SGA Senate Passes Resolution to Request Raising the Minimum Wage at Tuesday's Meeting

Posted by Julia Leef

The Student Government Association Senate passed several resolutions, including approving budgets for new clubs and a proposal regarding raising the minimum wage to take to the administration, in the public Student Government Association Senate meeting at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1 in the Spa.

New budgets for the Skidmore Basketball Club and Skidmore E-Sports were approved in Resolutions 24-LXVII and 24-LXVIII, respectively. The Senate also approved a resolution in support of raising the minimum wage in accordance with New York State for student workers at Skidmore College.

Senators Britt Dorfman '14, vice president for Diversity Affairs and Addison Bennett '16, vice president for Club Affairs, proposed the resolution, which will go to the Institutional Policies and Planning Committee on Friday, April 4. The resolution proposes to request the President's Cabinet raise the hourly wage of student workers to the state minimum of $8.00, as well as to take into account the state's efforts to continue to increase the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour by 2015.

Although there is no guarantee the proposal will be incorporated into the College's budget for next year, according to Dorfman and Bennett, the senators said they believed it was important to bring up the issue before the College and to represent student voice on the subject. A recent online petition to increase the minimum wage on campus received 365 student signatures. According to Dorfman, the extra $133,000 needed to cover the cost of raising the minimum wage would likely come from the College's contingency funds.

The Senate also discussed a resolution in support of a clothing optional campus, proposed by Senators Charles Tetelman '16 and Hannah DeGraaf '15, who stated that such a concept had long been a tradition on campus in the form of the Naked Run, and that other colleges, such as Tufts University, The University of Vermont, Lewis & Clark College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have a similar policy.

Other senators, however, felt that such a resolution would violate the right to effective consent of the student body, and expressed concern about allowing expressions on nudity on a campus frequently visited by young children. The resolution did not pass, as it received approximately 35 percent of the vote, which was not enough for the required two-thirds majority.

The meeting then moved on to a discussion of the SGA constitution, in which SGA President Sam Harris '15 and Bennett proposed to expand upon the language in the student handbook that referred to students' freedoms of expression, association and participation and inquiry and speech, as well as to reallocate powers of the constitution into the SGA Senate. The proposal will be discussed for the next few weeks and Harris said he hopes to get it approved by the student body by next spring.

Senators also voted on whether to elect Senators Eric Beriguete '15 and Jessica Strasser '14 to the Responsible Citizenship Internship Award selection committee and Senator Kevin Wang '17 to the Executive Board as a Senator. The ballets were handed in at the end of the meeting but the results were not announced. 

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