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Accountability

May 6th, 2010

It is currently a long-standing tradition that senior senators are not required to attend Student Union meetings during the spring semester. However, this may be changing next semester.

John Carroll University Student Union voted Tuesday, at their last meeting of the school year, to table a resolution requiring senators to attend weekly Senate meetings during the spring semester of their senior year.

Senior Senators Christopher Lewandowski and Craig Willert, and junior Senator Maura Jochum offered the bill to the Senate.

“It is my opinion that it is our duty as senators for our class to work to make sure that every voice will be heard and that the Student Union will truly serve its constituents,” Lewandowski said. “By reducing the number of required senators present I feel as though the voice of the John Carroll student would not be heard, or could not be expressed as thoroughly.”

The introduction of the bill was motivated in part by a bill offered two weeks ago by freshman Senator Greg Petsche. The bill moved to decrease the quorum, or number of senators required to hold a Student Union meeting, from twelve to ten. The bill was withdrawn last week after Lewandowski and Willert pledged to offer a bill to hold seniors more accountable.

Petsche supports the amendment because it not only gives the senior class representation throughout the entire year, but also lets six more voices be heard on the Student Union Senate.

“This amendment to the bylaws is a necessary improvement that has been a long time coming,” he said.

Student Union President Amanda Papa is also in support of the initiative.

“I think it would be great for seniors to be there in the spring semester [because] it offers an experienced opinion,” she said.

Sophomore Senator Jack Kirwin said he would vote for the bill because he believes current practices are in need of change.

“As senators we are elected to be both a voice for our class and for the student body,” he said. “Senior senators not having to attend any Senate meetings is unfair to constituents that vote for us to represent our classes at the Student Union meetings.”

Freshman Senator Maurice Redd feels the bill is unnecessary.

“I do not feel it made a negative impact on me as a freshman not having freshman senators in the fall, so I do not feel that seniors will be negatively impacted by [not having] senators in the spring,” he said. “I think that its good that senators are taking initiative to be more accountable, but I do not feel that this bill offered any accountability. This bill is trying to change something that was never in the Constitution or general bylaws, but has just been a long standing tradition.”

According to the bill, no language exists in the Student Union Constitution or General Bylaws that states senior senators are excused from spring semester Senate meetings. Papa, at Tuesday’s meeting, said that it has been a long-standing tradition that senior senators are given that option.

Lewandowski also sees this bill as an opportunity for senior senators to set the example for other Senate members.

“This bill would give senior senators the opportunity to remain a part of the Senate and serve as a type of mentor for the newly elected Senator,” he said. “Seniors can offer beneficial insight into the Senate realm, and serve as role models who have already experienced the Senate atmosphere. This experience is incredibly valuable and it is my opinion that we as seniors have a duty to work with the Executive Board as well as the freshmen, sophomore and junior senators.”

The resolution was tabled because, according to Student Union practices, all amendments to the Constitution must be tabled for at least a week to allow for discussion. This resolution is considered an amendment because it creates a new clause in the Constitution. The amendment will be voted on next year.

Lewandowski does not know whether the amendment will pass, but is confident that senior senators will continue to represent the student body.

“If it passes, it is my hope that the Senior Senators will continue to provide valuable insight on the Senate, and [also] serve as leaders not only in the Senate, but also around campus,” he said.