The 2022–23 executive board for Student Governance Council met for the last time April 24 and passed an amendment and one bill before the newly elected council was announced April 25.
An invitational dinner with President La Jerne Cornish caused the meeting to be rescheduled an hour later than usual. All terms expired after the meeting and was the last meeting attended by graduating seniors and members who were not reelected. Candidates at the recent elections who — at the time — had not been elected and did not have a title were also in attendance as guests.
Senior Senate Chair Austin Ruffino presented a bill that focused on the merger of the SGC and the Residence Hall Association. The RHA’s goal as stated on its website is to keep students engaged without leaving campus and be an important resource for students who live in dorms.
Ruffino said this is a highly important association on campus and this bill would add one position, the vice president of residential affairs, to the executive board. Ruffino said this role would supervise the RHA, making RHA into a partner committee that could use SGC as a supportive structure.
“We think from both ends it is mutually beneficial and gives us a good way to really get into how people are feeling about their residential life that we may struggle with reaching on our own,” Ruffino said.
Ruffino said this merger has been an ongoing discussion between the SGC and RHA during Spring 2023. He said that he worked with senior RHA President Esther Moore to develop a proposal for the merger that was presented to the Office of Student Engagement, the Office of Residential Life and Student Affairs and Campus Life before spring break. After approval from the offices the bill was developed to implement the change into the SGC Constitution after it was passed by the senate.
The bill passed 11–0–0, adding an empty seat on the SGC for residential affairs that can be appointed once the newly elected members transition into their roles at the start of Fall 2023.
Ruffino presented an amendment to the SGC Constitution about re-writing sections for clarity. This includes the newly crafted mission statement for the SGC. Ruffino said the paragraph was compiled from responses from all members.
“Student Governance Council, as the sole representative body for the Ithaca College students, strives to advocate equitability for all students, serve and unite the campus community and amplify student voices to improve the student experience,” the mission statement in the amendment states.
Ruffino said the Organizational Review Committee for the SGC was also concerned with word choice when analyzing the constitution. The executive branch in the constitution lists all titles of SGC in order of who is to be contacted by an administrator. In the past, this has been labeled “seats in line of succession” before being changed at the last ORC meeting to “hierarchy.” Senior Grace Madeya, president of the student body, said this wording needs to be changed again.
“I think the word hierarchy doesn’t have the best connotation with it and it sets up SGC to sound like one person is at the top and everyone is below them,” Madeya said.
Madeya proposed “rank order” as a term, which was met with some opposition. Sophomore Hannah Ahmed, Class of 2025 senator, said the term still has a negative connotation.
“Rank order still sounds the same as hierarchy,” Ahmed said. “Is there a way we can list it without showing there is a hierarchy?”
The council eventually determined there should be more discussion on the terminology used, but that “rank order” would be a temporary solution. An unfriendly amendment — an amendment that not everyone agrees on — was made to replace the word hierarchy with “rank order,” which passed 8–3–0.
In officer reports Madeya spoke about how she met the week before with Cornish to discuss IC Rise Up and how Cornish is responding to the group’s list of demands.
“She said all of them sounded reasonable and is excited to work on them,” Madeya said.
The end of the meeting was a series of congratulations to the SGC members that will be graduating, including Madeya, Ruffino, Lila Weiser, Esther Moore, Tessa Kurtz and Maya Sciven.
Ruffino said this is the 50th SGC meeting that he has hosted, and if he attends the next meeting, will have attended exactly 100 SGC meetings over the course of four years.
“I couldn’t believe it when I counted it all up,” Ruffino said. “Thank you for making SGC so special for me. … I’m so excited to see what you’re all gonna do in the future.”
First-year student Caleb Cackowski, senator-at-large, expressed his optimism for the future.
“I’m sad that we’re almost done with the current administration,” Cackowski said. “There are people here that have done so much for SGC and the college, it’s not gonna be the same without them. … I’m looking forward to the future.”
First-year student Dante Conde, senator-at-large, spoke about his excitement for the future of the SGC despite that he is not returning because he will be abroad in Fall 2023.
“I am very saddened but very excited to see what my fellow members decide to do next year while I’m abroad,” Conde said. “I can’t wait to come back to this beautiful campus.”