Senate decharters clubs, passes amendments for office hours and attendance at Sunday’s meeting
At its meeting on Sunday, the Senate dechartered 23 clubs that failed to complete the necessary mandatory anti-hazing forms and passed two amendments to Senate office hours and attendance requirements.
Before the Senate moved to decharter those clubs that did not complete anti-hazing forms, it heard from the Brandeis Quidditch Club, which did not complete the form but allegedly did not receive adequate warning about its pending dechartering.
Tess Kowalski ’21, the captain of the Quidditch team, told the Senate that if the team had received more communication about the form, its leadership would have promptly submitted it. The team was at a tournament Saturday and did not have access to the warning email about being dechartered because there was no service where the tournament took place. As soon as Quidditch leadership had access to a computer, they filled out the form, but it was past the final deadline, Kowalski explained.
There is no hazing in quidditch, and the team puts up “barriers against anyone who wants to haze,” Kowalski said. She also emphasized the team’s growth as a sign that the club is active; last year, the Quidditch team had 11 active members, and this year there are over 25.
If the club were dechartered, the team could not have access to critical funding that would enable it to participate in travel tournaments that they participate in, such as the Quidditch Nationals in Texas, which the team attended last year. “Pulling any funding … could kill any of the possibilities of us being a competitive team for the remainder of this year, and we have worked really hard for this, and we don’t want this to be something that happens because of this miscommunication,” Kowalski said.
If a club is dechartered, it cannot get funding for the remainder of that semester, but can reapply for the next semester to be rechartered.
Massachusetts state law requires that all university clubs fill out anti-hazing materials to eliminate liability for universities in hazing incidents.
During the Senate’s discussion about whether or not to decharter the Quidditch Club, Club Support Committee Chair Joseph Coles ’22 said he sent out emails on Sept. 29 and Oct. 2 to clubs at risk of being dechartered and then granted them a grace period because of the Rosh Hashanah break. Some recipients of the email, however, were no longer on those clubs’ E-Boards or had graduated. Most of the incorrect recipients reached out to Coles, and he sent the emails to the correct people. The anti-hazing form was originally due at the end of last semester.
This year’s anti-hazing form will usher in the University’s transition to Presence; the form includes space for contact information and eases the process of setting up a Presence page.
Senator-at-Large Josh Hoffman ’21 suggested extending the grace period for another week to give the remaining 23 clubs a chance to fill out the form, but Coles was opposed because it would extend the University’s liability of hazing if it were to occur during that time period.
The Senate unanimously voted not to decharter the Quidditch Club pending Student Activities’ confirmation Monday if the team had filled out the anti-hazing form.
While discussing whether to decharter the other 23 clubs, the Senate agreed that if a club filled out the form later than the final deadline, it could reapply for rechartering and funding this semester.
Class of 2020 Senator Scott Halper suggested not sending another warning to these clubs via email because people may not check their emails, and instead to put it in the MyDeis Facebook groups. Coles said that after he sent the first warning email on Sept. 29, the number of clubs missing their forms shrank from 40 to 30, and then after the second email, it was down to 24, including the Quidditch Club.
Class of 2020 Senator Dane Leoniak mentioned that the Quidditch Club only knew about their dechartering because Leoniak warned a member of the team during a chance encounter on campus. Leoniak was opposed to dechartering the other clubs immediately because he felt they were not given the same chance to protest their dechartering that the Senate gave to the Quidditch Club.
The Senate voted by acclamation to decharter the remaining 23 clubs, but Senator-at-Large Nancy Zhai ’22 and Leoniak were opposed. The motion dechartered the Association of Latino Professionals for America, BrandeisBaRuCH: Brandeis Reform Chavurah, Brandeis Brewing Society, Brandeis Cupcake Obsession, Brandeis Farmer’s Club, Brandeis Film Collective, Brandeis German Club, Brandeis Global Brigades, Brandeis Interfaith Group, Brandeis Juggling Society, Brandeis Squash Club, Brandeis Swimming Club, Brandeis Traditional Music Club, Common Ground, Deis Robotics, J Street U Brandeis, Judges for Israel, Net Impact: Brandeis Undergraduate Chapter, Pokemon Club, Stop Motion Dance Crew, Trading Card Game Club, Women’s Lacrosse and Work in Progress.
The Senate voted by acclamation to change the name of Students to End Alzheimer’s Disease to Brandeis Youth Movement Against Alzheimer’s.
Office hours amendment
Halper reintroduced an amendment from last week to change the office hours requirement from three set office hours to scheduling them by appointment with individuals.
Coles was opposed to the amendment because it could create the perception that the Union is inaccessible and more closed off to constituents. Leoniak expressed his opinion that the change would not affect people’s perception of the Union because meetings would be at the convenience of people who want to meet instead of at the convenience of the senators’ established schedules.
Huang said that changing office hours to being scheduled by appointment gives the perception that the senators are working for their constituents instead of the other way around.
Hoffman spoke for many senators when he said that office hours are useless for everyone with the exception of certain committee chairs like club support because usually no one comes to most office hours. Chapman pointed out that because the Union’s website has not been updated, the schedule of office hours is not accurate, which could explain the low attendance at office hours.
The amendment passed with 14 of 20 senators present in favor; office hours will now be scheduled by appointment. This amendment only applies to the Senate.
Halper reintroduced another amendment from last week — decreasing the number of allowed absences from Senate meetings or committee meetings from three to two. The new attendance policy would serve as a replacement for the decrease in time commitment from the elimination of set office hours.
If a senator missed one Senate meeting and one committee meeting, or two Senate meetings and two committee meetings, that would be allowed under the amendment, but if that senator missed three of either meeting, then that would be an impeachable offense, Halper clarified.
Senators expressed concern that the wording of the amendment was unclear, and that excused absences would count in the absence count. Halper reworded the amendment to reflect that only unexcused absences would count.
The amendment passed by a vote of acclamation.
Bathroom Senate Money Resolution
North Quad Senator Krupa Sourirajan ’23 introduced a Senate Money Resolution to purchase shower caddies and hooks for the North Quad bathrooms. Sourirajan explained that she has heard a lot of complaints from constituents about a lack of caddies and hooks in the showers and bathrooms, which causes them to put toiletries on the dirty floor and results in flooding.
It would cost around $500 to put hooks and caddies in every other shower, and up to $900 to put them in every single shower.
The Senate voted by acclamation to pass the $500 version of the SMR.
Caballero dismissed Racial Minority Senator Rajan Vohra ’21 because he has missed multiple Senate meetings. There will not be a new election for this seat.
—Editor’s Note: Senator-at-Large Nancy Zhai is a News Staff Writer. Foster Mods Senator Trevor Filseth is a Forum Staff Writer.