Senate hears from new clubs, votes on amendment to subpoena club leaders
Linzy Rosen ’22 and Cassady Adams ’22, the president and vice president of the new club PERIOD @ Brandeis, presented to the Senate in hopes of gaining probationary status. Rosen explained that PERIOD is a “global youth-run organization” dedicated to “addressing the issue of menstrual inequity,” a problem exacerbated by the inaccessibility of menstrual products to low-income people. Rosen said that the club aims to increase the inclusivity of policy conversations surrounding menstruation, as “not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women.” The Senate voted by acclamation to grant the club probationary status.
Outgoing Music And Dance Band Director Steven Tarr ’19 proposed merging the University’s four instrumental clubs — MAD Band, Top Score, Guitar Club and Brandeis Traditional Music Club — under the umbrella organization MARIMBA, the Mutual Alliance for Recognizing Instrumental Music in Brandeis Activities.
Off-Campus Senator Jacob Diaz ’20 asked if the Executive Boards of the clubs approved of the plan, to which Tarr replied that the boards had written the new constitution together. The Senate voted by acclamation to allow the merger.
Chief Justice of the Union Judiciary Morris Nadjar ’19 asked the Senate to impeach Associate Justices Abdul Rehman ’19 and Shangyuan Xu ’21, who Nadjar said have never attended Judiciary meetings. In addition, he said, the two have not responded to “correspondence” regarding their impeachment proceedings. The Senate voted by acclamation to impeach Rehman and Xu.
EXECUTIVE OFFICER REPORTS
Student Union President Hannah Brown ’19 presented to the Senate a proposal to bring the MyDeis class Facebook pages under the control of the University’s Department of Communications. Under the new system, class senators, rather than admissions employees, would moderate the content of the pages. The Senate voted on the proposal by roll call. It passed 13–2, with Salomon and Rong in opposition.
Executive Senator Kent Dinlenc ’19 announced that the upcoming Ollie Awards are fully funded.
Finkel announced that Class of 2021 Senator Zach Kern had messaged him with his resignation. Multiple senators suggested impeachment rather than allowing Finkel to accept the resignation. Finkel elected to accept Kern’s resignation rather than move to impeach him, as he did not want to end the year with feelings of ill will.
COMMITTEE CHAIR REPORTS
Rosenthal and Skyline Senator Josh Hoffman ’21, the chair of the Health and Safety Committee, looked back on the committee’s often contentious relationship with the Brandeis Counseling Center and announced a meeting had been held between the two organizations. One issue brought up was that some therapists were referring their patients to their private practices, which Hoffman said is problematic because it is prohibited and because the treatments are not covered under University insurance. Hoffman also announced that two new elevators would be installed in the Olin-Sang American Civilization Center and the Mandel Center for the Humanities to improve accessibility.
Dinlenc, the chair of the Sustainability Committee, announced that there would be solar panels installed on the roofs of East Quad and the Village.
Chapman reintroduced a Student Money Resolution for a senior flea market, which would “give students a platform to sell their goods.” The Senate voted to pass the SMR by acclamation.
Senator at Large Richard Kisack ’19 objected to Rong’s “Amendment to Subpoena a Club Leader,” which would grant the Senate the power to subpoena club leaders. He suggested that the Allocations Board should hold this power instead, since it funds clubs. Rong and Diaz responded that the Senate is the only branch of the Union that holds public meetings, and Diaz added that if a club “alienates someone on campus,” the club leaders should be held accountable to discover the root of the problem. The Senate voted by roll-call to pass the amendment.
Racial Minority Senator Denezia Fahie ’22 introduced a bylaw amendment to require sensitivity training for clubs putting on “controversial” events, which led the Senate into a contentious discussion about the definition of the word “controversial” and the technicalities of the training being required. This amendment was based on a “sensitive and racially inappropriate” DEIS Impact event from last year, Fahie said, and the training would be conducted by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Finkel expressed reservations about making the training a requirement because of the need to define the word “controversial,” to which Fahie and Class of 2022 Senator Nancy Zhai replied that it should be required to ensure that clubs understand the topics they discuss are “conscious.” Chapman agreed with Fahie and Zhai that the training should be required, but was concerned that there would be no system in place to define “controversial” and to ensure that the training “can’t be abused.”
The amendment was voted on by roll call. Five senators voted against the proposal: Dinlenc, Filseth, Fu, Rong and Salomon. The vote passed 10–5, by the two-thirds majority required for bylaws amendments.
Dinlenc told the Justice that during the Senate’s Executive Session, Rong was unanimously elected Executive Senator for the 2019-2020 academic year. Rong ran unopposed.
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: Jake Rong ’21, Trevor Filseth ’20 and Nancy Zhai ’22 are Justice staff members.