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The General Student Senate meeting on Jan. 28 began with the approval of Jan. 21 meeting minutes. 

General Good and Welfare: 

Item of the week: Vice President Chase Flaherty approved Sen. Elisabeth Redwood.

Guest Speakers: 

A guest speaker, Kathleen Clevin, vice president of Engineers Without Borders, sought reinstatement of the club. Clevin gave a speech and discussed her club’s work with developing countries and the Bangor Humane Society. Sen. Gabriela Reyes, with support from others, approved the motion to reactivate Engineers Without Borders. After a few minutes of debate, the senate approved the reactivation. 

Club Presentations:  

The Maine Animal Club, the Intramural Sports Club, the University of Maine Renaissance and the Society of Women Engineers presented their work from the past two weeks. 

Marie Smith of the University of Maine Renaissance discussed the group’s winter tour trip. Smith mentioned Renaissance used GSS funding to get an Airbnb on the trip. 

Lauren Ryan, the secretary of the Society of Women Engineers, discussed her group’s trip to an engineering career fair in Anaheim, California. Ryan mentioned how much fun she found the event and how many people turned out, emphasizing the fact that this was the biggest career fair for women engineers. In addition, she mentioned that this fair helped women and non-binary engineers feel more represented. Ryan briefly discussed how the funds were used for this trip.

President’s Report:

President Bentley Simpson congratulated three scholarship winners. Simpson also discussed a recent board of trustees event, opportunities for leadership credits, announced the introduction of a shadow clerk and an opportunity for a position on the board. 

Simpson moved on to discuss a Bear’s Den Trivia special, and briefly discussed finances, confidentiality agreements and elections. 

Executive Reports:

Vice President Flaherty discussed the upcoming meetings with Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Robert Dana, finances and report maintenance. 

Vice President of Financial Affairs Report:

Vice President of Financial Affairs Jack O’Donoghue noted that the senate had secured approximately $29,000 for upcoming community activities. 

UMaine Renaissance returned $200. 

Vice President of Student Organizations Taylor Cray talked about the positive impact of the upcoming Career Fair on Feb. 5 on the UMaine community and urged people to attend. Lastly, Cray discussed an upcoming resource gathering in the Lown Room.

Vice President for Student Entertainment Logan Aromando discussed the importance and mechanics of confidentiality agreements. Armando also discussed new meeting times for the student entertainment meeting.

Armando also discussed the possibility of transferring collaborative athletic funds toward the cost of a concert. Furthermore, Armando announced that a drag queen had been confirmed for the UMaine Drag Show which will finish out Pride Week in April, and that opening acts and entertainers would be booked for the concert.

Armando also discussed Maine Day events and announced that the senate would be creating an Amazon account. 

Jenny Desmond spoke in representation of Student Government Advisor Lauri Sidelko. She discussed Winter Carnival events, such as casino night, and a new competition for student organizations. Desmond also mentioned that UMaine would be running an emerging leaders program this spring and next fall and that underclassmen students would have upperclassmen mentors. 

Periodic Reports:

Board of Trustees Student Representative Abby Despres noted that UMaine’s MBA program was ranked 47th in the world. Despres also noted that the University of Maine System Board of Trustees voted for unified accreditation, as well as displaying support for the USM building initiative. Despres mentioned that a significant I.T. measure was UMaine’s decision to start to move away from BlackBoard and toward a new platform by next year.

Afterward, Despres thanked and congratulated Sen. Harrison Ransley for a collaboration she had with him when interacting with the board and asking the board to form a new joint committee. Lastly, Despres announced that the senate would be holding a conference in the near future. 

Vice President of Student Entertainment Armando used a point of privilege to discuss the importance of this board of trustees position. 

Director of Communications Owen Vadala mentioned they had taken out an ad for elections in the Maine Campus. 

President Simpson used a point of privilege to talk about a replacement for an office position. 

Reports for Special Committees: 

Sen. Ransley discussed last Sunday’s meeting. 

Representative Board Reports: 

Commuter and Non-Traditional Students Rep. Ian Johnson discussed the upcoming pancake breakfast and meeting times for the Commuter and Non-Traditional Students Committee. 

Honors College Student Advisory Board Rep. Dominique Dispirito discussed matters relating to the election of two new committee members as well as other Honors College affairs.

Interfraternity Council (IFC) President Morgan Ford discussed a new initiative that would tally the number of students who wore Greek letters, spring rush, and competitions. 

Panhellenic Council President Allison Swede discussed spring sorority recruitment and C.O.B kickoffs. Swede also mentioned that IFC and the Panhellenic Council would hold Casino Night. Meeting times for the Panhellenic Council were also discussed, as well as the all-Greek meeting. 

The Senior Class Council had no report. 

Sustainability and Environment Action Division (SEAD) Rep. Dalton Bouchless reported on the growth and improvement of SEAD, and SEAD’s endorsement and tabling for Senate Candidate Linda Savage.

Community Association Reports: 

Miranda Snyder of the Feminist Collective discussed the first meeting of the semester and how they used senate funds. Snyder also confirmed the date of the Vagina Monologues, as well as other event dates. Additionally, Snyder discussed implicit bias and tone policing. Snyder also requested everyone in the student senate “think before you speak.”

Vice President Flaherty read Wilde Stein: Queer Straight Alliance’s report. Their meeting time has changed to Wednesdays at 5 p.m.

Hannah Holbrook of the International Student Association discussed upcoming elections. 

Consent Agenda: 

Vice President Flaherty mentioned there was $25 available for food funds for the Mental Health Monologues. 

Vice President Flaherty held a vote to alter the mental health matters budget. It was approved. 

New Business:

Vice President Flaherty introduced an act to allocate funds to student officers, so their wages could equate to Maine’s new minimum wage. It was adopted. 

President Simpson further discussed the wages of UMS boards and officers. Their wage officially increased tonight. 

Sen. Camryn Hammill was nominated for a faculty senate position. Hammill discussed how valuable she found her position. She promised to be a “collaborative, energetic liaison” to influence UMaine’s education and educators. 

Sen. Redwood gave a brief remark about her position as a student legal liaison. 

Sens. Brindisi and Ransley were nominated as representatives for the Graduate Student Senate. Sen. Ransley rescinded his nomination, so Sen. Brindisi became the representative for the Graduate Student Senate. 

The Orono Town Council Liaison was discussed. Sen. Peter Alexander was nominated. Vice President for Student Entertainment Armando discussed the importance of this position. Sen. Hammil offered to run against Sen. Alexander for the Orono Town Liaison. 

Sens. Alexander and C. Austin Westfield were nominated for Old Town Liaison. However, Sens. Alexander and Westfield were not present, so slips were handed out for them. 

Sen. Reyes nominated Sen. Kelly for the position of Graduate Senate Liaison, Sen. Kelly respectfully declined. 

President Simpson discussed what the University of Maine Security Representative Position would entail. Sens. Alexander and Kelly were nominated, as were Sens. Reyes and Orgel. Sen. Kelly was the only one who declined. 

The Orono Town Council Liaison elected Sen. Hammil. Sen. Alexander became elected as the Old Town City Council Liaison. 

Sen. Olivia Lovejoy was nominated for the Undergraduate Research Liaison, and was subsequently elected to the position. 

Sen. Reyes was elected as the UMaine Security Representative. 

Sen. Reyes introduced the responsibilities of the Student Membership position. Sen. Lovejoy was nominated, but respectfully declined. Sen. Reyes was elected to the Membership position.

 Vice President Flaherty discussed the responsibilities of the Policy and Procedure position. Vice President for Student Entertainment Logan Aromando emphasized how important this position was. Sens. Ransley, Zach Wyles and Emmeline Willey were nominated. Sen. Willey respectfully declined her nomination.

Sen. Ransley gave a speech about his Policy and Procedures nomination, as did Sen. Wyles. Wyles rescinded his nomination during the speech. Sen. Ransley was elected. 

Sens. Cody Embelton and Kelly were nominated for the Political Activism Chair position. Sen. Embelton discussed the responsibilities of the Political Activism Chair position. Vice President of Student Organizations Cray discussed the importance of non-partisanship in this role. Sen. Kelly rescinded his nomination, and Sen. Embelton was appointed to the position. 

Sen. Willey discussed the responsibilities of the Services Chair position. Sen. Willey was nominated and won the election.

Vice President Flaherty discussed the responsibilities of the President Pro-Tempore position. Sens. Ransley, Willey, and Wyles were nominated. Sens. Ransley, Wyles, and Willey gave speeches. 

Sen. Orgel explained the responsibilities of the Sergeant at Arms position. Sen Orgel was the only nominee, and was reappointed to the position.

Vice President of Financial Affairs O’Donoghue discussed the responsibilities of the Executive Budgetary Committee (EBC) position. Sens. Kelly, Lovejoy, Reyes, Alexander, and Sen. Sarah Brindisi were nominated for this position. Sens. Lovejoy and Brindisi rescinded their nominations. Sen. Orgel nominated Sen. Kylie Trawick. 

Sen. Willey was nominated for the position of President Pro-Tempore. 

Vice President for Student Organizations Cray gave a speech about the Student Organizations Committee (SOC) position and its responsibilities. 

The SOC election was postponed until next week. 

Unfinished Business:

President Simpson discussed rules and regulations of debate within the senate. President Simpson also discussed leadership credits. 

Vice President Flaherty introduced Sens. Reyes, Kelly and Trawick to the EBC. 

Vice President for Student Entertainment Armando discussed the importance of faculty support for leadership credits. 

Vice President of Student Organizations Cray requested that people don’t air their grievances in the senate group chat. 

Sens. Holbrook and Reyes discussed the importance of diversifying the senate, as well as their thoughts about the leadership program. Vice President of Student Organizations Cray congratulated Sen. Reyes for her remarks. Many others dismissed Sen. Reyes’s comments. 

The debate about leadership credit and diversity continued for an extended amount of time. Vice President for Student Entertainment Armando further discussed outreach and diversity. 

Vice President Flaherty congratulated the senate. 

Special Orders and Announcements:

President Simpson congratulated everyone on their new positions, urging them to reach out to him. Additionally, President Simpson discussed that he would be going to a conference in Washington D.C. President Simpson discussed Fresh Check Day and suicide awareness. 

Vice President for Student Entertainment Armando thanked the senate for sharing their opinions. 

Sen. Willey advertised an improv comedy show and Sen. Redwood announced the Black History Month Flag Raising. Vice President for Student Organizations Cray announced the Contradance. 

President Simpson discussed senator observers. 

Sen. Ransley advertised the policy and procedure committee. 

The meeting was then adjourned.


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