In the Senate’s first meeting since the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, senators discussed the Union’s response to “uncertainty” surrounding communications from the administration and how they could help students who will remain on campus.

The Senate ordered 800 boxes to help students move out of their residence halls, which were all taken, Rosenthal Quad and Skyline Senator Leah Fernandez ’22 reported. Fernandez emailed Assistant Dean of Students Stephanie Grimes, who drove the BranVan to deliver the boxes to Gosman Sports and Convocation Center, requesting more boxes, but Grimes denied the request, citing a lack of need. The administration does not want to purchase more boxes than will be used, Fernandez said.

Marathon, the period when clubs request funds for the coming academic year, will be extended until April 3, Senate Representative to the Allocations Board Jasmyne Jean-Remy ’22 reported. Appeals will run through next semester.

Senators discussed “uncertainty” surrounding conditions and qualifications for students who have applied to stay on campus after Wednesday’s deadline to move out. The Department of Community Living has told students applying to stay on campus that they must demonstrate “significant need,” but has not laid out the qualifying criteria. 

DCL has been struggling to process the high volume of applications because “everyone’s in a precarious situation where they’re very nervous,” Fernandez said.

“I think what we can really do is tell people that if they’re planning to stay on campus, they need to have a plan B, because, honestly, if anything happens, if there’s even one case, it doesn’t matter what DCL said,” Student Union Vice President Kendal Chapman ’22 said. 

Fernandez suggested creating a new feedback form specifically for students staying on campus. The form will be run in a partnership between students staying on campus, Union members and administrators.

Class of 2022 Senator Joseph Coles suggested that one senator serve on the task forces designated to respond to COVID-19, so that a student representative “will always be in the loop.” 

The Union has responded by increasing its volume of posts on Facebook and Instagram, and has sent several emails to the Office of Communication warning that it would post information on its platforms if the Office of Communication did not post it within a certain amount of time. Chapman said that the Union is double-checking any information it receives before posting it.

For now, the Student Union Executive Board and other Union elections are on hold until the beginning of the fall semester. Chapman asked committee chairs to create a guide for their successors to facilitate the transition during the fall.

—Emily Blumenthal