The University of Rhode Island’s Student Senate passed bills to recognize nine clubs and elected seven senators to the Summer Student Senate.
Bills calling for the recognition of URI Amnesty International, Landscape Architecture and Design Studio, Japanese Club, Society of Latinx in Computing, Active Minds, HER Campus URI, Exercise is Medicine, American Nuclear Society and Women in STEM as student organizations were all passed.
The bills to consider American Nuclear Society (ANS) and Women in STEM as recognized by Senate were originally not on the agenda, and were moved to be immediately considered during the meeting. There was confusion amongst the Senate when the vice president of ANS said that he was a graduate student, which caused conflict with organization recognition, as graduate students cannot hold executive board positions on recognized student organizations.
External Affairs Committee Chair Allison Lantagne said that the reason for this is because graduate students don’t pay the same student service tax as undergraduate students. The vice president of the group agreed to step down from the position if the group was recognized by the Senate, and the bill was passed.
Senators Donna Osgood, Terrell Parker, Bolu Taiwo, Daniel Baglini, Annabel Cimbal, Instruments Committee Chair Bagley and Campus Affairs Committee Chair Gage Blanchflower were all elected to serve on the Summer Senate. Each standing committee is represented throughout these senators, which satisfied the criteria for the Summer Student Senators.
A bill was brought forward by Bagley calling for emergency powers to be given to the Summer Student Senate. This bill was originally brought forth so that the Summer Student Senate would be able to work on the bylaws so that time during the regular academic year would not have to be spent on bylaws.
Lantagne motioned for the bill to read that the Summer Student Senate would be allowed to “draft” changes to the Senate’s bylaws instead of “make” changes, which was more definitive phrasing. Bagley supported the motion by Lantagne and said that it would have neither a negative or positive effect on the Summer Student Senate. This motion and the bill as a whole were passed.
URI Ombuds Gerry Tyler and Alfred Killilea came to speak during a public forum about their position and what they offer as a resource for students, staff, faculty and the provost. An ombud is a person who helps facilitate communication between parties to resolve conflict. Tyler said that the ombuds are a “last resort” in efforts to resolve a conflict between parties at URI.
Killilea said that the academic affairs committee chair received the complaints before the ombuds and is sometimes able to resolve those issues themselves, such as professors holding final exams on the last day of classes instead of during the final exams period.
Tyler said that the preferred system of contact for the ombuds is email, as there is no secretary in their office.