The University of Connecticut Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate met on Wednesday to discuss proposed bills and joint resolutions for fall of 2018, potentially bringing about changes in transportation, queer inclusivity and the inner workings of USG.
“A Bill Regarding the Undergraduate Student Government Funding Board,” which passed, discussed the need for the Funding Board membership to go from volunteer to paid.
USG President Irma Valverde presented the bill and said the volunteer status of the Funding Board membership led to accountability and efficiency issues which would be resolved by making the position paid.
Past Funding Board members expressed concerns on the position being too time-consuming for an unpaid job, Valverde said.
In addition to the funding bill, a resolution for a street crossing on Gilbert Road, a resolution for queer inclusivity, a bill for more bike racks and a bill amending the Spring 2018 budget all passed.
Tumu first called upon Senator Adam Burns to discuss the joint resolution he authored, “Regarding Street Crossing on Gilbert Road.”
The motion passed for the joint resolution which recommended USG request the repainting of a crosswalk on Gilbert Road, which was paved over in the summer of 2017 to ensure safety on campus, according to the joint resolution.
Senator Zachary Corolla then took the floor to propose the joint resolution he authored, “Concerning Queer Inclusivity on Campus,” which was passed.
The resolution listed recommendations regarding queer inclusivity on campus. This included increasing LGBTQIA2+ faculty, gender-inclusive restrooms, inclusive housing, funding for LGBTQIA2+ student scholarships, queer-themed classes and implementing a mandatory online module that teaches cultural sensitivity.
Corolla said he held a town hall at the Rainbow Center where students addressed concerns regarding the LGBTQ community. The group discussed the proposed legislation and provided feedback on the proposed legislation.
“A Bill Amending the Spring 2018 Budget of the Undergraduate Student Government” discussed the Student Development’s request for more funding.
The bill will request $500 to be distributed amongst each of the five Cultural Centers and the Native American Cultural Programs for the Cultural Center Open House of Spring 2018, according to bill presenter and author Corolla.
“This money isn’t going to waste,” Vice President Isabelle Fazzina said. “It has real importance.”
“A Bill Concerning The Lack of Bicycle Racks at the University of Connecticut, Storrs,” discussed the need for more bicycle racks on campus.
Senator Franklyn Barrueco, who presented and authored the bill, said bike racks are a low-maintenance and low-cost necessity to students.
“We need to make a declaration saying that right now the amount of bike racks we have is not enough and we should be able to have enough bike racks for students, considering each freshmen class gets smarter and smarter by the bunch and will want to ride their bikes to class,” Barrueco said.
“Amendment to the Undergraduate Student Government Constitution regarding Rank Choice Voting” discussed a form of voting for USG that would allow voters to rank candidates.
The amendment said rank choice voting would ensure majority rule, discourage negative campaigning and create incentives for more candidates to run.
“Noah and I are here today to persuade you to give more choices to your constituents and [promote] representation,” co-author and co-presenter Barrueco said.
Even though the meeting had to conclude early, Tumu said the senate made changes concerning the whole university.
“I think it was a productive meeting and we discussed a lot of things we needed to,” Tumu said. “Possibly the most consequential thing we discussed today was the funding system review. (This review) impacts the most students. The face of USG is, quite frankly, defined by how we handle funding.”
Lillian Whittaker is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.