Student Senate Report 12/7/2022

Illustration by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

This week from the Senate floor: Farewell speeches from graduating senators and a closed discussion about Uhuru Sasa.

The Senate began this week with a closed-door executive discussion regarding Uhuru Sasa, with the thirty-minute discussion resulting in putting the organization on probation.

Following this, the Senate elected a new elections committee. There were five open positions and five nominees — speaker Chris Bove, President Grace Kiernan, Chair Grace Summerson, Senator Jose Montoya and Senator Ella Stahl. All five received thirty votes, with no abstentions.

There were not many updates from councils this week. The Academic Affairs committee reminded everyone that all students have rights regarding final exams, and if conflicts or violations of these rights occur, reach out to the committee as they arise rather than at the last minute. 

Chair Angie Tyson gave her last report as a senator and chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee. While there were no updates on events happening, she asked every senator to give a “slay” to her committee for how well they put together events and for working so hard. Additionally, she endorsed Senator Rosie Bailey as the next chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee.

Campus Affairs had the most to update the Senate on, as their Chair Cameron Chadronet reached out to Housing and Residential Life about bills and requests made prior in the Senate Chambers. Chadronet reached out about J-term housing, asking that the question regarding justification within the application remain optional. He reasoned that some people may be uncomfortable with having to explain their reasoning to the University and that personal factors may be involved. 

Chadronet also voiced concerns about laundry theft in residence halls, claiming that it has been a major issue this semester. He also looked for an update on the bill that the Senate passed in a previous session, asking Housing and Residential Life to make the communal bathrooms a safer and more secure place. 

The Executive Committee did not have much to report on other than praising the Senate for handling their executive discussion very well. To build on that, they suggested that members of the Student Senate should attend other clubs and organizations’ events in an effort to show support for them. They concluded by wishing everyone good luck on their final exams.

As this meeting was their last of the fall semester, this was the last Senate meeting for three senators, Greta Del Bonis, Tyson and Anabelle Gibson, chair of the Student Organizations Committee. Each spent a few minutes giving a farewell address to the senators.

Senator Del Bonis began by stating that she never expected to get as involved as she did, and much of that involvement began through the Senate. She thanked Tyson for getting her involved before extending thanks to the rest of her fellow senators.

Gibson approached her farewell speech with a comedic edge.

“I decided that the only way I can express myself is through song,” were Gibson’s first words at the podium, producing audible sighs from senators around the table, before she assured that she was not serious, turning the sighs into laughter. Gibson was thankful to the Senate for putting her in a position where she knows people almost everywhere she goes on campus.

Tyson began by thanking Bove for introducing her to the Student Senate. She transferred to the University while classes were being held virtually, and she was not sure how she would make it through this period before she joined the Senate. As one last reminder, Tyson asked her fellow senators not to get caught up with a single organization and asked them to take care of themselves and live outside of the Senate.

For the next half-hour, senators shared stories and memories of the three graduating senators, which drew tears around the room on multiple occasions.

After farewell addresses, the Senate addressed their last bill of the semester. The Student Organization Committee called to consider “URI Hillel” as a Senate-recognized organization. Hillel aims to connect students to Jewish culture and heritage. The bill passed unanimously.

This session of the Student Senate was the last of the fall semester. They will meet next when classes recommence in January.