Student Assembly passes bill to provide free STI testing

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October 2, 2009

3:58 AM

In recent weeks, the Student Assembly has been working on an initiative to provide free sexually transmitted infection testing at the Student Health Center.

In its Tuesday meeting, the SA nailed down some of the finer details of the Student Health Act.

“A lot of us have been working with Vice President Ryan [Ruzic] to get this initiative to pass,” Sen. Ben Brown ’11 said.

The Student Health Act would spend 6.75 percent of the consolidated reserve, which is made up of surplus money from the student activities fee that every student pays at the beginning of each semester.

This would be a one-time expense — the SA hopes that the college will help finance STI testing in the future. Up to $13,000 from the SA’s consolidated reserve would be used to help provide testing for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and genital warts to students free of charge.

“At first we were thinking that $13,000 is … a lot of money,” Sen. Eric Scalzo JD ’11 said. “With that being said, we also just spent $8,000 on the flu vaccinations … We figured out it wasn’t a big chunk of money.”

Some senators were concerned that free testing will result in more students getting tested, draining funds faster than expected.

“Will there be an increase in the number of students that get tested? God, I hope so,” Vice President Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 said.

According to an e-mail sent by SA President Sarah Rojas Wednesday night. the bill is currently in effect.

“When it came down to it, it’s something that’s benefiting the student body as a whole,” Scalzo said.

The Honor Council Nominating Referendum was also passed in Tuesday’s meeting after several heated statements from members of the senate and honor council.

The referendum, which passed yesterday with 69 percent of the vote, appeared on the ballot asking whether the Honor Council Nominating Committee needs to reach a unanimous decision before preventing a student from running for election.

“No one came to us about changing our bylaws,” Honor Council Member Will Perkins ’11 said. “I see it as singling out the Honor Council.”

Sen. Jill Olszewski ’12 disagreed with Perkins’ comments.

“I don’t think there was anything done to insinuate hard feelings,” Olszewski said. “It’s a prime opportunity to put a referendum on the ballot.”

Olszewski was not alone.

“I think Jill’s made a good point about this being a unique opportunity,” Sen. Steven Nelson ’10 said. “There
won’t be another election for months. I think students deserve to have a say in it.”

The Honor Council maintained that it felt singled out by the referendum.

“It feels unfair … There are not questions about the inner workings of other organizations every week,”
Perkins said. “I believe we’ve been on your agenda every week so far. I think this referendum in question is not unfairly worded, but it will raise sentiment against us.”

Sen. Jim Dunleavey ’10 also agreed that the referendum singled out the Honor Council.

“Not working with the Honor Council on a question about the Honor Council strikes me as not right,” he said.

The referendum passed 10 votes to one, with six senators abstaining.

The SA also elected to spend $300 to help sponsor the fourth iRep Africa weekend. The event, sponsored by the African Cultural Society, includes guest speakers, a luncheon and a talent showcase.

The $300 will pay for an incoming dance troupe from Richmond, Va.

Events are set to take place Oct. 2 to 3.

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