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Student Government Minutes- Oct. 1

Present: 13 Senators, Vice-President Jack Dowling, Parliamentarian Salvatore Aquila, Assistant Deans of Students Amanda Villanueva, Student Body President Nadine Fallah

Absent: None

Quorum met? Yes

Special Presentation:

  • Briana Drisdale and Samuel Patton from the United States Census Bureau met with senators to tell them about the importance of participating in the U.S. census.
  • Drisdale and Patton said they want Student Government to “create excitement” around the census to get students to participate.
  • The census begins March 12, 2020 and will last until the end of July 2020.

Approval of the Treasury Board

  • 8 students were appointed to the Treasury Board.
  • The board was created as part of last semester’s student organization restructure. The board is responsible for allocating money to UST groups and clubs instead of SG.

Nomination for Student Government Pro Tempore

  • Senator Gutierrez and Senator Swartz both applied to be Pro Tempore.
  • Guttierez said her experience on SGA last year would allow her to be a successful Pro Tempore.  
  • Swartz said his experience with various UST student organizations and his “managerial role” at work make him best suited for the job. 
  • Swartz was unanimously nominated as Pro Tempore.

Updates:

  • Senator Habibi said he has been working with Marketing and Communications to create a new logo for SG. He has created a few sketches and plans to have about three logos done in the next two weeks.
  • The final logo will be created by Marketing and Communications but will draw from Habibi’s ideas. 

Committee Updates:

  • The Catholic Identity Committee met and discussed how to create a bill.
  • The Academic Affairs Committee met on Oct. 1.
  • The Student Life Committee met on Oct. 2.

New Business: None

Old Business: None

Open Discussion:

Defective ID Cards

  • Senator Brunner said his student  ID stopped working despite no physical damage and that he was required to buy a new one for $5. 
  • Brunner said he would like the Senate to discuss ways to protect students from having to pay for such incidents.
  • Villanueva proposed Senate create a “defective ID card” bill whereby SG could cover charges for up to 20 students a month who run into this situation.
  • Dowling said UST uses a faulty ID program.

Student Complaints about School Closure during Tropical Storm Imelda

  • Swartz suggested opening a public forum for students to share their ideas for how senate could help in such situations.
  • Villanueva said during the flood, the residence halls were opened, activities were held for stranded students, and housing was provided for commuters who couldn’t get back home.
  • SG Secretary Andreas Lupascu asked Villanueva if the career fair that took place on Sept. 19 was the reason the University remained open until 1 p.m., Villanueva denied.
  •  Villanueva said the school did the best it could with the information it was given about the storm. She told SG there is a Student Emergency Fund for students who are affected by such emergencies. She also mentioned a grant available through the financial aid office called Celt Care that is available for students who need funding after natural disasters.
  • Villanueva said she is not part of the committee that decides whether to close the University in such situations, but said everyone “probably wishes the situation was handled better.”
  • Dowling confirmed there were many spaces available for stranded commuters, but that ResLife didn’t want too many “safe-housing” guests that they couldn’t keep track of.

Changing the Academic Integrity Policy

  • Student Body President Nadine Fallah suggested the University’s academic integrity policy should be changed. 
  • Currently UST uses the “two strike rule.”  Fallah said people who “accidentally” plagiarize are often penalized too harshly.
  • More discussion on this topic will be held at the next SG meeting. 

Closing Comments:

  • Dowling told senators to follow up on bill ideas discussed during previous meetings.
  • Dowling also told senators to be “more engaging” with other students during their office hours at the SG desk in the Crooker Corridor. 

The next SG meeting was held on Oct. 8.

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