Senate votes for executive senator and announces new bylaw amendments
The Senate held elections for executive senator for this academic year. In the running were Senator-at-Large Aaron Finkel ’20, Class of 2020 Senator Tal Richtman and Class of 2018 Senator Matthew Kowalyk.
In a secret ballot by the remaining six senators in attendance, Finkel was elected as the new executive senator.
In his campaign speech, Finkel said that based on his past year of Senate experience, he felt that senators were independent from the Executive Board and sometimes unheard in their initiatives. Finkle pledged to make Senate communications and resources more efficient by “work[ing] independently with each senator” and “empowering [senators] to be successful.”
Subsequently, Racial Minority Senator Hangil Ryu ’20 was appointed as Senate clerk.
In the next agenda item, Vice President Hannah Brown ’19 announced that there are 29 candidates running in this semester’s Student Union elections, the first round is occurring this Thursday.
However, Brown added, there is an overload of first-year candidates running for Allocations Board, Union Judiciary and Class of 2021 Senate seats, with an absence of candidates for the five quad seats for Ridgewood, Ziv, 567, Charles River Apartments and the Foster Mods — notably, upperclassman quads.
Addressing this concern, Student Union President Jacob Edelman ’18 and Brown announced a working bylaw amendment that proposes a new “community senator” position to not only make up for this lack of representation but also support a full body senate. Edelman reminded the Senate that Mods constituents have previously elected a cat to fill their Senate seat.
As Class of 2021 representation seats are limited, this proposal would give the excess of eager first-year applicants a second chance at involvement with the Senate. Elected by and representing an umbrella of unrepresented constituents, community senators would be able to participate as full Senate members.
Richtman asserted that this bylaw is a “bandaid solution,” masking an underlying issue of recruiting upperclassmen to participate in the Senate, and many senators agreed.
However, Brown noted the advantage of getting incoming students involved in Senate earlier, as senators who start early often campaign for upperclassmen and leadership positions later in their Brandeis careers. The bylaw amendment will be further discussed and voted on at a future time.
Next, a bylaw amendment was passed to not vote or hold election meetings on Shabbat.
Lastly, Richtman and Class of 2018 Senator Abhishek Kulkarni presented an array of working bylaw amendments on behalf of the Club Support Committee. Overall, they addressed the oversaturation of student clubs on campus, which have not only spread thin allocations but also student involvement — ultimately leading to many unsuccessful clubs.
This overarching issue stems from duality of purpose and lack of proper leadership support, said Richtman and Kulkarni. They proposed a new system of recognizing and chartering clubs, in which all new clubs must be accredited as “probationary,” and they must set clear and measured goals with the club support committee and prove their commitment and resourcefulness in sustaining the club before recognition.
Additionally, the pair is considering modeling the faculty advisor requirement that other universities utilize, as well as methods to better connect clubs and University departments with overlapping agendas.
Allocations Board Chair Alex Feldman ’18 came to the Senate to give his support to the proposed amendments, stating that A-board has been frustrated for some time with club management, especially in a lack of a proper system to stay updated on the success of new clubs.
The Senate will vote on the club proposals at the next meeting.