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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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"Promoting Changes to Food Service, SA Constitution Top Assembly Agenda"


In their last meeting before spring break, held Thursday, March 21, the Student Association Assembly created two new committees: the Faculty Student Association Revisions Committee and the Constitutional Revisions Committee.


FSA Revisions Committee

According to Jennifer Tuttle, speaker of the SA Assembly, the three main goals of the committee are to work with the Faculty Student Association to help provide students with more nutritious food, cheaper and more convenient meal plan options and extended hours of service for certain on-campus eateries.

Mitch Green, executive director of FSA, was unavailable for comment.

"Everybody is unhappy with the food on campus ... people would like to change it," said Tuttle. "We decided, since we're the student voice, to put together a committee and look at the different policies FSA has and try to change things with it."

One of the committee's main initiatives is to make nutritional information for food served on campus available either online or in the dining area itself.

"We don't know what the heck is in that food and I'm sure once students find out what's in it, the greater push for healthier food is going to be more imminent," said Tuttle.

The speaker noted that the committee would also push to increase vegetarian and organic options for students on campus as well as provide fresher and higher quality produce.

Assembly Parliamentarian Keith Smith, chair of the FSA Revisions Committee, said the initiatives are "still in the planning stage." Among his goals are to provide a lunch option for meal plans, allow freshmen to drop their meal plans in the second semester and standardize food prices throughout campus.

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"A bowl of grapes is not the same price everywhere on campus," said Smith. "We need to have the price value fixed."

Tuttle said the lunch option is necessary because most students do not eat breakfast and generally opt for lunch as their first meal of the day. Although freshmen may not be accustomed to the university in their first semester, "they are educated enough to at least know how to feed themselves" by their second semester at UB.

Smith also noted that even though FSA is a not-for-profit corporation, "prices are comparable to for-profit businesses off campus" that offer better quality food for the price. By opening up the university to franchises, Smith hopes students will have more options and prices for food will decrease.

"If students have more choices, it would force FSA to lower their prices and improve the quality of food," he said.

Thus far, Smith said FSA "hasn't been the most helpful." When the assembly attempted to schedule a town hall meeting during which all students could ask questions, Green declined because he didn't "feel prepared for questions students would ask," said Smith. Green, however, did agree to meet with the committee for a private meeting next Tuesday.

Smith emphasized that FSA "has done a really good job" and that the committee's initiative is not to work against the organization.

"We just want to help FSA serve students better," said Smith.

The assembly has issued a six-question online survey accessible on the SA Web site at http://www.sa.buffalo.edu. The survey asks students to rate their overall satisfaction with campus dining and meal plan options, if they would like to include a lunch option, which method they prefer to make on-campus food purchases and if they are pleased with on-campus food selections, as well as suggestions to "further enhance campus dining."

Although the survey hasn't been up very long, Tuttle said approximately 20 to 30 students had submitted answers before SA even had a chance to advertise it.


Constitutional Revisions Committee

Tuttle said the Constitutional Revisions Committee was created to evaluate the SA Constitution and suggest modifications. Assemblyperson Lorenzo Guzman, chair of the committee, said changes to the constitution are necessary to reflect SA's shift from functioning mainly as a student government to serving as an activities-based corporation.

"The constitution needs some work done on it so students' voices are heard better and things run smoother than in previous years," said Guzman.

The main aspects the committee is focusing on, said Guzman, are the election of the speaker in the second meeting of the fall semester, the five-day period before the first meeting new members must wait before becoming recognized assemblypersons and the replacement of a speaker or New York State Student Assembly delegate in the event of a resignation. All four issues were the cause of some contention this year.

Guzman called the assembly the "weakest governing body in the university," and said the body needs strong leadership in order to improve.

"We get pushed behind ... we're the last body to get a leader," said Guzman. "We have a meeting once every three weeks and that's a lot of time lost."

Guzman suggested voting in a speaker at the end of the spring semester, enabling the speaker to familiarize himself or herself with the constitution and parliamentary procedure before the new academic year begins.

"[The speaker] could make the agenda for the year and present it at the first meeting," said Guzman.

By holding elections for speaker in the spring, it would be impossible for an incoming freshman to be elected to the position. Guzman said this should not be a problem because freshmen need their first semester to adjust to the new college setting, learn how to manage their time and familiarize themselves with SA.

"A lot of freshmen don't know how to run our business properly," he said.

The chair suggested ending the five-day waiting period rule and allowing students to become full, voting assemblypersons as soon as they submit their 40-signature petitions. The waiting period became an issue this year when the assembly voted to supersede the constitution and allow new members to vote, with the meeting consequently voided by the Student Wide Judiciary.

Guzman speculated that the waiting period was implemented so the Elections and Credentials Committee could "spot check" signatures on petitions to ensure that all the students who signed were undergraduates enrolled at UB.

"So many people apply (that) not everyone can be spot checked," said Guzman.

This is unnecessary, said Guzman, since most students collect signatures in the Student Union where the bulk of students are undergraduates and members usually obtain more than 40 signatures.

The chair also noted that the constitution has no bylaw pertaining to what the assembly or the NYSSA delegation must do in the event a speaker or delegate resigns or


"We need to take away the fear of if this person is going to run out on us," said Guzman.

Both the speaker and a NYSSA delegate left their positions vacant this year. Robinson Iglesias resigned from his position as speaker in the beginning of the spring semester and John Haumesser, an elected NYSSA delegate, did not return to UB in the fall.

In the former case, elections for speaker were held mid-spring semester. SA President Christian Oliver appointed George Pape to the position of NYSSA delegate, a decision Guzman said he does not agree with.

"Appointment to an elected position should only be allowed under extreme circumstances, like if there are only two days left in the year," said Guzman.

The committee will hold its next meeting Monday, April 8 at 7 p.m. in 362 Student Union. Assembly meetings are open to the public.




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