By Charlie Smart
Yesterday, the outcry of students criticizing the school for holding class despite poor road and sidewalk conditions could be heard across campus. Last night, the UConn Undergraduate Student Government addressed these concerns with a new piece of legislation.
The bill, co-sponsored by Speaker of the Senate Kevin Alvarez and External Affairs Chair Adam Kuegler, aims to improve the University Administration’s response to future inclement weather.
“As the elected student body government we wanted to make sure we were that voice.”
The legislation begins by commending the work of University staff during the storm. However, it goes on to claim that by not canceling classes on Wednesday the University Administration denied equal access to students with mobility-related disabilities for whom the snow made it difficult to attend class.
The bill resolves that students with disabilities must be treated equally and calls such decisions by administration “unacceptable.” In addition, it states that parking lots and garages for commuting and residential students were insufficiently paved and suggests that the administration should wave fees for students who were unable to move their cars from garages.
The bill concludes by proposing to enact a student-based task force to work with the administration during inclement weather to determine the best course of action with regards to school closure.
Alvarez explains that, “quite a few emails were sent from individual students but there was no singular clear student voice being presented there and we wanted to make sure that as the elected student body government that we were that voice.”
The task force, which could be active in a matter of weeks, would work closely with administration before and during periods of heavy snow to help voice the concerns of students.
It was mentioned during discussion that the social media app Yik Yak was rife yesterday with students complaining about the snow, and so the goal of this task force would be to formally hear such concerns from students and direct them towards the proper administrative figures.
The bill raised many questions as senators voiced there concerns about the motives and logistics behind it. One senator worried that the students elected to the task force may just be students who always want days off and so will not act impartially.
The bill’s co-sponsors assured senators that care would be taken in selecting the committee to be certain that it focused on what was truly the best interest of students. Other senators raised concerns, but ultimately the bill passed nearly unanimously with one abstention.