At present, there are three key objectives that the student movement hopes to achieve in the process of negotiating with the Institute. These objectives are largely from the Student Senate's Rensselaer Union Report, as passed on January 30, 2017. They are as follows:
The Rensselaer Union as a true auxiliary service of the Division of Student Life. This language,
which students want included in
The Rensselaer Plan 2024,
RPI’s long-term strategic plan, would formally define the Union as part of the Institute, but
would also carefully re-affirm the Union’s autonomous and
independent status within the RPI community.
- The Rensselaer Plan 2024 is the Institute's long-term strategic plan, yet there is no mention of the Rensselaer Union, let alone a student-run Union. The Institute aims to bring all areas of the university into conformance with their long-term initiatives, yet this plan fails to include a place for either a student-run Union or meaningful student-governance. It is noteworthy to mention The Rensselaer Plan 2024 was penned in the year 2012. This is a clear indication that Dr. Jackson's administration has not valued the Rensselaer Union or intended for it to be any major part of the Institute’s future for some time now.
A Board of Trustee resolution confirming the approval of the
Rensselaer Union Constitution in its
current form, stipulating the need for an affirmative vote of the Rensselaer Union Executive Board
to approve the hire and continuance of Union administrative personnel, and reverting the reporting
structure of the Director of the Union to take direction from the Executive Board.
- Article VII, Section 2(f) of the Union Constitution mandates that the Executive Board “approve the hiring and continuance of all administrative personnel of the Union”; thus, the hiring may only be finalized after an affirmative vote of the Board. This must be a student-driven process and members of Student Government along with leaders of student organizations shall be involved in the process.
- The Director of the Union position is currently vacant and at present, there is a search underway to fill it. Despite being told by the administration the job responsibilities for this position would include feedback that had been solicited by student leaders earlier this year, the job description for the position remains the same according to the leaked memo from the student committee that conducted interviews with the candidates for the position. We want the Director of the Union to advise, not direct or manage, student government, Union organizations, the Union budget, and the like.
Recent alumni as members of the RPI Board of Trustees, to be voted on by each graduating class
and serve a two-year term exempt from fundraising requirements. Initial documentation from
students notes that this is not an unprecedented move; Skidmore, Dickinson, and Union Colleges
all have this in place, and it is considered a “best practice” by the Association of Governing
Boards of Universities and Colleges.
- This objective was recommended by an ad-hoc committee of the Student Senate, that recommended the implementation of such a system following the protest and widely-supported petition in support of a student-run Union. They proposed, “Junior Trustees on the Board of Trustees shall be elected by their respective graduating classes. The elections shall occur at a time and place determined by the Student Senate and coincide with the election of Alumni Class Officers. The conclusion of the election is defined as the time at which its results are released. The results of an election may be released no later than the end of the semester in which the election is held. Voting shall be by secret ballot. Only students who are eligible to run for the alumni offices of their class shall be eligible to run for Junior Trustee positions. Each class shall elect on Junior Trustee. The term of the Junior Trustee shall be equal, in years, to the number of Junior Trustee seats on the Board.”