Student senate seeks to amend U absence policy

In the final meeting of the year, the senate passed two absence resolutions and elected a new chair.

Luke Feuerherm

The University of Minnesota Student Senate held their final meeting of the school year Thursday, knowing resolutions would need to be passed, or wait until the fall. A month after the group failed to have the minimum number of members present to vote on the measures, three attendance policy resolutions returned to the agenda, despite vote counts that hovered around the 29 required for quorum. The three amendments aimed to expand the legitimate absence policy to include: âÄ¢graduate and professional students who must attend mandatory interviews âÄ¢students with minor dependents âÄ¢student senators who have senate meetings to attend The first resolution aimed at excusing absences for graduate and professional student interviews was voted down after the graduate school delegation spoke out against it. âÄúWe are, actually, as graduate students not in favor of this proposal,âÄù senator Devin Driscoll said, paraphrasing an e-mail sent from the graduate school delegation to Student Senate Consultative Committee. âÄúWe are the proposers of [minor dependant absence policy]. We feel thatâÄôs a vital policy change and that both [the interview absence policy change] and the student senate policy change actually dilute the import.âÄù The minor dependant resolution passed unanimously. Finally, the resolution to support expanding the absence policy to include senators who miss class because of senate meetings passed by a vote of 17 to 9. The two resolutions will now be deliberated on by the Senate Committee of Educational Policy. A majority of dissention came from those who said the resolution would take away from the support for the recently passed minor dependency vote. Supporters of the senate absence resolution likened student government absences to that of University athletes who are currently excused under the absence police. After passing the two resolutions the senate will now support senate meetings and illness of minor dependants joining current University policy that excuses: âÄ¢verified illness âÄ¢participation in intercollegiate athletic events âÄ¢subpoenas âÄ¢jury duty âÄ¢military service âÄ¢bereavement âÄ¢religious observances In addition to the two passed resolutions, current senator Aaron Carlson was elected to be next yearâÄôs senate chair.