Presidential Platform*

Zachary Pohlman and Abby Bergman

*Adopted by the full Senate in May 0f 2016.

In consideration of the Senate’s performance in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic school years, the only years in which Abby and I have been a part of the Student Senate, we have identified areas of success and areas in need of growth as an organization.

Our successes are plentiful and include but are not limited to:

  1. Leadership Symposium Week
  2. Sexual Assault Awareness Week participation
  3. Midnight Breakfast
  4. The Oath of Inclusion
  5. Conversation and action around diversity and inclusion
  6. Welcome Week participation

We desire to bring the foundations laid by the past Senates to full fruition in the 2016-17 academic year. We believe we have learned from our past mistakes and now offer a set of goals for which we will work diligently to accomplish.

Our goals are plentiful and include but are not limited to:

  1. Continuing the successes listed above
  2. Further working towards a campus of inclusion and diversity
  3. Increasing student awareness of and attendance at Senate sponsored initiatives on campus i.e. Town Hall, Midnight Breakfast, Office Hours, SAFBC
  4. Reformatting the House of Representatives meetings to be more conducive of a collaborative community amongst Rockhurst student organizations
  5. Standing firmly against sexual assault by promoting efforts of the university to curb its prevalence on college campuses by assisting with the Green Dot initiative
  6. Expediting the process by which new student organizations join the campus community
  7. Publishing a biannual report expressing the actions of the Senate and to which organizations the student activity fee is allocated
  8. Establishing a Senate in which every members’ opinion is valued and one in which every Senator is assigned meaningful work and is held responsible for its completion
  9. Listening and responding to the complaints and suggestions of Rockhurst students, especially as new issues arise
  10. Working to make the Senate website a hub of information for students
  11. Acknowledging and promoting the efforts of other registered student organizations at Rockhurst

Call to Action

In consideration of the goals listed above, we believe that a two-pronged approach will best serve to fulfill them. First, we are calling for comprehensive structural reform, and second, we are calling for comprehensive procedural reform. Both of these proposed changes address all of the goals listed in an efficient and – in our opinion – fun manner.

Structural Reform

Rockhurst University has engaged in a plethora of diversity and inclusion conversations over the last two semesters. The Student Senate has continuously pledged to support the campaign to continue such conversations, and our structural reform proposals address those topics. We also believe that a restructuring of the Senate will lend itself to a more effective Senate, both inside and outside of meetings.

We firmly believe that a more diverse Senate will foster increased support for diversity efforts promoted by the Senate. Thus, for the upcoming election, we are working diligently to make Rockhurst’s more diverse population – commuter students, minority students, and nontraditional students – aware of the Senate application process.

Down the road, if the Senate decides to take more proactive measures to increase the diversity of students who serve on the Senate, we propose a course of action found in Appendix A.

The core value for 2016-17 is Contemplation in Action, and what we propose – we believe – beautifully encompasses that core value. Listed below are our proposed positions for the Senate as well as what responsibilities the positions carry.

Our proposed Executive Board shall be composed of the following. The description under each Executive Board position is a more specific understanding of the description found in the current Senate Constitution.

  1. Executive Board
    1. President
      1. Speaker of the Senate
      2. Chairperson for full Senate meetings
  • Promotes Senate bills and resolutions to appropriate officials
  1. Weekly meetings with each of four committee chairpersons
  2. All other responsibilities as listed in the constitution
  1. Executive Vice President
    1. Assistant to the President
    2. Advertising and publicity
  • Connection to registered student organizations
  1. All other responsibilities as listed in the constitution for “Vice President”
  1. Vice President of Finance
    1. Chair of the Finance Committee
    2. Attends and coordinates Student Activity Fee Budgeting Committee
  • Manages Senate budget and reports its use at weekly Executive Board meetings
  1. All other responsibilities as listed in the constitution for “Treasurer”
  1. Vice President of Programming
    1. Oversees planning and implementation of all Senate programs
      1. Leadership Symposium Week
      2. Town Hall
      3. House of Representatives
      4. Midnight Breakfast
      5. All other spontaneous programs
    2. Executive Secretary
      1. Minute keeper at full Senate and Executive Board meetings
      2. Writes and distributes agenda
  • Reserves rooms
  1. Posts minutes weekly to the website
  2. All other responsibilities as listed in the constitution for “Secretary”

We further propose that the number of standing committees be cut down from ten (10) to four (4). These four committees have specific areas of interest within the campus community. We feel as though ten committees stretches the chairpersons of those committees too broadly to the point that no committee is allotted enough Senators to accomplish anything substantial. By condensing the Senate to four committees, more goals can be set with more manpower to accomplish them. Every Senator serves on one committee except the President so that there are six to seven Senators serving on every committee.

We recognize the importance and benefit of conducting bimonthly meetings with Rockhurst faculty and staff as currently happens. We do not want that practice to end. Rather, we propose that within these four committees, there are designated Senators who meet with faculty and staff whose position relates to the goals of the Senate committee. The committee chairperson has the responsibility of ensuring that Senators serving on his/her committee are meeting with their faculty or staff member and reporting those meetings at committee meetings. The committee chairperson reports that information at full Senate meetings, yielding the floor to members of his/her committee to speak more specifically on a subject where necessary. Moreover, each of the four committee chairpersons meets with the President on a weekly basis to go over any current projects or ideas. Listed below are our proposed standing committees as well as the faculty or staff position we believe best correlates to the specific goals of each respective committee.

  1. Standing Committees
    1. Social Justice
      1. Diversity, Inclusion, Multicultural: Chair of Diversity Committee
      2. Sustainability: Associate Vice President for Facilities and Technology
  • Jesuit Mission: Assistant to the President, Mission and Ministry
  1. Connection to Kansas City Community: Director of Community Relations and Outreach
  2. Service: Director for the Center of Service Learning
  1. Finance (Chaired by the Vice President of Finance)
    1. Reviews all bills in Committees
    2. Manages Senate budget
  • Attends meetings of the Student Activity Fee Budgeting Committee
  1. Tracks spending of the Student Activity Fee
  1. Campus Life
    1. Dining: Dining Manager and/or Head Chef
    2. Residence Life: Associate Dean of Students, Director of Residence Life
  • Computer Services: Director of Infrastructure Services
  1. Greek Life: Assistant Director of Student Life
  2. Athletics: Athletic Director
  3. Campus Ministry: Director of Campus Ministry
  1. University Affairs
    1. Academic support: Vice President of Academics
    2. Security: Chief of Security
  • Admissions: Associate Vice President of Enrollment
  1. Constitutions of new and registered student organizations

Procedural Reform

Our procedural suggestions are closely linked to our structural suggestions. In an effort to expedite the time by which student organizations are passed to the Student Welfare Committee, to ensure that the goals of each committee are acted upon, and to clarify a process by which the Senate provides its opinion on a given issue, we propose minor reform in the following areas: meetings, committees, and legislation. Everything we are suggesting is found within the current Senate Constitution and By Laws. We merely wish to clarify those processes.

We enjoy Senate meetings. We, and we know many other Senators feel this way as well, look forward to nine o’clock on Wednesday evenings. We hope to preserve the integrity with which Senate meetings are run.

We suggest that the full Senate meets every week, as we do now. We additionally propose, however, that committees conduct their own meetings every other week in lieu of committee chair reports and conducting business as a Senate. That way, committees have an opportunity to work on their own agendas on a smaller scale before their ideas and legislation are brought before the full Senate for approval. The purpose of committee meetings will be further touched upon in this platform.

Below is a typical agenda for a full Senate meeting. It does not change the way meetings are currently structured.

  1. Meetings
    1. Full Senate
      1. Call to Order
      2. Roll Call
  • Prayer
  1. Pledge of Allegiance
  1. Open forum for any non-Senators or visitors
  2. Approval of the minutes
  3. Executive Board Reports
    1. President
    2. Executive Vice President
  • Vice President of Finance
  1. Vice President of Programming
  2. Executive Secretary
  1. Committee Chair reports
    1. Social Justice
    2. Finance
  • Campus Life
  1. Student Welfare
  1. Old Business
  2. New Business
  3. Announcements
  4. Motions or proposals

Committee meetings are to be held every other week in the place of committee reports and conducting business. Thus, the Executive Board gives reports weekly to the full Senate, but this amended schedule offers each committee its due time to develop proposals, ideas, and legislation in a more directed manner.


The Rockhurst University current Student Senate By Laws contain a process by which legislation passes through the Senate. That process, however, is not utilized to its fullest capabilities.

We believe that the Student Senate can better fulfill our purpose by promoting the use of actual legislation within our meetings. The problem, we believe, is that because the By Laws are not specific, we do not currently discuss or pass any bills or resolutions. We do business that could very well be documented in the form of official legislation.

Not only will written legislation ensure that the opinions of the Senate are valid and voted upon, but it will provide the Senate a platform to publish all official business that we conduct to the Rockhurst student population, its administrators, and the Board of Trustees. Organizing and formalizing the process by which we act as a representative body of the student population helps everybody on campus: the Senate and far beyond.


Upcoming Events

August 21: First day of class and Solar eclipse

August 24: Free stuff fair and Senate BBQ 4-6 pm on the quad

September 1: Senate applications due for freshman

September 8: Senate applications due for returning students