PSG Senate Session: Money, Diversity, Humanity

By Thomas Chen | Co-Managing Editor

Last night, the Purdue Student Government held their second Student Senate Session of the month. The docket for the session comprised of an impressive twelve bills and resolutions.

The night began with 2nd grade students from Cumberland Elementary School and their teacher, Maggio Samudio, lobbying the Student Senate for their support of Resolution 15-31, “PSG Supports SB95 and HB1243”. The Resolution supports the grassroots efforts of the 2nd grade class to enact the Say’s Firefly as the official insect of Indiana via two pieces of state legislation. Resolution 15-31 passed unanimously.

The session continued with a series of presentations given by groups backing co-sponsorship efforts on-behalf of their respective organizations. The first, Bill 15-64 “Co-Sponsorship: A Joint Network for Purdue 360”, supports funding for Purdue 360’s “6 Days of Cultural Immersion” event. The bill provides $1,500 for the event and passed 27-0-1 (In Favor – Against – Abstention).

Following the passage of the first co-sponsorship, the second, Bill 15-65 “Co-Sponsorship: A Joint Network of Cary Club”, was put to the floor. The bill funds WCCR’s (Cary Club Radio Station) annual Rock the Quad concert through three potential funding levels ranging from $1,500 to $5,000. At this time, the senate descended into heated debate after attention was drawn to the fact that only $1,470 of the semester’s $12,000 co-sponsor budget remained. A majority of the budget had already been allocated during the first session of the semester two weeks prior. A huge point of contention, the issue divided senators as some argued that WCCR should not receive undue or additional scrutiny simply because their request for funding came at a time when the budget was scarce. On the other side, senators cited Senate Awards that had yet to be funded and noted that funding this final co-sponsorship would render the senate unable to fund such awards. In the end, the bill was amended to provide funding on the order of $1000 leaving $470 remaining in the budget. Bill 15-65 passed with a vote of 15-7-6.

On the rapid expenditure of the Co-Sponsorship Fund, Taylor Toll, Financial Affairs Committee Chair and a Senator representing the College of Health and Human Sciences, attributed the quick depletion of funds to a surplus of co-sponsorship applications. In previous years PSG has given out more funding but suffered consequences for the high expenditure.

“Since we are not a funding body, it is somewhat difficult for us to justify spending so much of the money the university allocates to us to fund other organizations. So that’s why it’s a big push this year to be extremely incorporated in the planning process, so therefore we can keep on sponsoring the events that truly do need funding. We just need to have a bigger role in the planning process,” said Senator Toll.

The Senate continued on with Bill 15-67 “Creation of Ad-Hoc Cultural Center Seats”, which would create ad hoc senate seats for the five cultural centers on campus: Black Cultural Center, Latino Cultural Center, Native American Educational and Cultural Center, Asian American and Asian Resource Cultural Center, and the LGBTQ Center. The formation of these seats was a direct result of the passage of the Student Voices Amendment to the PSG Constitution during a previous Senate Session earlier in February. Debate on the bill devolved into an argument of semantics regarding the specific process as to how these new delegates would be selected. Eventually, after lengthy debate on the topic, Bill 15-67 passed 21-3-4.

Later in the night, Resolution 15-36 “Purdue Student Senate Stands Against Online Harassment” passed unanimously. The Resolution broadly condemns online harassments and recommends “Purdue University, after following due process, take action to condemn and reprimand instances of online harassment.” The Resolution comes in the wake of a massive controversy on campus regarding online comments Jamie Newman, a Purdue staffer in the College of Liberal Arts, made insinuating rape of students. Newman has since resigned. The resolution does not explicitly reference him or the incident; however, Mike Young, Student Body President, stated in an interview with the Review:

“The bill is our official stance [on the incident]. We condemn online harassment in any form. And if you’re referring specifically to Newman, what he said is obviously not acceptable but also a lot of the abuse that he’s been getting is also not ok. So it goes both ways.”

The remaining bills passed rather quickly throughout the night. Their substance and voting outcomes are as follows:

Bill 15-63 “Election Committee Member Appointments”:  Fills two vacant Election Committee seats by appointing Vivek Sayyaparaju and Eashvar Venkatraman. Passed unanimously.

Bill 15-66 “Election Rule Changes”: Revises existing Election Rules of the Purdue Student Government. Passed unanimously.

Bill 15-68 “Legislation Deadline Change to the Standing Rules”: Changes deadline to submit legislation to the President Pro Tempore from Saturday at 8:00P.M. to Thursday at 12:00A.M. Passed 26-1-1.

Resolution 15-32 “Decreasing Prejudice within Purdue Student Senate”: Recommends all PSG members take the Harvard Implicit Association Test in order to recognize their own personal biases. Passed 26-1-1.

Resolution 15-33 “PSG Support of a National Balanced Budget Amendment”: Extends PSG support to the passage of SJR 14 in the Indiana House of Representatives which approves the application of the State of Indiana to hold a convention of states in hopes of amending the Constitution with a Balanced Budget Amendment. According to Article V of the US Constitution, 34 States (two-thirds of the Union) must file an application in order for Congress to propose the amendment. Passed 12-7-9.

Resolution 15-34 “Enhancing the Image of Chinese Culture on Campus”:

Calls for the replacement of the plaque quoting Mao Zedong next to Stanley Coulter Hall with a quote from a less controversial Chinese figure such as Confucius or Sun Tzu. Tabled for next Senate Session 14-12-2.

Resolution 15-35 “PSG Expression of Gratitude for Representative Randy Truitt”: Expresses Purdue Student Government’s gratitude toward Randy Truitt, an Indiana Statehouse Representative for District 26 (Purdue’s District) since 2008, for his advocacy on student aid as well as focus on Purdue projects and student initiatives. Truitt has stated he will not be seeking re-election, and PSG intends to present the passing of this bill to him when they go to lobby at the Indiana Statehouse. Passed unanimously.

You can read the full text of all of these pieces of legislation by visiting the Purdue Student Government Website’s Bill Page here: http://www.purduesg.com/bills/

The PSG Senate holds sessions once every two weeks on Wednesday at 7:00P.M. in Krach 270. All students are allowed and encouraged to sit in and voice their opinions at these sessions.

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