Legislative agenda finally passed, ASUW moves to eliminate sick notes

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After returning to the student senate last week, the ASUW legislative agenda (Board Bill 5.02) once again landed on the ASUW Board of Director (BOD)’s conference table at their Nov. 7 meeting.

The agenda contained new amendments added in senate about recognizing the prisoners that manufacture much of the UW’s furniture as employees, the funding of tuition waivers for Native Americans, who are severely underrepresented in higher education, and funding one-year waivers for on-campus housing costs for recipients of the College Bound scholarship that have previously experienced homelessness.

Mia Belting, director of government affairs for the Residential Community Student Association (RCSA), relayed fears brought up in the senate that these waivers would increase housing costs for other students. 

However, she explained that HFS has already calculated and confirmed that “it wouldn’t have a significant effect on the rates for other students and residents.”

The legislative agenda was approved by the BOD with no objections and one abstention. 

Sick notes

The conversation then moved to the second piece of senate legislation. Board Bill 5.03 urges UW faculty leadership to prohibit faculty from requiring doctor’s notes for short-term illnesses. 

According to the bill, this practice is harmful to both students and health care professionals. Students who need notes are forced to go to the doctor and schedule potentially costly appointments and are pressured to describe their symptoms in a way that makes issuance of a note more likely. 

The bill states that doctors, on the other hand, must allocate time and resources to providing these notes, and sometimes order potentially risky tests based on the information students give. Additionally, this system heavily disadvantages students who are more likely to be underinsured, such as low-income students and international students.

BOD Director of University Affairs Sam Akeyo noted that this was a bill many years in the making and was joined by many members of the board in expressing gratitude that the bill was finally under consideration.

“Speaking on behalf of students who struggle to have consistent access to health care, having this is really, really helpful, especially for students who suffer from chronic vulnerability to short-term illness,” ASUW Senate Vice Speaker Bryn Sinclair said. 

Board Bill 5.03 was passed unanimously, with no objections or abstentions.

Other bills passed

  • Board Bill 2.27 appointed two representatives to President Cauce’s advisory committee on trademarks and licensing. 

  • Board Bill 3.09 allocated $1,777 for the Purple Caster Minions’ League of Legends Worlds Viewing Party. 

  • Board Bill 3.10 allocated a total of $1,870 for assorted purchases of furniture and equipment by a number of ASUW entities.

  • Board Bill 3.11 allocated $10,135.71 for employee wages to account for a 39-cent Seattle minimum wage increase taking place in January. 

  • Board Bill 4.09 amends the ASUW financial policy to clarify wording on how the finance and budget committee recommends actions to the BOD and adds a policy for requesting travel funding for ASUW employees. 

Additional notes

  • Director of internal affairs Cooper Robertson tabled Board Bill 4.06, his proposal to create an International Student Coalition task force, indefinitely in deference to legislation currently making its way through the student senate.

  • This meeting also featured an “executive session” lasting roughly 30 minutes to discuss “personnel issues.” During this time, no members of the gallery were allowed in the meeting. 

Reach contributing writer Matthew Hipolito at news@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @hipolmat

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