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Student Senate plans RA training investigation

Maureen Reynolds | Thursday, October 2, 2003

The Student Senate passed a resolution Wednesday calling for the Campus Life Council to form a committee to investigate the process of Resident Assistant training. This resolution includes a questionnaire for current RAs that senators would like the CLC to use in its process of gathering information.

This resolution calls for the CLC to look into the training process for RAs to attempt to avoid situations in which the RAs must be fired from their jobs because they had a conflict with the training. Currently, the only two reasons an RA may miss any part of training are personal illnesses or a death in the family.

Several RAs were not permitted to fulfill their duties this year, as they had conflicts with the training schedule.

Howard Hall Senator Brin Anderson said, “These people were chosen because they were the most qualified. To have someone else fill their shoes affects dorm life as a whole.”

The resolution will go before the CLC, and senators say they hope that it will incite the CLC to form a committee and recommend changes to the RA training processes.

The resolution states that “there is a high expectation level for Resident Assistants to fulfill their responsibilities and duties as resource people, activity coordinators and peer counselors,” and further says that “a conflict with Resident Assistant training does not necessarily mean that the student has a lack of commitment to their residence hall.”

If and when a committee is formed within the CLC, the questionnaire that the Senate formed would be passed out to all current RAs and used to gather data on their experiences with RA training.

Senators also began discussion Wednesday on a process to change the way the budget is approved within Student Government.

Through the current process, the Senate approves the budget a few weeks after elections in the spring. This means that senators who have only been involved with the Student Government process a few weeks have the responsibility of first understanding and approving the budget.

Student Body Vice President Jeremy Lao said that the reason behind the discussion to change the budget approval is to “take care of the inefficiencies of Student Government.” He continued that the problem was when the current Senate was new last spring, they “tried to make amendments to the budget. The [Financial Management Board] felt that they had appropriated money in the most efficient way, and when the Senate suggested changes, the FMB was upset and felt the new Senate didn’t understand the process.”

Within the next few weeks, senators will draft a resolution to give the responsibility of approving the budget to the Executive Cabinet. They said it is their belief that the Executive Cabinet has more experience in dealing with money appropriations, and that they better understand the issues involved in granting money to organizations.

The issue was taken up in the Executive Cabinet meeting held Monday. They are also in discussion, and in all likelihood will be drafting a resolution to accept budget-approving responsibilities within the next few weeks, after the anticipated Senate resolution passes.

In other Senate news:

– Senators approved Jan Vijayaraghavan as head controller of the Student Union Board. Nominated by board manager Charlie Ebersol, Vijayaraghavan served as a controller for the board last year. She fills a vacancy left in the head controller position.