Gieseke addresses legislative body

USG talks resolutions

Written By Mitchell Drake, USG Beat Writer

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The United Student Government (USG) met on Monday to discuss senior voter eligibility and various student concerns.

Dean of Student Life and USG advisor Michael Gieseke spoke about the recent behavior and actions of USG at the beginning of the legislative body meeting. In his speech, Gieseke reminded members of USG that “any student government is not a typical student organization.” He continued by saying that acknowledging that is an important step.

“There’s one reason why it’s not like any other organization, it’s because it is the only organization that is completely public – for the world to see,” Gieseke said. “Not realizing what that means has value and consequences to it.”

He also noted that when other organizations have “growing pains” or internal struggles they do not have publicly released minutes or reportage. Gieseke called USG a “learning laboratory,” stating that all student organizations are given a chance to learn while gaining experience.

“Learning comes with failure,” Gieseke said. “You are all young adults who are still figuring out life. You are still figuring out yourselves, you are still figuring out what you believe, you are still learning how to learn. You are all adults, sure, but you are all young adults who make mistakes.”

He reassured USG members that accidents, mistakes and apologies are frequent in workplaces and governments filled with seasoned professionals, ending his reprimand on a warm, encouraging note.

Treasurer Kortney Lampel came to a finalized amount spent on the first spring budget season of $13,237.52. Lampel reported that the second spring budget spendings have amounted to $1,651.85.

Senator Brighid Shanahan informed the body that every member of the student concerns committee chose at least one concern to work on as their senator report

Vice President Brittany Arp and Recording Secretary Sophie Burkholder reported addressing and working on student concerns regarding security around Lawrence Hall. Senator Emily Sjoberg noted that the communications committee has decided to release the pre-formulated Meet Your Candidate event questions to the candidates and publicly onto PointSync.

Senator Dennis McDermott discussed his work in having WPPJ broadcast in the elevators, but was still awaiting confirmation on the plan.

“That way we can promote our awesome radio station that is all student run and we can really promote content that students want to hear,” McDermott said.

Senator Jade Steele told the body that she was continuing her work with CulinArt to accommodate and aid students with food allergies through ingredient-allergy labels in the dining hall. She has also worked on addressing concerns of cross-contamination between allergens in foods, especially with the ice cream scoop. Senator Alexa Lake reported trying to bring back weekly menu emails to students, which appear to have temporarily stopped.

Senator Mathew Johnson has begun working with Physical Plant to enact motion-sensing lights or finding better ways to manage lights in order to save on energy after observing how many lights around campus stay on indefinitely while on campus over spring break.

Senator Jacob Berlin presented a concern from senior students about their eligibility to vote on upcoming elections, even if they were set to leave in the following year. Berlin cited Bylaw 500.2, which states that “the student body is eligible to vote.” This spurred a debate with other senators and Dean Gieseke about the definition of “the student body.” The body eventually moved to recommend to the Elections Board that eligible voters include all members of the student body, as defined by the USG constitution, should be eligible to vote. This includes current seniors.

Johnson officially introduced resolution 03182019  and 03182019.1 to the Legislative Body, both of which were the subject of intense conversation. Resolution 03182019 was eventually sent back to the Rules Committee for revision and clarification, after pushback from multiple senators and members of the Executive Cabinet. The resolution, along with resolution 03182019.1, was written in response to the subject of transparency, which was debated in full length at last week’s meeting. In-depth discussions about Resolution 03182019 involved the questioning of the validity of requiring an advisor’s signature to close a meeting, the proposal of requiring a signature from the President Pro-Tempore to close a meeting instead of an advisor and general wording of the resolution.

Resolution 03182019.1, which deals with redactions from any USG meetings, was passed by the legislative body after more debate regarding the requirement of an advisor’s signature.

Open Forum brought about discussion on the upcoming USG elections, including conversation on shortening the election week to two days, and the logistics of changing out the electronic voting method through PointSync with paper ballots. The meeting concluded after just over two hours.

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