Senators ‘step outside box’
Student Body President Chip Hiemenz and Student Body VicePresident Liz Healy thanked senators for getting involved withcampus organization events and volunteering for Student SenateHilltop Watch Committee during Tuesday afternoon’smeeting.
Hiemenz told Student Senate that SMU Police Chief MichaelSnellgrove was “very enthusiastic” to finally beginmeetings of the Hilltop Watch Committee.
The president asked for volunteers for the committee four weeksin a row. Two students volunteered for the committee after lastweek’s meeting.
Healy thanked senators for participating in this year’sHomecoming events and congratulated senators on “steppingoutside [their] box” to attend campus programming events suchas this weekend’s Ramadan dinner. “It means a lot tome, it means a lot to the organization putting on the event whenthey know they have the support of Student Senate,” the vicepresident said.
Senators asked several questions regarding requests made by theenvironmental committee. Chair Joseph Grinnell requested from theappropriations committee $80 to pay a membership fee to join theRecycling Alliance of Texas.
The executive committee reviewed the request as well, since itwould mean SMU as a university- — not just the committee— would be joining the alliance. According to Hiemenz andAppropriations Chair Alex Prima, neither committee clearlyunderstood the benefits that would come from joining the alliance.Prima explained that there was already a lot of e-mailcommunication between SMU and benchmark schools on the issue ofrecycling. She and her committee did not understand why theuniversity needed to join the alliance to improve communicationwhen a vehicle for that already existed.
The appropriations committee recommended not to fund theenvironmental committee’s request, and Student Senate votedto uphold the committee’s recommendation.
In new legislation, the environmental committee worked with Sen.Rafael Alvarez to submit a resolution “to encourage the SMUadministration to approve the placement of outdoor recycling binsoffered by Outdoor Partner Media Co.”
Senators asked questions of the chair and senator that indicatedtheir concern that the program would not be supported by theuniversity because of the size and appearance of the recyclingbins. The bins are more than 49 inches by 48 inches by 25.75inches, weigh 350 pounds and have the potential to displayadvertisements from on- or off-campus businesses as large as 28.5inches by 48.5 inches.
Student Senate approved four organizations to move into theprobationary phase of the chartering process. Mustang Mountaineers,Students for New Learning and Mustang Actors Showcase Theatre wereapproved unanimously after hearing positive recommendations fromthe organizations committee.
Senators debated extensively the fate of the Northwest BibleChurch. Several senators expressed concern about whether this andsimilar organizations are truly student organizations. After endingthe debate, Senate approved, in a split vote, to approve theorganization’s move to probationary status.
Melissa Dozier, chair of the organizations committee, alsoreported to senators the committee’s recommendation to revokethe charter of the SMU Debate and Forensics club.
Ben Hatch, president of the organization, spoke at theSpeaker’s Podium to encourage senators not to revoke thegroup’s charter. He claimed the organization met everydeadline give to them by the organization’s committee andcited section 4.4 of the Student Code of Conduct as proof.
According to Dozier, the committee required the group to turn ina new constitution and budget, find an advisor and a coach and havethe advisor meet with Thomas Hailey, assistant director of StudentActivities.
But she said the group failed to meet the committee’srequirements by the initial deadline. The committee extended thedeadline, giving the organization an extra two weeks to finish itsrequirements.
Dozier told senators the debate club turned in its constitutionand budget, late, found an advisor and said it had 11 interestedmembers. It did not hire a coach, and its advisor did not schedulea meeting with Hailey until last Thursday, well past the finaldeadline.
She also told Student Senate the committee visited one of theorganization’s meetings to see for themselves how manystudents were interested in participating. According to Dozier,only one member showed up at the meeting.
Based on these facts, Dozier said, the committee recommended torevoke the organization’s charter. “We think it’simportant to have debate at this university,” she said.”But when there’s no demand or interest, we don’tthink it’s up to the organization’s committee to tryand create that.”
Senators will vote on the group’s status during nextweek’s Senate meeting.
On the docket
• A bill to fund SMU Bacchus $532 for its World Aids Dayawareness project.
• A resolution commending the university for taking stepsto improve the student experience at SMU home football games.
• A resolution to encourage the SMU administration toapprove the placement of outdoor recycling bins offered byOutdoorPartner Media Co.
• A bill to fund the Association of Black Students $6,142for their participation in the Big XII Black Leadership EmpowermentConference.