Senate works on open access bill and new bus route

Claire Fodell

This month, members of Student Senate are planning trips off campus in order to make big changes for Grand Valley State University students.

Vice President of the Educational Affairs Committee, Scott St. Luis, and other members of the committee will be heading to Lansing on Feb. 12 to talk with state legislators about how to get started on an open access bill.

Open access is the free and unrestricted availability of peer-reviewed scholarly research through the Internet.

For about a year, the Educational Affairs Committee has been working closely with university libraries on an open access campaign.

“What we’re doing, it’s really a work in progress,” St. Luis said.

So far, there are no laws in Michigan that require open access, but St. Luis hopes that this trip will help change that.

“What we’re interested in doing is going to Lansing to talk with a few state legislatures about the prospect of bringing a bill that’s on the table in New York and California to Michigan,” he said.

St. Luis said the bill would require any researcher who gets a grant directly from the state of Michigan to publish their research on the internet free to the public.

The bill would not require open access for all scholars who get grants in the state of Michigan, only the ones who get a grant directly from the state.

Although this trip may not lead to big changes in Lansing, St. Luis is certain that it’s a step in the right direction.

“It’s a long road, and they’ve got an election in November so it might be stalled until next year, but we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Vice President of the Political Affairs Committee Andrew Plague and senator Madelaine Cleghorn are working on a different aspect of student life.

The senators will be meeting with officials at The Rapid Bus Company to propose a resolution that will allow more students access to the buses.

Plague and Cleghorn plan to meet with officials to propose a resolution that passed in Student Senate last fall. The resolution will require the buses to run further down Pierce St. to cover the already established Mystic Woods apartment complex as well as the two new housing developments that will be finished next fall.

“We’re going to propose this resolution, see what they think, see if it’s plausible,” Cleghorn said.

The resolution has already been sent to an administrator at The Rapid who has agreed to meet with Cleghorn and Plague.

“We’re cautiously optimistic,” Plague said.

Though the resolution is the main reason for the trip, the senators also have ideas to try to make sure that the student voice is really heard by The Rapid.

“We’re hoping to get a seat or a student spot on whatever planning group that they have,” Plague said. “I’m guessing that there’s somewhere they make the decisions and we want students to be involved in that, so that’s kind of a sub-goal.”

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