The 58th Student Senate met on Wednesday, Nov. 12 discussing a range of topics such as the transformation of Backstage Cafe to a Starbucks, the upcoming elections and updates on the new proposals to the Student Evaluation of Instruction and General Education system.
Student Association President Osato Okundaye gave an update that Parker Theatre will be introducing a full Starbucks Cafe. The vote passed 5-4. The menu will include sandwiches and other items. He spoke to Diane Jackson, manager of Sodexo, who sent out a survey asking students opinions. Sodexo employees will be working at the Starbucks and will be trained. Steve Deustch, director of CAS, said Jazzman’s will be closing when the new Wooster Dining Hall opens.
“Some students are concerned that the addition will disrupt the established culture Parker Theatre represents,” he said.
Okundaye also discussed the proposed ban of water bottles on campus, as sustainable initiative to ban plastic waste. Water fountains will be available in places such as the Student Union Building and Jazzman’s. Water bottles will only be placed in vending machines and students will have to pay cash. CAS will have make a decision by Dec. 10, their last meeting of the semester.
Jesse Ginsburg, executive vice president said the rescue squad is training their staff in case of an Ebola outbreak.
Jordan Taylor, vice president of academic affairs discussed the upcoming Student Association Elections. Candidacy forms are due Tuesday, Nov. 18. Elections will take place on mynewpaltz.edu from Dec. 2 at noon to 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 4. Three candidates are running for reelection.
Taylor said the Academic Advising Committee is trying to find ways on collecting student feedback on advising.
“The problem is that a lot of times when students voice their frustrations, it is usually regarding registering for classes, they are not actually critical of the actual advising but their frustrations on registration,” he said.
Taylor shared his reports from his recent meeting with Mark Colvson, dean of Sojourner Truth Library. The library will be closing down sometime this month, definitely by next semester.
Sen. Zach Grossman shared his reports on the Academic Senate meeting on Friday, Nov. 7. There, the faculty governance discussed re-doing their structure to make it more efficient. He said some faculty were in favor of the teaching enhancement proposal, some were not. He shared his proposals to revise the Student Evaluation of Instruction (SEI). His goal is to have it completed by next semester. He said students would want to know if faculty opted in or opted out in sending their Question 13, open-ended comments to higher levels.
“We see what they want, they see what we want,” he said.
Sen. Nadia Alirahi said the Liberal Education Committee is on hiatus until further notice. Academic Senate decided to disband the committee until further notice. Their mission was to propose a change to the current General Education (GE) system at SUNY Paltz. The new GE proposal was previously voted down by the faculty earlier this year.
Next, was the report from outside bodies.Tom Savidge, President of Young Americans For Liberty and Students For Liberty campus coordinator, said there is an annual “Know Your Rights” event upcoming on Thursday, Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m. in Lecture Center 107. There will be a discussion on what to do when approached by a police officer. This year, there will be an addition of a discussion on First Amendment rights as a result of the September pepper-spray incident.
Eric Wood, head of NYPIRG at New Paltz shared his report. The Senate unanimously voted to co-sponsor a letter to Gov. Cuomo to pass the New York State Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. This act would for the first time, allow students of undocumented immigrant parents to be eligible for state financial aid. Currently, these students are eligible for in-state public college tuition, but not financial aid.
To close the meeting, Sen. Brienna Parsons and the Senate took the pledge “It’s On Us,” to acknowledge and take action when recognizing what could lead to sexual assault and harassment.