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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Union considers new senate position and club reforms

Published: October 12, 2012
Section: Front Page, News

Proposed creation of a 567 Senator
Student Union President Todd Kirkland ’13 announced his intention to propose the creation of a 567 quad senator at next week’s meeting. Under the current system, 567 and the Charles River Apartments share a senator.

Kirkland explained the reasoning behind the proposed change.

“Typically the person that gets elected from the Charles River/567 spot is in Charles River and Charles River constituents are typically juniors and seniors whereas 567 is solely sophomores.”

On the topic of whether the 30 residents of 567 South Street should have their own Senator, Kirkland added “TYP [Transitional Year Program] only has [about] 20 members but they are still a year program and [rightfully] get represented.”

Kirkland also announced an E-board initiative to work on improving school pride and spirit with the creation of an “Owl Day” (official name is yet to be determined). “It would be nice to have some sort of day held annually in the spring, most likely on a Friday, where we have a campus-wide celebration … celebrating Brandeis,” he said.

Kirkland commented that school spirit frequently provokes reactions, such as the Celebrate Brandeis event, which was held on the same day that the Westboro Baptist Church protested on South Street in 2010, or the Today Show contest last month.

“After the Today Show event, we saw a lot of students come out with pride but it was as a reaction. We do have a lot of student events that occur on this campus, usually held on the weekend, and there’s usually not a university commitment behind them,” he said.

While Brandeis hosts many cultural events like Mela, or Liquid Latex and annual traditions showing pride in specific subjects, Kirkland said it “doesn’t necessarily translate to the university as a whole. Why can’t we take that spirit and apply it to Brandeis as a whole?”

While Owl Day may not be able to happen this spring, it would be ideal to lay the groundwork for an annual event starting next year—the goal of which would be to host it on a Friday.

Club recognition reforms
Another change to be voted on at the next Senate meeting is to amend the Senate Bylaws and make the club creation process less wordy and as Executive Senator Ricky Rosen ’14 put it “more clear and concise.” Currently, clubs seeking either recognition or chartering can come to the Senate at the same time.

Under the newly proposed reform, clubs seeking recognition would address the Senate on the first Sunday of the month and clubs seeking a chartering meeting would address the Senate on the third Sunday of the month.

“Recognition and chartering are already separate in terms of the votes required by the Senate [recognition is a majority vote while chartering needs 2/3 support], so we want to simply hold the votes on different days,” Rosen said.

Additionally, under the new system clubs would need 100 signatures in order to become recognized, with no further signatures before becoming chartered. Once recognized, clubs would have to hold an organizational meeting, effectively displaying the club’s stability, in order to seek chartering. Under the old system, clubs needed signatures for recognition, even more for chartering, and the process largely overlapped.

Success of Union Radio Show
Under the new Brandeis Student Union launch pad, members from different branches of the Union will broadcast each week from 12 to 1 p.m. on Thursdays to discuss projects. Rosen also mentioned that, “As the show advances, we’d like to bring on administrators who can answer students’ questions.”

In Kirkland’s words, “It’s another great avenue of communication … It gets Student Union members talking.” Kirkland also hopes to be able to record the program so that students who have class during the one-hour show will be able to listen at their own convenience.

Part of the show encourages student involvement. For example, students can tweet their questions (with the hashtag #DeisLaunchPad), which will be answered during the show. One such question mentioned at the senate meeting was the topic of Saturday dining hours.

Kirkland commented, “If you look by and large at the hours, Saturday nights is very limited. After 7 p.m. you have two hours of the Stein, nothing from 9 to 10 p.m. except for the C-Store, and then from 10-3 you have Ollie’s. While we can’t necessarily create more hours, we want to look at hours that maybe can be shifted to expand Saturday night options.”