Student Senate met for a relatively short meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 12 to expel a senator for excessive absences, condemn the recent Silent Sam settlement, and pass the spring appropriations bill, which distributed a total of $112,252 to student organizations.
Jack Halasz, a fifth-year studying industrial engineering, was appointed a College of Engineering senator, as there was a vacancy in the delegation.
AB 112 - Spring Break 2020 to Fall Break 2020 Appropriations Act - Unanimously Passed
This bill formalizes a total of $112,252 given to 184 student organizations. Initially, over $200,000 was requested by 219 organizations, but after eligibility checks, the number decreased. After the Jan. 24 deadline for requesting funds, representatives for the Appropriations Committee met with organizations and allocated available funds accordingly.
Funds available for spring were significantly higher than those available during the fall semester, which gave out $93,116. Part of this is because at the previous Senate meeting, funds available for appropriations increased by over $13,000.
R 113 - Silent Sam Condemnation Act - Unanimously Passed
This resolution aims to give a formal opinion on the recent Silent Sam decision made by the UNC Board of Governors. The board voted to give the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization over $2.5 million as well as ownership of the controversial Silent Sam statue. The settlement was recently dismissed, but some, like Graduate and Lifelong Education Sen. James Withrow, a Ph.D. student in biology and entomology, still felt it important to share an opinion.
“The fact that this settlement has presently been deemed illegal is all the more reason why we should support this,” Withrow said. “Obviously that could be repealed and rehashed in the future, but I think that’s all the more reason that we should express our opinion that this was an improper decision to make.”
SR 116 - Hui Expulsion Act - Passed After Debate
Poole College of Management Sen. Cristian Hui, a second-year in business administration, accumulated 19 absences, prompting this resolution seeking to expel him from Senate. Hui has not come to attendance hearings, and the Government Relations and Oversight Committee (GRO) deemed his absences excessive enough to warrant removal from office.
This is not the first time an expulsion resolution has been brought up against Hui. During a Senate meeting last October, SR 71 similarly sought to expel him. Hui came to the meeting, spoke about difficulties managing commitments, and said he would make efforts to better manage his time, prompting senators to vote against expelling him at the meeting. Since then, Hui has accumulated additional absences.
College of Sciences Sen. Molly Vanhoy, a second-year studying microbiology and chair of GRO, explained the absence count in more detail. Hui has missed roll call votes at Senate meetings, as well as meetings of the Student Relations Committee, both of which he was required to attend.
“Of the last 12 Senate meetings, Senator Hui has missed opening or closing roll call of at least 10,” Vanhoy said. “Senator Hui has missed four of the six student relations meetings since the beginning of the session. Senator Hui has not attended either absence hearing that he has been asked to attend.”
Vanhoy said Hui missed two Student Relations Committee meetings since his last expulsion resolution. Hui said he has attended every Senate meeting since his last expulsion resolution; however, he has arrived late or left early for four of those five meetings.
“Since last time I have stood here, I have not missed a meeting,” Hui said.
Expulsion resolutions require a ¾ majority to pass. This resolution received 33 votes in support, two against and eight abstentions, meaning it passed and Hui was expelled from Senate.
R 110 - Rename Daniels Hall Act - Unanimously Passed
Daniels Hall was named after Josephus Daniels, a former United States Ambassador to Mexico and editor for The News & Observer. This resolution argues that he was a prominent white supremacist, participating in efforts to disenfranchise voters in North Carolina based on race, and calls for the hall to be renamed.
FB 122 - Fix Our Budget Act - Unanimously Passed
Student Body Treasurer Garrison Seitz, a second-year studying civil engineering, said this bill’s purpose is to fix a discrepancy between Student Government budgets and those on the WolfReports accounting system. The Student Government budget mistakenly allocated an extra $18,400 toward personnel costs; this was reallocated to be used by the Finance committee.
GB 126 - Faculty Open Education Resources Award Codification Act - Unanimously Passed
This bill’s purpose is to create an award for recognizing faculty who provide free access to learning materials rather than requiring students to buy materials such as textbooks. Any member of the student body may nominate someone for the award, which will be given out at each session’s banquet.