Senate charters five clubs, discusses changes to attendance policy, elects new executive senator
The Senate met for its last meeting of the semester on Sunday, where it elected members to various positions and discussed updating the attendance policy.
The Senate members began the meeting by chartering five clubs: Model United Nations, the Men of Color Alliance, Deis 3D, Students for Fair Housing and Brandeis Board Game Club.
Union Vice President Kendal Chapman ’22 explained that the Executive Board had “reevaluated” and redesigned its attendance policy, which has “been a problem throughout the Union.” The Senate later discussed redesigning its own attendance policy, which will potentially be introduced as a bylaw amendment at the beginning of next semester. Under the old system, senators are allowed two unexcused absences but unlimited excused absences, Chapman said. Under the system Chapman proposed, however, senators would be allowed three excused absences for sickness, family emergencies or travel, one of which could be for academic reasons. Senators would still be allowed two unexcused absences and would be dismissed after the third such absence.
Chapman also reported that the recent trial run of a Lyft subsidy, which was active around the end of October, was “very popular,” and said the Union plans “to create a partnership with them so that can continue.”
Chapman announced that two E-Board members — Ari Hahalis ’22, the director of Technology and Media, and Nakul Srinivas ’21, the Union Diversity and Inclusion Officer — would be stepping down. Applications for those appointed positions should be sent out over the winter break.
Later in the meeting, Class of 2020 Senator Scott Halper was elected Spring 2020 Executive Senator, Jake Rong ’21 was elected the Spring 2020 Allocations Board representative and North Quad Senator Krupa Sourirajan ’23 was elected the Spring 2020 Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund representative. The Senate called an executive session during the elections.
COMMITTEE CHAIR REPORTS
Dining Committee Chair Nancy Zhai ’22 announced that The Stein will be open as a study space during finals, as detailed in a Dec. 6 email from the Campus Card Office. The Stein is also set to debut its new menu, which will include more vegetarian and gluten-free options, at the beginning of next semester. Additionally, Zhai reported that the University’s Request for Proposals for the next dining contractor was finalized and sent to vendors on Dec. 4.
Club Support Committee Chair Joseph Coles ’22 announced that he will be introducing “some pretty major bylaw changes” next semester, including one that would allow audition-exclusive clubs, such as a capella groups, to get funding.
Facilities and Housing Committee Chair Trevor Filseth ’20 reported that the committee is working to design “a comprehensive change” to the damaged building policy. The committee is looking to create a fund that every Brandeis student would pay a very small amount into as an “insurance fund in case there’s damage to a building that [the University] can’t trace back to any individual student,” Filseth said. The goal of the fund is to prevent the residents of one building from being charged a large amount for damage, an issue that was raised earlier this semester when residents of Hassenfeld Residence Hall were charged for three damaged and stolen exit signs. Senators agreed that more discussions of how this fund would work are necessary. The committee will also be circulating a petition gauging student support for removing the locks from the bathrooms in the East Quad residence halls, Filseth announced, although other senators raised potential safety concerns involved in such a change.
The Union will hold its State of the Union event today from 2 to 3 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center Multipurpose Room. Chapman said this event is a chance for all branches of the Union to meet and be transparent with each other and with the Brandeis community. Additionally, the semesterly Midnight Buffet will be held tonight at midnight in Levin Ballroom.
—Editor’s Note: Trevor Filseth is a Justice Forum writer.
—Luke Liu contributed reporting.