The 2019-20 Association of Students of the University of Nebraska senate met for the last time via Zoom and reminisced about their favorite memories from this term of ASUN.
The virtual meeting took place on Wednesday, April 1, and committee chairs and executive members gave their end-of-year reports before passing three pieces of legislation. At the end of the meeting, each outgoing executive member swore in their successor.
Each of the executive team member’s end of year reports related to the coronavirus. President Emily Johnson said to the senators that the University of Nebraska Board of Regents will vote on removing the 30 credit hours per year requirement for the Regent Scholarship during her last meeting as a student regent April 17. Johnson also said the university will not refund University Program and Facilities Fees as the fees are still used to university facilities’ employees in the midst of the pandemic.
Internal vice president Jared Long informed the senators that the search for the new vice chancellor of Student Affairs has been suspended in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, external vice president Ibraheem Hamzat reported that the university has extended the deadline for undergraduate students to change their class to the “pass/no pass” grading option to April 24.
Government Bill 46, submitted by Johnson, proposed temporarily suspending any bylaws requiring in-person meetings and votes for the rest of the semester. Sen. Eric Rodene brought up a clause in the bylaws that states the bylaws cannot be suspended by any vote.
“I think it’s one of those unfortunate circumstances where the bylaws weren’t written or couldn’t have the foresight for a situation like this, like a global pandemic,” Johnson said. “I think this is probably our best option.”
The bill passed by acclamation.
Senate Resolution 8 moved for ASUN to officially support the switch of the current print subscription to USA TODAY with a digital subscription to The Wall Street Journal, which was passed by acclamation. ASUN measured student interest in this switch through a survey question in their March election.
Senate Resolution 9 was the final legislation of the term, and it proposed that ASUN approve of keeping the student technology fee rate at $11 per credit hour, up to 15 hours. This amount was ratified by the Technology Advisory and Fee Committee, and the senate passed the bill by acclamation.
Six senators were nominated for ASUN’s “Senator of the Year” award. The nominated senators were placed in the Zoom waiting room while their nominators spoke on their behalf and then senators voted through a Google form.
Sen. Jaden Roe won, and will receive a cash prize of $1,000 sponsored by endowed funds donated to the Nebraska foundation. Former vice chancellor for Student Affairs James Griesen and his wife donated the majority of the funds, and Griesen attended the meeting to announce the winner of the award.
“It’s such a blessing to see how far you’ve come,” Hamzat said to Roe.
The meeting ended with several goodbye speeches from members of the executive team who spoke about their years with ASUN and the friendships they built, and tears from Johnson, whose term as president is officially over.
“I’ve seen a lot of student government meetings at other Big Ten Conference schools, and I’ve never seen a group this thoughtful and effective and caring as this year’s senate,” Johnson said. “ ... I think this has just been such an incredible group of leaders, and I’m grateful for you all.”
Newly-sworn in President Roni Miller told the senators that she was excited and looking forward to work next year.
The next ASUN meeting will take place on Wednesday, April 8, to install the incoming senate members and hold elections for internally filled positions such as speaker of the senate.
“Everyone is so passionate, and sometimes, you know, our opinions can clash,” Long, said. “But at the end of the day, this whole organization is constantly working for the betterment of the student body.”