Rec Center improvements focus of MUSG debate

Debate over the extent to which Marquette Student Government should make a recommendation related to Rec Center improvements was the main focus of Thursday’s Senate meeting.

Senators defeated a recommendation, 15-14, that called for facility improvements at the 16th Street building, with opponents saying the proposal needed to be stronger.

The recommendation’s authors cited research by the Department of Recreational Sports stating that recreational facilities on campus are used by 87 percent of students, but only meet the needs of 35 percent of club sports. No additional indoor club sports could be added to the facilities because of space constraints, the research said.

Other universities have recreation facilities that are superior in comparison to the Rec Center, recommendation sponsors said.

“The Rec Center is out of Band-Aid approaches,” said Giuseppe Pappalardo, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and an author of the recommendation.

Many senators, including Bill Doerrer, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the recommendation was not strong enough and did not adequately spell out exactly what students and MUSG want the administration to do about the issue.

The opposition’s argument hinged on the final clause of the recommendation, which read, “Let it be recommended that the administration immediately explore avenues leading to the long-term resolution of issues concerning students’ health and wellness, mainly recreational facilities.”

While senators in favor of the recommendation supported this clause, Doerrer contended it was weak because it didn’t reference students or what changes they want.

“I support the idea … but I don’t support the recommendation,” Doerrer said.

Paige Jorgensen, a senior in the College of Communication and the recommendation’s sponsor, pointed out that MUSG doesn’t necessarily have the power to make the administration take action and that making the recommendation stronger would overstep the Senate’s bounds.

However, other senators disagreed with this notion. Joey Ciccone, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said the recommendation needs to state what students want, not just that something needs to be done.

“The goal is to build a new center on campus,” Ciccone said. “Nowhere in the recommendation does it state, ‘students want a new Rec Center.'”

MUSG President Henry Thomas, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, later said the debate highlights a contrast of legislative philosophy in the Senate between those who believe recommendations should simply identify concerns and others who think recommendations should identify an approach to take to address concerns.

He added that although the recommendation was rejected, a new compromise recommendation would likely be written for this or next week’s meeting due to the importance of the issue.

In other news from the meeting:

  • Thursday was the first meeting for the newly appointed Commuter senators (Raviinder Gill, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Timothy Allen, a junior in the College of Education), and new McCabe Hall Senator Zach Baldouf, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • Executive Vice President Stephanie Stopka, a senior in the College of Business Administration, announced Student Organizations Allocations deadlines are approaching. The non-club sports deadline is Nov. 13, and club sports applications are due on Nov. 20.
  • Doerrer reported that the MUSG Business and Administration Committee would have an amendment on election reform ready for next meeting.