The Student Senate passed two bills at their meeting last night creating representative positions for the College of Educational & Professional Studies and the College of Health & Science and showing their support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
The first bill concerned giving liaisons to the College of Educational & Professional Studies and the College of Health and Sciences – two new colleges that split off from the former College of Human Sciences and Services. It would also cut an at-large representative from the Senate’s composition, giving 11 seats to be elected by the undergraduate student body.
There was opposition from many Senators who disagreed with the cut, favoring the current 12 at large seats and a 46 body Senate over the standard 45. An amendment was made to strike the cut, but failed without a majority.
“I think we can do our job effectively with the 45 we have here,” Freshman Senator Zach Taylor, a sponsor of the bill, said.
The second bill dealt with the Senate’s stance of DACA. DACA is an immigration policy that allows undocumented immigrants of the United States who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. Many college students are DACA recipients nationwide.
With the status of DACA up in the air due to current Federal immigration policy, Senate felt obligated to use this bill to state they’ll continue supporting DACA.
Lynne Derbyshire, director of the Honors Program and member of the University Equity Council is a strong supporter of DACA. She stressed how it would be morally wrong to send individuals who came here as minors to countries they hardly know.
“It’s a risk that’s becoming greater because they do not know whether it will stand or not,” Derbyshire said. “Having those folks on campus improve the education you receive.”
Interim Dean of Students, Dr. Daniel Graney, said that the university doesn’t disclose personal information, emphasizing how immigration status of students could only be released upon the issuing of a subpoena.
The bill was passed unanimously.
Also at last night’s meeting Sophomore Senator Michael Bachilas was elected to the Rules and Ethics Committee by the Senate.The Student Senate affairs committees discussed upcoming events on campus, including the beginning of the Big Chill Weekend, which begins on Saturday.
University College Liaison James Cocozza said that starting next semester, the URI 101 course will be 50 minutes over the course of 11 weeks. Currently, classes are one hour and 15 minutes long over the period of 10 weeks.