Miami University’s Associated Student Government (ASG) held two elections and passed a bill advocating for longer time periods before students are charged for staying during breaks, last week.
Currently, students have to leave their dorms by 7 p.m. the night before winter and spring breaks. However, they are allowed to stay until noon on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. If students want to stay longer, they have to pay a $38 fee.
Senators Trey Petrella and Ben Waugh proposed a bill on Tuesday, Oct. 1 that allows students to apply to stay until noon on Saturday for winter and spring breaks, similar to the extension given for Thanksgiving. They said many students live far away and don’t have cars, so it’s unreasonable to expect their parents to take off work on a Friday to pick them up in time for the 7 p.m. closing.
Senator Cole Hankins questioned whether the bill would allow more students to stay later who don’t need to and would force more employees to stay later as well. Petrella and Waugh said there would still be an application process, and students need an excuse, such as transportation issues, to have the fee waived.
RA Senator Jordan Connor said he’s noticed students put a flip flop in their doors to avoid swiping in and having to pay the fee. He said students are going to stay past the deadline anyways, so this bill would make it safer because RAs would know the students are there.
The bill passed unanimously, and Petrella and Waugh plan to work with Director of Housing and Operation Services Brian Woodruff to implement this policy. They met with him while writing the legislation and said he was considering the change.
“I think this is a good example of how we’re fighting to better the student experience,” said Speaker of Senate Sarah Siegel after the bill passed.
ASG also held elections for the Speaker Pro Tempore (Pro Temp) and Secretary for Advancement and Alumni Affairs.
The Pro Temp is in charge of taking minutes during the senate meetings and chairing the Oversight Committee.
Current Pro Temp Jessica Edwards resigned because she said she needed to “prioritize her schoolwork.” Victoria Villanueva and On-Campus Senator Ryan Barr both ran for the position.
Villanueva ran for the role last spring but was given a vote of no confidence. She said her internship for the state legislative affairs department over the summer makes her more qualified now. Villanueva advocated for more accountability within the role and said she would form a comprehensive system for what to do with referrals she receives.
This was the third position Barr has run for this semester. He said, if elected, he would clarify the bylaws to make everything more transparent to those both inside and outside ASG.
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Senate elected Villanueva.
The Secretary for Advancement and Alumni Affairs position has been vacant since last May when newly elected Secretary Spencer Silbey withdrew his election before being sworn into the role. A source within ASG said Silbey had posted a photo on Snapchat of pairs of shoes, saying to guess which one is Asian. He resigned soon after he began receiving backlash for his comments.
Caroline Donlon, Julia Koenig and Adam Weiss ran for the open position.
“History repeats itself, so I want to guarantee all of the problems that we’ll face this year have been dealt with by ASG previously or something very similar,” Donlon said about the importance of learning from the experience of ASG alumni.
Koenig served on the Advancement and Alumni Affairs Committee under former Secretary Meghan Murtagh. Koenig cited multiple of Murtagh’s ideas about engaging with alumni that she hopes to replicate, such as holding an event over homecoming weekend.
Weiss mentioned reaching out to diverse alumni and said he is “good at networking,” which he feels makes up for his lack of experience.
Senate elected Koenig to the role.
ASG will not meet this week because it is having diversity training. Special elections will be held next week to fill Koenig’s and other vacant seats.