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ISSUE 119 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/5/2006

Proposal amended, passed

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor

Friday, May 5, 2006

After a lengthy discussion at last week's Senate meeting, St. Olaf Senate amended both Reconciling in Christ (RIC) proposals and passed them.

In the first amended proposal, Senate affirms that St. Olaf "currently meets three of the four requirements to become an RIC community."

Previously, the proposal requested that Senate "support the proposal as a valuable part of St. Olaf's identity and diversity." Many senators brought forth concerns from their constituents, and others brought forth support for the proposal.

"We need to ask ourselves if the RIC label is needed," senator Ishanna Rambachan '08 said, bringing up her constituents’ concerns about Senate making a stand on a politically charged issue.

Senator Michelle Vigen '07 also brought forth concerns from her constituents, saying that RIC may compromise the non-denominational Christians on campus and force other students "under a Lutheran umbrella" in regards to the RIC issue.

Senator Karl Olsen '08 also mentioned concerns, such as how the RIC label would be used, if the 649 student signatures were enough to warrant a decision from Senate, and the possible reactions from the greater St. Olaf community.

Olsen also showed concern about any "implicit message behind [the first] proposal," namely that "Senate wants St. Olaf to be a RIC community."

Senator Tyler Hauger '08 stressed throughout the discussion that the proposal did not have a hidden agenda and that it stated the obvious, namely that "student senate says that the RIC proposal is a valuable part of St. Olaf," and that three of the four requirements are already in place.

Other senators, however, wanted to accept the proposal as written.

"This is just another way to allow those who want a RIC community to know who we are," said Senator Matt Fedde '06. "It would be great for admissions."

Senator Nicole Callies '06 reminded Senate that the Board of Regents will make the decision, not the Senate, and that Senate's proposal would not make St. Olaf a RIC community.

After a lengthy discussion, Senator Robin Karkowski-Scheler '06 suggested an amendment to the first proposal to neutralize the language and remove any direct "support" of the RIC proposal. Senate amended the proposal, and it passed 26 to two after a silent paper ballot.

The second proposal that requested the "formation of an official committee to further the discussion on St. Olaf College becoming … an RIC community" was also amended to bring a request for a working group to the Board of Regents at the October 2006 meeting. The second proposal passed unanimously.

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