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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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    President Delivers “State of the USG” Address

    Dear Editor,

    The Sept. 19th, 2006 USG Senate meeting was quite full of interesting proposals that the student body should be made aware of. The USG President delivered a ‘State of the USG’ address that highlighted some important campus concerns.

    While it addressed student life with such initiatives as access to off-campus locations using meal card points, an increased hour of operation for the SAC on weekdays, and the introduction of the ‘YES Network’ on Channel 70, the speech was mostly filled with internal USG reforms and goings-on.

    These are certainly important, but I hope, for the sake of my fellow students, that these reforms are addressed and dealt with swiftly so that the majority of USG’s effort goes into tangible gains for students.

    An interesting piece of legislation, the ‘Payroll Adjustment Act,’ was also debated and approved. It essentially gave an increase in wages paid to the Executive Council, as well as paid USG Senators and members of the Judiciary for the first time, so long as the officers ‘meet the minimum requirements’ of their constitutional duties.

    While I believe that it is a good idea to pay our student government officials, mainly as it makes them accountable to the student body and gives them an incentive to carry out their tasks to the best of their ability.

    The presentation of the bill was rather chaotic. Presenters of the bill did not have a coherent case as to why the increases were necessary. They often disagreed with each other over the interpretation of various clauses giving the impression that proper scrutiny was not given to basic questions, such as what circumstances constituted a breach of meeting the minimum requirements of getting paid, and which were excusable.

    Still, the debate and the meeting as a whole were largely civil and informed. A proposal by Cheryl Lynch received much support and dealt with investigating ‘Food Co-ops,’ which in theory would provide students with an alternate means of getting food and would compete with the FSA monopoly on campus, addressing a constant student demand of increasing competition and choice as well as decreasing food prices.

    The meeting accomplished a great deal and also informed the student body that some $300,000 was available in surplus funds carried over from last year, creating an opportunity for the Senate to disburse these extra funds to clubs and organizations in need of additional funding, as well as giving the Senate the flexibility to deal with campus issues with the backing of real money.

    Finally, while there are still some kinks to work out. For instance, the vast majority of debates are dominated by very few Senators, the larger picture bodes well for the USG Senate and for all students. I commend the Senate on its fine work and hope they keep it up.

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