The Marquette University Student Government held its first senate meeting last Thursday since the new residential senators were elected Sept. 12. The meeting saw the election of the new president pro tempore, the tiebreaker for the commuter senate seat and a presentation on alcohol policies by Erin Lazzar, the assistant dean of students.
Ryan Twaddle, a sophomore from the College of Arts & Sciences, was elected by the senate to be the new PPT. The College of Arts & Sciences senator stood against new McCormick Hall senator JR O’Rourke, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, who was not able to make it to the meeting.
“It feels great to know that now I can increase my involvement in senate,” Twaddle said. “I’m used to just being there and interjecting every once in a while, but I really wanted to do something different this year and take a more active role with the other senators.”
The PPT holds several responsibilities to assist the legislative vice president in senate activity, including in presiding over the senate if the LVP is unable to perform his duties. Twaddle is an ex officio member of every committee and will cast a vote if a quorum is needed. He is also required to attend every committee chair meeting.
LVP Kyle Whelton, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, once considered the PPT position to be “ineffective.” In response, he has made some changes to the PPT duties.
In the past, the PPT was required to be at every committee meeting. With the changes, though, the PPT will attend one committee meeting a week along with the committee chair meetings. The PPT will also have weekly meetings with Whelton to help set the senate agendas.
Whelton has a lot of confidence in Twaddle to take on the expanded role.
“I think Ryan is going to do an excellent job,” Whelton said. “He came to me and asked about the position, and I gave him some advice.”
The senate meeting also saw the commuter senate seat officially filled by Aliya Manjee, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences. Manjee originally tied the vote with the Mogen Frenkel, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences.
The MUSG tiebreaker calls for a vote by the senate to fill the seat. However, Frenkel contacted MUSG leaders last week saying he no longer wished to be considered for the position, citing time concerns.
“I withdrew myself from the election because I would not be able to dedicate myself as my opponent due to new commitments to my schedule,” Frenkel said in an email. “For the benefit of the commuters, my opponent would be better suited. She has my full support.”
A vote was still held and Manjee was elected unanimously.
“I’m excited. I’m excited to be representing my fellow commuters,” Manjee said.
MUSG also received a presentation from Lazzar on university alcohol policies during the meeting. She explained the fine system and thanked the senate for helping to write and pass the “Good Samaritan” policy, which protects students from some disciplinary consequences when seeking help for another student.
Senators raised several questions about the fining system, particularly about concerns that the alcohol fines are driving potentially dangerous behavior off campus. Lazzar said that there is no data to support that claim.