Student Senate voted to recognize URI Flow as a funded student organization. URI Flow is a performing arts expression group that has been meeting unofficially since the summer. The group meets to do juggling, stunting, unicycling, free running, and talent shows. They pride themselves on inclusiveness and are looking to be the most diverse group on campus.

The group usually meets on the Quadrangle, however they’re seeking a large indoor space such as the Memorial Union Atrium. There was some concern amongst a few senators with regards to safety and meeting minimum membership requirements, but it was approved with two nay votes.

Senator Shannon McIsaac discussed the College of Nursing’s move to a new building in Providence. The new building would be used next fall and there are rumors that most, if not all nursing students would have nursing classes in Providence. There is potential for bus transportation and even new housing. McIsaac will be meeting with the Dean next week to discuss the matter. The building is partnered with Rhode Island College.

Senate had open forum for two faculty members, Vice Provost Laura Beauvais of Faculty Affairs and Matt Bodah of the Labor Research Center.

Beauvais discussed the new academic plans to broaden students’ global presence. She noted that study abroad participation is ever-expanding, with 800 students participating in programs last year. Beauvais also said that Japanese and Arabic will soon be added as minors due to popular demand amongst students.

Continuing public forum, Bodah then discussed URI’s accreditation, which is overseen by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Bodah said that accreditation is seen as “a seal of approval as a decent quality institution.”

Accreditation is important to gain access to federal funding and support for research grants, which would be nearly impossible to attain without recognition. The next round of long term accreditation, which takes place every ten years, will begin in Oct. 2017, overseen by a team lead by the President of the University of Maine. These are comprehensive evaluations, which take roughly two years to complete and result in a massive report.

Senate also voted to rename the URI National Alliance on Mental Illness to “The National Alliance on Mental Illness on Campus.”