In the second meeting of its 41st session, the Student Senate welcomed yet another roster injection, Dr. Stacey Hall of the Memorial Union Building, and a whole new process for dealing with resolutions as it continued its transition toward business as usual.
The new procedure for resolutions served as the biggest legislative moment of the night, as Speaker Nicholas LaCourse introduced both more and new steps into crafting, inspecting, improving and ultimately approving a motion. Per LaCourse – who mentioned the new process twice throughout the night – when a resolution is first presented to the Senate by its authors, it now first faces an uncontestable “up-or-down” vote whether to remand it to its appropriate council – based on the author’s recommendations unless otherwise necessary – for further consideration.
If approved, the Senate sends the motion to that council for inspection and discussion; if approved there, the modified motion returns to the floor for a debatable full-body pass-or-fail vote akin the previous voting system.
Speaker LaCourse, when asked about the purpose of the new system, said it represents a “good opportunity for senators to know what resolutions are being considered by councils, so that way the whole body can be informed of what the council is doing at the current moment.” He added that the new procedure prevents repetitive comments and conversations about the resolutions; senators with “serious concerns” about a motion are now recommended to talk to the appropriate council prior to the final vote.
In terms of motions, two served as the guinea pigs for the new system, with the first being entitled “SRRR Did You Know Reminders” and introduced by Student Body Vice President Kelsey Crowley. It aimed to create more visual reminders of the Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities (SRRR) throughout campus resident halls, setting an Oct. 1 deadline for its submission to Residential Life for its approval; it also sought further input from Crowley, Student Body President Allison MacPhee or Judicial Affairs Chair Maria Koch prior to its ultimate passing.
The resolution argued that the majority of UNH Police arrests come from first-year and sophomore students, most of whom reside in residential halls where the motion aims to add more SRR reminders. It added that the reminders have been done before with support from the residential life officer and that it is the Senate’s “right” to review the SRRR guidelines.
“It’s a big part of what the Senate does,” Crowley said of the motion and its connection to the SRRRs, “and I think it’s really important, especially for freshmen and sophomores who are the majority of residential life…to have these reminders because…the UNH Police is UNH, so this happens mainly on UNH campuses, that’s their jurisdiction; so having these reminders gets students off the bat when they’re first here, knowing their rights, their rules and their responsibilities to the university.”
The motion ultimately passed its initial vote unanimously and was remanded to the Judicial Affairs Council for further review.
Meanwhile, the second resolution – entitled “Exploring Micro-Mobility at the University of New Hampshire through E-Scooters” and introduced by SBP MacPhee – urged the university to support efforts by the Transportation Policy Committee to host a variety of E-Scooter suppliers for an end-of-the-semester exposition and administration to continue its efforts towards implementing an e-scooter share for Spring 2020.
In its argument, the motion referenced several previous pieces of legislation both on and outside of campus investigating the “practice of bike and shared vehicle culture and accommodation” at UNH through motions like TPC 15 from the Transportation Policy Committee, which also urged UNH to “‘reinforce the walking (and biking!) Campus and Town’ to deal with the current pedestrian density,” per Sunday’s motion.
Other actions have included concurrent investigations by the TPC and the Town of Durham into the impact of a scooter-share on the community and a decision to proceed with the planning stages of this initiative following a meeting between stakeholders from the Office of Business Affairs, Transportation Services, UNH Police and Student Leadership this past July.
MacPhee told the body she spoke profusely about the issue of transportation over the summer and said that the motion both expands upon last semester’s motion regarding bike-share programs at UNH and has the potential to relieve extreme congestion and problems with traffic and parking in and around campus.
The resolution ultimately passed its initial vote unanimously and was remanded to the Campus Structure Council for further review.
In other business, the Senate added seven new senators to its main roster as it unanimously welcomed Sens. Melissa Lugli (Mills 2), Yuri Makar (Peterson), Jordan Aylesworth (Non-Resident 3), Hope Anderson (Adams Tower), Sergio John Wynne Marquez (Upper Quad 2) and Igor Campos Garcia (Upper Quad 3). The body also approved many of its members to various Student Senate councils and named SAF Chief Financial Officer 1 Ethan McClanahan to the Financial Affairs Steering Committee, Elza Brechbuhl and Harrison Gleed to the Dive In and Deliver Evaluation Committee, Hope Anderson to the Discovery Committee, and Academic Affairs Chair Jennifer Hargenrader to the Athletics Advisory Committee.
Other appointments included Evan MacHenry as the senior policy advisor to Student Trustee Cailee Griffin, which passed with one nay; Parker Armstrong, Emma Baressi, Nick Crosby, Sarah Scheinman and Jill Goodman as Student Activity Fee Committee (SAFC) At-Large Members; Election Committee members Interim Historian Jack Bradley and Sens. Max Sawers, Hannah Falcone, Madeline Strange, Vinny Pallotto, Lucas Blood and Makar; Public Relations Committee members Parliamentarian and Deputy Speaker David Cerullo and Sens. Devin Foley, Abby LaRochelle, Jonathan Merheb, Garcia and Pallotto; and Judiciary Committee members William He, Paulette Niwewase, Makar, Falcone, LaRochelle and Aylesworth.
In a carryover from its inaugural meeting, the Senate unanimously passed the summer logs of the student body president and vice president despite minor time logging errors concerning “8 hours of extraneous emails” struck from the logs due to a “lack of descriptive purpose.”
Serving as the week’s guest speaker, Dr. Stacey Hall, the executive director of student engagement & development and interim leader of the Memorial Union Building (MUB), shared her personal background, changes to the MUB, and a timeline of and the latest news on improvements to the Hamel Recreation Center (HRC), with its most recent improvement being a new wooden floor for the West Gym installed last year.
Hall also informed the body about the potential benefits of the Center on student life and performance, citing an experiment that tracked the effects of exercising at the HRC on the academic performance of a class of students; the experiment found that after one year, students who more frequently used the HRC (up to four times a week) saw their GPAs increase by a greater rate than students who visited less than four days a week or not at all.
Following the initial votes on the night’s two resolutions, the Senate ultimately adjourned at 7:53 p.m.