Senators deliberate on judiciary case and give updates on Turkey shuttle, free menstrual product initiative
Senators also talked about the recently released dining survey, the Midnight Buffet and more.
At its weekly meeting Monday, the Student Union Senate discussed committee chair reports, and Class of 2020 Senator Scott Halper introduced a resolution prepared by the Rules Committee detailing a course of action in response to the recent Judiciary case against Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21. Executive Senator Jake Rong ’21 presided over Sunday’s meeting because Union Vice President Guillermo Caballero ’20 was not on campus.
The Senate voted by acclamation to recharter The Brandeis Reform Chavurah, which was previously de-chartered at the Oct. 8 Senate meeting after the club missed the deadline to fill out its anti-hazing form.
Senate committee chair reports
Dining Committee Chair Nancy Zhai ’22 announced the release of a survey to gather the community’s opinions on Sodexo’s dining hall food.
Services and Outreach Committee Chair Alison Leibowitz ’20 announced that the Midnight Buffet theme will be “candy” and said that there would not be a DJ like there had been in previous years. The MAD Band is still scheduled to play during the event.
Amid the uncertainty regarding whether or not Turkey Shuttles to New York would be running, Leibowitz announced that the Turkey Shuttles would be happening this year, with tickets to go on sale by Family Weekend. According to Leibowitz, the dispute partly was due to an increased rate for the shuttles offered by the shuttle company than in previous years.
Health and Safety Committee Chair Josh Hoffman ’21 reported that the committee contacted the head of Brandeis Facilities Services regarding reinstating the previous initiative to get free menstrual products in women’s bathrooms on campus, as they had not been restocked this semester.
Senate Sustainability Committee Chair Oliver Price ’20 reported that Sodexo has responded positively to the proposal of a “Meatless Monday.” The Monday tradition is expected to start in mid-to-late November in the Lower Usdan dining hall.
Social Justice and Diversity Committee Chair Joyce Huang ’22 reported that starting next week, the committee will have a booth in the Shapiro Campus Center advertising the multicultural council as an opportunity for students to get involved in the community while getting paid. The committee is hopeful that this will encourage students of diverse racial backgrounds to build relationships with faculty members of the University. The committee also started an Instagram account this week called “Voices of Brandeis.” Huang said the account is “basically an opportunity for students of color to share their experience on campus.” There is also an event in the works set to happen between Thanksgiving and winter break for students to try Jamaican food and discuss racial issues.
The chair of the Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund committee, North Quad Senator Krupa Sourirajan ’23, announced that CEEF is currently reviewing proposal applications. Sourirajan discussed the proposal of a beautification project for the Dharmic prayer room. CEEF also met with Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps to discuss the new initiative of providing more medical kits on campus to address excessive bleeding emergencies.
Halper reviewed the case against President Tatuskar, including recent developments from last Tuesday’s hearing, and introduced a resolution on behalf of the Senate prepared by the Rules Committee, which summarized the Judiciary’s decision and included the following statement:
“We, the Student Union Senate, condemn the actions of President Tatuskar which violated the constitution as outlined in the opinion of the Judiciary hearing of October 15th. We, the Student Union Senate, condemn President Tatuskar’s decision to bar the Executive Senator from attending an Executive Board meeting in the Vice President’s absence. We, the Student Union Senate, condemn the fact that President Tatuskar held an executive board meeting without the Senate present. We, the Student Union Senate, condemn President Tatuskar’s interpretation of the constitution as she did so without consulting the Judiciary and undermined the process of Judicial Review.
“We, the Student Union Senate, condemn President Tatuskar’s unprofessional language which she used to describe the Student Union and the Senate in particular. We, the Student Union Senate, condemn President Tatuskar’s decision to have the Vice President relay a decision which she made independently of the Vice President.
“We, the Student Union Senate, demand that President Tatuskar issue apologies to the following: Vice President Caballero for having to relay a decision which she made independently of him and complaining about his abilities to other people without consulting him directly. Executive Senator Jake Rong for barring him from attending the Executive Board meeting in the Vice President’s absence on September 8th, 2019 and speaking on behalf of his abilities without consulting him directly. Aaron Finkel, Hannah Brown and Nancy Zhai for using their messages as part of her defense without asking for their consent. The Student Union Judiciary Board for making determinations of constitutionality without consulting them beforehand, and the members of the Student Union Senate for referring to it, and by extension its members, as a madhouse.
“We, the Student Union Senate, recommend that President Tatuskar issue a public apology to the Student Union for her actions and the negative impression they have given to those students of the Union. We, the Student Union, recommend that President Tatuskar allow the Executive Senator, Jake Rong, to attend the Executive Board when he, the Vice President, or the Senate feels his presence is necessary to act as a liaison between the Executive Board and the Senate as outlined in Article 4, Section 3 of the Bylaws. We the Student Union Senate request that these actions take place in a timely and professional manner in order to enable the Student Union to move past this regrettable incident and fully advocate for the needs, interests and concerns of the Brandeis University student body.”
The Senate decided to discuss and vote on these resolutions, along with a motion regarding the actions of Caballero, at next week’s meeting, upon Caballero’s return.
—Editor’s Note: Nancy Zhai and Trevor Filseth are Union Senators and staff writers for the Justice.