At its weekly meeting on Sunday, the Senate swore in newly-elected Student Union Vice President Kendal Chapman ’22 and discussed controversy surrounding the special election of the racial minority senator. They also passed a Senate Money Resolution to purchase cooking equipment for Polaris Lounge.

Interim Student Union Vice President Jake Rong ’21 swore in Chapman with the Union Oath of Office. 

Racial Minority Senator

The Senate went into Executive Session to discuss the special election for the racial minority senator, which has not yet happened. Former Union Vice President Guillermo Caballero ’20 dismissed former Racial Minority Senator Rajan Vohra ’21 during the Oct. 6 Senate meeting for missing multiple Senate meetings.

After its Executive Session, the Senate voted on whether to recommend that the special election take place during the current semester or to wait until next semester. Class of 2022 Senator Joseph Coles read a resolution which said that the Union was in violation of its own constitution in not holding a special election to fill the position within the required 15-day period. After Coles read the resolution, the Senate voted by roll call to pass the resolution recommending that the election be held as soon as possible.

During Open Forum, Coles told senators about a write-in vote on the most recent special election ballot which said that the Union was racist for not holding a special election for the racial minority senator position in a timely manner. Instead of focusing only on the problems with the special election, Coles said that the Union needed to address its “holistic reputation” and pursue an “anti-racist” agenda. 

Coles wrote an apology on behalf of the Union about the special election, which he presented to the E-Board. He also made suggestions during the E-Board’s meeting about how the Union can be more “anti-racist,” including creating Google forms and holding forums where Student Union members can hear concerns.

Chapman added that the Board is launching several projects to combat racism within the Union, the details of which she said cannot yet be disclosed.

Executive Officer Reports

260 people used the Lyft subsidy, and it will be expanded into next semester, Coles said. Details will be forthcoming. 

Senate Committee Chair Reports

Coles, also the chair of the Club Support Committee, reported that two clubs are preparing to present to the Senate for probationary status. He has also been working on the Club Consultant Bylaw, which he said has been “misunderstood.” He will be speaking with club leaders with questions about the bylaw during his office hours to clear up misconceptions.

Dining Committee Chair Nancy Zhai ’22 reported that the Usdan online menu is being edited to reflect what is actually being served in the dining hall. Zhai said that she attended a Request for Proposals committee meeting on Thursday, where attendees discussed allergy awareness, food quality and catering management and coordination. The committee will begin drafting the RFP next week.

Rules Committee Chair Scott Halper ’20 reported that the committee has been working with Charles River Senator Oliver Price ’20 on his amendment to make secured clubs wage-eligible. 

Social Justice and Diversity Committee Chair Joyce Huang ’22 reported that the committee will be creating a library display case with books by authors of color within the next few weeks.

Health and Safety Committee Chair Josh Hoffman ’21 reported that the committee will be printing posters with information about “how many shots it would take until your liver begins maintaining permanent damage” to be posted in the first-year residence halls. The committee is also reaching out to the Department of Community Living about students allegedly sickened by mold in Deroy Hall, as well as broken gym equipment that has “lawsuit potential” if injuries occur, Hoffman said.

Halper said he is trying to set up a meeting about the alleged mold problem in Deroy, and is in contact with athletics staff to determine the safety of each piece of athletic equipment. 

Facilities and Housing Committee Chair Trevor Filseth ’20 reported that East Quad Senator Priyata Bhatta ’22 and Rosenthal and Skyline Quad Senator Leah Fernandez ’22 had given him a “big list of complaints” from students about issues in their quads, which he intends to bring to Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Tim Touchette. Facilities has been going to the incorrect rooms when responding to work orders, Filseth said. Filseth offered to work with Hoffman and the Health and Safety Committee on the alleged mold problem in Deroy.

Cooking Supplies SMR

North Quad Senator Krupa Sourirajan ’23 proposed an SMR to order cooking supplies for Polaris Lounge, which she said are lacking. Potential items include a hand mixer, cookie sheets, pots and pans. The SMR would cost $220, and DCL has agreed to pay for supplemental items, she said. Several senators brought up the potential problem of the equipment being stolen. If the equipment were to be bolted or somehow attached to the wall to avoid theft, the order would have to be placed months in advance because of the extra cost with workers, Fernandez said. Sourirajan added language to the SMR to make the purchase of the equipment contingent on her meeting with Touchette this week. If Touchette were to express legitimate concerns about the purchase, the equipment would not be purchased.

The Senate voted by roll call to suspend the rules and pass Sourirajan’s SMR.

Senator Reports

Halper announced that Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 has apologized to Rong and Caballero, and will be speaking with Zhai next week. She has also sent out emailed apologies to the community, Judiciary and the Senate.

Bhatta reported that she set up an anonymous form for students to report issues in East Quad. “Not surprisingly, there are a lot of issues,” Bhatta said.