by Connor Nolan ‘19
At this week’s general meeting of Student Congress Adam Hauerwas, who is in charge of Sakai, came to open up a dialogue regarding use of Sakai in student elections. There had been questions regarding discounted ballots due to inefficiencies in Sakai’s interface that allowed students to vote for multiple candidates for the same positions. This most often pertains to class representative elections, as the system is unable to stop students from voting for more than five candidates. Hauerwas explained that while this leads to discounted ballots, it has never been by a margin that fully changed the outcome of the election. Instead, it has just changed the percentage of victory. He implored the Congress to look into ways to lessen the number of special elections needed as there has been at least one almost every election cycle.
Hauerwas then fielded a few questions from the members of congress. One involved the implementing software on the school website, and Hauerwas said students who want to do so should contact those who run the website, as Sakai is an independent system. He also added that while parts of Sakai are able to be accessed through the Providence College app, elections cannot be made available there since they are separate systems. The Congress thanks Hauerwas for coming to speak and looks forward to welcoming Father Brian Shanley, O.P., attendance at next week’s meeting.
A piece regarding student elections and students returning from study abroad was postponed as it needs more work.
Last week’s allocations piece was reintroduced with the changes in funding for the upcoming semester. There had been a mistake with the information shown to the Congress, but upon clarification from the presenter the budget was set to be voted upon. One member pointed out that the clubs with zeros next to their name received no increase, but would instead be keeping what they already were allocated. A graph was also provided in order to show how the money was spread across various clubs on campus. The piece was then put to a vote and was passed unanimously.
A new piece of business was introduced by members of the Congress to clarify previous legislation regarding the status of the Board of Programmers’ representative to the Congress. The presenters spoke to its necessity, as there are two different explanations of BOP’s role, one calling them a passive member and one saying they have a vote within the Congress. The second of these will be removed if the piece is passed, and the Board of Programmers would return to being a passive non-voting member. One member applauded the piece, saying the contradiction within the constitution needed to be fixed and that this had started from controversy years ago. It should be voted upon at next week’s meeting.
One final piece of legislation was brought before the Congress with the intention of having the campus evaluated by a third party to judge if the campus is fully accessible to disabled students. The presenters believed that with the many changes the College is undergoing, it is a necessity to not forget the disabled students that struggle to get certain places on campus. The changes currently being made to the Department of Public Safety were sparked by a third-party review, and the presenters hope this would enact similar changes. One member of the Congress asked who will pay for the review, and the presenters hoped that the funding would come from the dean’s office. Many members spoke to the necessity for this and the need for the Congress to fight for all students. The piece should be voted upon next week.