnam and Nicholas Bursaw at a Student Senate meeting held at 6 p.m. every Monday.

After two weeks of discussion, Student Senate voted on a resolution reflecting the changes the Campus Affairs Commission plans to make in its monitoring of student organizations.

The changes Campus Affairs Director Joe Cianciolo introduced includes moving the date student organizations need to update their constitutions and contact information from the first Friday of November to a set date of Oct. 31.

The new bylaws state if student organizations do not meet the deadline, they will be placed on conditional standing for the remainder of the academic year instead of critical standing.

Conditional standing allows the organization to remain active, while critical standing could lead to deactivation. It also means the following academic year the organization would not be allowed to receive segregated fee funding or reserve certain meeting rooms on campus. They will also have last priority when registering Blu’s Organization Bash the next year.

The bylaw changes are meant to create a more welcoming process for student organizations, Cianciolo said, and open up more communication between senate and the organization.

As the chair of a student organization, Senator Erin O’Brien said the bill clearly outlines responsibilities and deadlines for organizations. Senate voted in favor of the bylaw changes after removing two amendments.

Senator Ryan Spaight said the conditional standing restrictions are too harsh on student organizations that otherwise function fine without Senate oversight. Spaight requested to amend three of the punishments, only one of which senate approved for amendment.

Senate voted to remove the punishment that prevents students organizations from “co-sponsoring outside entities” if they don’t meet the Oct. 31 deadline.

Senator Nicholas Bursaw said student organizations shouldn’t have to be punished in order to force them to comply with the rules.

The bylaw changes originally stated new organization applications and constitutions would no longer be accepted after Nov 30. This amendment was removed after a vote and Senator Rachel Roddy said having one deadline isn’t fair to the organizations.

“There could be a student organization trying to get started,” Roddy said. “And just because they don’t have all the pieces together to become a formal organization, I don’t think that all their progress should be hindered for a full year.”

Spaight also said he doesn’t think the changes to the bylaws are an effective way to get information out to students and should be done through communication with the organization and campus affairs director.

“Putting something into Student Senate bylaws is not a way to proliferate information… since students don’t read the Student Senate bylaws,” Spaight said.

Director Mary-Laura Samples said although she agrees the bylaws won’t get the information out to students, it’s still important to note the changes in the Senate bylaws to serve as a reference.

“If a student org comes to you or you have problems with a student org, sometimes you have to turn formalities and point to the bylaws,” Samples said.

Director Cianciolo said he met with numerous organizations and outlined the changes to them. All but one organization he met with said the bylaw changes were fair, Cianciolo said.


In other Senate news

As director of the Finance Commission, Samples introduced a resolution asking for a special allocation of $4,132.80 to hire an additional staff member to Counseling Services.

Samples said Counseling Services approached her earlier in the semester requesting another employee for eight hours a week and $30 a week with fringe benefits.

Due to the increasing demand students have put on Counseling Services Senator Jonathon Wieser said it’s important for them to have the staff they need to serve students.

President Jake Wrasse said Counseling Services is fundamental to the well-being of students on campus.

“Few dollars are better spent on this campus than the dollars spent on Counseling Services,” Wrasse said.

Senate voted in full support of the special allocation request.