Senate upholds Samaritan veto
After more than a month of debate, the Student Government Association Senate voted to sustain President Sam Dike’s veto of the revised Good Samaritan Bill.
The Senate voted 9-8 in favor of overriding the veto, but fell three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to overturn Dike’s veto.
"Nobody disagrees with saving lives," Dike said. "The current draft does not achieve the goals of preventing drug and alcohol abuse and encouraging help-seeking behavior."
At-Large Sen. Michael Blunk, who authored the bill, said it achieved the goal of educating students on the dangers of drug and alcohol usage.
"It’s essential to protect the students from more serious dangers of drug and alcohol abuse," Blunk said. "(Dean of Students William) Munson agrees that the education of the students is the most important thing."
Dike said he was also concerned with the lack of explanation of what constitutes a medical emergency, and that the bill’s format was just a blanket policy.
"There’s a lack of clarification on what a medical emergency is," Dike said. "The bill may give students a false sense of immunity, but certain (medical emergencies) may not apply to this bill."
Blunk disagreed, and said leaving the medical emergency option open will protect students.
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences Sen. Joshua Evans said there was no need to clarify what constitutes a medical emergency.
"What qualifies as a medical emergency?" Evans said. "I would ask a paramedic."
Had the bill passed, it would have needed the approval of the administration, something many senators felt would not happen.
"In the end it’s probably not going to work because of liability reasons," Law Sen. Norman Nelson said.
Before the Senate voted against overriding the veto, the UC 2010 Committee gave a presentation on the proposed $100 million initiative to renovate the University Center.
If the initiative – which students can vote on Tuesday and Wednesday – passes, the University Center will receive a makeover. The food court will be expanded to include more dining options for students, and more student lounges and study areas will be created.
"This is an investment in our community," SGA Vice President Jonas Chin said. "For those of you who are leaving, this is a chance to leave your mark."
If the initiative passes, students will see a gradual increase in fees to pay for the construction. Students pay a $35 fee each semester, but the improvements would increase the fee by $25 dollars each semester, starting in Fall 2010, until it eventually capped off at $160 in 2017.
The charge would not be reduced once the debts are paid off, but Dike said the enhancements will serve the students well and are not a way for the University to profit.
In other events, Director of Real Estate John Walsh, Jr. and Assistant Vice President of University Services Emily Messa showed the Senate plans to reduce traffic congestion around campus. The main plan would link the modes of transportation to a road looping around the University.
"This will provide more safety and a finer experience for the traveler," Walsh said.