USG senate discusses lack of fee increases
Published: Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Updated: Thursday, March 8, 2012 00:03
The USG Senate passed a resolution Wednesday in support of creating a Native American and Indigenous Studies Institute. The resolution, introduced by Senator Colin Neary, requires USG to collect 1,000 signatures on a petition by April 27.
The resolution stated that the Institute will aim to improve the "intellectual and cultural retention of indigenous peoples, and will enhance harmonious and cooperative relations between the state of Conecticut and indigenous peoples." Neary cited similar research centers at private and public schools around the country.
President Sam Tracy congratulated the winners of the USG elections held this week, Steve Petkis and Jigish Patel. He said that student turnout was around 20 percent, or about the same as last year. While this figure seems low, he said, it is "far above the average for student government elections across the country." The initiative for a USG student fee increase of $5 passed by a margin of 52 to 48 percent. Other fee-increase initiatives for The Daily Campus and the Nutmeg Yearbook failed by measures of 46 to 54 percent and 38 to 62 percent respectively. While the provost makes the official decision on the fee increase, Tracy said it is very rare for them to go against student-voted fee increases.
Tracy also appointed Chief of Staff Corey Schmitt as the chair of a Constitutional Review committee. Schmitt appointed seven members to the committee: Ed Courchaine as Vice-Chair, Dan Massaro, Steve Petkis, Vijay Sekhara, Nate Mayo, Mark Sergeant, and Ian Schulman.
External Affairs Committee Chairman Ethan Senack reported on three meetings with members of the state government since the last meeting. The committee met with state representative Joe Courtney to discuss the bill he has introduced, which would prevent student loan interest rates from doubling. In an effort to get a local polling place on campus, the committee will be meeting with Secretary of State Denise Merrill, President Herbst and local registrars in the near future.
The justices were still certifying election results for senators when the meeting began, and USG bylaws do not permit official business like resolutions to be passed without a justice present. During this period, Senate members participated in a sexual harassment workshop to promote understanding of consent, Titles VII and XI, and university policy relating to sexual harassment. On January 25th, the Board of Trustees passed a measure that requires faculty and staff to report instances of sexual harassment except in specific cases like Counseling and Mental Health.
Senator Ed Courchaine and the Funding Task Force answered questions about the revamped funding policy that will talk effect next year. The policy was not voted on, and this was a last chance for the full Senate to voice concerns to the task force before it is put to a vote.