Student Body Treasurer Kate Turner announced that she would be stepping down from her position “prior to next week’s senate session” because she is leaving campus to study abroad next semester.
Turner said she is stepping down now so the student senate will have time to “nominate, interview and confirm a new treasurer by December, and to ensure that the process of allocating requests to student organizations entering the spring semester does not get interrupted.”
Turner will assist the transition process during the remainder of her time in Columbia. Student Body President Alex Harrell will announce his nomination for her replacement at next week’s senate session, according to Turner.
A recommendation to publish the university’s COVID-19 attendance policy was also introduced. This would make it clearer to students who cannot attend class who they should contact if professors are not communicating with them, according to student senator Piper Carter, a co-sponsor of the bill.
Students should contact their deans when professors will not respond to emails requesting notes and recorded lectures for absences due to documented illness, according to student senator Taylor Harris, co-sponsor of the bill.
“It would be really beneficial for students to have the resource and to understand the chain of command they need to go through to create more access when they're trying to transition back from an isolation period or, really, any kind of long term absence from classes,” Carter said.
Taylor and Harris also introduced a bill recommending the university add recording devices to all classrooms.
The recommendation is to “provide greater access for students who have COVID or even potentially long term disabilities or long term hearing impairment, really, just to benefit the students in a way that if they're not able to miss class or just handwritten notes are not enough to supplement actual instruction,” Carter said.
Student senator Hailey Garland proposed a recommendation for a list of off-campus mental health resources on the university's website for student use.
This legislative proposal is due to the ongoing issues of understaffing at the mental health services department, resulting in students not receiving mental health care, according to Garland.
According to the Mental Health Department's guidance, the services are not intended to be permanent care, but to bridge the gap until the student receives care at an off-campus facility, Garland said.
The list of mental health providers, created by the health center administration, will also include the types of insurance accepted by out-of-network providers.
“I just think that mental health is really important," Garland said. "If the university is promoting mental health [and] promoting [that] students reach out to mental health services, that we should be able to accommodate them, no matter if that’s through the university or through an outside resource.”
Student senator Jacob Carroll proposed a recommendation to establish a waiver form for students applying for accommodations through the Student Disability Resource Center.
The current processing time for accommodations requests can be up to two weeks, followed by a mandatory orientation period, according to Carroll. The waiver will allow students to receive accommodations during this period.
“No students should have to go into class without accommodations,” Carroll said. "The whole entire premise of this bill is to ensure that students can go into the classroom and have the necessary accommodations they need in order to have academic success."
The recommendation passed with a vote of 37 to 2.