New Senators and Officer Appointments
Troy Cochran was sworn in as a senator this week.
The Vegan Education and Empowerment Coalition, a group of vegan students and other interested members, requested final recognition. Their goal is to spread awareness by working with dining halls and volunteering at Peace Ridge Sanctuary in Brooks, Maine. Recognition was granted.
Nursing International gave a report on their service trip to Costa Rica, from March 4-12. There they provided medical care, distributed over $1,000 in medical supplies and made educational community visits to children in Tirasses, Las Palmas and San Jose.
R.E.A.C.H. reported on their service trip to Portugal over spring break. They collaborated with Just a Change and other special needs organizations, performing physical therapy activities.
Both the Men’s and Women’s Ultimate Frisbee teams reported on their attendance at the High Tide Tournament at North Myrtle Beach, S.C. over the second week of spring break. The tournament gave the opportunity for both teams to meet. Due to the change in climate from Maine to South Carolina, it was their first time this year playing outside on grass, rather than in field house.
Student Legal Services Attorney Sean O’Mara came to encourage new senators to come to his office any time 9:30-5:00 Monday through Friday if they have any questions. He will have a more detailed analysis later about his current landlord/tenant and criminal cases. He has also dealt with about 10 minor criminal civil violations, charges either reduced or dismissed.
President Kevin Bois combined his report with the Student Entertainment report. He reminded senators of the upcoming Student Government Conference on April 22-23, as well as elections for President and Vice President of student government. He is working on the Maine Day concert which is taking up a lot of time due to contract negotiations. He hopes to announce the performer in 1-2 weeks.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Robert Begin reported $104,319.34 in unallocated funds.
Vice President for Student Organizations Jacob Johnson was pleased to announce that the updated student organization forms are live and can be found on the student government website, a more exciting replacement for the boring spreadsheet of the past.
Board of Trustees Representative Samuel Borer reported on the meeting in Augusta on March 24 and 25. The topics were divided into six categories:
Legislature and Government Relations: The board has finished the budget portion and is lobbying with education boards to increase state appropriation for the next fiscal year, considering this year’s “abysmal” appropriation. The board will wait until forming opinion on the upcoming campus carry bill until there is literature available.
Research Reinvestment Fund Report: 76 out 234 proposals from UMS researchers spanning all campuses have been selected for funding since June 2015. All projects tie back into Maine businesses.
Strategic Resource Allocations Program Update: The current level of resources available for the 2018-2019 fiscal year is $4,825,000 per year. A significant amount of funding is tied to enrollment, so the board will prioritize funding means to increase enrollment. The One University model will cut down on administrative costs over the seven campuses. The board is currently working to develop new accountability metrics to measure the success of their investments.
Financial Update: The current market value on the board’s managed investment pool is $281,482,818 and the market value of the day-to-day operating fund is $308,298,204.
The tuition freeze was “so important” to prove that funds were being allocated appropriately. Reporters were at the board meeting talking about the end of the freeze and the ensuing tuition increase, but Borer stressed that tuition wasn’t increasing so much as matching inflation. As helpful as the tuition freeze was, it was not sustainable.
Sightlines Annual State of Facilities Report: In Borer’s opinion, the data regarding UMaine’s low energy consumption in comparison to other campuses and shrinking carbon footprint, is the only positive information in an otherwise depressing subject. Post-War buildings on campus are 52 years old on average and over half have not been renovated in 50 years. Approximately 53 percent of space on campus will be over 50 years old by 2020. It will take a little over $1 billion in capital investment to bring these facilities up to code. Borer noted that this is “a sobering number, but graphs don’t lie.” This issue shall be addressed as UMaine starts to become more financially stable.
Finally, the UM-UMM Primary Partnership plan was passed unanimously and will go into effect July 1, 2017. Borer encouraged student leaders and organizations to reach out to UMM, seek opportunities to collaborate. UMM has had a very inactive and minimal student government and a Board of Trustees representative for UMM will appear next meeting.
Fair Election Practices Commission Chairman Alex Rahman reminded senators that voting for Student Government President and Vice President will be on FirstClass and the in the Wade Center beginning March 30.
ROTC Representative James O’Neill announced that Maine Maritime will be hosting an event for all state ROTCs. During the event, 150-160 high school students will be on boats for 3 days learning about the Navy. Today they have finally received the Macarthur Award, which will be displayed in the field house in ROTC headquarters. A 3-day training exercise in Plymouth for 130 trainees is in the works.
Reports of Standing Committees
Policy and Procedure Representative Mary Celeste-Floreani discovered a student government hiring policy from 2015 that was never officially ratified and needs to be looked at by Senate. It’s a little confusing, she admits, but more information will be provided in the coming weeks.
Reports of Special Committees
The UMS / Student Government Association Conference Planning Committee Representative pleaded for senators to register, to better calculate how much food to pay for and get nametags.
Representative Board Reports
The Interfraternity Council held Accepted Students Day on Saturday, March 25 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The Panhellenic Council’s recruitment interviews will be starting soon. A Cystic Fibrosis Carnival is currently in the works.
The Student-Athlete Advisory’s Kickball Tournament will be held on April 8, during Mental Health Awareness Week.
Community Association Reports
Wilde Stein will be celebrating Pride Week April 10-15 and will be holding a Carnival on day 1 after raising the rainbow flag at the University Mall.
GSS allocated $210 to the Interfraternity Council and Tau Kappa Epsilon for a Twitch charity livestream.
Senators Floreani and Aromando held brief platform speeches for the Executive Elections.
Floreani thanked everybody who has helped her in student government and for the opportunity to run and hopes to serve the student population if they elect her.
Aromando, a freshman from Kennebunk High school and current mechanical engineering student, cited years of experience with Roberts Rules and writing bills via Model State, a mock state government program sponsored by the YMCA. He has also been elected as a member of the recruitment board for Sigma Phi Epsilon and President of the Community Leadership Council for student dorms. He hopes to transition into working for student government.
Fast Pitch Softball originally requested $1,155 for hotel, van and umpire costs, but UBM cancelled their home games. The motion was amended to $810, removing hotel and van costs and passed.
Women’s Lacrosse requested $2,746 for referees, hotel and van costs. There are no home games and all away games are out of state. Motion passes.
Women’s Rugby requested $4,144 for referees, lodging, insurance and gear for the spring season. They decided not to enter the two tournaments they planned for and instead entered two free tournaments. They hoped to use the funding that would have been put toward registration for vans. Motion passed.
President Bois made a pitch for an event for Maine Day: for $4,000, a Harry Potter-themed Escape Room at the Steam Plant. There will be four identical rooms to be used simultaneously and will switch from 10, 15 and 20 minute escapes to adjust as lines grow or shrink. Campus Activities and Student Engagement (CASE) is willing to cover $1,000. Motion passed.
Commuter and Non-Traditional Students requested $250 to run a special Sunday Kickin’ Flicks event catered towards student parents with children. They will run a family movie provided by CASE. The request will cover the cost of 30 pizzas. Motion passed.
The senate moved to Executive session from 7:55-9:08, presumably to discuss matters of employment.