From the Student Senate chambers this week: elections, a delay of the swearing-in ceremony and two new bills fighting for more benefits for on-campus students.
Speaker of the Assembly Christopher Bove reiterated the motions senators can make during the public forum at the beginning of the meeting. This included bills that normally sit on the floor for two weeks before being voted on. Senators can also motion to call to question in order to halt debates, make objections and points of confirmation, which gives senators the right to pause a speaker in order to ask an urgent question.
The Senate has been electing new senators to fill vacant positions and planned to swear in new senators that had been elected last week but were unable to due to the absence of President Bolu Taiwo at this week’s meeting. The swearing-in of new senators will be held at the next meeting.
Campus Affairs Chair Emily Gamache shared updates on her meeting that is taking place today, Nov. 18, with the Director of Dining and Retail Food Service Pierre St-Germain to discuss COVID-19 guidelines at the University more in-depth. The meeting was originally supposed to take place with both St-Germain and Ellen Reynolds, the assistant vice president for Student Health and Wellness and the director of Health Services. Reynolds, however, is no longer able to attend.
There was also a discussion about the planning of setting up a booth in the Memorial Union near the Ram’s Den on Monday, Nov. 22 in order to encourage students to write holiday cards to local senior citizens.
“It’s super quick, super easy, and it makes senior citizens feel loved and cared for, especially now,” Cultural Affairs Chair Angelica Tyson said. “They’re still isolated because of COVID. It’s still a very real thing for them. We have four different senior citizens you can write a letter to and one is a veteran.”
The senators held elections during the meeting to elect three new senators, who will be officially sworn in next week.
The first was student Jose Montoya, who ran to represent off-campus students. Montoya was elected with 23 votes in favor and with no abstentions.
The second student was freshman international student Ramez Rizk, who ran as a first-year senator.
“I was born in Egypt and then I came to the [United States] three months ago for the semester so for most of my life I grew up in Egypt,” Rizk said. “I’ve had several experiences of being in Senate because I was the [student] president of my high school.”
Rizk was also elected with 23 votes in favor and no abstentions.
Lastly, senior Will Rider was elected to be a Senator at Large with no abstentions.
“I’m particularly passionate about physical and mental health concerns on campus,” Rider said. “I’m also interested in the nitty-gritty things like parking. Otherwise, I’m a transfer student, and that’s something I’d like to talk about a little bit more just in terms of the resources we off to transfer students.”
Two resolutions were passed at the meeting as well, both to add to the quality of on-campus life.
The first resolution was a request for Housing and Residential Life to add water fountains to all residence halls.
The second resolution requested was the resolution to create a system where take-out boxes are still available for all students in the dining hall. Many students argued against the University’s concerns that taking food out can cause both waste issues and health issues.
“I think it will eliminate waste,” Bove said. “For example, rather than throw it away, if you know there is food you’ll eat later you can take it [to go] with you.”
The Senate amended to continue working on these resolutions and plans to meet again after Thanksgiving.