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USG passes resolution against Union room reservation changes

A week after students learned they may not be able to host meetings in the Union whenever they want, Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution in an emergency meeting Monday night to oppose changes to Union room reservation policies.

Patrick Nelson, director of the Union, proposed the changes Feb. 1 during an ex-officio meeting and then again at a USG meeting Feb. 4.

USG is required to take one Monday off every month, which is why there was no meeting originally scheduled this Monday, USG President Alex Solis said. An emergency meeting was called because the next USG meeting would have been Feb. 18, which is three days after the proposed policy changes would go into effect, Solis said.

“We knew it was imperative to get it in before the 15th,” Solis said. “I don’t think our resolution would have lost importance [if we hadn’t gotten it in before the 15th], but maybe the impact would have been lost.”

USG decided to host the emergency meeting Friday to pass a resolution, Solis said.

“There was a fantastic effort by our senators this week,” Melissa Dzienny, USG speaker, said during the meeting.

Nelson came to USG’s most recent meeting, Feb. 4, and presented the proposed policy changes. The director called for limiting the number of times and hours an organization can reserve a room in the Union alongside putting a cap on how long meetings can last.

Solis said he opposes the changes because of the timing and lack of student input.

“The timeline is too slim,” he said. “There was no shared governance, no student voice.”

There were also open forums scheduled for Feb. 12 and 13 to raise student awareness, which were later cancelled.

“That’s why it’s so interesting, because where is the student voice?” Solis said. “It worries me.”

Solis let other student leaders know about the proposed changes through an email he sent to the presidents of every student organization this past Friday, he said.

Such presidents have contacted Solis asking USG to act and stop the changes, he said.

The goal with the resolution “is to send a message to say we oppose this. As the voice of students,” Solis said. “We also want to provide recommendations on where we go from here,” Solis said.

Solis and USG Vice President David Neely are meeting with Nelson on Feb. 12 to discuss the resolution and Solis has a meeting with University President Mary Ellen Mazey the following day to discuss the possible changes.

“I think they definitely know this is coming,” Solis said.

The next step for USG is to distribute the resolution, which will go to Mazey, her cabinet and other administrators, and to get out and talk to students, Solis said.

Jodi Webb, senior associate dean of students and USG adviser, thanked USG members at the meeting once the resolution was passed.

“I think it’s great to see the student support,” she said. “I think definitely this issue is out there, the right people know about it.”

Everything depends on the next couple of days, as USG will look for the help of other students and organizations, Solis said.

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