Student Senate Report 9/13

Rhody Senate Vice President Jonah Steinweh-Adler kicked off the Senate year with enthusiasm, pursuing two flagship Rizk-Adler administration initiatives promised during last spring’s campaign trail. Following a promise to introduce compost bins to campus dining halls,  Steinweh-Adler announced that he and Senate President Ramez Rizk have secured funding to introduce 15 sustainability-related jobs for students on campus. 

“We have secured $250 thousand for green jobs on campus,” Steinweh-Adler announced. “This is going to be students that will be in the dining halls preventing trash that is going into the compost bin. Plastic utensils are a no-no; there will be a student ambassador that will be telling people what is going to be in these.”

The addition of 15 dining hall jobs fell in the wake of last spring’s dining hall staffing shortage, when Dining Services Director Pierre St-Germain announced that his department was short 50 full-time and 60 student employees.

Steinweh-Adler asked for the Senate’s support in furthering his compost campaign. 

“I’m asking you guys to help support this initiative,” he said. “We’re going to have a whole campaign to change the rules to get people to know about our composting initiative.”

Steinweh-Adler also announced headway regarding the Rizk-Adler administration’s keystone initiative: a mandatory syllabus bank for all classes. Under the Rizk-Adler proposal, which will be presented to the Faculty Senate Thursday, Sept. 21, professors will be required to post each class’s syllabus to a publicly available database to allow students to better understand the requirements and curriculum of courses they plan to take. 

The proposal may face backlash from the Faculty Senate, however; last year’s Student Senate proposal to implement a mandatory minimum of five unexcused absences faced fervent backlash from faculty. 

The External Affairs Committee announced their intention to continue their multi-year initiative to increase student political participation in Narragansett. The committee plans to push current second and third-year off-campus residents to register to vote under their student addresses in the 2024 election to create a voting bloc that represents the needs of the student community. 

The initiative comes in the wake of Narragansett’s reintroduction of the three-student ordinance, which prevents landlords from renting single-family homes to more than three students. The ordinance, which was introduced by the Narragansett Pier Residents Association, a coalition of year-round residents that are opposed to students living in the town, was struck down last year for procedural violations but reinstated this summer. 

Violence Prevention and Advocacy Services Coordinator Kelley Ryan spoke to the Senate, explaining the details of her job and the initiatives her office spearheads. As a victims’ advocate, Ryan represents the interests of students affected by sexual assault, stalking and dating violence. Ryan explained that as a confidential advocate, she can support victims without being forced to report crimes as a mandatory reporter, which all professors and staff are required to do. Her office can be reached at (401) 874-9131 and [email protected]

The Student Senate will next meet Wednesday, Sept. 20.