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Wednesday, April 24, 2024
The Observer

Rezner and McAndrew explain senate procedures in second meeting of new term

The Notre Dame student senate met Wednesday afternoon in the Mendoza College of Business building for their second meeting this term. Though no orders or resolutions were voted on, vice president Aidan Rezner and senate parliamentarian Griffin McAndrew used the meeting to explain proper parliamentary procedures and resolution-writing practices to the new senators.

Members of the senate watch presentations to prepare them for meetings as the new term continues.

Following the senate’s standard meeting format, Rezner, who as vice president is also chairman of the senate, began the meeting with an opening prayer, and McAndrew took roll call afterward. 

Rezner next approved the senate’s April 5 meeting minutes with a unanimous vote and moved on to executive announcements. He first explained to the senators the difference between senate resolutions and orders.

“A resolution is, for lack of a better term, like a wish. It’s a call upon the university to do something. Now the University is, we’d like to think, is [sic] very welcoming to these things and they will read them, and then they can make a decision as to whether they want to do that or not,” Rezner said.

“Whereas an order… would be something that you would write up and send through, and if it passes, that order is changed. Now, the only thing that we have full order rights over is really our student constitution and our senate bylaws.”

McAndrew followed with two presentations for the senators: one on parliamentary procedures in the senate, and the other on writing resolutions to be discussed and voted on the senate floor.

“Parliamentary procedure is the way in which, basically, the Senate is going to run. It's a method of running meetings and conducting business for the sake of efficiency while preserving the rights of its members,” McAndrew said.

The first, sixteen-slide presentation outlined how senators should expect meetings to run, including all parts of a typical senate meeting from opening prayer to meeting adjournment practices.

“I know this is really dry stuff, so I’m not going to go through all the nuts and bolts,” he said after concluding the presentation. “This was just like a summary of what you would expect to happen in a normal senate meeting.”

McAndrew’s next presentation discussed the three steps of resolution writing for senators, from choosing an issue to drafting the resolution and then submitting it to himself, Rezner and the Student Activities Office advisor.

Rezner told the senators that they can look to him and McAndrew for help in drafting the resolutions.

“We’re here to help you. I’m more than willing to be with you about a resolution that you’re working on, anything of that sort. Me and [McAndrew] are resources to you,” Rezner said.

“If you have an issue, we want you to go after it and solve it, so don’t be afraid about writing the resolution perfectly. We can help you with that.”

The last part of the executive announcements segment of the meeting included a reminder from Rezner of senate meeting attendance policy and expectations, explaining that senators are allowed six absences in a term before facing a review by the student government’s ethics committee. Though attendance policies are rarely enforced strictly, McAndrew advised the senators to do what they could to avoid dealing with attendance issues.

“The ethics committee has been known to be very lenient on attendance policies, which isn’t a good reason for you guys not to show up because an ethics committee hearing is a total nightmare for everyone involved, including both of us and you,” McAndrew said.

The general orders part of the meeting included only a reminder from Rezner for senators to sign up for student government executive departments. 

In announcements, Dillon Hall senator Sam Godinez stood up to inform his fellow senators that he is working on a resolution for the senate to call upon the University to fix “Lake Dillon,” which is the colloquial term for the area between the entrance of Dillon Hall and the exit of South Dining Hall that floods during heavy rains.

“If you don’t mind, I have to give a passionate speech,” he said. “At this point, Dillon Hall is an ocean and all our members, including myself, are just a bunch of whales trying to navigate the waters. So I will be introducing a resolution, emailing all of you probably within the next week or so.”

Editor’s Note: Sam Godinez is a former news writer and photographer for The Observer.