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Student Senate Update:First Senate meeting of semester cancelled

Due to an administrative mistake by Student Senate Speaker Alex Fries, the Student Senate meeting originally set to take place on the evening of Sunday, Jan. 29 was scrapped in an effort not to trespass the senate’s credibility levels regarding transparency and ethics, according to Fries. Fries mistakenly placed the wrong date on the agenda for this week’s meeting; it read “Sunday, Feb. 5” rather than “Sunday, Jan. 29.”

“There was some confusion with whether or not we would be having a meeting, and with the level of sincerity that we’re dealing with on the topics that we are talking about, I just didn’t feel comfortable having the meeting,” Fries said. “I just think that if we’re talking about things—no matter what we’re talking about—we have to clear that ethical and transparency threshold and if we’re compromising that, we shouldn’t be conducting business.”

The most prominent item on the agenda was a discussion by the senate regarding the possible removal of current student body president, Jonathan Dean. On the day of the final student senate meeting last semester, Sunday, Dec. 4,  Fries received a collection of petitions that called for the impeachment of Dean. However, due to the infeasibility of validating the necessary 300 undergraduate student names within the span of only a few hours, Fries made the decision to postpone a full discussion on the matter.

Over the course of winter break, Fries was able to verify the undergraduate names through the Registrar’s Office; the plan was to hold that discussion at the first senate meeting of the spring semester. The first meeting will now happen next weekend, though the details regarding its start and end time have not yet been finalized.

Due to the possible conflicts that might arise with holding such a meeting during the Super Bowl, especially one that involves the New England Patriots, Fries said that he is hoping to figure out a way to conduct the meeting regarding the week’s agenda on Saturday, Feb. 4 rather than Sunday, Feb. 12.

“It’s really a tricky situation that we’re in right now, but we’ll figure it out,” he said.

In order for a vote to occur on the matter of impeaching Dean, the senate must be in quorum, and only if at least 58.5 percent of senators vote in favor of relieving Dean of his duties will he be forced to leave his office.

Other items on the agenda that are now pushed back include a resolution regarding separating the weekends of Homecoming and Family Weekend, and other “housekeeping” actions, such as adding and removing senators, Fries said. 

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