Sen. Secretary Steve Witek issued an apology, read by Chair Ryan Anderson, stating his grievance with the 29th Student Senate concerning its employee issues.
Sen. Witek expressed his opposition to University officials’ plan to take direct control of the Senate’s six employees. However, he said he believes the employees must be protected from liability risks. Witek said the Senate failed its employees; they should have researched alternatives to the University plan last fall in a more vigorous manner. Of everyone in the Senate, said Witek, he blames himself the most. He said in his apology, as one of the more vocal opponents of the University’s plan and intentions, “I take full responsibility for the negligence of the 29th Student Senate concerning this matter.”
Among Witek’s regrets is how he failed to organize a committee to research alternatives, and made no phone calls to insurance companies to find out how much liability insurance would cost. Witek ended his apology by saying he strongly supports the efforts by the Personnel Review Board and the Student Senate employees to make the plan they presented to University administrators work.
Susan Campbell, director of Advising Services and Enrollment Services spoke at Friday’s meeting. Campbell was asked back to the Senate to update them on the quality of the department’s services. Campbell and others at Advising Services conducted a phone survey in which students who have decided upon a major within the past two years were asked how well they were advised. Out of the 250 students selected for the confidential phone interviews, 48 were reached. Among those students 98 percent said they were satisfied with their advisor and the help they received. “I think you guys are doing a great job,” said At-Large Sen. Marcy Muller.
Resident Sen. Anthony Pergola suggested to Craig Hutchinson, executive assistant to the vice president for Student Development, that the University provide a shuttle bus on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sen. Pergola said the bus would cut down on OUIs and provide safer travel for students. Hutchinson agreed this is a good idea and said he would have to see if the funding is available.
Draft planning report
In response to conversations that took place last fall between the Senate and Provost Joe Wood, Wood has come up with a two-part report containing a characterization of USM in its present context and a set of six goals with corresponding action plans. In his report presented to the Senate Friday, Wood asks the Senate if the goals and action plans are right for USM, as well as realistic, and to forward individual or collective comments.
The report will be finalized in April based on feedback to be taken during March. Soon students and faculty will be able to access a copy of the report at: www.usm.maine.edu/planning.
Parliamentarian Sen. Ben Hoffman submitted three proposals at Friday’s meeting. The first was a constitution change for the Senate. The second was a constitution for the Debate Society and a third constitution for the Honors Association. The proposals will be voted on at the next Senate meeting.
At Friday’s meeting the Senate voted in three new senators and one returning senator. The new senators are: first-year USM student Nick Crater, resident student Harry Write, Dorna Michael who expressed interest in the Finance Committee. The Senate also welcomed back Commuter Sen. David Johnson.
The Senate received its spring check in the amount of $138,600. After paying the Senate responsibilities to various groups and organizations, the unallocated money now stands at $1,150.57 and became unfrozen.
The following senators were absent without proxy from Friday’s meeting: Vice Chair David Casinelli, At-Large Sen. Aron Paquette, Resident Sen. Mark Royer, Secretary Steve Witek.
The next meeting of the Student Senate will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 9 in the Presidential Dining Room, Gorham.