The 58th Student Senate met on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Student Association (SA) President Osato Okundaye opened up the meeting and addressed the senators.
Executive Vice President Jesse Ginsburg spoke next and addressed the new additions and the Senate as a whole.
“We as students, should have this self-determination above us,” he said. “A lot of people will point fingers and not look at who we are as a body. People can be upset all they want, administration, etc. There are two sides of the equation. All we can do is control our side of the equation. If we are disciplined, strategic and smart about what we do, everything will change.”
He said the members of the Senate need to think about new and creative ways to engage students on the SUNY New Paltz campus to support what [Senate] thinks it good.
“In the past, we have relied heavily on social media outlets, flyering, etc.,” he said. “Based on the results, we did not get students to go out and fight for us and what we are doing. It’s a really difficult process and how to approach this is really not easy with our numbers. What it takes is us talking to people, and talking a lot to people. You’re not going to get people to fight for things and explain to them why it’s important, why it’s necessary. That should be a huge priority of ours moving forward. How to get students to stand up for themselves, for the school, etc. We need to have people work on that.”
He closed his address by saying if Senate does not follow through with the plan, most of the real issues that the college is going through will remain unsolved.
Vice President of Academic Affairs and Goverance Jordan Taylor was the next to speak said that the library renovation plan has been delayed. The renovation was expected to begin this fall.
“The first floor of the library will close,” he said. “Everything will be moved down to the lower two floors.”
Senator Cait O’Connor spoke about the new amends to the SUNY New Paltz student handbook.
“The new version of the student handbook has been changed where it now includes a less vague description of the definition of ‘invasion of sexual privacy to include non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual activity,’” she said. “This means anybody found with digital evidence of a non-consensual sexual act is subject to a sexual assault charge in a judicial hearing with SUNY New Paltz.”
O’Connor met with members of Greek Life as well to discuss their role this upcoming year in sex crime prevention and harm reduction.
Outside committees, Mike Patterson, Eric Wood of NYPIRG and Joanne Zhao also spoke.
Topics discussed included the People’s Climate March on Sept. 21 in New York City.
Elections were held for Vice President of Finance, SAP (Student Association Productions) and new additions to the BFC (Budget Finance Committee), CRC (Constitution and Rules Committee), and the UPD (University Police Department) for this upcoming year.
Rosemary Owuo was elected Vice President of Finance as a result of a nomination by SA President Osato Okundaye.
Owuo’s job is to balance the $1.5 million dollar budget which is allocated by students. It is to be fairly biased and to be equal to every club. Another part of the job is to fairly distribute the money to clubs and organizations who come to present to them from the clubs that already have a set budgets to new clubs or old clubs that want to be funded.
“I want to make sure that anything we approve is inclusive to the whole campus,” she said. “As time goes, that’s when we make changes. Through the years, after the ball gets rolling we see better things. A big thing we can work on is in the spring semester. We say ‘yes’ a lot of things in the fall so we have to make sure there is a fair amount of budget money left in the spring for other clubs and events.”
Senator Brienna Parsons closed the meeting by discussing the lack of prefered name option on student I.D cards. These cards, cannot be changed to a student’s prefered name because they are a legal document. Parson’s said she will explore adding this option for the future.