By Mike Sherr
Executive Vice President Bryanna O’Keefe called the general body of the Student Government (SG) to order on Sept. 23 to discuss new and old business including new fund and financial aid plans.
O’Keefe began the meeting with an announcement that the swearing in of newly elected members would be moved to next week before progressing with the introduction of new business.
The first bill introduced recommended the College to create a Student Union Emergency Fund (SUEF). It has the potential to be passed on Sept. 30. The College received $2,514,066 higher education emergency relief funding through the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act. All CARES funding was distributed through 2,041 awards to students who were in need of financial support.
According to SG, however, there are an estimated 3,000 students who are still in need of financial relief for pandemic-related reasons. This number includes students who are not eligible for financial assistance from the College due to a Title IX section that requires a student to be a citizen, permanent resident or be able to provide evidence of intent to become a citizen of the U.S to receive a grant, loan or work assistance.
The resolution proposed would request a transfer of $150,000 from the Office of Student Affairs reserves to create the SUEF. The SUEF would give priority to international, undocumented, graduate and other uneligable students who have met hardship due to the pandemic.
A committee made up of representatives from SG, Student Finance Board, Division of Student Affairs, Division of Inclusive Excellence and Office of Financial Aid would also be created to hear applications for relief.
The second piece of new business introduced was the creation of a new organization called the Collegiate Recovery Community. This organization has been proposed to give support to students with substance abuse issues and concerns about their mental health.
O’Keefe then moved on to debating and voting on business from the week prior beginning with a bill that would require all members of Freshman, Sophomore and Junior Class Councils to sit on a committee.
The bill ultimately did not pass due to concerns that members of Freshman Class Council (FCC) are not experienced enough to sit on a committee.
“I am glad it didn’t pass,” said newly elected FCC member Jan Egan. “As newly elected members, the FCC needs some time to get acclimated to SG and college in general before packing their schedules.”
The next order of business, which would remove the FCC Representative position, also did not pass due to concerns that it would lessen freshman interest in SG.
There was also a vote to re-recognize the Unified Sports Club. Members from the organization attended the general body meeting and gave a small presentation on who they are as a club. SG voted in favor of re-recognizing the group.