Senators discuss tuition hike, upcoming ‘campus climate’ meeting

By Megan Jones

A “campus conversation” will be held at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at 8 p.m. on Feb. 4. The event will consist of a town hall meeting to address the campus climate at the University.

Though the event is still in its planning stages, it will be hosted by Associate Chancellor Menah Pratt-Clarke, whom the Office of Diversity, Equity and Access reports to. 

Student trustee informs on tuition hike 

Mike Cunningham, student trustee, addressed the body in regards to the 1.7 percent tuition increase approved last week. 

Senator Rachel Heller, junior in LAS, asked if members of the Board of Trustees were aware of the student debt awareness initiatives the senate has been working on, which Cunningham said trustees will not address until they see more student support. He recommended that the senate come for public comment to raise more awareness. 

Cunningham said the board unanimously passed the tuition hike, and he noted that he agreed to raise tuition because without it, the University would face a $6 million deficit. 

“One of the biggest issues is that it’s not just a U of I problem, it’s a national problem,” Cunningham said. “There hasn’t been a national leader on stopping the tuition hike because many people know that the University just won’t be able to operate. It’s a really tough situation.” 

A night of elections

Both chairs for the committes on Community and Governmental Affairs and Academic Affairs elected Wednesday night. Senator Zach Bass, junior in Business, was elected to chairman of Academic Affairs, which addresses any legislation that deals with academic policy on campus. Large projects for this semester include planning the Teaching Excellence Awards. 

Senator Mitch Dickey, sophomore in LAS, was elected to chairman of the Committee on Community and Governmental Affairs, which deals with lobby days during the spring semester and working on community projects such as the tornado relief project last semester.  

Eight new senators were also sworn in at Wednesday’s meeting. 

Entertainment for the Teaching Excellence Awards

As the senate prepares for the sixth annual Teaching Excellence Awards, Bass submitted a resolution to spend $195 to hire three student jazz musicians from the College of Music for the banquet.

The senate has annually solicited nominations for instructors and up to five instructors are selected by the student body. 

Support of peer advising programs

After several peer advising programs have shown a desire to advertise to more students on campus about their existence and benefits, Bass and Heller submitted a resolution to show their support of the advising programs.

“When it’s your freshman year and you’re signing up for classes for the first time, it’s very nerve-wracking,” Bass said.

iLove Illinois Week co-sponsorship

Each year, the University celebrates iLove Illinois Week, an event geared towards remembering the founding and support of the institution. The senate hopes to co-sponsor the week alongside the 1867 Society and Student Alumni Ambassadors. 

If passed, the senate’s Committee on Public Relations will contribute to the iLove Illinois marketing team by creating and funding electronic advertisements inside University Housing and Campus Recreation buildings. The week-long event will take place in February.  

The resolution was submitted by Senator Matt Hill, sophomore in LAS, and asks for a $400 allocation. $100 will go towards electronic signage, and $300 will go toward cupcakes from the University Catering Services.

Megan can be reached at [email protected] and @meganash_jones.