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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    First USG Senate Meeting: Reform Party in Control

    Dear Editor,

    My name is Esam Al-Shareffi, the USG Senate recording secretary. I shall attempt to provide the reader with a weekly overview of the state of the student government; in the hopes of bringing some much needed light on this important but often neglected subject.

    Having served twice as a Senator, once as President Pro-Temp, and also having chaired the Senate at various times in the past, I believe that I can give the reader a unique and knowledgeable perspective.

    The USG Senate had its first meeting on Tuesday, September 12, 2006, and from all accounts it has gotten off to an excellent start. Almost every Senator was in attendance; a rarity for USG, and the body gave off a relatively polished performance, save for a few areas, which I will get to presently.

    The Senate elected its President Pro-Tempore (PPT), essentially the leader of the legislative branch and a person who works closely with the Chair to make the Senate move efficiently. On a vote largely along party lines (though we cannot be sure, since it was done by ballot,) Senator Robert Romano was elected as PPT.

    In his speech, he promised to deliver a timely budget and essentially took responsibility for the Senate, ensuring students that the Senate will assert its position and tackle serious reforms. With a majority of Senators, the PPT, and the President of USG all of the same party, as well as a friendly Supreme Court, the Reform Party has an excellent opportunity to fulfill its campaign promises and make this year a great one for students.

    On the other hand, however, the party will have no one to blame should it fail to succeed, but I for one am optimistic about their chances and wish them the best of luck. Senator Romano and his party have already proposed some legislation, such as the “Financial Policies and Procedures,” which while important fail to address the fundamental concerns of students, namely, what USG is doing for them, and what tangible benefit they will receive from it.

    Instead of tying up a great deal of meeting time in a presentation which I would wager most Senators failed to understand (and your humble correspondent barely remaining awake as it agonizingly proceeded,) students will instead be clamoring for real action on matters that affect their campus, such as the Reform Party’s campaign promise to expand meal points to off-campus locations.

    Hopefully the reform of internal USG mechanisms and documents will be dealt with swiftly, so that matters of greatest interest to students are discussed. Towards the end of the meeting, a concrete matter was considered, in the form of a proposed resolution protesting plans to turn the entire Stony Brook campus into a smoke free zone.

    These are the kinds of issues that generate interest and debate, as they matter significantly to students. It seems that except for these few minor items that USG is off to an excellent start and I eagerly await the opportunity to update the reader on what happens next.

    Respectfully yours, Esam Al-Shareffi

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