Campus, News

Union ‘stumbled,’ members say

Student Union committees and members said some important issues were pushed to next semester after late starts appointing committee directors, but most members agree that the organization has made strides in the right direction.

‘I feel the Union has had its fair share of stumbles because we could have done more prep initially, but I think the committees within the Union have made particular strides,’ Academic Affairs Committee Chairman James Sappenfield said, though he was elected to his position late in the semester and could not hold his first meeting until Oct. 28.

One of the Academic Affairs Committee’s biggest accomplishments during the semester has been producing a report on eBooks, digital textbooks online, and discussing how they can benefit the university, Sappenfield said.

‘I’m hoping the conclusion [of the eBooks report] will be that the university will adopt a more unified technological infrastructure for digital technology,’ Sappenfield, who is a School of Management junior, said.

The committee plans on finishing the report by the beginning of January, Sappenfield, also a College of Arts and Sciences junior, said.

Additionally, the committee has started talks with the administration to create a ‘green major,’ or ‘sustainability minor’ that would introduce the study of how societies relate to the environment. He said the initiative would be a key issue the committee would work on during the spring semester.

Union City Affairs Director Pooja Bachani also said her late election into the director position made it more difficult for her to complete her tasks, but she has made several accomplishments in a limited amount of time.

‘Personally, I feel as if it would have been better if I had been trained earlier and known the specifics of my position earlier in the semester,’ Bachani, a CAS freshman, said. ‘However, I got in touch with a lot of people basically on my own and have been building relationships with BU.’

Bachani, who is also,’ a Daily Free Press reporter, said she has planned two city-related events a month for next semester to get students integrated in city affairs.

‘Even with all of the barriers with a late start, I feel as if we’ve done a lot,’ Bachani said.’ ‘Next semester should be jam-packed with Union stuff.’

CAS voting member Anant Shukla said he has also been working with the Academic Affairs Committee on a proposal to make registration fairer for students by not allowing them to hold classes and to prevent students from accidentally registering for only one part of a class ‘-‘- such as a discussion section without a lecture section.

According to the proposal, students would only be able to register for a class they have already taken prerequisites for and would not be able to register for a class they have already taken. The new proposed registration system would also mandate that students first register for the most limited component for the course, such as a discussion or laboratory session, to ensure they are able to get a seat in the class.

‘I decided to do this after I had a bad experience with registration, and I found out I wasn’t the only one who was angry with this system,’ Shukla, who has been working on the proposal since July, said.’

During the fall semester, the Union has successfully lobbied for the implementation of the late night and evening shuttle bus, the sale of condoms in vending machines, the ability for students to remote print to on-campus computer labs from any location and has proposed a medical amnesty policy, Union President Matt Seidel said.

Seidel and task force point-person Stacy Fontana brought the medical amnesty policy to Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore’s attention during a Nov. 25 meeting. Seidel and Fontana, a Daily Free Press reporter, presented Elmore a 25-page report, a policy proposal and a petition with 3,200 signatures at the meeting, Seidel said.

‘I don’t see the university outright rejecting it, but if they did, the Union would very quickly and efficiently reform the proposal to focus more on sexual assault,’ Seidel said. ‘It’s more important for us to get something that would protect students rather than nothing at all.’

Seidel said he does not agree that any Union committees or members were impeded by a late start and said the delayed elections of certain positions are circumstances that are beyond control.

‘The [General Assembly] wanted to make sure they were putting the right people in the right jobs,’ Seidel said. ‘I don’t think it has in any way encumbered progress.’

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