Student Senate Report 3/23/2022

This week in the Student Senate: the announcement of President-Elect Grace Kiernan’s upcoming cabinet, the decision to recognize four clubs and the bill calling for the annual re-recognition of student organizations.

After his single announcement about the upcoming Senate Formal, Speaker Christopher Bove then moved to the public forum and allowed any of the senators to speak on anything they wished to address. Kiernan, serving currently as the External Affairs Chair, was then invited to the podium to speak.

Kiernan approached the podium to speak about her presidency for the upcoming term and announced her nominations for her cabinet. She thanked her fellow senators for giving her the time to speak and their support, and then moved into talking about her plans for her term and what she hopes to achieve. 

“One of the most important issues that I plan to take on is making the Student Senate more visible on this campus and that will allow for us to not only work with the students, but to work with the faculty and staff as well,” Kiernan said. 

After talking about her plans and hopes for her term, Kiernan then spoke on her and her vice president, Senator Emily Gamache’s, nominations for her cabinet. Kiernan nominated Chris Hoover as Director of Treasury, Willy Njeru as Director of Information, Jack Eustis as Director of Operations and Peyton Thiel as Director of Communications. 

Bove then returned to the podium and asked for the reports of the standing committees, to which each of the committee senators present at the meeting gave updates to the other members of the Senate. 

Before moving on from the report of the standing committees, Bove mentioned the data received about new cases of COVID-19 from students coming back to campus post-spring break. 

“I just want to add, I have been keeping up the COVID data as we’ve talked about with Vice President Reynolds, and I’d love to report to the Senate that so far during the first week back from spring break, the University has reported one case of COVID-19,” Bove said. 

Hoover then discussed the budget’s completion. He briefly talked about some clubs that are no longer being funded, and mentioned that the contingency amounts are a little less than last year. He urged the other senators to look at the budget and tabled this topic for next week, as it will be voted on at the next Senate meeting.

Senator William Rider from the elections committee mentioned that the Senate would be voting on some tie-breaking following the Senate elections. Nominees were invited to give a speech at the meeting and explain why they should have a certain seat. Bove then moved to special orders, where the nominees for the College of Health Sciences Representative position was up for grabs. 

Isabella Leggett, a freshman kinesiology major with a pre-physical therapy track with minors in leadership studies and Spanish, was there for the College of Health Sciences representative position. 

“I didn’t really know there was a College of Health Sciences representative seat until I was nominated by somebody, but I think it’s a great opportunity to get involved in and be able to be an advocate and resource for people that are in the similar field that I’m in,” Leggett said. 

Senator Maggie Cushman was also in the running for this seat. However, she had already won a seat prior to her wanting to run for the College of Health Sciences representative position. 

She had no idea about this, and Student Organization Committee Chair Katie Siegle apologized because she had just found out today and forgot to inform Cushman. Both laughed and Cushman didn’t mind the minor mistake, but was happy that she earned a seat.

Before this revelation, all the senators broke for a bit to vote, and Leggett won 23 to 4. 

After the voting, Bove then introduced six bills to be passed. Four of the bills, introduced by the Student Organizations Committee, called for the acknowledgement of the Spirituality and Manifesting Club, Music Therapy Club, Pharmacognosy Club and the Skateboard Club. 

The last two bills to be passed called for the annual re-recognition of URI Student Senate organizations and the approval of the budget for recognized student organizations for the fiscal year 2023.

Both bills will be voted on at the next Senate meeting on Wednesday, March 30.