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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

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USG Brief

At the start of the General Assembly meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 2, Case Western Reserve University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) welcomed special guest President Barbara R. Snyder. In her speech, President Snyder addressed some issues considered by the members of USG as important topics for students.

She first spoke about the new tobacco-free policy that is currently on the agenda of the university administration and was discussed among the GA last week. Snyder emphasized that the policy is still in its draft phase and is currently circulating among both undergraduate and graduate students for feedback. She noted that CWRU is one of nine universities in the Association of American Universities that still has not implemented the policy.

President Snyder also brought up the strategic planning process and some of its highlights. The new strategic plan focuses on providing students with better learning spaces, which involves renovating select rooms in Nord, Mather Memorial, Bingham, and Glennan. Other reforms brought by the plan would include improved small group tutoring opportunities, experiments with online learning, and emphasis on student research and innovation.

President Snyder then addressed international learning, discussing the possibility of making study abroad programs more affordable and more focused. With the new strategic plan, it would be easier for students to transfer credits acquired abroad, and these credits would fit the students’ curricula better.

A student asked President Snyder to elaborate on CWRU’s West Campus expansion. She responded by describing the ongoing projects at the future Milton and Tamar Maltz Performing Arts Center. She explained that an architect has been hired, and after some parts of the building have been taken down, the facilities needed for performing arts can be developed further.

Vice president of student life Patrick Vaughn introduced Bill B. 22-28, a bill to amend the USG constitution to represent undeclared students. At last week’s meeting, concerns were voiced about students with undeclared majors, who are currently not represented by a specific caucus. If passed, the bill could go into effect next year.

Some members of the GA argued that the bill was hastily put together and should perhaps be referred to the Executive Committee for further contemplation. However, this suggestion was turned down by a majority vote. The proponents of the bill noted that undeclared students need to be able to vote for people that will represent them specifically. The bill was passed with 85 percent affirmation and will be on the ballot during elections next week.

There was also another amendment proposal on the agenda, Bill B. 22-29, a bill to restore the title of chief judicial officer, which would replace the title of parliamentarian. It was noted that the current title does not properly indicate that one of the parliamentarian’s tasks is to ensure that the members of the USG are on track and seeing to their responsibilities. The bill was passed with 94 percent affirmation.

After President Snyder finished her presentation, the GA moved on to Bill B. 22-25, which would establish the USG budget for fall 2013. According to the budget, the USG would receive an estimated $164,000 in income from the student activities fee funds with an internal rollover of $7,000 and a student organization rollover of $93,000. The budget was passed with 94 percent affirmation.

In addition, the GA voted on Bill B. 22-30, which recognized three student organizations, and Bill B. 22-31, the rolling funding bill. The rolling funding bill allocated $2,235.41 out of the $2,248.41 requested. Both bills were passed unanimously.

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About the Contributor
Noora Somersalo, Opinion Editor
Noora Somersalo is a third-year English and chemistry double major currently serving as the opinion editor of The Observer. In the past, Noora has worked for the news section as a staff reporter. Noora is also a tutor on the SAGES Peer Writing Crew.
In her free time, she likes to drink coffee (preferably alongside some tasty treats), watch movies, and, when her finances permit, explore the Cleveland food scene.

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