USG wraps up fall semester

Gabe Darley, Contributing Reporter

It’s been a busy semester for Tulanians serving on the Undergraduate Student Government Senate. USG held seven different legislative sessions

It has been a busy semester for Tulanians serving on the Undergraduate Student Government Senate. USG held seven legislative sessions throughout the semester in which senators proposed, debated and decided the fate of several different pieces of legislation. 

New committees and projects are always being created, and while larger projects may take longer than one semester to enact, the Senate has seen progress in many different fields during the fall semester. 

“The vast majority of our initiatives do not get passed as legislation because they do not need to,” USG President Joseph Sotile said. “[The Senate] use[s] legislation to represent the voice of the student body when a particular project has stalled or administration want[s] to ensure it has broad student support.”

Even though the Senate is not approving legislation en masse, there are still noteworthy landmarks that have appeared in their meeting minutes. If you did not have a chance to attend any of the public meetings, here are a few points of interest from this semester:

  • Perhaps the most widely-publicized resolution to pass through the Senate this year, the Equity Fee resolution passed through with a majority vote. This resolution proposed that Tulane students be charged a fee of $240, to be distributed across campus organizations that focus on helping marginalized communities, specifically Black students. You can read more about this bill here. 
  • Although not officially passed, a proposal at the most recent Senate meeting asked that the Tulane Bookstore carry all required course materials. This follows a grievance that a shortage or absence of required materials in the book store means that students relying on financial aid to purchase materials — specifically through the Accounts Receivable paying track — are significantly disadvantaged and often unable to obtain the items they need for success in class. This bill was tabled to the Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity Committee.
  • For those involved in campus Registered Student Organizations, specifically as they relate to funding and budgets, you might be interested to know that the bylaws of the Finance Committee were slightly changed. The new system follows a designation of “Full Hearing,” “Small Hearing”, “No Hearing” or “Consolidated Hearing” in regards to organization budget defenses, depending on the size of the organization and the sum they have requested. These new distinctions may help expedite a process that would have previously taken much longer for RSO presidents and treasurers.

Though students might feel that this list seems sparse, Sotile commented that this is fairly typical for this early stage in the academic year. In addition to this list of notable legislation, USG is observing many pieces of legislation they passed last year through their first year of implementation. 

“The biggest changes I can speak towards are the changes we made last year and are finally getting to see, such as the fees that tailgating structure and the 24/5 library access,” Sotile said. “Most initiatives take a little while to be seen through so midway through the year it is a little difficult to have a comprehensive check in since so many of our projects are also only halfway completed.”

All USG senate sessions are open to the public and the student body is encouraged to attend. 

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