Senators proposed and voted on another batch of amendments at Sunday’s meeting.
Vice President Aaron Finkel ’19 began the meeting by leading the Senate in “a few moments of silence” for the victims of the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Finkel announced that Off-Campus Senator Jacob Diaz ’20 would serve as Interim Rules Committee Chair, replacing Jake Rong ’21. He also announced that East Quad Senator Taylor Fu ’21 would replace Senator-At-Large Richard Kisack Jr. ’19 as the chair of the Campus Operations Working Group Committee. Finkel said that he made the decision to remove Kisack as Campus Operations Committee Chair “after seeing the meetings [him]self,” but emphasized that the change was not personal.
Executive Officer Reports
Student Union President Hannah Brown ’19 said she was interested in subsidizing the cost of commuter rail tickets for students who commute regularly, and is exploring implementing that next year. The E-Board also discussed Presence, a new website that will consolidate information regarding student life. The E-board also briefly discussed Vice President for Campus Operations Jim Gray’s departure.
Senate Committee Chair Reports
Former Rules Committee Chair Rong noted that past committee chairs felt like they had to truncate chair reports, and reminded senators to be thorough with their chair reports.
Sustainability Committee Chair Kent Dinlenc ’19 announced that the committee would spend the rest of the sustainability fund on a project focused on water consumption on campus. The money will be allocated to install more water fountains in East Quad and to re-outfit the water fountains in Massell Quad with water bottle nozzles. It will also go towards the purchase of water bottles for the Class of 2023 as well as funds for an associated water bottle refill rewards program the University will implement.
Dinlenc also spoke on behalf of Services and Outreach Committee Chair Kendal Chapman ’22, announcing that the Midnight Buffet will be held on May 2 on the Great Lawn and in the Shapiro Campus Center atrium.
Three amendments presented at the last Senate meeting passed by acclamation with no opposition. The first, “Amendment to Specify Excused Absences,” codifies the distinction between excused absences and unexcused absences. Three unexcused absences is grounds for removal as a senator, but excused absences do not count toward that total.
The second, “Amendment Updating Name and Goal of Senate Dining Services Committee,” would change the name of the Dining Services Committee to the Dining Committee. It would also specify in writing that the committee must make an effort to communicate with students and dining staff, something the committee has already been doing, Zhai explained.
The third, “Amendment Adjusting Reporting Requirements for Senate Committees,” would remove redundant language from the Bylaws regarding the weekly Senate chair reports.
The Senate introduced an “Amendment to Clarify Senate Meeting Procedure,” which changed references to a “chair” of the Senate in the Bylaws to “vice president,” since the Senate does not have a chair. The amendment passed in a vote of acclamation with no opposition.
Next, senators discussed the “Amendment to Ensure Senator Awareness of Amendments.” The proposed amendment would require senators to put away “personal devices” during presentations to the Senate by clubs and other entities.
Class of 2022 Senator Nancy Zhai spoke in favor of the amendment, saying it would hold senators accountable. Fu said enforcement would happen at the discretion of the presenter.
Other senators were skeptical. Class of 2020 Senator Trevor Filseth said he supported the intent of the amendment, but said that it wouldn’t be a good idea for senators to put laptops away. He suggested the amendment be modified to define “personal devices” and to put special emphasis on phones.
Senators voted on the amendment by roll call. The proposal did not pass.
Next, the Senate briefly discussed an amendment to clarify Allocations Board policy which would add the following clause to the Bylaws: “The Allocations Board’s Funding Scope shall include the criteria for the rejection of Marathon appeals.”
Dinlenc objected to a motion to vote on the amendment, postponing the vote until next week’s meeting.
The final amendment senators discussed was the “Amendment Regarding Student Union Committee Outreach,” which would require Senate committee chairs to spend time each week on social media outreach. Zhai spoke in its favor, saying it is important for senators to “market ourselves to the community.”
Fu criticized the “weekly” requirement specified in the amendment, saying monthly reports would be less “redundant.” Filseth agreed, saying he was “nervous” about making the outreach mandatory with a weekly deadline. Class of 2021 Senator Nakul Srinivas also expressed reservations, arguing it wouldn’t be a productive use of time for committee chairs. Additionally, he worried that it could lead to miscommunication. Dinlenc objected to the motion to suspend the rules to vote on the amendment, moving a vote to next week’s meeting.
Finkel announced the removal of Foster Mods Senator Matthew Reeves ’19 from his position due to consistent unexcused absences from Senate meetings. Finkel said he reached out to Reeves several times about his absences and gave him “plenty of warning” of his impending impeachment. He said Reeves responded “in a very not-serious way.”
Racial Minority Senator Geraldine Bogard ’20 reminded senators to take the 2019 Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Violence, which was sent to the Brandeis community in an email. Class of 2022 Senator Topaz Fernandez Fragoso appeared to have fallen asleep during senator reports and was awakened by Finkel.
The Senate meeting ended in a closed-door executive session.
Senate meetings are held Sundays at 7 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center, room 313. They are open to the public.
— Editor’s Note: Nancy Zhai and Nakul Srinivas are News writers for the Justice.