The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska met to highlight Professor Appreciation Week, fund a pilot program for beverage drug-testing strips and take stances on legislation affecting students during the first two months of the spring semester.
ASUN’s Committee for Fee Allocations hosted a town hall, where they presented their recommendations for student fee allocations for the 2023-24 school year. Their recommended increases in allocations for Transit Services, Campus Recreation, Nebraska Unions and the University Health Center could increase student fees by 5% if passed by the Board of Regents and student enrollment holds steady next year.
The senate will vote on the proposed budget during its March 8 meeting.
ASUN Sen. Thursey Cook introduced a bill to establish Professor Appreciation Week at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln from May 1-5. Until March 31, ASUN will distribute fliers with a QR code that sends students to a form where they can write anonymous messages of gratitude for any professor they choose. These letters will be reviewed in April before being distributed amongst teachers during the week.
The senate voted to add a question to the 2023 ASUN ballot, asking students their opinions on Nebraska game-day balloon releases. In the past few seasons, Nebraska Athletics has opted against the tradition due to a global helium shortage. The results won’t determine if balloons will return but will be used to gauge the student body’s stance.
ASUN passed a bill to fund a pilot program titled “Safe Drink, Safe Time” to provide strips that test beverages for drugs to UNL’s Greek chapters.
The initial program funded the purchase of 560 strips from Test My Drink, an organization dedicated to preventing students from ingesting drug-spiked beverages, and 20 each will be distributed among fraternities and sororities. Some strips will also be purchased for the ASUN Sexual Assault Task Force to distribute to individuals in a booth at the Nebraska Union.
The senate also voted to support the University of Nebraska budget request to the Nebraska Legislature. NU has asked for a 3% increase in state funding due to inflation. This is 1% above Gov. Jim Pillen’s recommended allocation. Even if NU’s request was funded, the university would still have a $25 million deficit next year, according to NU Chief Communications Officer Melissa Lee.
ASUN President Jacob Drake announced the UNL Student Equity Grant has been finalized and is now receiving applications. This funding applies to student-led projects directed toward improving the overall campus climate, diversity, access, equity and inclusion at UNL, according to its website.
The senate voted to take a stance in support of LB70 and LB385, bills which would eliminate the fee for certain state identification cards for voting purposes and offer financial incentives to recruit and retain Nebraska teachers, respectively.
ASUN voted to “strongly oppose” LB535, a bill drafted by Sen. Julie Slama that would require valid government-issued identification to vote, but would not allow student IDs to be used. ASUN’s reasoning is that Slama’s bill prohibits student IDs and mail-in voting, which it said out-of-state students rely on.
The ASUN election is coming up quickly — voting opens on March 7 and goes through March 8. Currently, the Unify party is running unopposed for all Executive positions, with only three independents running for senate.
ASUN will reconvene for its next meeting on Wednesday, March 1 in the Platte River Room in the Nebraska Union.