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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Senate Now Taking Positive Steps

    Dear Editor,

    The Nov. 28, 2006 USG Senate meeting was quite promising and I can find little but good news to share with fellow students. While I doubt that this is an indication of a fundamental change in Senate operations, the meeting was a positive step in creating an effective and accountable body whose mission is truly to help students.

    The Senate spent much of its time considering Presidential nominees to the USG Supreme Court. I believe that the Senators asked some tough questions, considering the competence of the nominees, their judicial philosophy, as well as their understanding of their future roles, if confirmed. Senator Borodkin, in particular, did an excellent job, asking straightforward and legitimate questions, although her question to the Supreme Court nominee demanding that she not look at the Judiciary By-laws was a bit over the top.

    At the end of the process most nominees were confirmed, and I believe the Senate did a great job in confirming the candidates who appeared to be confident, knowledgeable, and well prepared. Nominees Anna-Kay Spence and Polina Zabarko were both rejected, the former for expressing an interventionist/activist judicial philosophy, while the latter seemed unenthused and quick to sit down, as she almost did after it became apparent that her r’eacute;sum’eacute; was not available.

    The most important legislation considered was Senator Joseph Antonelli’s ‘Affordable Long Island Rail Road Tickets’ Act (ALIRRT), which I believe is the best legislation that was passed this year. The recently elected Senator’s bill will set aside enough money to purchase 500 round trip LIRR tickets to Penn Station and 300 round trip tickets to Jamaica every month.

    The tickets will be sold to students at less than half their prices, $9 for the round trip Penn Station tickets (compared to $19 at the station) and $6 to Jamaica (compared to $13 at the station.) The program will begin in the Spring semester.

    With a little advertising, this act is sure to be a hit with students, many of whom go home on the weekends, and will benefit financially from this subsidy. Finally, a Senator has decided to think about legislation that can have a significant impact on students, and as long as the USG handles this program transparently and efficiently the act will provide a great deal of positive publicity to USG.

    Senator Antonelli is to be commended for being the first Senator to finally get the message. The USG exists to serve students, and his act will go a long way, making the organization effective and relevant to students. I can only hope that his colleagues learn from this positive example, and I hope that the Senate moves forward with other big ideas that will make the organization appealing to students.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Esam Al-Shareffi

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