Student Leaders for February and March announced

Victor Wyatt and Sonia Acevedo received Student Leader of the Month award for March and February, respectively.

Wyatt, nominated by Senator Keith Foster, received the award for reviving Words & Images. “He took a leadership position of something that had zero members and constructed an entire staff.”

Acevedo, also nominated by Foster, received the award for her contributions to Gender Studies Student Organization, and was one of the panelist at the presentation for the 25th anniversary of the Women’s Studies Program.

USM merger with UMA halted

University of Maine System Chancellor Joseph Westphal has announced an indefinite hold of the merger between USM and UMA. The announcement came after legislators made an amendment to the state budget for the University of Maine System that states the number of campuses and the names of the campuses that need to be maintained in the system.

According to John Diamond, the University of Maine System’s executive director of external affairs, Westphal agreed to allow a committee appointed by the legislature to study whether the merger is the best option of the Augusta campus. Diamond said the legislature has asked to have until February of next year to decide.

Diamond said there are currently two other bills before the legislature that seek to kill implementation of the strategic plan, one of which would require the Board of Trustees seek legislature approval before implementing changes. Diamond said he was uncertain how large a change would need approval.

Diamond said the merger between the two campuses is to provide more four-year degrees in Augusta. This would be accomplished by requiring faculty to teach at both campuses as opposed to hiring new faculty.

Since the legislative action, two Board of Trustees members have resigned.

Senate opts not to fund Honor Student Organization Project

The Student Senate rejected a request for $1,380 to fund the archiving of Honors Thesis Project. The proposal, sponsored by Senator Michelle Alger and submitted by Angela Drew, a senior majoring in English, was voted down two to six, with the majority of the senate abstaining.

Alger, who was absent, wrote a letter strongly urging the Senate to approve the proposal before them.

“I am not in support of this proposal,” said Senator Caroline Young. “But, I am in support of having this happen.” Young surmised the thoughts expressed by several senators. The proposal was challenged on several grounds, including the failure of the Honor Students Organization to bring the program to the Board of Student Organizations before going to the Student Senate and questions of it conflicting with the Student Activity Fee policy.

The discussion grew very contentious, with Senate Chair Ezekiel Kimball having to remind senators not to address each other personally with their remarks, but to address them to the chair. He also suggested Senator Denise Egilmez not yell at the chair. “I was not yelling,” responded Egilmez, “I was talking.”

Parliamentarian Adam Mirmelli said the proposal did not come into direct conflict with the policy which blocks the Senate from giving funds for proposals which will be used to support a class, or academic program.

Young questioned this in regards to the spirit of the policy. “I realize that nobody is going to get credit for this,” she said during the debate. “But the primary reason for somebody to go read these theses is for their own thesis.”

Senate Passes Budget

The 33rd Student Senate passed their budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year, six to zero, by a show of hands vote. Approval is still needed by the 34th Student Senate. The budget received little discussion, mostly focusing around clarification of specific items including the budget process of the Student Communications Board.

The Gorham Event Board (GED) and the Portland Events Board (PEB) had the greatest discrepancies between their requested budgets and the amount approved by the Senate. The Senate approved $44,249 for the GED, $21,451 less than requested, and $19,924 for the PEB, $11,500 less than requested.


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