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USG gives update in CulinArt investigation, passes two amendments in Senate meeting

 

Students walk outside of Stony Brook University’s Student Activities Center (SAC). The Undergraduate Student Government held a Senate meeting in the SAC on March 2. SARA RUBERG/STATESMAN FILE

Stony Brook University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) hosted its longest meeting of the year on March 2 in the Student Activities Center with less than 10 students in the audience, covering issues spanning from the CulinArt investigation to Faculty Student Association (FSA) updates. 

The meeting consisted of amendment voting and presentations from the USG Executive Council. Newly-appointed positions were also discussed.

USG presented updates regarding the CulinArt investigation that has recently been brought to the attention of the University and the FSA State Board of Directors. President Ocean Karim announced to the USG Senate that a private investigator has been hired to examine a CulinArt investigation.

Earlier this year, The Statesman reported that CulinArt — the catering company that runs Stony Brook’s dining halls — is under investigation by the attorney general for misappropriation of state funds. Karim said that the State Board of Directors knew about the CulinArt allegations before The Statesman article was published. 

“We have heard about the CulinArt allegations two weeks before The Statesman article came out, and a private investigator has been hired,” Karim said, addressing the USG Senate. “So they will be looking into the allegations a lot more, according to the attorney general.” 

The Senate also passed two amendments during the meeting. Following a discussion on the floor, they voted on and eventually passed a resolution to amend the USG procedural manual — a tool used to instruct and guide future USG members.

“[The procedural manual] we noticed was kind of outdated. A lot of things haven’t been updated in a few years,” Vice President Devin Lobosco said. “So my team, the Legislative and Vetting Committee of USG, took it on to kind of do some necessary updates.” 

Senator Yuchen Zhang also expressed his approval toward amending the procedural manual.

“I thought it was definitely a good idea because the procedural manual has been in existence in USG for some time,” Zhang said. 

Senators passed a resolution to amend the Constitution to enforce the procedural manual. Although this amendment passed, voters will have the option to vote on the ballot to approve the new constitutional amendment in the spring.

The USG Senate also voted on appointing a new recording secretary. Linna Cheung was given a brief opportunity to tell the Senate why she is qualified for the position. Following Cheung’s declaration, the USG Senate unanimously voted in approval for Cheung as the new recording secretary. 

Cheung expressed her gratitude for the appointment.

“It feels like being rewarded in a sense,” Cheung said. “I just want to make sure that all the meeting content is recorded into a document so that in the future for the senators now that they can read it and comprehend anything that they might have missed.”

At the meeting, Karim also discussed new initiatives by the FSA, including an effort called “Bring Back Rice” initiated by USG Senator Danny Feliciano, which makes rice available daily at East Side Dining Hall, and an effort to serve vegan ice cream at Jasmine. Additionally, students can now substitute a side salad for fries at Smash n’ Shake, which was initiated by Karim, and hot chocolate will be served at both the East and West Side Dining Halls. 

Correction 5/2/23: The “Legislative and Vetting Committee” was previously referred to as the “Legislative embedding committee.” The “Bring Back Rice” and the side salad substitution at Smash n’ Shake initiatives were not accredited to the respective USG members.

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