The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska will discuss one senate bill concerning potential support for the Higher Education Act and two senate resolutions concerning academic freedom and the Nebraska Climate Strike during the senate body’s weekly meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 17.
Senate Bill 1 moves for ASUN to give students an opportunity to write letters in support of reauthorizing the Higher Education Act on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at the Nebraska Union from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
The Higher Education Act is a 1965 federal act. If reauthorized, it would increase funding for Pell Grants and sexual assault prevention programs, simplify Free Application for Federal Student Aid and continue funding for mental health services, according to ASUN speaker of senate Drew Harrahill.
According to ASUN Government Liaison Committee chair Lauren McNeal, who proposed the bill, the Higher Education Act has not been reauthorized since its last expiration in 2013.
ASUN would allocate $50 for postcards, envelopes and stamps for the letters to be mailed to Nebraska’s federal delegation. The bill would also allow ASUN to promote the education act on social media and encourage ASUN members to voice support on social media.
According to an internal email sent by Harrahill, the Senate Resolution 1 concerns senate approval for two statements on academic freedom. UNL’s interim executive vice chancellor Richard Moberly appointed an ad hoc committee to write the statements on the university’s position regarding academic freedom.
The statements – “UNL Statement on Academic Freedom” and “Academic Freedom in Teaching and Learning: A More Detailed Look” – are being vetted by the Faculty Senate and the Graduate Student Assembly at UNL, according to the email. The resolution said after the vetting process, the statements will document the shared commitment of faculty, staff and students to academic freedom.
The Senate Resolution 2 will move to recognize the Nebraska Climate Strike. The strike on Friday, Sept. 20, is part of a global movement for people to walk out of their schools, offices and homes in support of climate justice policy change, according to the strike’s Facebook page. ASUN recognition would not approve or support the climate strike but would recognize the strike as a potentially valuable student-driven movement, according to Harrahill’s email.
According to Senate Resolution 2, ASUN will encourage students to contemplate their opinions on climate policy, find issues they are passionate about and stand up for their beliefs, as demonstrated by the strike.
The senate meeting will take place in the Platte River Room at the Nebraska Union at 6:30 p.m.