By: Ava C. Green, editor-in-chief and Jon Dusza, managing editor
On Friday, Sept. 8, the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) senate met for their first meeting of the 2023-24 school year.
Immediately after the meeting was gaveled into session and roll was called, the senate broke into a half-hour period of executive committee work. Each committee was allotted five minutes to meet, while the Senate’s E-Board had their own private meeting which lasted the entirety of the allotted 30 minutes.
This executive time was the first attempt at a new procedure during senate meetings. According to USA President Jahare Hudson, the goal is to give senators time to do their senatorial work during senate, saving valuable time during their week. As it was the first time this was tried, the half-hour period was met with confusion among senators, with senators who were not in executive committee sessions milling about, wondering if they should be doing something or if they were doing something wrong. Chairman Reynoso of the Diversity Committee began hallucinating, calling out to someone across the room who, in the eyes of The Griffin’s reporters, did not exist.
After the 30 minutes was up, the senate returned to its normal procedure. No student concerns were raised. In lieu of that, the e-board gave their reports to the senate.
President Jahare Hudson reported that he had begun to have conversations with Canisius brass about the dining hall. Hudson did not go into specifics but said that he was working to make d-hall a “more inclusive and welcoming space.”
Executive Vice President Gloria Uwizeye detailed in her report the upcoming freshman senate elections and outreach to freshmen from USA.
Standing behind a podium that still read “Canisius College,” Vice President of Business and Finance Gabby Kaderli led the senate through the process of voting to approve or disapprove clubs’ appeals for money. There were votes on two budget appeals: the Commuter Student Association (CSA) and Alpha Kappa Psi. The appeal from Alpha Kappa Psi passed without issue. The appeal from the CSA was partially approved, with funds being approved for a pizza taste-off and Breakfast on the Go.
The USA Instagram account reached 1,000 followers, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Tim Sanders announced. As USA plans to expand their social media presence to other platforms, he gave suggestions as to how to go about doing that.
Following the e-board reports were cabinet reports. Most committees had nothing to report, it being the beginning of the school year, but the Sustainability Committee reported on future campus cleanup events and a new, permanent thrift store coming to Canisius.
To close out the meeting, senators engaged in a period of structured discussion regarding the possibility of adding a race and ethnicity major to the educational repertoire of Canisius. President Hudson discussed some of the preliminary plans and issues regarding the addition of a new major, including the need to hire more faculty and establish a course load for the major. Hudson said that the earliest possible time to expect the new major would be the 2024-25 school year, with a more likely date being 2025-26.
Senators raised questions and concerns with the hypothetical major. One of the most recurring questions regarded the thought process behind proposing a race and ethnicity major instead of a minor, to which Hudson replied, “Why shoot low?”
The fate of the potential new major falls much in part on student interest. Hudson said that “the College is willing to take the steps with the major if the students are willing.”
The senate’s next meeting will be on Friday, Sept. 15 at 2:30 p.m.