The University of Maine General Student Senate held its first meeting of the 34th session on Oct. 30, which included the rejection of an act to amend University of Maine Student Government, Inc. executive elections from October to March, a live performance from the Renaissance club and allocation of funds to the Woodsmen’s Team, Veteran’s Club and Men’s Lacrosse.
An act to amend the UMSG, Inc. executive elections from the month of October to the month of March was brought forth to the body after being recommended to pass unanimously by the policy and procedures committee. The act took over an hour to be decided upon as it included both lengthy debate and articulated discussion.
According to the resolution, the current election cycle runs at the end of October and “favors candidates of sophomore, and notably junior standing and cuts the term for senior candidates, if elected.”
A spring election “would help to avoid shortened terms for potential senior-standing elected executives, and eliminate the need for a [president pro tempore], which is selected by only the 35 student senators and can lead to a term of up to six months as elections are stated in current standing rules and the UMSG, Inc. constitution.”
A unique executive transition situation that occurred last year can be attributed to the creation of the act to change election dates. In the 2011-12 school year, President Anthony Ortiz, Vice President Caleb Rosser, Vice President of Financial Affairs Nathan Kinney, Vice President of Student Entertainment Joseph “Pat” Nabozny and Vice President of Student Organizations Hannah Hudson all left upon graduation, leaving virtually no one in line to succeed as president for the next five to six months.
Despite holding a semi-ceremonial position in president pro tempore, which holds the duty of governing the senate body in the absence of the presiding president of the Senate, thus making him theoretically second in line for Vice President, Sen. Chris Protzmann became the new UMSG, Inc. president. Elections followed to replace the other vacant positions.
Fourth-year marketing student and policy and procedures chair Sen. Marlene Thongsavath spoke after presenting the resolution to the body, saying, “there’s a huge issue with having seniors leave upon graduation […] with this amendment, elections would be at the end of March or beginning of April.”
Fourth-year English student Sen. Paige Eggleston moved to amend the act’s statement of fact, omitting the action to eliminate the president pro tempore position. The amendment was passed. Eggleston showed strong opposition to the act and reminded the body that if passed, the act, as written, would force another election this upcoming spring.
Second-year mechanical engineering student Sen. Aaron Ortiz agreed with Sen. Eggleston, stating the act would disenfranchise freshmen that would not be able to vote for the student body president that serves during their first year at the university. Also, both Sen. Ortiz and Sen. Eggleston pointed out that seniors would be voting for someone they won’t have the next year.
Sen. Eggleston later stated there were too many unknowns being brought up surrounding the act, making it a dangerous resolution to pass.
Third-year accounting student and Vice President for Financial Affairs Raymond Updyke estimated it would cost approximately $700 to run a new election this spring.
Sen. Church added to his argument, stating, “Movement of the current cycle is worth the $700 it will cost. If we don’t do it this year, they’ll bring it up next year.”
Sen. Norwood proposed an argument of seniors checking out, saying, “The chances of a senior checking out are a lot higher when serving both fall and spring semesters of your fourth year on campus.”
Fourth-year psychology student Sen. Elizabeth Tull re-stressed the argument of leaving out the freshman class, saying, “There are some fantastic candidates that come in freshman year that won’t receive an opportunity [to run for office].” The popular argument is we shouldn’t have 35 of us choosing president by appointing a pro temp, but by passing this, we’re deciding for several thousand students in the freshman class and also transfer students.”
Sen. Church disagreed, responding to both Norwood and Tull, saying, “It’s understandable, but [as president] you’ve got to know the ropes and they’re still learning for the first two months on campus. Also, in response to senior checking out, you have to assume an elected official will do their job when elected.”
Views from the executive board continued with fourth-year secondary education student and Vice President for Student Entertainment Jon Allen advising the body that checking out during spring semester of senior year for fourth-year presidents will be a lot less common since fall semester is generally the more difficult and busiest of the two.
Fourth-year political science student and Vice President Sam Helmke had the last words before a motion to vote was proposed.
“[President-elect Dao] is getting completely disenfranchised,” Helmke said. “By doing this, we’re going to constrain her to three months in office […] if anything, this act should have been written for the 2013-14 year.”
The act was rejected after a body vote failed to show two-thirds majority in favor of the resolution.
35 senators sworn-in, all at once
With the beginning of a new session comes the swearing-in of old and new senators. In an effort to save time, Vice President Helmke allowed all 35 senators to stand up at the same time and become sworn-in. Thirty-one of 35 senators are continuing their terms from last semester: Sen. Brunton, Sen. Eggleston, Sen. Thongsavath, Sen. Brittany Cote, Sen. Kelly Smith, Sen. Corey Morton, Sen. Alicia Bolduc, Sen. Mattie Paradis, Sen. Ortiz, Sen. Tull, Sen. Ariel Bothen, Sen. Norwood, Sen. Ryan Hall, Sen. Caleb Shortt, Sen. Pineau, Sen. Church, Sen. Michael Kennedy, Sen. Jinlun Bai, Sen. Joshua Stanhope, Sen. Sean Sibley, Sen. Justin Conant, Sen. William “Nick” Smith, Sen. Jackson, Sen. Otto, Sen. Caroline Harvey, Sen. Megan Fowler, Sen. Zachary White, Sen. Danielle Harrington, Sen. Logan Nee, Sen. Joshua Bellinger and Sen. James “Jake” Dumas.
Four senators from last semester have decided against returning, including president-elect Kimberly Dao, who is expected to assume her new role in January.
The four new senators of the GSS include third-year pre-med and microbiology student Eric Bolduc, first-year student Zebedia Letourneau, third-year political science student Johnathon McGahey and Cody Blackburn.
Woodsmen’s Team, Veteran’s Club, Men’s Lacrosse receive funding
Club treasurer of the Woodsmen’s Team Norah Young spoke on behalf of her organization, which was funded in full after requesting $2,400 for registration and lodging for the upcoming 2012-13 season.
The Woodsmen’s Team will be attending five competitions from September 2012 to April 2013 and hosting one home meet. They expect $3,150 from club dues and fundraisers and $2,600 from the Dept. of Forestry. Lodging will cover two rooms and two nights at their spring meet in New York.
According to Young, the club sells firewood for fundraising and participates in projects for various professors. The club has 30 members on average, and for competitions, they will send three teams of six.
Prior to the Oct. 30 meeting, the club’s allocation request has been postponed twice. Young apologized for the lack of representation at the meetings, stating that a miscommunication led to the no-show on the first week and being away at another conference was the reason for being absent the next following week.
EBC’s report was 4-2-0 ought to pass before the GSS approved funding in full.
The Veteran’s Club was funded in full after requesting $1,124 for registration and lodging for their Student Veterans of America National Conference in Orlando, Fla. during the upcoming month of January.
According to the resolution’s statement of fact, the conference is being held from Jan. 3 to 7, the club has fundraised about $100 and has club funds of about $150.
According to the club’s secretary, the conference is mainly to make veterans aware of the benefits they can receive and they will be fundraising during the weekend before Veteran’s Day. Also, the national organization is providing $1,800 to $2,000 of the total $4,374 it’s expected to cost to attend the conference.
EBC’s report was unanimously ought to pass before the GSS approved funding in full.
Club president Ralph Nelson and club vice president Igor Rodusavljevic spoke on behalf of Men’s Lacrosse, which was funded in full after requesting $1,500 for league fees to pay 2013 Pioneer Collegiate Lacrosse League and Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association league dues.
The team has 20 players who have paid about $2,100 in dues for the year. Also, UMaine Campus Recreation is contributing $500 toward the fees and the team intends to carry out numerous fundraisers throughout the year.
EBC’s report was 5-3-0 ought to pass before the GSS approved funding in full.
Guest speaker: Jubin Kwon
University of Maine Director of Marketing and Communications Jubin Kwon spoke to the GSS during the meeting’s guest speaker section. Kwon talked about what his position entailed at the university and how he is attempting to reshape UMaine’s branding along with the help and input of UMSG, Inc. among other groups and departments.
“We’re working on the branding of the university, because it hasn’t been very consistent across several types of media,” Kwon said. “I was a senior in college before I realized I could join cross-country skiing or go to shows for $5 — I think it’s the same way here.”
Brunton asked Kwon how UMSG, Inc. fits into the branding piece.
Kwon answered by saying UMSG, Inc. is essential and that the actions the GSS take will build it.
“The website could use some work,” Kwon said. “Who won the election? […] I didn’t know that. Social media should have brought it to my attention.”
Kwon ended his speech by stressing, “It’s very important the work you do is publicized in the right way.”
EBC, SOC members elected
Members for the Executive Budgetary and Student Organization committees were elected.
For EBC, eight senators ran and four were elected: Sen. Eggleston, Sen. Ortiz, Sen. Church and Sen. Conan.
For SOC, seven senators ran and four were elected: Sen. Tull, Sen. Hall, Sen. Smith and Sen. Shortt.
Protzmann said he met with several members of administration including Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dr. Robert Dana, Director of Campus Activities and Student Entertainment EJ Roach and Director of Student Wellness Resource Center Lauri Sidelko to talk about the future of OrgSync and how to maintain stability and continuity. Also, Protzmann said, “It has been my pleasure to serve on this exec board and I’m going to try my best to help prepare [president-elect Dao] with anything she needs before she takes over.”
Vice President Helmke said he is working Vice President for Enrollment Dr. Jimmy Jung with Kwon to create a southern Maine outreach program he spoke about earlier.
VPSO Allen says the public is out-buying the student body by a lot for the Bradley Glibert and Aaron Lewis show.