Student Senate Report- Feb. 20, 2020

At this week’s meeting, the Student Senate passed a resolution, provided information about elections and held a public forum.

A resolution by Senator Tim Berard to provide free menstrual products in all bathrooms passed unanimously with no abstentions.

“I talked to a few student organizations in the Gender and Sexuality Center and they told me a problem that they’re facing is that there are not enough feminine hygiene products in bathrooms,” Berard stated.     

According to Berard, there was precedent for providing free menstrual products since the University also provides free flu shots and contraceptives.

External Affairs Chair Allison Lantagne emphasized that a resolution does not mean that the Senate is fixing this issue. Rather, it means that the Senate is in favor of this issue being fixed and is endorsing it to the Faculty Senate. A stamp of approval from the Student Senate could still mean a lot, however, according to Lantange. 

“Those organizations that talked to administration said ‘there wasn’t enough student support,’ so hopefully if we can pass this, we can do something about it,” Berard said.

According to Student Senate Faculty Advisor Carl Stiles, a student brought forth this proposal to URI Vice President of Student Affairs Kathy Collins, who asked Ellen Reynolds, assistant vice president for student health and wellness, to “take a lead” on the project.

Director of Information John Morabito also made some announcements about the upcoming elections for next year’s Senate. The voting will now start at 12:15 a.m. on Feb. 26 and run through 11:45 p.m. on Feb. 27. 

Voting will also take place online on Campus Labs. This allows both students at the Providence and Kingston campus an opportunity to vote.

Campus Labs also has technology that can keep a live tracking of the vote and make it public as well. The Senate decided on whether voting results would be shown following elections would be  discussed by the Elections Committee at a later time.

Student Senate also welcomed Alex Hopkins to speak during the public forum. Hopkins, a sophomore, currently lives in Dorr Hall and spoke to the Senate to see if anything could be done to make the dorms in the Roger Williams Complex cost less than newer dorms due to their lower standard of living.

“When taking my grandparents to my dorm room for the first time last year, my grandmother compared the building I live in today to the building that her mother lived in, in 1910, when she immigrated over from Italy in an actual New York City slum,” Hopkins said.

Hopkins also made note that most of the rooms within the Complex are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and said that the quality of the dorms should be reflected in their price. Hopkins also stated that speaking in front of the Student Senate was his first step in trying to solve this problem.

“It feels as though the University has prioritized making money off of Brookside rather than focusing on the dorms they already have,” Hopkins said. 

Instruments Chair John Bagley told Hopkins that he “definitely has support from [the Senate].”

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