This week in the Student Senate: President Marc Parlange spoke about new plans for the University of Rhode Island, Faculty Senate President Audrey Cardany and Interim Provost Laura Beauvais’ speech about cornerstone values and five bills were passed.

Parlange started off the meeting by wishing all of the senators good luck on their last week of classes. He then moved on to talk about what he’s been doing for the past nine months as president.

He presented a slideshow about land acknowledgment, community, scholarships, lifting the local economy, attracting education and a strategic plan for what kind of University they want to be. When he finished his presentation, he talked with a few of the senators who had questions about his presentation. 

Speaker Christopher Bove spoke up about the budget and how the Student Senate has requested more room in the budget for certain things.

“I am of the belief that as an institution, a budget is a statement of our morality and our beliefs and our needs,” Bove said. “Over the several years, Senate has asked the University to make room in the budget for two programs repeatedly, and those two programs are providing free menstrual products to those who need them and returning to 100 percent subsidy of RIPTA passes.”

Parlange responded to Bove by saying that 20 years ago, the University received $140 million from the state of Rhode Island. As of now, it’s less than $80 million. He said that he’s working on an investment and a case for the school to support the University and the future of the state of Rhode Island.

Parlange talked to some more senators before Bove cut the discussion short to allow the next presenters to go up. Cardany and Beauvais then went up in front of the senators to give a presentation on the old cornerstone values of the University and make new ones. Parlange tasked them both with creating new ones and/or updating them.

“That’s what President Parlange thought we should do,” Beauvais said. “So, he actually tasked us with a committee to come up with an examination of the cornerstone values and to update them to newer values that express where we’re going as a University.”

Both of them also looked at the University’s mission statement, which along with the cornerstone values was made in the 1990s, and decided that needed an update as well. Beauvais and Cardany explained their thoughts about where they want to go with the new values and statement.

After they finished explaining everything, some of the Senators had some questions and comments for both women about their presentation. Director of Treasury Chris Hoover had some questions about senior leadership and its relationship with the Senate.

“We’ve had multiple instances of senior leadership not listening,” Hoover said. “I would just like to make some of our senior leaders aware of how we feel towards this issue because we feel as if we really have no power anymore in our voice because a lot of our ideas are either shut down or there’s something that we can’t do regarding it. I would ask for senior leadership to consider the Student Senate as an equal voice to the faculty senate and other senior leaders.”

Beauvais and Cardany both agreed with Hoover and acknowledged that the Student Senate is a powerful voice on the campus. 

After Beauvais and Cardany gave their speech, Bove moved to special orders. There were nominations, confirmations and elections for the jurist court, at-large representative, off-campus representatives and elections committee.

After that, Bove then moved to new business, where five bills were passed immediately. The first bill called for the resolution for the University of Rhode Island to resume providing free RIPTA passes to students. The next bill allocated funds for the replacement of WRIU’s broadcast tower that was damaged during a hurricane.

The next three bills called for the recognition of three different clubs to be Senate recognized. The clubs were ENRESA, the Animal Protection and Environmental Safety (APES) society and the Arts and Crafts club. All three bills were passed immediately.

The meeting was adjourned for the last time this semester.