USG Addresses End-of-Semester Initiatives

Courtesy+of+United+Student+Government

Courtesy of United Student Government

Kristen McNerney, Contributing Writer

The last United Student Government (USG) meeting of the semester was filled with discussions about the final business and the bidding of farewells. Newly elected members were present on Zoom to witness the meeting.

Much of the discussion centered around existing COVID-19 concerns. Sen. Liam Leahy, FCRH ’22, brought up claims that student workers were not being paid. Sen. Matthew Heutel, GSB ’22, clarified that student-worker hours were cut short due to spring and Easter recesses where students did not require payment. This would result in students being paid less than a full month on their paychecks, Heutel said. 

Vice President of GSB Reilly Keane, GSB ’21, clarified that students not on work-study were not required to be paid out for the semester, and those pay decisions were up to their department heads. Executive President Kaylee Wong, GSB ’20, said students should reach out to the Office of Financial Services if they were not getting paid under work-study.

Sen. Emily Silfies, FCRH ’20, brought up a public concern about the fear of graduating seniors losing their Google Drives. Wong recommended a process involving moving documents to a different account so as not to lose them. Sen. Domenic Setaro, FCRH ’20, said that David Whitney, digital platform services director at Fordham, could answer student questions regarding Google Drive.

Wong also discussed filling out club packets. She said the packets for the Operations and House Committees were available as Google forms, and the packet for the Budget Committee was available through OrgSync. Vice President of Operations Olivia Quartell, FCRH ’21, said club-advisor contracts could be digitally signed or presented through a screenshot of an email with an advisor’s commitment. Setaro mentioned that in some club packets, prices for future events were not listed due to the uncertainty of COVID-19.

The senate approved a class registration proposal written by Leahy along with Sen. Arianna Chen, FCRH ’22, and Sen. David D’Onofrio, FCRH ’22. The proposal explained the problems of a huge amount of traffic and simultaneous server requests during the time of registration. It mentioned that over half of registration days include greater than 20-credit gaps between those who can register at a given time.

Two suggestions were proposed, including upgrading the current server provided by Ellucian to process more requests or to create narrower registration blocks. The senate collected feedback from 84 students, and 76% of respondents said their registration took more than 15 minutes. 

Wong discussed a Jesuit Student Government Alliance (JSGA) Day of Advocacy, to be held on Monday, April 20, for students within the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows for those unlawfully brought to the U.S. as children to receive a renewable two-year deferral from deportation and to obtain work permits pending no felonies or serious misdemeanors committed.

Wong said 17 Jesuit universities have agreed to advocate on behalf of these students, which includes calling their senators to encourage Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring a clean DREAM Act of 2019 to the Senate floor. DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) is a proposal that would provide a pathway to citizenship for those who meet the DACA criteria.

Wong said USG has created templates for students to call their senators, send letters or tweet them. She said the Day of Advocacy is in response to the Supreme Court’s awaited decision on DACA at the end of the month or in early May.

Vice President of Student Life Kevin McSorley, FCRH ’20, said in light of the canceled Beacon Exemplar Awards ceremony, certificates designed by Sen. Thomas Reuter, FCRH ’22, will be emailed out to recipients. 

Vice President of Sustainability Maggie Tattersfield, FCRH ’22, announced events for Earth Week, to be held on Instagram from April 20 to 24. She said there will be suggestions on “how to stay green during quarantine,” plant-based recipes, TED Talk recommendations and a Netflix Party event on Friday.

Senators of the Month for the past three months were awarded to Setaro, Leahy and Sen. Nicholas Abbazio, GSB ’21.

Wong awarded superlatives to all members of the Senate, and graduating seniors were awarded many thanks for their hard work and dedication while serving on USG.