May 7, 2018
In a memo addressed to the President of the Union, the RPI administration implements new restrictions on Union purchasing and restricts student budgeting authoity to amounts less than $5000.View memo
March 1, 2018
FIRE sends another letter to RPI, this time to the Director of Public Safety, addressing the issue of RPI officers removing students from a public sidewalk in an effort to stop students from distrubuting Save the Union materials.View letter
February 28, 2018
Interim Chairman Michael Cuozzo emails the Student Senate with an update on the hiring process. In this scathing report, Cuozzo rebuts Apgars and describes a cover-up involving HR giving one of the Director candidates the questions before the interview.Poly article
February 24, 2018
Claiming eminent domain, Public Safety officers prevent students from distrubuting buttons and fliers to students and alumni outside of the Big Red Freakout hockey game.View press release
December 21, 2017
The New York Civil Liberties Union sends a letter to RPI condeming the civil rights violaions of the RPI administration, particularly due process and freedom of expression.View letter
December 4, 2017
November 8, 2017
November 8, 2017
Nearly a month after "Lab Safety Class" drew close to one-thousand protesters Reunion & Homecoming weekend, students involved have been formally accused of Handbook violations and have received notifications of judicial action on behalf of the Institute. Other students have reportedly received informal inquiries.View press release
October 27, 2017
After being excluded by Dr. Jackson from her "Student leader clambake" slated for November 4th, the Grand Marshal and committee chairman are removed from continued participation in the Director of the Union hiring process. Members of the Executive Board are required to sign an NDA, something which has not been the case in previous searches for other Union positions as recent as last week.View NDA
October 13, 2017
October 9, 2017
October 7, 2017
The memo discusses the many issues surrounding the Director of the Union search and states the committee is unable to recommend either Director of the Union candidates to the Executive Board. It recommends that the job description be amended, as well as the job duties in the performance management tool. Only after these issues are addressed will it
deliver a detailed report of its findings and recommendations.
October 5, 2017
In an email to the RPI community, Save the Union responds to the denial and announces plans to hold a "lab safety class" instead.View response
October 4, 2017
Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Travis Apgar baselessly denies an Application for Peaceful Demonstration on the grounds that it would be disruptive to the launch of the Institute's capital campaign and Reunion & Homecoming weekend.View letter
September 20, 2017
Apgar states that, "It is inconceivable that a decision would be made in opposition to the voice of the students when a vote is in full accordance with both the Bylaws of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Rensselaer Union Constitution, and all applicable employment protection laws."View the full letter
September 20, 2017
VP Strong states that Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, "has not wavered in her commitment" to the student experience.View email
September 12, 2017
The Grand Marshal and President of the Union cite the Institute Bylaws and Union Constitution to illustrate the necessity of an affirmative vote by the Executive Board to hire a Director.
September 12, 2017
Vice President for Human Resources Curtis Powell addresses the Grand Marshal and President of the Union to inform of HR's position that the president may appoint the next Director of the Union.View memo
September 7, 2017
Student leaders appointed by the President of the Union form a search committee to interview candidates for Director of the Union. Out of 50 applicants, HR presents two candidates to the committee.
November 29, 2016
William Spelman Executive Search lists a job opening for Director of the Union. An updated job description, revised without the input of any student leaders, included the management of the Union budget, directing student programs and activities, and providing 'direction and support' to student-led organizations. The reporting structure is also changed and the Director of the Union will now report to the AVP for Student Experience and Dean of Students instead of the student Executive Board.View job description
September 13, 2016
September 12, 2016
September 12, 2016
April 9, 2016
The administration once again removes all Save the Union signs to prevent prospective students from learning about the issues. Public Safety officers tell students that while the signs are normally in accordance with the Handbook, for Accepted Students Day that is not the case.
March 31, 2016
Chairman of the Board Artur Gajarsa reaffirms the Board's unconditional loyalty to the Union concept.View statement
March 30, 2016
The Town Meeting is a semesterly meeting held by Dr. Jackson in the Fall and again in the Spring to discuss the state of the Institute and to address concerns of the student body.
March 29, 2016
This event was initially described by Dr. Ross as an open forum "to meet and talk to administrators.Student Media organization were prohibited from recording this event, which occurred in Academy Hall during the middle of the day while many classes were taking place. At the Town Meeting, Dr. Jackson cited the need for these organization to ask permission as a courtesy to the speaker. While this courtesy is not totally unreasonable, the notification would hardly serve to change what was said or asked during the forum. This prohibition, however, does harm the effort of media organizations and their ability to inform the masses and aid in the maintaining of an open and honest dialog.View press release
March 29, 2016
March 28, 2016
The Troy Record publishes an article by reporter Mark Robarge detailing plans of a campus protest scheduled during the same time as the Spring Town Meeting.
March 24, 2016
Acting Dean of Students, Cary Dresher denies two students' Application for Peaceful Demonstration on the grounds that it would be disruptive to "the normal operation of the Institute." This baseless rejection is twice appealed with no result and students’ access to their judicial system is denied.View letter
March 16, 2016
A job posting for "Executive Director of Student Activities" appears on the William Spelman Executive Search. The decription of the post is as follows:The Executive Director of Student Activities is a new position resulting from a reorganization of the Division of Student Life, and will provide leadership for a broad portfolio of co-curricular programs including the Student Union, Student Government, and Campus Recreation. Reporting to the Assistant Vice President/ Dean of Students, the Executive Director ensures high quality, out-of-class opportunities that advance CLASS.While the administration may choose to reorganize the departments of the Institute, the Rensselaer Union Constitution, a binding policy approved by the Board of Trustee, details the position of Director of the Union (Article V) and his/her organization under the Department of Student Life as reporting directly to its Vice President. Furthermore, Article VII, Section 2f gives the sole authority for the hiring and continuance of all Union administrative personnel to the Executive Board.View job description
February 9, 2016
In 1891, a year after its founding, the Rensselaer Union funded its first athletic team. In the 124 years that followed, the Union provided many millions of dollars to support the athletics teams of Rensselaer. As with the other activities of the Rensselaer Union, the students took it upon themselves to impose a self-tax with the idea that activities utilized exclusively by students should also be funded and managed by students. In years of hardship, the Rensselaer Union has continued to provide support for teams that may otherwise have been cut because of their inability to generate revenue for the Institute. That changed on February 9, 2016, when Dr. Frank Ross wrote students to tell them that authority was being taken away.
January 15, 2016
Director of the Union Joe Cassidy suddenly resigns under mysterious circumstances. In the middle of the annual Union budgeting process and with numerous meetings scheduled in the coming days and weeks, Union staff and the Executive Board are informed that Joe Cassidy is no longer employed by RPI.
It is unknown if Mr. Cassidy's resignation was coerced; however, it is important to note that, under the Rensselaer Union Constitution, the Executive Board is the only organization within the Institute with the authority of the Board of Trustees required to terminate this, or any other Union employee. Further, the Union Constitution specifies procedures for mismanagement or other impropriety by the director of the Union. If the Institute determined the director of the Union to be culpable of some misdeed, then it is the requirement of Trustee Policy (i.e., the Rensselaer Union Constitution) that the continued employment of the director of the Union be affirmed or denied by a vote of the Executive Board.
May 15, 2015
"I am honored to be joining Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and contributing to a preeminent research university with global reach and global impact. I have been impressed with the transformation of Rensselaer under President Jackson's leadership, and appreciate her very strong commitment to students. I look forward to leading the Student Life team and supporting The Rensselaer Plan 2024 while advancing a robust student experience through Clustered Learning, Advocacy, and Support for Students."
March 8, 2013
Immediately after the Student Senate passes a 2.5 GPA minimum for any GM/PU candidate, the Institute implements its own 3.0 GPA minimum for both positions. While both of these actions are consistent with the Rensselaer Union Constitution (Article (VII), Section (13)), the manner in which the Institute implements their restriction above those carefully argued among the chief legislative body of the student body causes controversy.
September 12, 2011
A new Director of the Union is appointed. Two students on a large committee and a separate student advisory group have input on the matter, but the hiring fails to comply with the language in the Union Constitution that had so clearly set this as an Executive Board decision. Their approval is gotten after the fact in a pro-forma vote. Despite being proud of a student run Union, Institute management never mentions students as being part of the decision.
January 31, 2011
During a 2011 Student Senate meeting Dean of Students, Mark Smith, discusses the proposed amendment to the 2010 - 2012 Student Handbook mandating protests be approved through the Dean of Students Office. In this discussion Fmr. Dean Smith notes that protest forms are for preparedness and to ensure the welfare of the student body. He is quoted as saying, "[I]n my tenure, there has not been a time when something was not approved that students have done."
February 26, 2009
A protest is held in the Center for Industrial Innovation (CII) plaza prior to a Board of Trustees meeting in Russell Sage Dining Hall (RSDH). The protest is triggered by abrupt changes in policies affecting Resident Assistants (RA) including the removal of freshman RAs and and substantial reduction in RA compensation.
Having student representatives on the Trustee Finance Committee provided a valuable means of communicating the state of finances and tuition to student government—matters which intimately concern them. The final removal of student representatives from this Trustee committee coincided with a series of massive increases in tuition and structural changes in the Institute's spending profile.
Done in concert with the removal of student representatives from the Trustee Finance Committee, students were told having representatives on Board would no longer be current practice. In fact, the contrary has been and is increasingly true at universities across the United States.
THE MSCHE recognizes the Union "…as an unusual, if not unique, student organization. Run entirely by students, the Union is a justifiable source of pride for the Institute."
This is important in the context of the abrupt takeover of Athletics by the Division of Student Life, where Dr. Frank Ross cited the recommended practices of the MSCHEC as justification for the removal of the Executive Board from the athletics budgeting process.
The "new" Rensselaer Union Constitution is approved and a new era of student involvement is ushered in as students become fully involved in all aspects of the Union.
February 25, 1970
Students take a stand against an oppressive administration:
"At present the power of all policy making is concentrated in the hands of the Administration. The faculty are treated as employees; the students as clients. Neither are treated as responsible participants in University decisions. Furthermore, the Administration acts to intimidate the individual and to suppress his political and social freedoms. In short, the student and faculty constituencies of the Institute are subjected to the tyranny of an unresponsive Administration."
Students elect to charge the first Student Activity Fee and use these funds to start the bookstore—the driver of Union revenue prior to 2015
The Rensselaer Union hires its first athletic coach at RPI. The Union continues to fund athletics until 2015.
The Rensselaer Union is founded as a comprehensive student organization, and the first President of the Union is elected.