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This Week in Senate: Ianni, Chambers Speak

Members of the Undergraduate Student Association hosted a pair of high-profile administrators on Tuesday night. Dr. Danielle Ianni, Vice President for Enrollment Management, briefed senators on goals and metrics for undergraduate admissions. She was followed by Dr. Thomas Chambers, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, who fielded questions from senators about the Strategic Planning Committee he chairs.

Applications for the Class of 2026, Ianni began, are up 13% from last year. She explained the potential for a demographic “cliff” in 2028 caused by the 2008 recession and urged senators to get involved in recruiting students. Ianni and the admissions team may “get [prospective students] excited, but students sell them” through one-on-one interactions.

As for strategy, Ianni asked senators for help with social media. She described how admissions currently targets marketing to accepted students; she then warily asked for help with TikTok. “We need to be on TikTok. But nobody wants to see me doing TikToks,” Ianni said. She floated the idea of a student competition to create an admissions TikTok and unofficially appointed Vice Speaker Natalie Faas as admissions TikTok captain. Senate advisor Jason Francey lauded Ianni for an exceptionally transparent presentation.

Next, Chambers spoke on his work with the Strategic Planning Committee, a transitional group whose aim is to present President-elect Steve Stoute with “quick wins” as well as potential solutions to long-term issues. Chambers intentionally chose mid-level administrators and faculty to lead the 90-person, all-volunteer project, so that new ideas would be heard. The Committee’s five subcommittees presented a 50-page report that is now being reviewed by President John Hurley.

Citing a Griffin article published last week, Senator Carlo Mastrodonato asked Chambers whether more students could be made aware of their right to dispute a grade. Chambers said that was a matter for a student’s associate dean. He also urged students to advocate for themselves by approaching their professor before filing a formal complaint.

Senator Hawa Saleh broached the subject of adjunct faculty compensation. Chambers replied that a mix of market forces and a desire to hire people who work in their fields will always require a certain number of adjuncts. Canisius, the dean continued, is one of the better paying institutions for adjuncts.

President Alyssa Deacon reported that the USA Constitutional Review Committee will have recommendations ready for passage by next year’s executive board and Senate. Deacon also asked for potential changes to the USA student bill of rights. Senators requested protections for students’ gender identity and measures to ensure student government transparency.

Budget appeals from The Griffin, Unity, Honors Student Association, Student Planning Board, Afro Society, Alpha Kappa Psi, Crescendont’s, Society of Economics and Finance, Global Horizons, Commuter Student Association, Society of Pre-Health Professionals and FUSION were all unanimously passed.

Tuesday, April 19 will be the Senate’s final meeting for the 2021-2022 academic year.

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