The University of Rhode Island’s Student Senate spent a substantial amount of time this week working on their constitution again.
Student Senate failed to pass the bill calling for the implementation of a new constitution because numerous senators were absent, required to abstain, or simply abstained from voting and failed to reach quorum.
A motion was made by Senator Allison Lantagne during discussion on the constitution to apportion two seats within Student Senate to represent international students. This representative would need to be a first generation American or have immigrated to the United States within the past 10 years. The motion was passed in an 11-10 vote and six abstentions.
Senator Sachitha Bhat supported the motion and claimed that introducing these seats to Senate allow international students to feel more represented at the University. The positions would also allow for international student issues to be addressed more.
“When I first came here I felt like I didn’t have a voice,” said Bhat. “It’s been a long time since international student issues have been addressed.”
The motion was highly debated within Senate on the grounds that other groups of students would need to be represented in the same specific way as international students if this motion passed.
“At that point we’d need to add a transfer seat, we’d need to add so many seats,” said Senator Austin Vutech. “It’s not like there’s any barrier for an international student to join Senate, it’s actually quite easy.”
Another concern over the legal ramifications of determining who would be eligible for the seats were raised as well. Senator Ryan Menard brought up the issue this might have by violating the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. This might violate FERPA by requesting information about immigration dates which is not public information.
There was also a motion by Menard to change total representation in senate from 45 to 47 representatives so that representation wasn’t taken away from other areas of representation. This motion failed to pass.
There was also a motion that passed to change at large representation back to 11 seats from six seats, which was changed during the constitutional convention. A motion made by Menard to add another representative to first year representatives was passed as well.
A bill calling the addition of resources to solve internal executive disputes was also passed during the meeting. This bill would allow disputes amongst the President and/or Vice President of Student Senate to be resolved by a neutral party or the advisor of Student Senate.
Another bill calling for revisions to an article of the constitution was passed concerning the impeachment process of senators.
A previous change to the constitution wherein a election committee was created was struck from the constitution.
A bill calling for the recognition of Rhody Rhapsodies as a recognized student organization was passed.
During the report of the Campus Affairs Committee, Senator Gage Blanchflower said, “I have been told that blue light at Eddy has been fixed.”
Blanchflower expressed that Senate should