Student Senate March 23 Meeting Updates

The Undergraduate Student Senate held their weekly meeting on Thursday, March 23 in McConomy Auditorium. A number of items on the agenda focused on passing amendments to various governing documents. A set of four bylaw changes were slated together.

The first bylaw change was to clarify the Activities Board (AB) and AB Executive Chair position within the context of the recent student government restructure. In the past, the Student Government Executive Committee would “elect” the AB Executive Chair after a nomination from AB. However, this amendment made it so the AB Executive Chair would be voted on by the AB Executive Board and confirmed during the joint Senate and Graduate Student Assembly meeting in April.

The second change was reflected in J.22.05, a resolution that aims to correct the language in Carnegie Mellon documents to reflect the language used in the recent amendment that removed the positions of Student Body President and Student Body Vice President.

The third amendment change focused on updating Senate fiscal policy. Changes to the Senate fiscal policy included altering some language to be gender neutral and to be in line with other Senate documents.

The fourth amendment change was to alter the language of how the Senate performs vacancy elections. In 2017, the Senate changed their elections to a single transferable vote instead of first past the post. Though this change was reflected in the voting process, the language of the governing documents were not actually updated. As such, this amendment updates that language.

Since the amendments were slated, a single vote was done to pass all of them. A 22-0-1 vote approved all the amendments.

Two more topics were discussed in the Senate. The first was S.Res.13.2022, which aimed to reallocate funds from the Media Fee account for a performance of “il trovatore” at the Benedum Center on Sunday, April 2. An undergraduate had offered to purchase tickets for the show for anyone who had filled out a Google Form. The resolution would provide $35 per ticket for the first 75 undergraduate students who fill out the form ($2,625) to offset the cost the student would be paying. According to the Finance Chair, the Media Fee currently contains over $197,000. In the following discussion, some senators expressed concern about the precedent that approving this would set in regards to Media Fee spending while others noted that there aren’t enough opportunities for undergraduates to explore what Pittsburgh has to offer. After 20 minutes of discussion, the motion to vote on the issue was passed unanimously (since the resolution didn’t go through a committee, this vote was required) and the resolution was passed 16-7-1 (⅔ supermajority required). More discussion on the usage of the Media Fee account will follow in future meetings.

The second was S.Res.12.2022, which stated an official Senate endorsement to modify the Carnegie Mellon Statement of Assurance to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on an individuals’s caste. The resolution was introduced and passed unanimously.

After some announcements, the meeting closed at 6:30 p.m. The next Senate meeting will be Thursday, March 30.