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USG approves ASL referendum, will appear on spring ballot

<h6>Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Andrew Somerville / The Daily Princetonian

This week’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Senate meeting consisted of four voting resolutions.

The Senate approved a referendum calling for American Sign Language (ASL) to be considered equal to all other languages taught at the University and able to fulfill the A.B. language requirement. The referendum is sponsored by Elaine Wright ’21 and also proposes that ASL fulfill the School of Public and International Affairs’ second language requirement.

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Currently, the ASL program consists of four courses, ASL I-IV, and does not fulfill any language requirement. The referendum, if passed by undergraduate vote, would call on University administrators to change this policy. 

Referenda must be approved by the Senate before they can appear on any ballot for the student body to vote on.

The Senate only votes to approve the language used in the referendum and does not take a stance on the content of the referendum. After the language is approved by the Senate, the referendum must receive a set number of student signatures in order to appear on the ballot. According to Wright, she achieved the required number of signatures on Monday night.

This referendum was the only referendum submitted for approval this semester, and will be the only referenda on the ballot in the spring election.

The following three resolutions will not appear on the spring ballot.

Approved unanimously by the Senate was a change to the Honor Committee Constitution via an Internal Referendum. Gendered pronouns such as ‘he’ or ‘she’ will be replaced with ‘they’ or ‘their’ in the Constitution. 

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The referendum also included a change to the investigation process for Honor Code violations, reducing the minimum number of student investigators from two to one. According to the referendum, this “allow[s] for ODUS investigators to take a larger role in the investigations.”

USG President Christian Potter ’22 submitted for approval a resolution to temporarily alter the requirements for students and student groups to request funding from the Projects Board.

This allows for events funded by the Projects Board to occur in small groups within the guidelines of the Social Contract. Prior to this, events funded by the Projects Board had to be open to all undergraduate students.

Following the passage of this resolution, the USG budget was amended to reflect an increase in allocation by $15,000 for the Projects Board. The total allocation to the Projects Board is now $60,000.

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Treasurer Turquoise Brewington ’22 remarked that the total remaining funds that have yet to be allocated is $165,540.99.

The resolution and amendment follow a decision by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) to alter guidelines to allow for limited in-person social gatherings and events, as well as the Tigers in Town initiative, which connects student groups with local businesses that provide group members free items.

During his President’s Report, Potter also announced that he has made headway with the Academics Committee in the process of creating mixed concentrations.

Working with the Committee on the Course of Study (COCS), students pursuing mixed concentrations could combine curriculum, study, and research from two existing concentrations toward one degree.

Senate meetings — open to all members of the undergraduate student body — occur via Zoom at 8:30 p.m. ET each Sunday. The link to join the meeting can be found in the weekly USG newsletter, which is sent to all undergraduate students.

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