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A Call to Order: How do CUSG Meetings Run?

Justin Lee Campbell

CUSG Senate meets Mondays at 7p.m. and are open to the public. 

The Clemson Undergraduate Student Government (CUSG) Senate conducts weekly meetings on Mondays in the Student Union. Senate members and the vice president gather at 7 p.m. in the Senate Chambers, where the meetings are open to the public.
The senate president runs the meetings and begins them with a call to order by banging a gavel, calling for silence. Once the room is quiet, the vice president gives an invocation or prayer, which cannot be specific to one religion per Clemson’s Public Prayer Policy.
“Clemson University is a multicultural community, and because students, faculty and staff are of many different religious persuasions, prayers given at University-sponsored public events should be nonsectarian,” according to the Student Handbook.
After the invocation, the senate stands to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and then roll is called.
Following roll call, the senate president offers the previous meeting’s minutes, or official notes, to the senate body and asks for a motion to approve the minutes.
Motions are formal proposals in the senate. When a motion is made, the senate president asks if someone seconds the motion. If the motion is seconded, then the Senate has a voice vote.
“All in favor of the motion, say ‘aye,’” the senate president says. Senators in favor of the motion then say ‘aye.’ “All opposed to the motion, say ‘nay,’” the senate president says, and the same process occurs.
Once the minutes are approved, the Calendar of Special Orders is addressed. This is a list of agenda items that are unique to that meeting. A recent example is presentations for Capital Improvement projects, which are lasting investments that aim “to improve the quality of the Clemson experience and benefit all members of the Clemson community,” according
The proposals during the Feb. 15 meeting were funding requests from a senator for refinishing the “Scroll of Honor” across from Memorial Stadium and by Clemson Makerspace for new 3D printers. However, not all meetings have special orders.
After the approval of minutes or special orders, reports are given by the heads of each senate committee, which are as follows: Academic Affairs, Athletics, Campus Life, Finance and Procedures, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Facilities and University Services. Committee chairs provide the senate with updates on projects, information about future meetings with administration and reminders regarding pieces of legislation and events.
Following each report, the senate president opens the floor to a question and answer period. Senators with questions raise their hands, and the senate president calls on them. If a senator has more than one question, then the senator asks the committee heads if they are “open to a series of questions.” 
Members of the gallery, or the public, require a senator’s assistance in order to be allowed to speak. To open the gallery, a senator has to make a motion that must be seconded in order for the senate to vote. If the senate approves the motion, the gallery is opened and the senate president acknowledges the person who would like to address the senate.
When the last committee report is over, the senate officers provide reports. The officers are the secretary, president pro-tempore, student body vice president and senate president. 
After the officer reports, the senate addresses Old Business, resolutions and bills that have come up in previous meetings, and then New Business, items that have not been presented to the Senate. Resolutions are “statements, recommendations, or proposals regarding any University activity that the Student Senate has deemed necessary for student input,” according to the CUSG legislative branch bylaws. Resolution No. 16 from last Monday’s meeting is a proposal to extend dining hours in Harcombe. A bill is legislation that, if passed, would result in the senate’s taking action. Senate Bill No. 42 is for the confirmation of CUSG Supreme Court justices.
Before the senate meeting adjourns, the floor is open to announcements. Based on this semester’s meetings, the announcements portion is an informal opportunity for senators to inform their peers of outside projects, such as Greek Life events, CUSG Chipotle Night and Candy Grams for Valentine’s Day.
The next CUSG Senate meeting is Feb. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union.

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