Student Senate votes on bylaw revisions


Rob Le Cates

Student Senator Jasmine Yusef, a junior English major, awarded Speaker Katelynn Alexander, a senior political science major a plaque thanking her for her dedication to the Student Senate over the past semester Wednesday night. The plaque reads “Presented to: Katelynn Alexander Speaker or the Student Senate. Thank you for your tireless dedicatio of time, commitment and support to the Student Body of Eastern Illinois University Fall 2021.”

Kyara Morales-Rodriguez, Associate News Editor

Student Senate voted on revisions made to the Student Senate Bylaws during its meeting Wednesday night. 24 of the 27 bylaw revisions passed, while three failed.

The bylaw revisions were voted on using a roll call vote, meaning senators were asked to vote saying “yes,” “no,” or “abstain.”

Bylaws had to reach a minimum of 11 yeses to pass, because that is the minimum to reach a two-thirds vote.

One of the bylaw revisions that failed regarded the office hour requirement and excused absences amendment senators must follow.

The bylaw revision required student senators to be present in the student government office for at least three hours per week. This replaced the requirement that states senators must be present for at least two hours per week, or one outside office hour in addition to one hour in the office.

The bylaw revision also removed the rule that senators are allowed up to three excused absences per semester.

The rationale behind these revisions was that this change gives senators more responsibility and also allows the Speaker of the Senate to oversee the office hour performance of senators with the chairperson of the Committee of Internal Affairs.

This bylaw revision failed with two senators voting yes, 11 voting no and three abstaining.

Another one of the bylaw revisions removed the powers and duties of the Committee on Internal Affairs.

This revision stated the committee must ensure all senators are performing their required three office hours per week. It also removed the duty that at the end of the month, the committee must choose a winner of a gift card to the university bookstore by adding each senator’s name to a drawing the amount of time he or she was nominated.

The rationale for this revision states that it is to go along with the bylaw revision stating that senators must complete three office hours a week.

This revision was also made to remove the gift card aspect, which, according to the rationale, puts limitations and restrictions on the committee.

This bylaw revision failed with 10 voting yes, five voting no and one abstaining.

A different bylaw revision was one regarding the RSO visit amendment. The bylaws state that senators are required to visit one RSO throughout the semester.

The bylaw revision replaced the section that stated that senators’ RSO visits shall include RSO meetings with a requirement stating that the senator shall not be a member of the RSO they plan to visit.

The rationale behind this revision is that this changes how and where senators can do the RSO visits.

This bylaw revision failed with six senators voting yes, two voting no and eight abstaining.

During this meeting, Speaker of the Student Senate Katelynn Alexander also gave a State of the Senate Address.

In her address, Alexander stated that this semester “can be summarized in a few words: trying, productive, but most of all successful.”

She said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health challenges that affected the university, the Student Senate “has made many significant gains in progress, and that she is “inspired by the fact that it is during difficult times such as these that the EIU Student Senate has done some of its best work this semester.”

Alexander congratulated the Student Senate on its work during the semester in recruiting new senators, hosting events and working on bylaw revisions.

She also shared some of the lessons in leadership she has learned during this semester with the senators, including to “set high expectations for yourself,” “open yourself up to constructive criticism and challenges,” and “learn to accept both failure and success.”

Student Body President Jacqueline Williams gave a State of the University Address.

During her address, Williams began by remembering “the loss and the life of a fellow EIU student, Jason Aguilar, and other EIU students who are no longer with us at this time.”

“During these times, challenging because of COVID-19, the EIU student body was significantly impacted, and the severity of the importance of mental health on EIU’s campus,” Williams said. “This led to the implementation of much needed mental health days.”

In her address, Williams also mentioned that another challenge the Student Senate faced this semester was the absence of senators required to meet quorum and recognized the effort and progress the Student Senate made to overcome this challenge.

Williams also said that a challenge the Student Senate faced was “maintaining the welfare and safety in the midst of COVID-19” and that Eastern administrators and health service personnel “have gone above and beyond to protect our Panthers with excellent COVID protocols, practices and procedures to keep EIU students as safe as possible.”

Williams also said that in the coming semester, the Student Senate must be willing partners with the Eastern administration in its commitment to student success and wellbeing by doing things such as putting first the mental health of Eastern students, being inclusive and continuing to partner with the Charleston community.


Kyara Morales-Rodriguez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].