In the University of Maine General Student Senate’s final meeting of the fall semester — during the fourth meeting of the 34th session, Dec. 4 in the Memorial Union’s Bangor Room — the body decided to amend the position of Senate Administrative Aide, changing its title to Executive Administrative Aide and integrating the duties of Assistant Vice President of Student Organizations and Technology Manager into its job description, increasing the position’s hourly wage and hours per week.
In a series of resolutions, which began with adding an addendum to the aide’s employment contract, the GSS revamped the occupational roles of Susan D’Angelo — UMSG, Inc.’s current SAA. The positions of AVPSO and Technology Manager have been eliminated, giving D’Angelo more duties within Student Government, which is apparently what the Bangor native wanted. According to Vice President Sam Helmke, she had approached him earlier in the year asking for more responsibility in the office.
The changes made by the GSS will increase D’Angelo’s workweek from 30 to 40 hours and hourly wage from $14.37 to $15.00 — a 4.44 percent difference. This raises her 29-week salary to just over $17,402.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Raymond Updyke presented the series of resolutions to the GSS, saying that although the position changes would financially cost UMSG, Inc. more money, it would be in the best interest for the GSS to trust a more smooth executive office.
Vice President of Student Organizations Sarah Porter was in full agreement with the proposition, adding that even her own assistant, the AVPSO, is “okay with leaving her position” and is “totally understanding of the situation.”
“This isn’t a case where we’re trying to increase [D’Angelo]’s wage but to make [her position] function more fluently in the office,” Porter said. “For the overall growth of the department, having a staff member who’s here through student turnover will help make things a lot more cohesive.”
Services committee chair Sen. Corey Morton, a third-year anthropology and pre-med student, also commented on the position transformation’s expected fluidity.
“I think too many times we see departments on campus have divided duties that make things more complex,” Morton said. “Having the continuity and fluidity between [executive] boards will make for a better environment.”
President Protzmann stressed to the GSS that student government would not function without the help of D’Angelo and others in the office.
Helmke said current Tech Manager Lydia Chang, a third-year mathematics and information technology student, will not be affected by the changes either, as she was planning to leave the position on her own accord.
The transformation of D’Angelo’s employment duties and other position changes inside UMSG, Inc. enacted by the series of resolutions won’t become effective until next semester.
OrgSync funding approved
A total of $8,300 was allocated to the Division of Student Organizations toward funding the purchase of OrgSync.
According to the online community management system’s website, OrgSync is “a campus engagement network that connects […] students to organizations, programs, and departments on campus in a private online community.”
VPSO Porter and President Protzmann presented the resolution to the GSS, stating UMSG, Inc. will be splitting the cost of OrgSync with UMaine’s Division of Student Affairs, who is expected to pay $4,200.
Protzmann prided Director of Student Wellness Resource Center Lauri Sidelko who “was incredible” throughout the process of receiving a “significantly” discounted price from OrgSync.
“By cutting costs, something that looked to be well over $21,000 is now less than half,” Protzmann said. “In the grand scheme of things, this cost amounts to less than a dollar of the students’ activity fee.”
Porter reminded the body that a lot of the fees associated with the initial, first-year contract with OrgSync won’t ever be charged again, thus lowering the cost to keep the program in years down the road.
“Starting a program is always difficult, but we’re confident that by working with [OrgSync] as much as possible before we leave, new students will begin to feel as if [OrgSync] is the norm.”
Recommendation for the revision of UMaine health insurance policy passed
A recommendation, headed by Sen. Mark Brunton, for the University of Maine to revise and amend its student health insurance policy was passed by the GSS.
“Overall, the university’s insurance policy is optional and very expensive,” Brunton said. “There is a significant amount of students who are uninsured and therefore vulnerable to many accidents.”
In comparison to other schools within the University of Maine System, UMaine’s health insurance plan is significantly higher — this is essentially because UMaine does not require students to have insurance, thus increasing the costs because there aren’t many students who pay for the policy.
The annual premium at UMaine is $2,975 while the University of Maine at Presque Isle is $469 and University of Maine at Machias is $495.
“Basically, we’re asking the university to implement a task force to investigate the amount of students that are uninsured,” Brunton said. “I’m not sure whether the university will make it mandatory after possibly rethinking their policy, but the motive behind this is to eliminate the risk of uninsured students who might have to pay upwards of $1,000 to $10,000 out of pocket if they are hurt or become sick.”
According to the recommendation, if UMaine rethinks their policy and makes it mandatory for all students, those who are covered by another insurance policy — for example, under their parents’ — that meets the minimum level of coverage would be allowed to waive the university-sponsored plan.
Plans for “Sorority Village” emerge
Panhellenic Council president Keegan Burdette and Sen. Corey Morton presented plans to the GSS of a newly proposed “village-like” area of sorority houses on campus.
“You can’t grow without space,” Burdette said. “Unlike most of the fraternity houses associated with the university, the sororities struggle with having places where alumni are comfortable to come back to.”
According to Morton, the construction plans for Sorority Village cover sections two, three, four and five of UMaine’s Blue Sky Plan.
The current proposed building site is behind the New Balance Student Recreation Center. The university’s cross-country courses and UMaine Army ROTC’s obstacle course will be forced to relocate if plans for “Sorority Village” go through.
Seven clubs receive funding allocations, office holiday bonuses reduced
An overall total of $14,367 was allocated to seven different clubs and the budget for UMSG Inc.’s professional staff’s holiday budgets.
Giving out holiday bonuses is an annual, routine gesture from UMSG, Inc. to the group that works in the office, consisting of Assistant to the Financial Affairs Office Amy Grant, Assistant to the Vice President of Financial Affairs Susan Poll and Senate Administrative Aide Susan D’Angelo.
A total of $1,595 was approved by the GSS to go toward holiday bonuses. In years past, the bonuses have been raised almost every year, but according to Vice President Sam Helmke, this resolution will make for a much better process.
This is the first time a reduction has occurred with holiday bonuses in the budget’s known existence.
“Bonuses were lowered because they were exponentially getting out of hand,” Helmke said. “This will give a standard to which increases occur as [Grant, Poll and D’Angelo] continue as employees of UMSG, Inc.”
Through the process of a main motion, R.E.A.C.H. — which stands for Respect, Education, Action, Hope, Community — received $5,200 of their requested $25,450 to cover flight costs of $4,400 and transportation costs of $800 in their upcoming service trips in Jinotenga, Nicaragua, Puriscal and Costa Rica from March 3 to 17.
Club president Keegan Burdette spoke on behalf of the club, stating the group has grown significantly in the past few years.
“We’ve gone from seven people [in the group] my freshman year to 25 [this year],” Burdette said. “Now we have two trips compared to one.”
Costs that weren’t funded for the trip at this time included programming fees, entrance fees, hotel layover, advisor fees, and food and lodging.
The Maine Steiners brought another main motion forth to the GSS, requesting $1,140 dollars to cover motor pool costs for their upcoming 2012-13 Winter Tour through Hampden, Greenville, Augusta, Saco and Dover, Mass. from Jan 7 to 13.
The GSS passed the motion after amending the amount to provide only $800 for motor pool costs.
Club president Morgan Cates and vice president William Sawyer, the group’s business and music director, respectively, spoke on behalf of the organization.
Cates says the Maine Steiners have been called upon by many teachers throughout New England to come perform at their schools to promote music programs for help in unofficial requirement.
“As many people know, music programs have been at the top of the chopping block in terms of cutting costs in an economy like this,” Cates said. “So by visiting these schools, we entice the programs to stay afloat.”
The all-male a cappella group is expected to perform for over 5,000 students on their tour.
The Alpine Ski Team received a total of $4,292 for their upcoming 2013 Division III collegiate ski season. The funding is expected to go toward transportation, equipment, lodging and race fees.
The amount of funding provided by UMSG, Inc. exceeded a precedent set by the GSS of not providing over 50 percent of a group’s funding for a particular event, but because of the expensive accommodations the group faces compared to other clubs on campus and being in Northeast ski country, many senators agreed it was a good idea to fund in full.
The Intramural Sports Council received a total of $1,650 to pay for airfare and registration of their trip to the upcoming National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association conference in Las Vegas, Nev. from March 4 to 8.
Allocations under $1,000 dollars included $400 to Panhellenic Council, $130 to No Labels and $300 to Circle K.
Partners for World Health receives final recognition
Partners for World Health received final recognition from the GSS. The group aids in recycling medical supplies for third world countries.
UMaine Curling Club received preliminary recognition from the GSS. The group practices in Belfast every Sunday for three hours and has a total of 25 members.
More position changes in UMSG, Inc.
Sen. Daniel Norwood, a second-year marketing and public relations student, was voted in as the next senate representative of Fair Elections and Practices Commission, a seat previously held by second-year electrical engineering student Shane Dorval.
Sen. Paige Eggleston, a fourth-year English student, relinquished her title of Legal Services Liaison. Elections for LSL will begin next semester.
A previous version of this article said that Daniel Norwood was obtaining the chair of the FEPC. Norwood was elected to be senate representative of the FEPC.