This week’s Student Government (SG) meeting included a presentation from Dr. James H. Watters, the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration, as well as elections for three SG positions, a review of some PawPrints petitions, and reports and announcements.

Finances Presentation

Dr. Watters focused on explaining his role at RIT and on answering questions from SG members in his presentation. He phrased his overall job as being 'to improve RIT students’ experience and the reputation of the school.' Dr. Watters oversees many aspects of RIT student and employee life, including the budgets and endowment. After explaining his roles, he took questions from Student Government. 

In response to SG President Lucas Randrianarivelo’s question about the relationship between RIT’s endowment and financial aid, Dr. Watters explained that RIT’s relatively small endowment limits the amount of money the school can use for each student and forces RIT to rely largely on tuition for operating costs. Graduate Senator Stephanie Rubin asked why available transportation to and from campus differs among housing communities and how this could be improved. Dr. Watters held that housing areas like Park Point and Province decide for themselves whether to subsidize bus transportation costs for residents and that RIT has made efforts to improve bus accessibility for students. Housing and Dining Committee Chair Yasmin Torres’s question focused on the timeline and budgeting for renovations to student life buildings and dining halls. Dr. Watters outlined some upcoming renovations to dorms, like air conditioning, and to dining locations, like revamping Crossroads and adding a Kosher kitchen to Monroe hall. Randrianarivelo’s second question was about why tuition goes up each year. Dr. Watters claimed that RIT’s costs remain lower than other institutions, but that inflation in the last quarter will increase tuition. 


Following this presentation were elections for three SG positions. Bridget DeHond, a third year Management Information Systems student, ran unopposed for Director of Operations and won. Madison Shalkowski, a second year Mechanical Engineering student, also ran unopposed for KGCOE Senator and won. Two candidates ran for Director of Student Relations. The first was Velvet Howland, a third year ASL Interpretation major, and the second was Rhythm Patel, a fourth year Computer Engineering student. Patel won this position.

PawPrints Charges

The current Director of Student Relations, Zakia Azad, then led SG through a review of three recent and popular PawPrints petitions. SG passed motions to charge each petition to their relevant SG members. The petition “Allow For Students To Finish Classes And Finals Online After Thanksgiving” went to the Academics and Co-op Committee Chair. The petition “Fix Registration For Illustration Majors” went to the CAD Senator. The petition “RIT Should Raise The Minimum Wage To $15/H Following Suite Of U of R (University of Rochester)” went to the Student Affairs Committee Chair. One SG member noted, however, that the University of Rochester’s new policy does not apply to their student employees. 


Lastly, Randrianarivelo reported that the faculty senators will vote on the pass/fail grading option policy next Thursday.