BY RYAN COONEY, STUDENT GOVERNMENT BEAT WRITER
On Oct. 20, Mason’s Student Senate met for its weekly meeting in Merten Hall Room 1201. Key legislation of the day included the support and funding of Lunch with a Dean, the approval of giving the President line item veto power and the election of a new clerk.
Following a lengthy debate, the Senate stood in support of Lunch with a Dean, citing that it was an important way for students to better understand how their respective schools operated. This lunch will allow for students to ask questions about their schools, meet with administrators and overall create a better connection with their University.
The Senate also approved an expenditure of $150 for the Lunch with a Dean program during the Fall 2016 semester. Should this amount prove to be less than needed, the Senate said it will discuss increasing the funding for the lunch, which will be held at the Rathskeller on Nov. 2 at 12 p.m. in SUB 1.
The Senate was divided on the idea of approving a line-item veto for the President. According to the Dictionary’s website, a line-item veto is the power to reject only parts of legislation instead of rejecting a bill outright as is the case with a regular veto. However, after lengthy debate the Senate did approve the line-item veto, citing that if the President chose to use the line-item veto, other parts of legislation could still pass. The Senate also noted that a two-thirds majority could overturn a line-item veto.
At the meeting, Senator Brendan Sullivan was elected Senate clerk following the resignation of Senator Ryan Powers. Senator Powers resigned after he received an internship that would not allow him to continue in his role as clerk.
When asked on how it felt to be elected clerk, Sullivan said, “It’s a great honor, and I look forward to upholding the great work of the previous clerk.”
The Senate also discussed changes to the Johnson Center in which six retail locations will be closed this upcoming spring semester due to renovations. During this time, six food trucks will be made available outside the Johnson Center which will accept food plans students currently use.
The student government is also looking to start a bike rental program on campus in conjunction with Mason Recreation. The bikes will be available for use both on campus and around Fairfax.
The Senate talked briefly about future changes to the Mason campus, including the renovation of Robinson Hall, located directly across from the Johnson Center. In what will be a two-stage process, work will first commence on water lines that run under the building. Once this work has been completed, actual work to the building will commence, which Mason hopes to begin in Fall 2019.
Another key issue that the Senate looked at was the results of the What Do You Want Wednesday Campaign, where Student Government leaders interact with students to hear concerns and facilitate conversation on how to better Mason. Popular concerns consisted of dining services in which students are looking for more options, such as more varieties of milk. Other concerns involved the availability of 24-hour study spaces for students and better lighting on major walkways. What Do You Want Wednesday is held every month in North Plaza at 12 p.m.
The Senate looked at increasing its connection with the military as well. Already, Mason has a U.S. Army ROTC program that in October of 2000 separated from Georgetown University. Two years later, the Patriot Battalion became its own standalone battalion. Now, however, there is talk about bringing a U.S. Air Force ROTC program to Mason as well. The program is just shy of the number of participants needed, but it would still be a few years before the program would be up and running even if the numbers were reached. The Senate is hopeful though and is currently in talks with the U.S. Air Force at the time of writing this article.