“Executive Sessions,” Rugby Nationals and City Council Meeting
By Logan Peterson, firstname.lastname@example.org
On Nov. 15, Student Senate held their meeting at a temporary new location: Owens 201.
Some of the agenda items included this year’s fourth secretive “Executive Session,” the partial approval of a funding request and a report on Tuesday’s Moorhead City Council meeting regarding the former MSUM polling place.
The term “Executive Session” cannot be found in Student Senate’s publicly posted bylaws or constitution, but seems to be an agenda item placed under new business. The meeting chair asks the general public to leave during these executive sessions.
“Usually if you go into executive session, it’s not something that’s necessarily good,” said Michael Reeves, former Student Senate member for two years and a proxy at the night’s meeting. “I haven’t been in one yet that’s positive, but there’s always room for that happening.”
According to Reeves, executive sessions are the only place for senate to be “non-transparent.” It’s a part of the regular senate meetings that only proper-standing senate members and the senate advisors are allowed to take part in. Even Reeves, who is not a current member of senate, was asked to step out during the meeting.
“Last year I don’t remember there being any [executive sessions], but the year before there were quite a few that were in the spring semester,” said Reeves.
Reevs said the increase in executive sessions in the spring of 2017 was caused by allegations lodged toward the vice president-elect at the time.
Nov. 15 marked this year’s fourth executive session, other posted agendas including the item on Oct. 18, Oct. 25 and Nov. 1.
Funding Requests for Women’s Rugby
After a lengthy discussion by the Senate, Women’s Rugby was allocated $1,175 = to attend Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia.
This decreased amount will require the 20 members of the Women’s Rugby team to pay $150 per player out of pocket. Some senators argued that this was too much for students to pay, while others pointed out it was within the normal amount Student Activities Budget Committee (SABC ) requires students to contribute toward travel.
“I am slightly concerned that we’re spending too much money,” Student Senator William Hagen said. “It’s amazing that the Women’s Rugby team made it to Nationals, I can’t stress how exceptional that is … but we also have to keep in mind the whole point of the committee is to manage the budget for all the student activities, and we want to keep it equitable for everybody.”
Continued Discussion on Polling Place Change
On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Student Senators William Hagen and Marcus Mergen attended the Moorhead City Council meeting to discuss the polling place change.
According to Mergen, there were multiple directions the council discussed about bringing the polling place back to campus. Some wanted to return to the subsections of precinct 5, while others brought up bringing the entire precinct to campus. Mergen said almost the entire council was in support of bringing the polling place back to campus.
“There was only one person that was really against it, [and] he came out swingin’,” said Mergen.
Councilman Steven Gehritz was adamant that the change was being over-analyzed.
“The media and political activists have falsely accused this council,” Gehritz said, “that we are trying to disenfranchise these young voters. It’s totally false. It’s ridiculous.”
Mayor Del Rae also supported the campus polling places, saying that she’d veto anything that wasn’t on campus.
Hagen said that students must remain vigilant on the issue, making sure the places are changed back and remain on campus for the upcoming years.
On Nov. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, there will be a public hearing on the issue. Hagen said they hope there will be a vote on the move at that meeting, as the polling places need to be decided for the next election by Dec. 31, 2018.
“We’ve got to make sure we see it through, but we’re getting close to mission accomplished right now.”