Last Wednesday’s student senate meeting featured the election of three new senators to vacant seats. One seat representing the College of Allied Health and Nursing was filled and two seats representing Residential Life were filled.
There were four candidates vying for the Allied Health and Nursing seat: Sarah McClain, Griffin Goode, Halimat Abdulganiyu, and Ryan Noah. All four candidates were subjected to interrogation by the senate.
Speaker Fred de Ruiter began by posing the same five questions to each candidate before opening the floor to questions from other senators. His five questions were 1) do you believe that you are capable of fulfilling the duties of senator?, 2) what makes you best qualified to represent your constituency?, 3) what is one of your strengths and one of your weaknesses?, 4) what is the biggest issue facing MNSU?, and 5) what other leadership roles have you taken on?
After three rounds of automatic runoff voting, the field had been narrowed to two final contenders: Goode and Abdulganiyu. In their discussions, the senators expressed enthusiasm for Goode’s prior involvement with MSSA through committees. Abdulganiyu was praised for her vision, practical ideas, involvement on campus, and her call for even more improvement in the quality of the nursing department.
Goode was elected in the fourth round and was immediately given his seat among the senators. Senator Goode, who transferred to MNSU from South Central College, is a third-year Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Services major. During interrogation, he stressed the importance of communication. He says that the lack of communication between MSSA and the student body is a significant issue on campus. He plans to make known his status as a senator to students in the College of Allied Health and Nursing. He said that he wants to work to improve MNSU and his college as opposed to just being “a body in a seat.”
The election to fill the two vacant Residential Life seats featured two candidates: Kyle Mercer and Bryan Beltran. Both are community advisors in McElroy and previously served as floor representatives in the Residence Hall Association. The senate expressed confidence in both candidates, electing them both. Senator Beltran has been involved with leadership in Chicano Latin-American Student Affairs (CLASA) and Latino Wellness. He made the case that he is a good public speaker and that he will focus on listening to students, even those of differing opinions. Senator Mercer believes that his experience working with both students and staff as a community advisor makes him well-qualified to serve in the senate. He believes that promoting diversity on campus is one of his top priorities.
After the elections, the three new senators recited the oath, thus officially joining the senate. President Faiçal Rayani invited all the unsuccessful candidates to pursue involvement in MSSA through special committees. Senator Martin reached out to the new senators, encouraging them to speak with experienced senators to address any questions or uncertainties they may have.
In his report, President Rayani mentioned that a 30-second informative video about MSSA has been completed. It will be posted to the MSSA Facebook (facebook.com/avoiceforstudents) page shortly. He mentioned the new University Dining Hall ribbon-cutting ceremony, scheduled for this Friday at 12:30 p.m. More information on that can be found in last Thursday’s issue of the Reporter. He also noted that this academic year’s senate session will come to an end on April 19. He said that he is working to accomplish the goals that he set for himself and urged all members of the senate to do the same. “Make sure you can look back and say that you accomplished what you wanted to,” he said.
Vice president Maria Ruiz-Mendez announced in her report that MSSA has met with Integrated Marketing. MSSA requested a report into how to better communicate with and serve the student body. She noted that a draft for the proposed meditation spiritual room had been emailed to senators and that their input was requested. She concluded saying that MSSA will soon be entering dialogue with the state legislature and MNSU administration over tuition.
Speaker Fred de Ruiter reminded senators in his report that budget meetings are looming. The March 15 and March 22nd MSSA meetings will feature department budget presentations. The Student Allocations Committee (SAC) will present its budget narrative on the March 29 meeting and the final budget meeting will be held on April 5. De Ruiter noted that last year’s meeting lasted nine hours. The chair of SAC, Cristian Perez, emphasized the length of the process and asked senators to “be prepared.”
Senators Grace Peterson and Naeemul Hassan presented reports on the opening of the new Clinical Sciences building and the possible reinstitution of the computer science program, respectively.
Senator Peterson explained some of the new technology that the building is equipped with. Those with hearing aids will be able to connect them to a loop in classrooms which will allow them to easily listen to lectures. She also noted that some classrooms are outfitted with monitors that students can post to, which are then visible to their small group. Professors can then select posts to be featured on the central monitor for all the class to see. Peterson clarified that the nursing program’s rooms in Wissink Hall would not be vacated due to the creation of the new building, but rather will continue to be used by the program.
More information on the Clinical Sciences building can be found in last Tuesday’s issue of the Reporter.
Senator Hassan mentioned the progress of his efforts to reinstate the computer science major, which was removed several years ago. He said that disagreements in vision between the Integrated Engineering (IE) and Information Technology (IT) departments have stalled the project and that senators, unfortunately, should not expect the major to be up and running next academic year. He stressed that student perspectives must not be overlooked.
“[The IE and IT departments] need to see our point of view,” Hassan said. Students and the departments, he said, must come together and say “this is what you need to see, this is what we need to see.”
Hassan also emphasized that patience is necessary so that a high quality program can be established. Senator Hassan also noted that he sees a need for a tutoring room for CSET students and that the CSET dean has expressed enthusiasm in this idea.
The meeting ended with final announcements. It was noted that a seat on the Ethics and Standards Committee is open now that Senator Goode will be leaving to fill his senate seat. The Maverick Adventures pilot program is organizing “Learn to Ski” events at Mount Kato for February 7, 14, and 21 at 6:30 p.m. Those interested can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
An open meet-and-greet with students and senators will be held in the MSSA office on Tuesday, Jan. 31. John Bulcock, Assistant Director for Greek Life & Off-Campus Housing, announced that the Student Affairs staff will be taking on MSSA in an annual bowling competition. Speaker de Ruiter responded, saying “there will be blood.”