RHA to host joint session with MSA, GPC, LBC, Four Front

The meeting will address several campus-wide issues such as admissions standards and state funding for the UM System.

The Residence Halls Association will host a joint session with the Missouri Students Association, Graduate Professional Council, Legion of Black Collegians and Four Front the Monday following spring break.

The joint session occurs every semester for the five organizations on campus to join together and exchange ideas.

“The intent behind the joint session is to bring together all of the voices for students on this campus,” RHA Speaker of Congress Kathy Rudd said.

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Cathy Scroggs will be the keynote speaker at the meeting, Rudd said. After Scroggs, each governmental group will have the chance to speak, followed by official legislation.

“Often in the past, the joint session has passed legislation that administrators and even the Board of Curators take very seriously,” Rudd said.

There are currently two pieces of RHA legislation and three from MSA to be covered at the meeting.

RHA’s bills regard granting “medical amnesty” for students who are intoxicated to the point of requiring medical attention and proposing the Office of Admissions review its admission standards.

RHA is proposing a “Good Samaritan Policy” toward alcohol consumption in the residence halls.

“This policy would protect a student who called 911 for help for another student who was in need of medical aid due to alcohol consumption as well as the student who is in need of help,” the bill states.

This policy is endorsed by the Wellness Resource Center and was submitted by the RHA Advocacy Committee.

The next bill proposes “a full review of the admissions process be conducted and that the University consider raising its standards of admission.” According to the bill, MU has the fastest growing admission rate in the country, and its entrance requirements are much lower than that of comparable schools Texas A&M, the University of Florida, Baylor and University of Georgia.

“Reevaluating the admissions requirements does not require a change, but simply a justification and continuation of the principles on which the University of Missouri was founded,” the bill states.

The admissions review bill was written and sponsored by RHA and MSA.

MSA will address becoming a smoke-free campus by 2013, opposing a reduction in state funding for the UM System and approving changes to Campus Dining Services.

The first bill on MSA’s agenda involves moving the date of the next phase of the smoke-free campus plan from Jan. 1, 2014 to Jan. 1, 2013. The bill explains that the current policy of designated smoking areas is not enforced and smokers are not reprimanded for smoking outside these areas.

“By nature, a total smoke-free campus policy is far easier to enforce than a policy allowing smoking in unmarked zones,” the bill states.

According to a Wellness Resource Center survey mentioned in the bill, “Only 10.7 percent of smokers and 6.8 percent of all students believe the current smoke-free policy is enforced.”

Next on MSA’s list is a letter opposing a 7.5 percent decrease in state funding to the UM System. According to the bill, Missouri ranks 45th in state funding for higher education. The decreased funding would result in a $22 million loss in the Columbia economy, as well as a decrease in quality of education at the University due to overburdening of teaching assistants and lack of full-time professors.

The purpose of MSA’s final bill is to "state formal support for several student-friendly initiatives currently under review by Campus Dining Services.”

These services include more dining plan options and extending the hours of Mizzou Market Central in the student center.

Once the legislation is completed, RHA will perform the “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony to the next organization to host the fall 2012 joint session.

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