The Daily Illini

ISS promotes shared governance, college convocations

By Megan Jones

Though no resolutions for action took place at Wednesday’s Illinois Student Senate meeting, several proposals were heard, including changes to college convocations as well as adding support for open textbooks and the Affordable College Textbook Act. 

There is current discussion of reducing the number of faculty and student seats in the Urbana-Champaign Senate, said Vice President-External Carey Ash in a resolution for information. The resolution aims to assure that the student senate will serve as a coequal shared governance partner with the Urbana-Champaign Senate. 

The Committee on Internal Affairs will send applications to senators who would like to be a part of the search committee to look for the next University president following current President Robert Easter’s retirement. 

A judiciary petition submitted by Senator Kevin Seymour, graduate student, is still pending as the senate looks for a registered student organization to hear the case. The petition seeks clarification on whether the senate is bound by the Illinois Open Meetings Act.

Ash submitted an executive order urging the administration to return to hosting traditional college convocations. 

Each college has the right to determine its own standards; however, in the past they have typically allowed students to celebrate graduation with their families even if all graduation requirements have not yet been met. The executive order agrees that campus-wide commencement exercises should have strict requirements for participation, but colleges should be able to determine student eligibility for participation within their respective convocations. 

Senator Matt Hill, sophomore in LAS, submitted a resolution for information supporting open textbooks and the Affordable College Textbook Act. According to the College Board, students spend $1,168 on textbooks each year, and the proposed resolution hopes to decrease the amount of spending by promoting online open textbooks.

The resolution states that if the instructor for Physics 101: College Physics adopted an open textbook during the Spring 2014 semester, 404 students would have collectively saved $101,000.

Additionally, two proposed fund allocations were submitted. Senators hope to travel to Springfield for a Spring Lobby Day. The resolution proposes a $1,200 allocation to rent two chartered buses. 

The student debt awareness committee is hosting a town hall meeting with Dick Durbin in April about student debt. Mitch Dickey, ISS member and sophomore in LAS, submitted a resolution for information which proposes allocating $60 to post advertisements in campus dining halls to inform them on the town hall meeting.

Megan can be reached at [email protected] or @MeganAsh_Jones. 

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