Illinois Student Senate approves sending financial disclosure statements

By Megan Jones

The Illinois Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution at its Wednesday meeting urging the Office of Student Financial Aid to send financial disclosure statements to all students who receive loans from the University. This motion passed with a vote of 28-0 and three abstentions. 

Tony Fiorentino, senator and graduate student who sponsored the resolution, recently met with Dan Mann, financial aid director, where they revised the resolution together. The resolution now agrees that the Office of Student Financial Aid can choose how to send the disclosure statement to students, but the senate can choose what they want students to know in the statement. The resolution no longer requires students to sign and send the disclosure statement back to the department.

For the last 18 months, student senator Calvin Lear, graduate student, has been drafting a new constitution for the senate. He hopes to submit the constitution as a Spring 2014 referendum question; however, the resolution was tabled until the next senate meeting, with a vote of 20-9. 

Vice President-External Carey Ash raised questions about the rumored referendum question to disband the senate. Lear said he does not know what would happen if students voted to both approve the new constitution and disband the student senate.

“It has been long and ridiculously stressful for me,” Lear said. “This is a new draft constitution to address our constant bindings to state laws that don’t even apply to us. To shed some light, the constitution has been a subject of debate for at least a year and a half now.” 

Senator Shao Guo, senior in ACES, said transitioning into a new constitution may be rough, but that is expected with any government transition. 

“If the students like it, it should pass,” Guo said. 

Several senators did not read the constitution that had been sent to them and raised concerns over agreeing to it without properly examining it first. Mitch Dickey, ISS member and sophomore in LAS, said several open meetings have been held for anyone to come and debate the constitution draft.

Senator Alyssa Neimark, junior in AHS, raised the point that if many senators didn’t read the constitution, why would the students voting on the referendum have read it? Joseph Moseley, senator and junior in ACES, added that students do not have the time to read all the bylaws, which is why they elect representatives.

Senator Kevin Seymour, graduate student, said the senate’s last constitution was written by three people over one weekend, and the proposed constitution has been reviewed by several people and is much more flexible than its current version. 

A resolution for information was submitted to allot a $1,500 allocation to co-sponsor Comedy Jam, a Greek comedy show, with the Illini Union Board on Unofficial, March 7. Immanuel Campbell, representative of the Illini Union Board, said it would make the student senate and the Illini Union Board look good. Campbell said the board will do all of the marketing, and ISS would be able to have a booth at the event and promote its meetings. Campbell also plans to meet with other Greek councils to see if they would be interested in a co-sponsorship as well. He mentioned that the University Police Department will be there looking out for intoxicated people.

Senator Zach Bass, junior in Business, met with the director of the Engineering Open House, who was extremely thankful for the senate’s contribution. This will be the first year that the Engineering Open House will run while not being in debt. The open house typically gives out seven awards to the best booths and one of the awards will be given in the name of the Illinois Student Senate. 

The Committee on Conduct Governance approved the student code language regarding how the University will enforce the smoking ban. Senator Rachel Heller, junior in LAS, apologized to the senate as the senate’s opposition to the student code ultimately failed. The committee passed language that allows for student punishment from the University in regards to the smoking ban. Four oppositions were held on the committee in regards to changing the student code; however, all other members endorsed the change. 

Megan can be reached at [email protected]