Senate passes bills on first year experience, Federal Tuition Assistance
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 02:02
Last night, the Associated Students of Oregon State University Senate reviewed two resolutions for the First Year Experience bill, and for tuition assistance understanding with the US Department of Defense.
The Senate barely made quorum. Senators Tyler Hogan, Madison Parker and Terra Setzler were at work in the Student and Incidental Fee Committee open hearing.
Matthew Busse, Varsity House president, and other students in Greek life asserted their support of the bill, calling for more discussions between ASOSU, Greek life and co-operative housing.
During the Feb. 5 Senate meeting, Larry Roper, vice provost of student affairs, mentioned students who lived in residence halls have maintained higher graduation rates than those who did not. Busse followed up this comment, making a case for a first year experience in Greek life.
“The reason for higher graduation rates in [residence halls] has been linked to a better focus on academic success and community,” Busse said. “Fraternities and sororities offer nothing less at OSU.”
Members of the Senate spoke on the bill, particularly voiced by Thomas Bancroft and Rhianna Taniguchi, who relayed their concerns about the first year experience mandate.
“The First Year Experience [bill] presents an obstacle to low-income families,” Taniguchi said.
After a discussion and small amendments to revise the writing, the bill passed without opposition.
ASOSU Veterans Affairs Task Force Director Julie Stewart, Veterans Resources Coordinator Gus Bedwell and OSU junior and Army Reserves Specialist Wesley Strawn urged the senators to support their bill, which focuses on supporting OSU’s signing of a Federal Tuition Assistance Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Defense.
If OSU does not sign the Memorandum of Understanding by March 1, service members will not be able to enroll in the Tuition Assistance Program. The bill includes 119 military students at OSU who would be affected.
“One goal I have as a college student is to remain debt free,” Strawn said. “I need to know the university will support active military members.”
The bill passed without opposition, allowing the university time to respond and ideally sign the bill, Bedwell said.
“I am optimistic we can make something happen by the March deadline,” Bedwell added. “We want to make things accessible to military students.”