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Group examines, votes on internal issues

| Friday, December 4, 2015

Student body vice president Nidia Ruelas said student senate has done “very well” engaging in critical issues this year.

“We’ve fostered together a climate of dialogue where people are talking with each other instead of to each other and when they’re engaging these issues, even if they disagree, even if they’re difficult issues,” she said.

Senate’s biggest, most recent accomplishment was the passing of three resolutions regarding election reform in November, Ruelas said. The new regulations allow candidates more freedom when engaging with voters online and through social media platforms.  

“That came out of a lot of dialogue, a lot of work and a lot of work was done outside of Senate,” Ruelas said. “But within Senate, the talk that was shared was very good and helpful.”

Discussion and feedback on Onward, a forum for students to submit and vote on ideas, and the University’s Honor Code also had a “good input,” according to Ruelas.   

“Some of the conversation regarding the academic integrity was also a huge success for Senate because they engaged the topic critically,” she said.

Ruelas said senators have also done an excellent job of communicating between student government and their dorms, especially regarding the new sustainability initiatives in the dining halls. Senators are also “very active” in their departments.

“For example, if they’re active through University Affairs, maybe they’re involved in things like the Huddle price scanner,” she said.

With the recently released recommendations of the Core Curriculum Review Committee, Ruelas said discussing the recommended changes will be a main focus for next semester.

“I think the intention is that this conversation goes out during the whole semester,” she said.

Ruelas said academic integrity will be another focus as the “actual policies and recommendations are being thought up” from the University Code of Honor Committee.

Diversity and inclusion will be another focus for senators to consider next semester, she said.

“The other one that we want to stress is diversity and inclusion in many ways, not just racial or ethnic, but also socioeconomic. To some extent I think we’ve addressed those issues, but they’ll probably be the focus for next semester.”

Ruelas says she hopes to incorporate other groups when working on issues of diversity and inclusion.

“At the beginning of the year we had the diversity and inclusion training and another thing I think we can do is to foster a discussion related to the ‘It’s Time ND’ campaign that Diversity Council has led forward, so I think that things like that, bringing in speakers to talk, and maybe it would even take the form of a resolution too,” she said.

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About Megan Valley

Megan Valley was Assistant Managing Editor for The Observer. She majored in English and the Program of Liberal Studies and hailed from Flushing, Michigan.

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