Student Senate meets quorum for 1st time this semester after swearing in 3 new senators

Helena Edwards, Student Government Reporter

Student Senate officially met quorum for the first time this semester with the swearing in of new senators Nidhi Patel, Jasmine Yusef and Max Rue.

Committee assignments include Senator Patel’s assignment to Alumni Relations, Senator Yusef to Internal Affairs and Senator Rue to Student Affairs.

Ashley Bartley and Carey Hendrix were approved to have appointment to the Student Dean Advisory Council due to quorum being met.

Kent Martin, Eastern’s UPD Chief since June of 2016, talked to Student Senate about the costs of the police department.

“Items for public safety use tend to be marked up a bit because they’re for public safety. It’s pretty expensive to run a police department,” Martin explained.

He also explained the duties of UPD such as dispatch calls, parking permits sold and parking citations statistics.

Another topic he brought up was on the Panther Express Shuttle Bus funded by student fees to discuss potential change to location of stops and frequency of them for the buses.

Drivers kept track of ridership during August and September, but due to COVID guidelines the number of demands is not truly reflected, but they will try again post COVID.

Upcoming plans for the UPD include hiring officers, replacement of firearms, training, additional squad car, computer replacement and more PR/public engagement.

Towards the end of his presentation, Martin placed specific emphasis on saying the police are just like everyone else on campus.

“There’s nothing special about us just because we pin a badge on our shirts,” he says.

Student Body President Noor ul-Haash Khamisani released information during her executive report on self-protection training that will take place on March 23 at 5 p.m. in the University Ballroom.

Topics of discussion include individual security, self-defense, surviving an active shooter or violent physical attack and other topics related to person safety.

Academic Affairs is planning surveys for students centered around D2L satisfaction and another survey on majors and minors in demand that are not currently offered at Eastern.

University Enhancement collected information from Eric Wahls, facility engineer for Eastern, to obtain information regarding Eastern’s energy use and cost to investigate the feasibility of implementing new renewable energy sources.

The proposed housing and dining rate increase of 3 percent was discussed during this meeting as old business.

Student Senator Seth Yeakel reached out to other students about the proposed increase, some saying they didn’t care or were extremely worried about the increase, paying what they can already and struggling.

Student Senator Marcus Powell says that the raise wont effect student accounts that much and will reflect well in better food in the dining halls.

Student Senator Sierra Humphrey stated that, “As a student over the years I’ve seen my tuition increase, but no improvements that actually made my stay here more delightful.”

Student Government will be speaking with Mark Hudson again for the proposed increase for in depth discussion during the March 10 meeting.

The second point of old business was centered around the Big Blue Food Pantry with Beth Gillespie, the director of Civil Engagement and Volunteerism Office, there to answer questions.

Humphrey questioned why there is not partnership between campus and Newman Center Pantry, which Gillespie answered with background on that being done during the past, but the effort failed to raise numbers.

Yeakel advocated for the Big Blue Food Pantry idea, saying that the convenience of having it on campus would really help students in need.

Student Senate unanimously voted to draft a resolution in support of the Big Blue Food Pantry on campus.

The next Student Senate meeting will be held March 10.

 

Helena Edwards can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]