New Senators and Officer Appointments
New senators Samuel Borer and Hashim Allah were officially sworn in last Tuesday and four more attended their first meeting; Mitchell Domagala, Ashley Sarra, Angel Loredo and Justin Guider will be sworn in the following week.
Members of the defunct University of Maine Airsoft Club spoke in front of the senate seeking revival through preliminary recognition. They plan on meeting regularly off-campus as a point of contact for people who want to play or want to learn how. The primary concern was safety, due to a number of police incidents and safety accidents in the news. The club will be open to the public, not just university students, so long as the rules are followed. There will be no member dues for equipment, but buying personal gear is recommended. Preliminary recognition was granted.
UM Archery was originally an official club before 2003, though the official dates are not clear. Archery enthusiasts on campus have made deals with the Maine Archery Association and the Old Town Archery Center, which hinged on gaining preliminary recognition, which the senate granted.
UMaine Melee, a club centered around the 2001 Nintendo GameCube title “Super Smash Bros. Melee” was granted preliminary recognition. This club will be unique from other similar groups, as it is intended to focus on high-level professional competitive gameplay as part of The Melee Games, a North American collegiate league. When asked why this deserves to be a separate club from the Gamers’ Guild, they replied that, with the Guild’s focus on modern online games, it wouldn’t be possible for them to accommodate.
After a few years of inactivity and confusion due to change in management and disorganized paperwork, the Latin American Student Organization was officially reactivated, with the goal of bringing the Latin American student population on campus together.
The UMaine Best Buddies (an expansion chapter of Best Buddies International, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with physical or mental disabilities, helping them make connections and incorporate them and their friends into their community), discussed their Flight to Leadership Conference. The annual conference brings over 2,000 chapters together to discuss ways to improve.
Vice President Jared Dumas reiterated that recruitment is his No. 1 priority and that he would be working with membership marketing committees, as well as sitting down with the chairs of Communication, to discuss new projects.
Vice President for Financial Affairs Robert Begin urged the senate to be responsible with the unallocated funds ($246,783.37 as of this meeting), as more clubs finally get underway and more requests for allocations come in the upcoming weeks.
Board of Trustees representative Connor Scott made his first appearance for the fall semester and quickly detailed a number of decisions made by the Board over four straight days of meetings, the most significant being the changes made to the University of Maine System that have been hashed out over the past three years — rather than having individual budgeting and finance models for each university under the University of Maine umbrella, they plan on streamlining them all into one universal system, to counteract the budget shortfall that Scott said “looked like the end of days.”
They also plan on decreasing real property to cut costs, selling off 139 acres in Old Town, to be transferred to Maine Fisheries and Wildlife and 91 acres to the Caribou Bog – Penjajawoc project.
Other decisions include the commencement of a complete overhaul to the University of Maine System IT structure, shifting to block tuition payment in the upcoming years, setting a unified rate for online courses across the UMS and moving the investment model to a “more ethical” environmental/social/governmental investment model, which should hopefully increase revenue over next five years.
Scott has worked as the Board of Trustees Rep. for two years and on over 20 projects and will be transitioning to a new position this November.
Legal Services Liaison Mary-Celeste Floreani briefly described the new automated online legal travel forms designed for easier use.
Director of Communications Cody Rubner made his first appearance at a senate meeting. After introducing himself, he stated that he will be working on bringing in more senators and improving GSS marketing.
Community Association Reports
While this week was uneventful, the upcoming week will be Hyde Repeal Week for the Student Women’s Association. The Hyde Amendment was originally passed in 1976, banning Medicaid funding for abortions.
Wilde Stein Alliance for Sexual Diversity is currently in the planning stages for Coming Out Week, beginning Oct. 11. They will also be consolidating resources for hormonal replacement therapy that would be covered by university insurance. Next semester, they hope to turn a number of single-occupancy bathrooms on campus into non-gendered family bathrooms.
President Kevin Bois was late this evening and began his executive report discussing the improvements to the disc golf course, which he estimates will cost $6,000, as well as his plans for the upcoming Dirigo Leadership and Voltage meetings.
The Senate passed the motion to give $1,000 from unallocated funds to the Society of Women Engineers, an organization dedicated to encouraging women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, to fund their SWE 2016 National Conference.
$1,200 was allocated to the Honors’ College Student Advisory Board to pay the new president’s salary, after the Board was established as a representative board of student government.
$3,500 was allocated to the UMaine Woodsmen’s Team to fund their Collegiate Timbersports Competitions.
$4,270 was allocated to the rugby team to fund their fall/spring season. Expenses included gas, lodging, vehicle rentals, equipment costs, uniforms and referee dues for home games. The request was amended to request the money for referee dues instead be used for recording equipment for the coach and admins. The Senate made their concerns known regarding this amendment and suggested instead either using the funding for rental of the library camcorder, or suggest negotiating with the library for a different rental system. The Senate move to amend to remove the $500 dollars for referee fees and place them into rental fees instead of purchasing a camcorder. The amendment passed, followed by the motion as a whole.
$1,505 was allocated to the Dressage Club to pay hotel costs, food, entry fees for four away shows, team registration, car rentals, arena rental, judge fees, various home show costs, show clothes and weekly lessons in Newberg that have previously been paid out of pocket.
The Equestrian Team requested $2,970 for hotel and class fees. The discussion was tabled for the next meeting.
$525 was allocated to the Society of Physics Students for the 2016 Annual Physics Congress.
$450 was allocated to the Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society for the National Wildlife Society Conference.
$810 was allocated to the Maine Outing Club for outing equipment.
$300 was allocated to the South Asian Association of Maine for the Eid-Ul-Adha Festival.
$200 was allocated to the Class of 2017 Council for their office budget.
Senator Borer was nominated for the open position in the Student Organization Committee, which he accepted.
Senator Haverly-Johndro was nominated for the Political Activism position last week. No other nominations have been made at this time.
Nominations for the representatives for Policy and Procedure, the Orono Town Council and Sergeant at Arms have once again been tabled for next week.
Special Orders and Announcements
Board of Trustees Rep. Scott jumped in again at this time to mention another decision made by the board, specifically a change to financial aid policy. Any aid from the institution will be based on 15 credit hours prorated and while all incoming freshmen will be on this new system, other students financial aid will remain unchanged.