Student Senate Report- Nov. 7, 2019

Two new resolutions passed at Student Senate’s weekly meeting yesterday evening.

The first of these bills was a resolution calling to take $675 from the Multicultural Unity and Student Involvement Council budget. The number was decided in order to make up for t-shirts the program had bought against the laws of Student Senate, who decided the budget. Additionally, the club has yet to pay back the invoice for the t-shirts.

Director of Treasury Joseph Lachance, who handled the bill, said that the group had “nowhere near enough” fundraising money to pay back the money, so it was necessary to take this money from their budget. When questioned by Senator Terrell Parker over the necessity of taking out the money, Lachance responded, “either the University itself pays it or the group has to pay it.”

The bill passed with only Parker voting against it. Student Organization Committee Chair Austyn Ramsey, who met with the current executive board of the club, said she “did not see” a situation like this arising again with the club.

The second bill was a resolution by new Senator Christopher Bove in order to help out students with disabilities while taking exams. The bill asked for Faculty Senate to allow protections for students that need extended time to take exams by giving them a 30-minute break during that time. The bill was passed unanimously and multiple senators said that this was among one of the more important bills they had passed during their time with senate.

Information Technologies Liaison Ryan Menard announced to the Senate that a “URI app” could possibly be started soon, and that he would be meeting with contractors. Additionally, Menard said that e-Campus is going to replaced, as its developers are discontinuing system support. 

 Additionally, College of Health Sciences representative Rhiannon Small reported that there was a “severe lack of sensitivity” about issues faced by the LGBT+ community within the human development department. 

“A student came to me, stating that there was… a lot of homophobic language… and that these issues had been put on the back burner and they’ve been extremely unsupportive,” Small said. “I brought this to the attention of the Dean and he has reached out to the chair.”

Two more officials were also elected to this year’s Senate. Matt Campion was elected as the representative for the College of Pharmacy and Mariama Diallo was elected as the College of Environmental and Life Sciences representative.

However, there was some controversy with the vote. Parker suggested that for Diallo’s vote, which occurred after Campion’s, the Senate should not use anonymous paper ballots and instead vote audibly, in an effort to save paper. The motion was shot down by other Senators, however, including Annibel Cimbal, who noted that doing so would violate the group’s constitution and render the vote invalid. Parker withdrew the motion, and Diallo was elected with 33 votes. 

Before adjournment, moderator Ryan McWeeney also noted that this year’s Senate needed to do a better job of following decorum, although he admitted that they had been better than past groups.

“I don’t want to get to the point as a Senate where I have to utilize strikes…or where I have to take away people’s speaking abilities on the floor,” McWeeney stated.

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