The night of Association of Students of the University of Nebraska elections, the senate held a two-hour meeting that ended on words of caution regarding the novel coronavirus.
External vice president Ibraheem Hamzat said even if the university stops holding in-person classes due to the spread of the coronavirus, the university itself, along with residence halls and dining centers, will not close, at least not in the first stage of dealing with the virus.
Hamzat also said there have been discussions among those on the UNL Coronavirus Taskforce about the possibility of not holding classes next week to prepare students and instructors for moving all instruction to digital spaces.
“As of right now, UNL is the only Big Ten university that has not moved to all online [classes],” President Emily Johnson said.
Johnson also said students will likely be encouraged to return home if they have the means and ability, but there are concerns about those who do not have the ability to return home.
ASUN passed five pieces regarding the Green Bandana Project, the Green Fund, a future crisis team through the University Health Center and future community involvement after The Big Event.All five bills were passed.
Government Bill 45 is the first of several bills that will come from Freshman Campus Leadership Associates. The bill, presented by authors Chase Auman and Alec Miller, asked for ASUN support of continuing discussions with the University Health Center and Counseling and Psychological Services about creating a team of crisis counselors. The bill also asks ASUN to form a committee of a chair and three members that would serve as a go-between for ASUN and CAPS.
The bill passed by acclamation, and several members of ASUN expressed that they were impressed with the efforts put forth by Miller and Auman.
“I think this is really impressive, you both have only been at UNL for less than eight months now, and I think it’s so incredible that you identified a problem, met with the director of CAPS, did this research and just took the time to figure this out and bring it before us today,'' Johnson said. “Thank you both for doing this.”
Government Bill 43 was next on the docket and caused some debate within the senate. The bill was a Green Fund proposal asking ASUN to allocate $4,500 to help fund Drew Havens, a junior environmental studies and natural resource and environmental economics double major, take part in an internship at the Cedar Point Biological Station this summer. According to the bill and the proposal, the internship would serve to improve upon the sustainability of the station’s campus and bring those ideas back to UNL.
Ultimately, the bill did not pass. Several senators expressed discomfort with the idea of helping to pay for an individual internship.
“I don’t think I’m ultra comfortable with the idea of ASUN funding individual internships,” Drew Harrahill, speaker of the senate, said. “I don’t think this is a good precedent for ASUN to start funding individuals.”
Government Bill 44 was another Green Fund bill, submitted to ask ASUN to approve an allocation of $3,950 to help fund the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers club sending seven members to the IEEE Green Technologies Conference in Oklahoma City April 1-3. The bill also states that upon the completion of the conference, a report will be given to the senate regarding what the group learned from the conference. The bill passed.
“I just wanted to further emphasize that [the attendees] stand to learn a great deal,” Sen. Richard Maina said. “I think it’s important that that knowledge is brought back and transferred to people who are willing to learn.”
Senate Bill 33, an expansion upon the ongoing Green Bandana Project, was also passed. According to the bill, 1,200 more bandanas and resource cards have been purchased by ASUN, and there will be a booth held in the Nebraska Union on Tuesday, March 17, to distribute them.
Senate Resolution 7 also passed and moves for ASUN to express support of The Big Event and the Center for Civic Engagement by sending an email to all Big Event participants, informing them of further volunteering opportunities available in the community.
Senate Bill 31, which proposes changing the bylaws regarding RSOs to accommodate them to fit the current practices, was passed after being introduced the week prior.
As the meeting drew to a close, President Johnson thanked the senators for a great term and said that this may be the last official ASUN meeting of the year, due to the possible coronavirus restrictions.
Editor’s note: To keep up to date with ASUN’s progress, check out The Daily Nebraskan’s Bill Tracker.