Student Senate Report- Oct. 10, 2019

During the Student Senate meeting Wednesday night, the Director of Housing and Residential Life Frankie Minor and Assignments and Occupancy Assistant Director Dan Taylor gave a presentation about Brookside Hall, which is expected to be ready for students by spring of 2020.

According to Minor and Taylor, there are three possible options for prioritizing which students will move into the building, which is expected to house 500 residents and resident assistants. Most of the plans were built around preventing “ringers,” which are students who are used to bump up the overall GPA of the group applying for housing and effectively improving their chances of becoming Brookside residents but not actually living there.

Instruments Chair John Bagley questioned how big of an issue “ringers” were, noting that at the school he had attended prior to the University of Rhode Island, they were not an issue.

“We heard from a lot of juniors and seniors who felt that they had paid their dues, and somehow they got closed out because there were a number of underclassmen who were brought in by ringers,” Minor said. 

Minor also addressed the higher cost for living at Brookside compared to the cost of living at Garrahy or Wiley Hall, two other on-campus apartment complexes. 

“There is not anything substantially different about this facility than Garrahy or Wiley, other than the fact that there’s a cafe in there and it’s newer,” Minor stated. “So, our thinking is that some people will make a socioeconomic choice… and say ‘Garrahy or Wiley is completely fine.’”

Student Senate President Nick Marotta also announced that he had appointed Ryan Menard as the new information technology (IT) liaison. Additionally, newly elected Engineering Liaison Jake St. Germain and Off-Campus Representative Luke Scatenato were present in the audience for the meeting.

Menard had a first report as IT liaison as well, going over new policies. While he noted he was against it, there was a discussion in that department about the ethics of tracking students’ phones to make sure that people who were not going to dining halls or leaving their rooms were alright, and “if it was appropriate or not to notify an RA or if it was better to not collect that information altogether.”

 Every senator who spoke up about it was against the idea, although senator Zack Nardone noted it may be possible to track swipes at dining halls to check on students’ health. 

President Marotta also relayed a message from Student Senate Advisor Carl Stiles about inappropriate Halloween costumes. Stiles noted that any costumes that “portray a polarized and derogatory view of people and are simply racist, including blackface, yellowface, brownface, Native, Mexican, terrorist, redface, Rasta man, refugee, and other derogatory or body-shaming costumes [are unacceptable].” 

Stiles also noted that any costumes negatively portraying people with mental health challenges, such as a psychiatric ward patient, are unacceptable as well.

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