This story was originally published on April 9, 2022. Visit the Nevada Sagebrush Archives to see all past stories.
The eighty-ninth session of student associates ended on April 6, but not before nine bills were passed in the last meeting of the Senate. Due to the timing of the exhibits on the table, they were all fast-tracked to their second hearing.
The Senate passed only nine of the 11 pieces on the table.
An Act to modify the line of succession – NOT PASSED
An Act Amending the Line of Succession is a substantial bill drafted by Jake Schein, President of the Senate, which caused controversy at the Senate table. The play sought to change the line of succession for the chief of staff, rather than the president, if the president and vice president were unable to fulfill their roles.
If passed – which it was not – it would deviate from the usual ASUN procedures which are supposed to resemble the United States government.
“Although this reflects the United States government, there is no logical reason for the president of the Senate to be next after the vice president,” the legislation said. “That power should instead rest with the chief of staff, as they are the ones who most closely assist the president and vice president in the operations of the executive branch.”
Also, as Schein explained, he spoke from personal experience saying he wouldn’t feel qualified to do so. Schein also applied for the position of chief of staff for the ninetieth session, but clarified that he was not taking the job.
Members of the senate raised concerns about the article, especially since it was the last day of session for members of the senate. Nathan Noble, a senator from the College of Liberal Arts, raised the greatest concern for the coin.
“I think basically that provision is there — just like in real government, to provide cohesion, to force different departments, different branches to work together to keep everyone in the loop,” Noble said.
Bayla Fitzpatrick — senator from the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources and vice president-elect for the ninetieth session — supported the article.
“The president has most likely appointed a chief of staff who aligns with his vision for his campaign,” Fitzpatrick said. “The chief of staff would probably fit the image of what students want in that role.”
In a roll-call vote, the Senate voted five in favor, nine against and one abstention.
Legislation to increase the salary of the chief of staff – TABLED INDEFINITELY
This legislation sought to raise the Chief of Staff’s salary to bring it in line with the salary of a Level I employee, rather than that of a Level II employee. Level I employees at the University of Nevada, Reno are paid $19 per hour, making the overall semester salary $7,000. Level II employees are paid $15 per hour.
“The Chief of Staff ends up being one of the Association’s most important internal officers, lending to day-to-day operations,” the law said as vindication.
The piece was tabled indefinitely due to the administration of subsequent sessions taking a different path with the post at the ninetieth session. However, current Chief of Staff Parker Samuelson showed his support for the legislation after it was tabled, but also called for fair pay for all members of the association and not just his position.
“Yes, I agree with the chief of staff’s salary increase,” Samuelson said in his report to the Senate. “However, I would eventually like to see equitable pay increases across the board to more fairly match the time spent in these positions.”
The Chief of Staff serves as an advisor to the President and Vice President of ASUN, organizes events and retreats, supervises all interns and other assigned work.
A Resolution in Support of Increased Funding for the University of Nevada Theater and Dance Department – PASSED
In recent academic years, the Department of Theater and Dance at UNR has experienced a severe lack of funding. With this bill, senators hope the university will allocate more funds to the department to help support the department.
Acting lecturer Olivia Ngo and College of CABNR senator Muhammad Shamim wrote the bill and claimed that many department members and students cite unsafe working and rehearsal conditions.
“For example, there is no air conditioning in the church’s fine arts building, forcing students to work in extreme temperatures to prepare performances and costumes,” the legislation said.
The piece also claimed that temperatures could reach 90 degrees year-round inside the building.
Additionally, the legislation has criticized the lack of restrooms or changing rooms for non-binary students, which does not promote a safe environment – which the Drama and Dance Department website claims to do.
Many members of the corps showed their support for this piece, and it passed unanimously.
An Act to modify the distribution of the Senate – PASSED
This law is a procedural law to update the number of senators for the ninetieth and ninety-first sessions.
“The ‘Composition’ section of Title I should be updated to 25 senators to reflect the limit set by the constitution, precedent and the opinion of Attorney General Sarsangi,” the bill said.
After its adoption, the number of seats will increase from 22 to 25. The new distribution is as follows: two seats for the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources; four seats for the College of Business; one for the College of Education; four seats for the College of Engineering; four seats for the College of Liberal Arts; four seats for the College of Sciences; a seat for the Orvis School of Nursing; three seats for the School of Public Health; a seat for the Reynolds School of Journalism; a seat for the Division of Health Sciences.
The play passed with unanimous consent.
A Binding Resolution to Add a Greek Lifetime Liaison to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee – PASSED
With the passage of this play, a Greek Life Liaison will be added to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. The reason given is that Greek Life feels like it has been ignored by ASUN in the past, and the liaison position is one way to bridge that gap.
“The members of Greek Life asked for help in overcoming the barriers between them and
University, and an Associate Student Liaison position from the University of Nevada is one way to help,” Bill said.
The play garnered a lot of support from members of the body, with many members also being part of Greek Life.
This piece was adopted unanimously.
A resolution in support of removing cleaning hours at EL Wiegand Fitness Center – PASSED
The senators said many students said they were frustrated with the current cleaning hours at EL Wiegand Fitness Center during the outreach. The Fitness Center is closed every day from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Chief Justice Dionne Stanfill, fitness center supervisor and author of the article, said in the law that many students purchased gym memberships outside of NUR because of the inconvenience. Additionally, the fitness center is continuously cleaned during business hours and cleaned after hours.
This piece garnered a lot of support from the body and passed with unanimous consent.
An Act to add ex officio members to the President’s Cabinet – PASSED
This bill will add two ex-officio members to the president’s cabinet, the president and the chief justice. Both members have previously served as ex-officio members of the President’s Cabinet, but this has not been reflected in the Student Associate bylaws.
An ex officio member is a non-voting member of the Cabinet of the President. This addendum will allow the President and Chief Justice to more formally address members of the President’s cabinet.
The piece passed unanimously with no reaction from the body.
Legislation to Clarify Open Meetings Law Procedures in Nevada – PASSED
This Senate bill aims to further clarify the procedures surrounding Nevada’s open meeting law and the role of the attorney general. ASUN made the piece to reflect elements of the University of Nevada Collaborative Students, the student governing body at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
With the passage of this legislation, the Attorney General now has the power to cancel meetings that violate NOML no later than 24 hours before the meeting.
The piece passed with unanimous consent and without any concerns.
An Act to ensure the recognition of all officers at the start – PASSED
Prior to the passage of this bill, the SAS said that only elected officials and members of the president’s cabinet are presented with a stole at graduation after serving a term. Other “lower” members must serve three sessions to receive a stole. After the passage, all members of the Association will be given a stole.
This piece has already been presented at the Senate table, but was vetoed by Anthony Martinez, president of the eighty-seventh session, without a memorandum.
The play passed unanimously.
An Act to amend Title III of the statutes of student associates – ADOPTED
This procedural law further clarifies the filing of indictments to unseal court documents. Now, when filing charge sheets, justification must accompany it, no mailing address or phone number is required for filing. The opposing party can prove insufficient preparation time, and it is now mandatory that the decision of the Judicial Council be filed within two weeks.
The removal of the requirement for telephone numbers and addresses is because it violates the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
Due to its procedural nature and for purposes of clarification, it was adopted unanimously.
A binding resolution providing for the adjournment sine die of student associates for the 89th session of the Senate – CARRIED
This law of procedure is adopted at each session to adjourn the session.
“Be it enacted by the Associated Student Senate of the University of Nevada that the eighty-ninth session of the Senate be adjourned sine die until the close of business on April 6, 2022,” the full bill reads.
The bill passed with unanimous consent.
Emerson Drewes can be reached by email at [email protected] or via Twitter @EmersonDrewes.