Senate discusses updated housing policy


first_imgThe Notre Dame student senate spent most of their weekly meeting discussing the new University housing policy, announced via email Sept. 13, requiring students to live on campus for six semesters beginning with the class of 2022.“As senate, since we’re the most representative body of the student body, we may not be able to change the University’s policy, but I think we can still do our job in stating our views and also potentially advise what it might look like,” King Fok, Club Coordination Council president, said.Patrick Paulsen, a proxy representing Morrissey Manor, said he has “not talked to a single person that likes this policy.”“In Father Jenkin’s letter, he says the intent of this policy is to keep seniors on campus, and I think it’s very obvious that this policy is going to drive more seniors off campus in the future,” Paulsen said. “… It’s appalling that the administration seems to not care for students.”Sibonay Shewit, student body vice president, said it was important to exhibit emotional restraint.“It’s much, much harder to get things done when we approach it with anger,” Shewit said.Ryan Hall senator Claire Saltzman, among others, also took issue with the method of announcement.“I think one of the things that upset me the most other than the actual content of the policy was how it was told to all of us,” Saltzman said. “We received an email at midnight and was told there was a town hall the next day. It came out of nowhere, and I think we should hold the University responsible and call them out on how awful it was.”Sophomore class president Joseph Witt said Student Affairs did not take the announcement lightly and considered many options before deciding on the email.Fok said he wondered if the policy was going to accomplish the goals of Student Affairs.“Having the three year policy, is that ensuring what they wanted in terms of dorm culture and dorm life?” Fok said. “I think if they want to be our landlord and be our university, then we should definitely make them accountable and even demand more as a student senate.”Many issues with dorm life must be addressed to make students willing to spend six semesters on campus, Fok said. Those issues include discrepancy in dorm and dining hall quality, the prevalence of sexual assault, fair enforcement of rules, dorm diversity, inclusion and drug and alcohol regulation.“There are so many avenues that we can approach this with, even if we are not tackling the policy head-on,” Fok said. “And I think this is where our role is. We need to voice what we want to make this look like. If we are staying on, what does the University have to do to meet us halfway?”The group discussed possible next steps, including a letter expressing their thoughts to Student Affairs, polls of student opinions, a report suggesting reviews to the policy and a peaceful protest outside of the Main Building. They said they hope to have a plan of action before Thanksgiving break.Tags: Club Coordination Council, Housing policy, Senate, Student Affairslast_img read more

Sanders introduces bill to install 10 million ‘solar systems’ on US rooftops


first_imgUS Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), chairman of the Senate s green jobs subcommittee, today introduced legislation with nine cosponsors to encourage the installation of 10 million solar systems on the rooftops of homes and businesses over the next decade. At a time when we spend $350 billion importing oil from Saudi Arabia and other countries every year, the United States must move away from foreign oil to energy independence, Sanders said. A dramatic expansion of solar power is a clean and economical way to help break our dependence on foreign oil, reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, improve our geopolitical position, and create good-paying green jobs.At a Senate committee hearing today, Sanders questioned Energy Secretary Steven Chu about President Obama s budget for next year. The White House requested $2.4 billion for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. The requested 5 percent boost overall included a 22 percent increase for solar power.The potential for solar power also was the subject of testimony last week before Sanders green jobs subcommittee by Jeff Wolfe, chief executive officer of groSolar in White River Junction, Vt. Wolfe said Sanders bill would help homeowners and small businesses stabilize their energy costs.Sanders bill would authorize rebates which, along with other incentives, would cover up to half the cost of the 10 million solar power systems and 200,000 water heating systems. Non-profit groups and state and local governments also would be eligible. The legislation would ensure that participating homeowners and businesses also receive information on incentives to improve energy efficiency.Sanders said a recent report shows that solar power could help make every state more energy independent if solar units were installed on available rooftop space, because every state can meet 10 percent or more of its electricity needs just through rooftop solar. Moreover, because solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt than other energy sources. Sanders bill could create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the next ten years in the solar industry.The legislation s cosponsors include Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.),  Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.).Sanders measure is patterned after successful state programs promoting solar energy in New Jersey and California, where prices have fallen as the number of solar units increased.To read a copy of the bill, click here.Source: Sanders’ office. 2.4.2010last_img read more