Letter: Defending the ISS

We write in response to Tuesday’s editorial regarding the unfortunate death of TAM. We have two objections to the editorial. First, it is factually inaccurate. At the meeting on March 27, according to the editorial, “student senators present called for a quorum for the first time in recent history and staged a walk out to protest the merger.” While we did stage a walk out, it is worth noting that quorum was called by a faculty member, not a student.

Second, it unfairly criticizes the tactical decision made by the Student Senate. Our goal was to postpone the vote as long as possible for two reasons: 1) to create time for another round of dialogue between the administration and the TAM students (who almost universally oppose the merger); and 2) to provide time for discussions with faculty senators regarding our opposition to the merger.

It’s important to remember that the UC Senate is made up of 200 faculty members and only 50 student members. No matter what we did, the vote to eliminate TAM would have taken place at the latest this Monday.

UC Senate meetings automatically end at 5:15 p.m. and any unfinished business is automatically postponed until the next Monday. Two Mondays ago, debate on TAM was ended at approximately 5:10 p.m. Our walk out following the quorum call gave the TAM students one more week to lobby faculty senators on this issue, allowing an immediate vote would have denied them that opportunity. We also prevented a rushed vote on the Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day resolution.ÿ

The editorial goes on to suggest that if quorum would have been called before the end of the debate we would have been able to buy more time. This is false because at this Monday’s meeting if you only counted faculty a quorum was present (although several faculty members did not cast a vote on the merger), and no matter what we did, a vote to end debate and vote on the merger would have passed. We did our best for the TAM students, unfortunately, it was not enough.

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It is very important to ISS to maintain a strong working relationship with the faculty senators, and we do not intend to make a habit out of calling quorum. We are willing to do so only to protect student input on issues of great importance to our constituents.ÿ

Josh Rohrscheib and Ryan Ruzic,

Co-Presidents

Illinois Student Senate