Senate Amends Constitution

At their Feb. 25 meeting, Senate passed three constitutional amendments that will effect change in the organization’s internal and external organization.

The first of the three amendments authorizes the creation of a five-member Faculty Advisory Board (FAB). According to the resolution, the FAB will foster collaboration between the faculty and Senate, and provide the organization with a “sounding board” for “contentious or complex issues.” In addition to the practical advisory function of the FAB, Senate members hope that the board will engender principles of shared governance within the campus.

“Dickinson is a highly collaborative community,” said Ben West ’14, All-College Committee senator and co-sponsor of the resolution. “Working together, administrators, students and faculty members can cut through calcified processes and assumptions to affect positive change for the community as a whole.”

The second approved amendment authorizes the creation of a network of student advisory boards for interested administrative offices and departments. Authored by West, the resolution mandates that Senate Vice Presidents with existing Advisory Committees codify rules for those committees, and instructs the Senate President to offer Senate assistance in developing advisory groups with different administrative offices and departments on campus.

Senate President William Nelligan ’14 hopes that the advisory boards create avenues for student input by means other than senate membership or attendance at Senate’s weekly open meetings.

“While we think diligent constituent engagement, student organization outreach and online platforms like Buzzocracy all channel student opinion well, we also believe that consistent dialogue is better than a brief conversation in the cafeteria, a discussion in a club meeting or a post on a website,” said Nelligan. Nelligan also noted that the resolution builds upon Senate’s established advisory partnerships, including the Dining Services Advisory Committee, Public Safety Advisory Board Career Services Advisory Board and the nascent Global Study Advisory Committee.

The final constitutional amendment adds a yearly 10,000 dollar line-item to the Student Senate budget to be allocated to the Idea Fund.

According to Alex Toole ’14, Senate treasurer and co-author of the resolution, the amendment solidifies a formal relationship between Senate and the Idea Fund, a student-run revolving loan fund for community projects. Conceived in 2011 with a 15,000 dollar grant from the discretionary fund of President William Durden ’77, the Idea Fund generates revenue from loan repayment, as well as compensation from Facilities Management for the savings or income generated by its initiatives. According to Toole, the intent of the partnership is to provide the Idea Fund with a source of immediate revenue.

“We want the idea fund to remain solvent going forward – it’s a really important part of campus, a lot of people are involved in it, it’s integral to what we do at Dickinson,” said Toole. “Starting this upcoming year, student senate will have the flexibility to provide them with funding that they will manage on their own. They can continue to operate for years to come and not have to worry about [their] declining grant[s].”

According to Toole, representatives from both organizations had previously discussed the possibility of a formal partnership and collaborated to write a resolution together after Senate made the proposal to the Idea Fund earlier this year.

The resolution also creates the position of a non-voting Idea Fund liaison to student senate. According to Austin Davis ’15, Senate vice president for Club Affairs and co-author of the resolution, the position has yet to be filled.