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The Scarlet & Black

This Week in Joint Board

Senators approved the temporary creation of a new position in SGA this week in Joint Board. The Outreach Director will be responsible for coordinating communication between the SGA and the student body, generating discussion on important issues affecting Grinnellians. Next week, the position will be voted on one final time.

A large majority of senators supported the resolution, but there was some debate before the vote.

“This [position] would be the voice of the SGA. We really don’t want that,” Senator Brian Silberberg ’14, suggesting that the president already serves that role. “All of this is too vague.”

“Vagueness was, as suggested, intentional,” outgoing S&B Editor-in-Chief Solomon Miller ’13 said.

Miller, the author of the resolution, wanted the new position to have enough freedom to fulfill its function. After the trial period has ended, the SGA will be able to better define the role of Outreach Director.

While senators worked toward better communication with this resolution, another proposal regarding constituent content was voted down 8-7-2. It needed a supermajority to succeed.

The idea of required weekly meetings with students was extremely contentious. Many senators compared the meetings to the bemoaned hall councils. Others thought that weekly meetings were needed for “transparency.”

“What’s wrong with an email address?” Senator Tom Van Heeke ’12 asked. “It is not our job to get people interested. When people care, they can contact you. This is not going to add a whole lot, besides adding time to people’s days, when no one is going to show up anyways.”

Senator Jacob Washington ’15 ardently disagreed. He called for increased responsibilities for the members of Joint Board, because senators today do not accomplish as much as their counterparts on the “local, state, and national levels.”

“Our job as senators is to serve,” Washington proclaimed. “People may look up to me as a freshman. People may look up to me as a member of the basketball team. Nobody looks up to me as a senator.”

Senator Sam Mulopulos ’14 said that the meetings were “not an effective way of solving problems” regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of Joint Board. He instead proposed an amendment advocating for senator proficiency in Robert’s Rules of Order. It did not pass.

Eventually, Presiding Officer Peter Aldrich ’15 grew tired of the senators’ “ungermane” and extended debate. He recused himself from his position.

“I am so frustrated with the state of debate, I do not believe that I can run it effectively,” Aldrich said. “Because I am presiding officer, I cannot partake in debate. However, if I could, I would.”

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