Senate Moves To Resolve Lingering Issues

Photo by Lizzie Nimetz.

The 59th Student Senate met for their third meeting of the spring 2015 semester on Wednesday, Feb. 18, to hold elections and discuss future events, legislation responses, elections guidelines and the president’s cabinet.

After the approval of minutes and officially announcing the new student association website,, the E-board members each gave a report.

Vice President Jesse Ginsberg reported that he will meet with Village of New Paltz Mayoral candidate Amy Cohen to discuss her platform. He said this discussion will contribute to the possibility of the senate endorsing a candidate for Village Mayor.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Jordan Taylor talked about his meeting with Peter Brown, head of United University Professions. He indicated an interest in creating a senate committee to maintain connections between students and the union.

Sen. James Auer is meeting with Michelle Combs, director of student development and Robert Moysey, transfer student engagement coordinator on Feb. 23 to discuss transfer orientation. He is interested in shortening speeches given at orientation to leave more time for advising and possibly personalizing the transfer student advising to include one-on-one advising.

Senators Kelsey Ryan, Nicole Strifforlino and Alex Miller were elected to the three senate seats on the Environmental Task Force committee. Sen. Matt Gill was elected to the senate seat of the Student Association Productions committee. The election for the Alumni Affairs committee was tabled until next week.

The senate then moved on to discuss a declaration addressing administrations response to their legislation. This declaration began with the clause, “Whereas the administration has historically been unresponsive to the legislation and or declarations passed by the student association senate.”

The declaration would require the college president and the most qualified member of the president’s cabinet to respond to senate legislation within 30 days of passing.

Sen. Manuel Tejada said that this legislation would, if accepted by administration, open a channel of communication between administration and the senate that the senate could fall back on if the administration declined to respond to their legislation.

Sen. Zach Grossman said the faculty is in favor of this declaration and will back the senate up if administration does not reply to it within the allotted time.

Student Association President Osato Okundaye pointed out that although the administration’s response may come within 30 days, it may not be the desired response.

“Their response may be that the department qualified to respond is not yet in a position to do so,” Okundaye said. “That is a legitimate response.”

The vote for the declaration was tabled until next meeting.

The senate continued a discussion on student association election guidelines. They talked about the issues that arise when candidates use their own money to print flyers and campaign in other forums such as social media. They also expressed a concern in candidates approaching students to campaign in a “tabling” manner. This is where candidates get uncomfortably close to students to promote their platforms.

A new discussion on “institutional memory” was started this week. This would provide ways, such as databases and webpages, for incoming students interested in participating in student government to learn about past achievements and legislation so they may be more prepared and make more educated decisions.

Upcoming dates include: on Tuesday, Feb. 24, existing club charters are due for approval and there will be a screening of Citizen Koch at 6 p.m. in the CSB auditorium; on Monday, Mar. 2 all new club charters are due and the “Know Your Rights” lecture will be held at 7 p.m. in Lecture Center 100.

Senate meets again next Wednesday, Feb. 25.