RUSA passes code of ethics, supports wards
As a response to the criticism that occurred to the $20,000 allotted retreat, Rutgers University Student Assembly passed a series of resolutions last night at the Student Activities Center including implementing the expired Code of Ethics, adding a mechanism to approve expenditures and advocating community service.
"These bills address something we needed," Assembly Chair Werner Born said. "They weren't there to make up for anything but I think they did show that as a body we can be progressive and continue to move forward."
All resolutions were authored by both University Affairs Chair Ben West and Born.
First resolution that passed was the Code of Ethics which expires every semester and every newly elected Assembly body must adopt their own Code of Conduct, according to the resolution language.
"For me, it was a direct response to the concerns student raised toward the retreat," said West, who is a Rutgers College senior. "Students raised a lot of valid concerns about the way in which this retreat was approved, the way the retreat was not directly serving the Rutgers community, and within RUSA there was concern about the way in which this was being discussed."
He said that they can't take back what happened with the retreat.
"I'm hoping that a similar situation won't happen in the future through the measures we enacted. Students should still make sure that we are held accountable for these issues. Students should ask the right questions, we should hold our leaders accountable," West said.
The second resolution that passed was an amendment to the standing rules of the Assembly for the Assembly Treasurer to create a budget for any funding allocated by the Campus or Professional school Councils for use by the Assembly and one or more Councils to be approved by the Assembly before any money is used.
"The standing rules amendment was to address a lacking, to address something we didn't have," said Born, who is a School of Engineering senior. "The policy we had in place didn't cover this ordeal and hopefully future bodies won't have to run into this."
The last bill was to advocate for community service, where the Assembly passed a resolution committing to a service project with the Student Volunteer Council with the expectation that all Assembly and Council members will partake in it.
"A lot of students didn't like the idea that we were spending the money for something internal so this community service commitment is external which will help do something for our community rather than for the body," West said.
Another resolution that passed from the meeting was that The Yes for Wards campaign gained the support of Assembly last night at the Student Activities Center.
The resolution was titled "Resolution to Support the Yes for Wards Campaign" but, in the language the Assembly encouraged its members to support voting, getting to the polls on election day, and having a member inform the body on the progress of the campaign.
"It was a sign of support by the body which took care not to block out other student inputs," Legislative Affairs Chair and School of Arts and Sciences junior John Aspray said. "The tone of the dialogue was that the RUSA members want to support the campaign but are cautious not to speak for all students in one voice."
The meeting ended with Assembly Parliamentarian Thomas Minucci urging members to read the Assembly Constitution and the Standing Rules.
"Please read [these documents], there are things you may not know about being on RUSA," said Minucci, who is a Mason Gross sophomore.