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This week in Senate: two policies of note announced

Tuesday’s Undergraduate Student Association (USA) Senate meeting was active. Eight clubs had appeal requests passed unanimously by the Senate, Associate Dean Bennie Williams discussed diversity and policies were announced regarding senators speaking with The Griffin and club leader attendance at Council of Representatives meetings.

Eight clubs appealed for money, and all were unanimously approved after recommendation by the Finance Board. They were the following: Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Honors Student Association, Global Horizons, EuroSim, C-Block, Asian Student Association, Anime Club and Afro-American Society.

Bennie Williams — assistant dean of students and director of the Multicultural Student Center — gave a presentation about the ALANA Student Center. He outlined his goals to increase study abroad participation and financial support for those who struggle to afford it; engage with international students better; increase the representation of people of color in faculty, staff and administration; and explore a name change that better represents the students who ALANA wants to serve.

A student questioned the USA e-board over President Deacon’s Tuesday morning email to club leaders warning them that “a lack of attendance at [Council of Representatives] meetings during the spring semester will result in the temporary freezing of your club’s budget. … The budget will be restored after a one-on-one meeting with the USA Executive Board.” The Council of Representatives was established in 2020 to facilitate communication between USA and club leaders. Run by the USA executive board, it is a mandatory monthly meeting of one leader from each club.

The USA executive board eagerly defended the policy. President Deacon noted that they are simply invoking a consequence that had previously gone unenforced. Deacon stressed that the council meets just once a month for less than an hour. It is a reasonable educational opportunity, she continued, designed to support clubs. Vice President for Business and Finance Matthew Johnson added that it allows him to communicate the procedure for appeals.

Executive Vice President Zoe Kaminski said that if a member of a club’s executive board cannot attend the meeting, they can inform USA and set up a separate meeting. She said this direct contact with USA’s leaders is necessary for the club to succeed and that the budget freezure policy is simply an incentive.

Next, the USA executive board gave their reports. President Deacon announced that Canisius College President John Hurley formally signed onto the Laudato Si’ resolution passed by USA last week, and that Canisius Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Sandra Estanek wants to set up meetings with students to discuss how to help the Afghan refugees being housed by Canisius. EVP Kaminski announced all potential new clubs will be voted on in the spring, also noting that there are quite a few vacancies to fill on USA.

Vice President for Public Relations Justin Brown announced his media policy. He requested, “If anyone from The Griffin reaches out to any member of Senate or USA for comment regarding anything, please let me know. If you choose to comment, please also let me know what you commented… or direct them to me. That’s the preferred method.” Senator Daham questioned if they were allowed to comment. Brown affirmed, saying, “I just ask, since you are representing the organization, you let me know so that I can prepare or just be aware to stay ahead of the game.”

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