Student Senate Report 3/29/2023

Illustration by: Maddie Bataille | Photo Editor

This week from the Student Senate: The 2022-2023 University of Rhode Island Senate met for the second-to-last time on Wednesday to debate and approve the 2023-2024 academic year budget, recognized new clubs on campus and de-listed inactive organizations.

  The Senate approved a resolution welcoming the newly appointed Vice President of Student Affairs, Ellen Reynolds, ‘91, to her new position. Having previously served as the director of Health Services since 2013, Reynolds played a key role in directing the University through the COVID-19 pandemic. Reynolds expressed her excitement to play a larger role within the University administration.

Clubs that did not meet the requirements necessary for University recognition, such as naming an executive board, hosting events and proposing a budget, were de-listed. Among the de-listed clubs are the Spirituality and Manifesting Club, the Ukrainian Club and the Surf Club. 

  The Senate tabled the recognition of BetaGammaRatatouille, a new film club that would be centered around students’ love for the cult-classic film “Ratatouille” due to concerns regarding the name and viewing rights of the copyrighted movie. They approved the recognition of the Dominican Students’ Alliance, Commuter Club and Entomology Club.

  The Senate also approved the 2023-2024 academic year club budget with minimal debate.

 “I think this is the smoothest budget debate we’ve ever had,” Speaker of the Assembly Chris Bove said. 

  The Senate proposed new organization bylaws that will implement a Mental Health Liaison to work with the Counseling Center services to promote mental health awareness and address issues of mental health with the Academic Affairs Committee. The changes to the bylaws also include safeguards on changes to Senator stipends. To change a Senate position’s compensation, five Senators must now propose a bill to the floor that will require a two-thirds majority to pass. The Senate will vote to approve the bill on April 5.

  The Senate also approved stipends for clubs and organizations with compensated club leaders. While last week’s discussion about Senate stipends created tension, Senate leaders deliberated and resolved concerns before this week’s meeting.

 “There have been many discussions since the last senate meeting and we come to a nice compromise,” said Chair Grace Summerson, in reference to President Kiernan’s concerns regarding a potential gender pay gap in senate stipends. “While the concerns last week were valid, there were no bad intentions behind them, so we are all good.” 

Student Senate stipends for the 2023-2024 academic year passed unanimously without debate. 

  The 2022-2023 Student Senate will meet next on Wednesday, April 5 for their final meeting before the 2023-2024 Student Senate will be sworn in. President-elect Ramez Rizk and Vice President-elect Jonah Steinweh-Adler will replace current President Grace Kiernan and Vice-President Emily Gamache after the current Student Senate certifies the results of the election. 

Speaker of the Assembly Chris Bove and President Grace Kiernan will also graduate from the University as well as Senators Rosie Bailey, Jose Montoya, Ava Piacentini, James Scotti, Ella Stahl, Grace Summerson and Peyton Thiel after years of service to their University and community.