Senate responds to weather petition

Grand Marshal Paul Ilori ’17 opened the Student Senate with committee reports. Those began with Facilities & Services Committee Chairperson Austin Miller ’17 who followed up with information on suggestions to replace plastic bags in Sodexo locations with reusable bags. Miller is currently working with Hospitality Services in order to make this a reality as well as work out the logistics of distributing reusable bags to all students on campus at a cost equal to or lower than the current cost of purchasing plastic bags.

Following Miller, Student Life Chairperson Justin Etzine ’18 continued by stating that the Student Life Committee took a tour of Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center and stated that it’s director seemed very excited about working with students and brainstorming potential projects of interest to the student body. The committee also made progress on counseling center survey questions and communicating with Vice President for Administration Claude Rounds regarding inclement weather policy. Etzine also met with administrators regarding putting study space areas in the great hall of the DCC, as well as areas across different campus buildings. The committee is also currently working to restore multi-door access with Public Safety in which students will be able to yet again access residence halls through side entrances.

Following Etzine, Web Technologies Chairperson Sidney Kochman ’19 delivered his report. Kochman is currently updating student senate profiles and pictures in order to reflect the current Senate roster.

After committee and constituent reports, the UAR Committee held a presentation regarding the Union Activity Fee. The Executive Board requested that the Senate consider increasing activity fees from $350.50 to $373.50 for undergraduate and $317 to $324 for graduates. Senate & Executive Board liaison Thomas Alapatt ’17 explained that the increase is to cover changes to federal labor regulations through the Fair Labor Standards Act, an increase of student salaries from $9.70 to $10.40, and UPAC technician rates being raised from $10.00 to $10.50.

The presentation also noted that class and athletics fees will remain the same for the 2017-2018 school year for both undergraduates and graduates, and that the Union activity fee increased at one of the lowest rates in the past few years. Following the presentation and discussion, the Senate voted 21-0-0 to approve the changes to the Union Activity Fee. The Senate then voted 21-0-0 to amend an error in the document to change “total fees” to “Union activity fee,” which then passed 21-0-0.

Following the Activity Fee presentation, the creator of the petition Formal Snow Day Policy Philip Sweeting ’17 gave a presentation to the Senate regarding actions he would wish to take regarding the inclement weather policy. This included requiring administrators to address mistakes made in email communications with students regarding inclement weather within a timely manner, suggesting that faculty be understanding of the miscommunication, and that once classes are cancelled by the Institute they cannot be uncancelled even in the case of miscommunication.

The Senate then moved 21-0-0 to recognize the petition and 21-0-0 to pass a resolution moved by Etzine in response to the petition. The creator of the petition later said, “I support this resolution as an adequate response to my petition.”