The Undergraduate Student Government (USG) senate passed a resolution condemning State University of New York (SUNY) student assistant employment restrictions by a vote of 16-0-2 at its meeting Thursday evening.
The senate passed the resolution, which was proposed by Vice President of Academic Affairs Steven Adelson, after the State University of New York’s administration changed its policy on student assistants by limiting the maximum number an assistant can work to 29 hours per week.
Adelson said that SUNY changed its policy because the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, requires businesses to provide health insurance benefits to employees who work an average of at least 30 hours per week.
“We think we have a valid argument that because, as full time students, our university requires us to have health insurance, we should be exempt from what is required of the university when it comes to providing benefits to a certain number of full-time employees,” Adelson said.
The senate resolution states that, because full-time Stony Brook University students are required to have health insurance, full-time students therefore cannot hold a student assistant position without already having health insurance.
In the resolution, the senate asks either that an exemption for students required to have health insurance to be added to the Affordable Care Act or for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to clarify whether such an exemption is allowed.
The SUNY administration updated its student assistant policy on Aug. 26 and the change went into effect on Sept. 1, but Stony Brook University Human Resource Services sent out the email announcing the change to the university community on Sept. 8. This, the resolution states, means that students were not informed of the change in “an appropriate and timely manner.”
Adelson said that he will present the resolution and a petition to support the resolution to the SUNY Assembly conference in Rochester. Adelson will be attending the conference from Oct. 17 to Oct. 19 with fellow delegates Justice Vincent Justiniano, College of Arts and Sciences senator Taylor Bouraad and President Garry Lachhar.
The senate also confirmed Sarah Twarog to the position of chief justice of the USG Judiciary by a vote of 17-0-1. Twarog, who was chief justice last year, said she wants to help move the judiciary forward.
“I have already written two legal briefs,” she said. “I have a lot of good ideas for the semester for the judicial bylaws, which most of you know do not exist.”
The decision to confirm Twarog was pulled out of the vetting committee because the judiciary could not start running without a chief justice, College of Arts and Sciences senator Angelo Lambroschino said.
The senate also passed an act to officially establish the Technology Issues Ad Hoc Committee by a vote of 15-0-3. The committee was created at the senate meeting on Sept. 11 to address technology-related complaints listed in a student survey conducted by USG officials, and senator Lloyd Ippolito of the Residence Hall Association was elected the chair of the committee.
The senate voted unanimously to support a resolution by the Sports Clubs Council stating that the council is in favor of the construction of an outdoor field facility and the installation of lights on Field C at the Campus Recreation South P Field Complex.
Bridget Foley, the vice president of the council, said the facility would have space for all sport clubs to store equipment, restrooms for students and spectators attending sport club games, a changing area and locker rooms for student athletes, and an athletic training room for all sports club members.
“A lot of clubs can’t practice at South P because they need equipment at their practices because they can’t carry everything from Campus Rec to the South P fields,” Foley said, “and also having the athletic training rooms will allow students to be more healthy and more safe.”
The budget allocation for the facility is already pending approval by university administration, Foley said.