Student Senate Report 10/16/2022

Illustration by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

This week from the Senate floor: elections, events around campus and a hope for modifications to attendance policies.

To begin, it was announced that Pierre St-Germain, director of Dining Services, will be meeting with the Senate on Nov. 16, along with Vice President of Student Affairs Ellen Reynolds. While excitement arose about the potential discussion about the change to dining dollars, the announcement was followed by a note that there were no plans to change back to swipes.

Following the announcement, the Senate swore in multiple new senators and held elections for multiple positions, with two new at-large senators elected. Neither were present, but Mia Confessore received 26 votes and Leslie Piñeda Hernandez received 24 votes. Nominations also occurred for an off-campus representative position, a college of nursing representative and a college of health sciences representative, all of which received no nominations.

The Academic Affairs Committee reminded the Senate about a few important events occurring on Monday, Oct. 31. Important for students wishing to catch up on credits or take extra courses, J-Term registration begins on Halloween and runs until the end of the semester. Health Services is also running a Flu clinic and giving COVID “Boo-ster” shots on Monday.

The Cultural Affairs Committee pointed out a donation box within the Senate office in the Memorial Union that is collecting clothing and nonperishables for those in need. The box will be there until Monday, Oct. 31. 

Additionally, the committee wanted to remind all students to dress appropriately for Halloween. They reminded students that wearing a culturally insensitive outfit is not wearing a costume, and that outfits you may wear for a single night may be incredibly important to another person’s culture. 

If you have a friend or know someone wearing a culturally inappropriate costume, Senator and Chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee Angelica Tyson suggests politely pulling them aside and suggesting a new costume or politely letting them know that their costume is not the best for Halloween. 

The Campus Affairs Committee is looking to host a Narcan training session to educate the community about how to use the overdose treatment medicine. Sessions to learn how to administer the drug are generally short, yet can save lives.

Anyone looking to volunteer around campus should be aware of the University’s new program, Rhody Serves. It connects students to volunteer opportunities and community groups and helps them find chances to serve the community.

Second-year students with interest in leadership should be aware that a leadership retreat, specific to second year students, will occur in Brookside on Nov. 6.

Two bills entered the Senate chambers this week. The first aims to address the inconsistencies with attendance policies for classes. Some professors are not requiring students to attend in person at all, while others can drop letter grades after students miss a set number of classes. The Senate hopes to address this, and have professors have a set attendance policy, rather than a class-by-class basis. This bill also hopes to see letters from counseling and health services be counted as excused absences, so that students can focus on their health without worrying about losing a grade for it. The bill passed without contention on the floor.

The second bill recognized the URI Climbing Team as a Senate-recognized organization. The team needs to be recognized by the Senate for three years before it can be recognized by the University’s club sports council. This passed unanimously.

To wrap up, Senator Jose Montoya announced that he will be running life skills workshops in the spring semester. This will be to help first-year students and other students who have just moved away from home for the first time to adjust and learn skills they may not have learned at home that could become necessary in life.

Senate will meet next on Wednesday, Nov. 2.