Senate Discusses Student Concerns

The legislative body discussed their long-term projects addressing students concerns.

by Clarissa Moses and John Brandi

The 53rd student senate met for their third meeting of the semester on Tuesday, Feb. 14, discussing their committee efforts and adding to a list of goals.

Student Association (SA) Executive Vice President Eve Stern presented to the legislative body regarding possibly moving the meal exchange program to Parker Theater, adding people to the University Police Committee and introducing a focus group for gender-neutral housing.

SA Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Ayanna Thomas presented to the senate filling academic committee positions. She told the body that seats will be opening up on the Academic Affairs Curriculum Committee in the school of liberal arts, business and other areas. She also talked about the Constitutional Rules Committee reviewing the Student Union (SU) hours and the New York state Good Samaritan Policy.

Meanwhile, SA President Terrell Coakley talked about a female student who said she felt uncomfortable when she found derogatory lyrics on a desk on campus. This prompted Coakley to discuss a possible forum for gender and sexuality, similar to the forum last semester discussing the racial-signage on campus inciting harm to African-Americans.

Thomas urged students to come up with revisions for the library survey. The legislative body came up with a name change for the survey: The Library Renovation Survey. She wanted members to take out “arbitrary questions.” Other issues discussed included 24-hour accessibility, rearranging question order and preserving particular library areas from renovations.

Thomas said to contact her with any further concerns or questions regarding The Library Renovation Survey.

Sen. Rose Faber presented to her fellow members about the recently amended Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA) election process. She said RHSA decided no-confidence for a National Communication Coordinator position.

Sen. Wendy Cohen brought the New Paltz Facebook meme page to the senate’s attention citing that although there is humor associated with the page, real concerns are being brought to light.

Sen. Matt Clarkson presented a problem with textbook prices. He asked other members for solutions.

“United University Professions (UUP) should act as allies with cheap education encouraging teachers to use older editions,” Cohen said.

Sen. Dhruv Shah said that students should have access to the book titles for class immediately, so they could have time to get them before classes begin. Clarkson was looking for existing legislation  concerning a 10 percent change in content if professors want to use a newer edition. Cohen suggested a Facebook-type group that would offer students a book exchange with other students in the New Paltz

Thomas also discussed the creation of a Student Concern Committee to “bring awareness of SA to student concerns on campus.”

The legislative body talked about the committee’s logistics, such as possible meeting locations, who would chair it (the senate or council chair) and the committee’s possible makeup of five senators and five others “nominated through senate.”

The senate then added two goals to their list for the semester.

The next senate meeting will take place Feb. 21 in SU 418.