Outgoing senate ends busy year; Recollections and group hug featured

Outgoing senate ends busy year; Recollections and group hug featured

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The 2014-2015 student senate met for the last time on Wednesday, May 27. In recognition, the agenda was rearranged so that outgoing senators and staff could each speak to the gathering before handling any business.

After president pro-tempore Anastasia Vail kicked off the meeting, senators and officers reflected on the past year of student government for more than half an hour, recalling experiences, accomplishments and lessons learned.

Most of the speakers expressed appreciation for their colleagues and praised the spirit of teamwork they perceived. President Malisa Ratthasing showed some emotion and said that her experience in office “was very bittersweet” and “a rocky and rough journey.” Others acknowledged difficulties during their tenures, but the overall tone was positive.

When the senate was ready to turn to business, current vice-president and president-elect Ashley Jackson took the chair.

Treasurer James Wessgert requested $250 to pay for airfare to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars conference in Florida. He explained that the total expense of the trip would be about $1,000 and student government would not be footing the entire bill. After a brief discussion, the request was granted on a 4-0-1 vote.

Discrimination was on the agenda again. Senator Charles Stewart announced his intention to show three movies on the subject at an event open to all. Anonymous essays from attendees describing their own experiences would be collected and compiled in a book.

Stewart did not repeat his request for a student government committee to fight discrimination, but he did bring his puppy.

Next was the second reading of a $875 request to pay registration fees for up to 25 students at an executive management training program in Portland. The request was discussed last week and the senate quickly approved it 4-0-1.

Treasurer James Wessgert presented a spreadsheet to the senators showing a proposed budget for next year. Explaining specific line items, he noted examples of budgeted items from this year that cost more than estimated or were not spent at all. Following several questions and clarifications, the senate approved next year’s budget 4-0-1.

The Lanestock event promoted by the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group was discussed during the OSPIRG report. Lanestock is “going to be awesome music, awesome food,” said OSPIRG chair Anthony Molinari.

Senator Evelyn Sanders expressed concern about flyers promoting a “zombie jamboree,” wondering if someone was trying to take over or rename Lanestock. Molinari explained that he had spoken to the person in question, and the flyers were simply promoting one of the tables at the event.

Stewart reminded the senate that raising funds to reimburse students for damage from the tornado would be part of the event. “The fundraiser is going to be the biggest part of Lanestock,” he said.

The meeting ended with officials, senators, staff and attendees coming together in a group hug after Gender and Sexual Diversity Advocate Christian Mello was credited with introducing the practice.

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