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USG discusses title changes, possible green fee

Minority Affairs Senator Starmisha Page-Conyers hopes that whoever is in her position next year will no longer be called a Minority Affairs senator. Instead she wants the position to be called Diversity Affairs Senator. This is part of a resolution she wrote and proposed to members of the Undergraduate Student Government during last night’s meeting. ‘I feel that the title of minority in itself sounds demeaning,’ Page-Conyers said. ‘It makes it sound as if the position is not important.’ She also presented a history of how the title of minority affairs senator came about in 1969 when 105 black students requested a position within the Student Council, which is now called USG. She feels this term is outdated and exclusive of other groups. ‘By changing the name to diversity affairs senator, it sounds more inclusive,’ Page said. ‘It just sounds better.’ Organization Liaison Rob Emmelhainz agreed that renaming the position would be a good decision. ‘I think it’s worthwhile and that’s why I am sponsoring this resolution,’ Emmelhainz said. But some USG members had worries about changing the title. ‘I have concerns that some groups may be left out,’ At-Large Senator Molly Albertson said. Page-Conyers reassured members in attendance that this would not be the case. ‘I only used the 105 black students case as precedence,’ Page said. ‘I feel by calling it the Diversity Affairs Senator, [the position] will be more inclusive of the cultural organizations on campus.’ It was brought to attention by At-Large Senator Leo Almeida that if the position were to be renamed, it wouldn’t take place until next term. Another proposed resolution dealt with indicating student support for a $5 optional Green Fee at the University. If the resolution passes, students would have the option to either pay a $5 fee that would support energy sustainability or opt out of it. ‘It would work just like the current legal services fee,’ said At-Large Senator Joe Dinan, who authored of the resolution. If this Green Fee resolution were to pass, a student committee would be formed to look into more ways in reducing energy on campus. ‘It’s time for students to take responsibility to lower the impact on the environment,’ said Jazmine Bennett, president of the Environmental Action Group. USG will vote on the Green Fee resolution the week students come back from spring break. The last resolution proposed, but not voted on, included showing support for the Falcon Marching Band and their need for a place to practice. Technology Senator Brooke Mott wrote the resolution out of concern of marching band members who are worried where they’ll practice once ground for the Stroh Center is broken. ‘I would like to have this resolution to make sure the band has a proper place to practice,’ Mott said. USG members will also vote on this resolution in two weeks. In closing remarks, some guests brought up their concerns with how USG meetings are run, specifically last week’s heated Stroh Center Open Forum meeting. ‘I think students should be able to speak at meetings without being reprimanded,’ said Joelle Ruby Ryan, a graduate student in American Culture Studies. ‘Also, make sure everyone has a chance to voice their opinion.’

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