Your Student Senate Brief

Photo by Holly Lipka.

The 60th Student Senate met on Wednesday to discuss updates on the campus and within the academic community.

Student Association (SA) President Rookie Reynoso met with President Donald Christian and members of his cabinet last week. In light of the recent announcement that the Park Point project has been dropped by Wilmorite, its corporate developer, the school is looking into alternatives for building off-campus student apartments. Other SUNY campuses, including Binghamton and Albany, provide a similar means of off-campus housing sponsored by the school.

The future of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) was also discussed at the cabinet meeting. The program announced that it will be accepting an additional 25 students every year for the next four years, raising the current capacity from 125 students to 225. EOP will also be moving to its new, larger office space in Records and Registration to accommodate for the program’s expansion.

Reynoso elaborated on the updates she received on the numerous construction projects on the New Paltz campus. The Wooster Science Building and the New Science Building are both scheduled to open for the Fall semester of 2016, and Bevier, the next of the residence halls scheduled to undergo renovation, is slated for completion in the Fall of 2017.

Many of the recent and upcoming construction projects are financed through a grant under the SUNY 2020 initiative, which seeks to update campus facilities across the state by the year 2020. According to Reynoso, projects range from “renovations to the academic buildings to replacing the tiles outside the library.”

The Elting Gym is also scheduled to undergo renovation as part of this initiative. Though still in the developing stages, plans are in place to rebuild the gymnasium in the lower part of the building, where the pool is currently located. In turn, the pool area will be moved to the current gym space in order to accommodate its expansion to regulation size.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Governance Nicole Striffolino met with Interim Provost Stella Deen to discuss the changes being made in the Black Studies Department. A search committee is being formed by Dr. Major Coleman, the chair of the department, in order to find new faculty to fill the vacancies left in the past year. According to Striffolino, the new faculty hires will be determined in accordance with the proposed updates to the Black Studies curriculum. The committee is looking to first hire someone with an expertise in history or literature.

Senator Zachary Grossman also discussed the future of the Black Studies department in his report. Grossman reported that the Academic Affairs committee was administering “combined student and faculty effort to strengthen the Black Studies department.” The committee has invited anyone who is knowledgeable on the issues to join the discussion at the next Academic Affairs meeting, to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. in Old Main 1907.