Senate asks bar owners to open late
After more than an hour of debate, student senators passed a resolution at their weekly Monday meeting encouraging Water Street bar owners to push back their opening times on Homecoming morning.
The resolution passed by a 13-9 vote, despite one senator presenting data strongly suggesting students disagreed with its intent.
Senator Andrew Werthmann said he talked to 100 students and more than 70 of them disagreed with the resolution. Although he disagreed with drinking on Homecoming morning, he said the Senate had an obligation to represent the students’ will.
Student Senate President Aaron Olson, who stepped down as chair of the meeting to debate the resolution, responded by saying it also had to look out for students’ safety.
“You know what this is about? It’s about this right here,” Olson said, tossing a dollar bill on the table. “If we don’t look out for students’ safety, who will? We’re the only ones left.”
University and city officials have called a press conference at 2 p.m. today in the Presidents Room of Davies Center to discuss Homecoming week activities and the resolution.
Senator Nomi Nazeer, one of seven abstaining senators because he is an employee of The Brat Kabin, 314 Water St., echoed the sentiments of many senators when he said the resolution wouldn’t have an impact because people will continue to drink before the parade.
“I think the means don’t reach the end the bill is looking for,” Nazeer said, adding that bars have taken initiatives to curb alcohol abuse.
But some senators said the resolution would be a good first step toward a safer Homecoming.
“I am just appalled,” Senator Adrienne Roach said. “Why have a bar open at seven in the morning when they usually don’t open until four ?”
Senator Kathryn Wineke used her second speaking turn to allow Jodi Thesing-Ritter, associate dean of Student Development and Diversity and Student Senate adviser, a chance to speak.
Thesing-Ritter strongly supported the resolution, saying the Homecoming committee last year discussed the possibility of canceling the parade.
“This particular resolution may not be the end, but it is one small step,” she said.
Senate overwhelmingly passed two other Homecoming-related resolutions supporting safe Homecoming week activities and safe house parties.
The resolution was the second lengthy debate of the night. Earlier, the Senate voted against setting up a campus-wide referendum on whether to add 10 more senators to the Senate.
If passed, the total number of student senators would have increased to 40.
Senators voting against the bill pointed out that while last spring’s election saw an increase in students on the ballot, the same may not be the case in a few years.
Senator Jacob Boer, co-author of the resolution, said there still were many committee spots to be filled, and he wanted to build on the participation in last semester’s election.
“I am dumbfounded by the paranoia and cynicism of this body,” Boer said. “If we lose that momentum, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”
The referendum would have appeared on March’s Student Senate election ballot, Olson said.