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This Week in Senate: Open-door campus, closed-door Senate

By Patty Healy, Managing Editor

The Undergraduate Student Association (USA) held its first meeting of the spring semester on Tuesday. The USA Executive Board and advisor provided updates on changes to club rules and infrastructure improvements before much of the meeting was devoted to discussion and appointment of a replacement junior senator.

To begin the executive board reports, USA President Jahare Hudson announced that the fruit flies that previously plagued the Student Center are almost fully gone. Hudson also announced that one of the Divine Nine Black fraternities is visiting Canisius to see if there is enough interest among Canisius students to begin a chapter here.

Director of Student Engagement and Leadership Development and USA Advisor Jason Francey announced that Chartwells was selected over Parkhurst to be Canisius’s dining services provider. President Hudson said, “Generally, now that we have gone through the process, we are definitely going to see a big change” from Chartwells.

Francey reported that projects that had been scheduled to be completed over winter break did not occur after facilities got shuffled to damage control in Lyons. These projects included more clubroom keycodes, clubroom carpeting and the commuter lounge kitchenette.

Francey also announced a change to the NFTA monthly passes. Because students often don’t come to collect their passes, USA hemorrhages money on unclaimed passes. NFTA has agreed to a new contract where Francey can return unused passes for full credit, though this will require a tighter deadline for students to pick up their passes. Francey announced a change to club advising. Clubs will still have a chosen faculty/staff advisor, but they will now also be assigned a “second advisor” from Francey’s office.

Francey made changes over break to GriffNet and Petey Points, teasing a new prize for the latter. Hudson is looking to begin a Buffalo student leaders group beginning with the student body presidents of all local universities and maybe eventually spreading to student government senators. Hudson said the goal for the group would be to lobby local governments on matters of student concern such as crosswalks. According to Hudson, “It will allow us to do so much more within our neighborhood and potentially [put] events on together.”

Freshman Sen. Ben Cordero, also the representative for the Student Programming Board (SPB), said SPB is looking into guest speakers for this semester. Francey, who works closely with SPB on this matter, said sternly, “No, it will not be Josh Allen,” an apparent reference to last year’s snub of a planned event at Canisius by the Buffalo Bills quarterback. The USA e-board also discussed their goal to have the senate pass more resolutions this semester.

Diversity Chair Mylan Hawkins and J.U.S.T.I.C.E. Chair Hawa Saleh announced the creation of a committee to create a land acknowledgement for the college. Other committee chairs announced their meeting schedules for the semester. Liaisons asked for input from senators about their various areas. Tim Sanders was announced as the substitute for ITS/facilities liaison.

New Public Safety Liaison Ian Gotthelf spoke with Public Safety Director Kim Beaty, who wanted input from senators as to whether main campus doors should require swipe access at all times. Senators were vocally opposed. Senior Sen. John Gross suggested that a person wishing harm to students would not simply turn around when confronted with a single locked door in the middle of the day.

Sophomore Sen. Megan Campbell pointed out that it might be a problem if residents forget their swipe card and can’t get to Public Safety to retrieve a new one because all of the access points require a swipe card. Underscoring the senators’ desire for an open campus, Campbell’s class cohort comrade Gabby Kaderli suggested freshman resident students should have access to the opposite dorm (so Bosch residents would have access to Frisch and vice versa) to encourage interaction between residents of the two buildings.

Executive Vice President Jill Galanti and sophomore Sen. Ahmad Jandel suggested that phones might be able to replace swipe cards. Advisor Francey said that would be a multi-million dollar infrastructure investment, which pretty much ended the discussion.

The Senate then moved to hear from two candidates, Leslie Arneth and Rami Daham, to fill the open junior senator seat. To hear from each of the candidates, the Senate went into closed session, at which time Griffin Editor-in-Chief Julia Barth and Managing Editor Patrick Healy were escorted out of the room by USA President Jahare Hudson.

Silently seething, Healy indignantly uttered the Washington Post’s apt aphorism, “Democracy dies in darkness.” Outside, Barth huffed, puffed and — with trademark tenderness — threatened to blow the Richard E. Winter Student Center down.

The 50-minute closed session concluded with the appointment of Leslie Arneth.

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