Senate discusses funding for registered parties
The Senate met Sunday for its weekly meeting, where senators discussed a potential reinstatement of funding for registered parties and had a heated discussion about a Senate Money Resolution to buy snacks for Senate meetings.
EXECUTIVE OFFICER REPORTS
Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees Zosia Busé ’20 explained her role on the Board to the Senate, and told senators why they should run for the role in the future.
“The student reps, especially starting back from Wil Jones [’18], and now spanning up to myself and [Junior Representative to the Board of Trustees] Zoë [Fort ’21], have created a precedent with the Board of professionality, confidentiality, general networking smarts, knowing how to work it with the bigwigs, and there’s just a certain type of work ... it, live your best life [attitude toward the job],” Busé said.
“The Board is long-term, big picture, whereas admin and us are kind of short-term solutions,” Busé said.
The President’s Frameworks have been the focus of conversation at the Board’s last few meetings, along with the “mental health crisis” and the “lack of diversity within the Counseling Center,” Busé said.
Student Union Vice President Kendal Chapman ’22 told the Senate about a new “Unsung Heroes” project. Students will have the opportunity to nominate dining workers who have a positive impact on the Brandeis community, and the Union would then create a GoFundMe page to give the worker a raise so they can pursue a project.
The Executive Board is considering restarting a program that would allot funding to registered parties. The project, entitled “Make Brandeis More Fun,” would revive an old program by the Department of Community Living that automatically entered students into a raffle to win $50 to cover party costs if they registered their parties before Thursday night each week.
Chapman said the University administration is in favor of the idea, because it would encourage people to register parties more often, which would create a safer environment for students. She and Student Union President Simran Tatuskar ’21 are spearheading the project, which was proposed several years ago and lay dormant in a folder of old E-Board projects.
“We also know that Brandeis isn’t always the most thrilling place to be,” Chapman said.
Executive Senator Scott Halper ’20 expressed concern that the funds could be a liability issue if students only used the money to buy alcohol, which he said “would be a terrible look.” Rosenthal Quad and Skyline Senator Leah Fernandez ’22 suggested that the stipend go toward food, and to have students bring the receipts for their purchases to the administration to be reimbursed up to $50.
COMMITTEE CHAIR REPORTS
Facilities and Housing Committee Chair Trevor Filseth ’20 said his goals are to address the communal damage charges policy, and to improve the timeliness of the BranVan. The Union is working to add an extra stop to the BranVan campus shuttle route, but efforts have been hamstrung by Public Safety, who said it is unwilling to speak with Union representatives about the issue until next year. Halper suggested creating a special task force this semester to address transportation issues.
The Senate Representative to the Allocations Board will be voted on next week after the full Senate convenes.
Halper introduced an amendment to change when Senate committee chairs are chosen, from before elections to after elections. This would allow new senators interested in leading committees to be appointed.
In the fall, committee chairs would be elected “following the fall election cycle and take office at the first meeting of the semester,” and in the spring “after the election of the mid-year Senator and take office at the first meeting of the semester.”
The Senate voted by acclamation to pass the amendment.
Halper introduced a second amendment to establish a formal procedure for voting on legislation, which would establish a formal definition of a quorum. Under Halper’s amendment, “for the purposes of the Senate, quorum will be defined as more than 50% of the voting body present.”
The amendment comes after a debacle with voting to charter, and then to de-charter, IfNotNow. After the Senate initially voted to charter IfNotNow, then-Vice President Guillermo Caballero ’20 announced at the Oct. 1, 2019, Senate meeting that the vote had been miscounted, and had not passed the two-thirds threshold required for chartering.
After several senators expressed concerns that the voting threshold proposed in Halper’s amendment was not high enough to adequately represent the student body, the Senate decided to table the vote to next week’s meeting.
—Editor’s Note: Justice Editor Gilda Geist is a member of IfNotNow. She did not contribute to or edit this article.
—Editor’s Note: Trevor Filseth is a Forum staff writer.