ASUN Meeting 1.26

ASUN members and members of the public meet via Zoom photographed in front of the Association of Students of the University of Nebraska's office inside the Nebraska Union on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. 

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska passed resolutions to allow professors more flexibility with online class options and provide students with tax information during their meeting Wednesday night. 

Resolution 9, which would join the Faculty Senate in requesting that UNL administration allow faculty to move instruction online without asking their dean or supervisor for permission, passed unanimously. 

The resolution, introduced by Sen. Paul Pechous, also emphasizes ASUN’s support of the UNL community being masked, vaccinated and boosted to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pechous, who spoke to Faculty Senate President Steve Kolbe, said the Faculty Senate removed the word “flexibility” from the preamble of their attendance guidelines last semester to make the language more concise, but still intended for students to be encouraged to stay home when ill.

Pechous said the Faculty Senate and ASUN are most likely to make changes on these issues when they present a united front, and that students who have concerns about their professors' attendance policies should reach out to the Office of Student Affairs

Resolution 8, which asks ASUN senators to communicate the potential benefits of the American Opportunity Tax Credit to students, was passed unanimously.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Zachary Wahab-Cheek, who described taxes as “the money the government steals from you.” 

The American Opportunity Tax Credit allows some students to claim up to $2500 of their educational expenses as a tax credit each year. A tax credit directly reduces tax owed to the IRS, whereas a tax deduction reduces the amount of taxable income a person has. 

Sen. Andrew Donesky introduced an amendment to communicate this information to students again as April 15 approaches, which passed.

“April 15, the day I always wear black,” Wahab-Cheek said

ASUN President Batool Ibrahim said she had no updates to deliver, but did encourage senators to celebrate Black History Month, which is the month of February.

“This is a very exciting month for a lot of people,” she said. “I know I’m excited for this month.”

Internal Vice President Taylor Jarvis updated the senate on how her bill turned into action from the university on KN95 masks, which culminated in the news Tuesday that four of them will be given to all students, faculty and staff. Over 150,000 masks were provided by the state of Nebraska, she said, which is enough to provide four to the entire campus. 

External Vice President Patrick Baker said the preliminary filing deadline for the upcoming ASUN election is Friday, Feb. 11. He said that once open campaigning begins on Feb. 6, no campaigning can occur in the ASUN office. No conversations about the election may take place there, he said, and any campaign logos must be covered. 

Baker also reminded the senate that only four or five meetings of the current administration remain, and senators must think about which bills they would like to get passed before the end of the year. He also reaffirmed ASUN’s commitment to supporting the LB 519 sexual assault bill, which they agreed to support following the protests outside Phi Gamma Delta last fall.

Wahab-Cheek announced to ASUN that Anna Deaveare Smith, an actress who worked on movies and TV shows including “The West Wing,” “Blackish” and “Rent,” will appear at the E.N. Thompson Forum at the Lied Center for Performing Arts on Feb. 9 to discuss the importance of race in the arts.

Ethan Carlson, vice president of engagement of NU Dance Marathon, spoke during open forum at the meeting to support the event and encourage ASUN to participate. Carlson said the event is committed to garnering donations for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha.