The 51st student senate discussed the SUNY New Paltz budget deficit, a legislative agenda made by the SUNY Student Assembly and changes they’d like to see regarding general education requirements at their second meeting of the semester on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
Student Association (SA) President Jennifer Sanchez asked senators to provide feedback on a legislative agenda made by the SUNY Student Assembly concerning budgetary issues.
“I’m unhappy with the process they took to make the agenda,” said Sanchez. “It’s being ignored. If you listen to the governor’s speech, he has not mentioned a rational tuition increase which is what the [Student Assembly] is trying to do.”
The SUNY Assembly sent this agenda to all schools in the system for consideration. Sanchez and the legislative body went over the agenda, split into priority sections I and II, point by point.
Senate Chair Terrell Coakley said further discussion of the agenda will take place to examine typographical errors and the wording on some points of the agenda.
Sanchez urged the senators to look at the document carefully.
“They want to pass this and have support from all SUNY schools,” she said. “Don’t feel like you can’t question it.”
The agenda also included information about the Tuition Assistance Program, public-private partnerships and the Bundy Act.
Some of the provisions discussed more power of procurement. Another stipulation of the act discussed putting more power in the hands of administrators to make what they feel are necessary purchases. Coakley said this provision will be further examined by the senate next week.
During the meeting, the senate also discussed the budgetary shortfall at SUNY New Paltz and the efforts SA members were putting forth to reach out to students about the issue.
“The budget is bigger than all of us,” said Student Association Executive Vice President Eve Stern. “It’s not us against any small group in particular – it’s us fighting against this overall change.”
The legislative body discussed “getting the word out” about the issue by possibly hosting a rally and teach-ins to educate students. Coakley also discussed creating a logo for the rally.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Caitlin Ryan initiated a discussion about changing general education requirements to be more based in liberal arts. The legislative body then gave feedback about their own experiences with general education courses.
According to Coakley, Ryan was gathering opinions to possibly bring forth a committee that will re-examine the general education program next year.
At the meeting, the senators also discussed the open positions for the Budget and Finance Committee. Three seats remain vacant.
The next general meeting of the student senate will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 22 in Student Union 418.