Student Union discusses student leader payment program, charters five new clubs at its last meeting of the fall semester
At its Dec. 5 meeting, the last of the fall semester, the Union Senate discussed the student leader payment program, which the previous year’s Senate approved, and chartered five new clubs.
The payment program, introduced at the end of the last academic year by then-president Kendal Chapman ’22, intends to give students with an economic disadvantage the opportunity to participate in leadership roles on campus by providing a small sum –– essentially a stipend –– for a given position, Chapman said.
Chapman said that this is not compensation for the work a student is doing in a particular role, but rather a way to financially acknowledge the amount of time and work students put into their positions.
To ensure that students are fulfilling their roles, they will be assigned a faculty advisor who will, at the end of each semester, determine whether that student has done a satisfactory job in their position.
Funding for the $50,200 total per year payments will come from the Student Accessibility Fund, specifically from skimming the “off-the-top” funding category.
The program is currently in the pilot phase and will begin next semester with only the officers of four secured clubs being eligible. These organizations are BEMCo, which will receive $17,550 per year divided among eight e-board positions; the Waltham Group, which will receive $6,750 per year divided among eight e-board positions; SSIS, which will receive $11,250 per year divided among 13 e-board positions; and the Student Union itself, which will receive $14,650 per year, divided among 19 e-board positions.
Chapman said that the plan is to see how the program works with these four organizations, and eventually expand the program to more student leadership positions.
Sen. Joseph Coles ’22 expressed concerns with the proposal’s implementation and its beneficiaries. “[This program] always gets brought up at the last meeting of the semester, then gets forgotten about,” Coles said. “I think there are positions on here that are bloated and do not deserve to get paid, and there are some that are not paid that deserve to.”
Chapman responded that the proposal was already approved by the Department of Student Activities, the Union Senate, and the Union e-board last year.
President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 came to present for The Mix, a club she and Vice President Courtney Thrun ’22 created to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion within student organizations.
Sourirajan explained that the club would host weekly discussion meetings, as well as workshops to train student groups in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training.
The Senate chartered The Mix by acclamation.
Zoë Pringle ’22 presented on behalf of the Disabled Students Network, a club whose goal is to create “disability pride and culture at Brandeis.” The club is open to physically disabled, neurodivergent, and abled students, Pringle said.
The Senate chartered the club by acclamation.
Saul Goldstein ’23 and Esther Daube-Valois ’23 presented for their club, Queer Jews at Brandeis. They explained that the organization would provide a space for Queer Jews and their allies to meet and discuss in a safe environment. Goldstein said that though many of their events are open to the general Brandeis community, some events would be open to Queer Jews only since some of their members are not publicly out.
Initially, some senators were unsure that the club would have enough events open to all students.
“I’m definitely a little bit skeptical to the extent that they’re inclusive,” Sen. Sofia Lee ’24 said.
Ultimately, the Senate chartered QJaB by acclamation with the condition that they maintain at least a 50-50 ratio of open to closed events.
Isabel Giovannucci ’25 and Fitzgerald Wangaru ’25 gave an overview of their proposed culinary club. Giovannucci said that the club will give students an opportunity to learn to cook and “sharpen their kitchen skills.”
The Senate chartered the culinary club by acclamation.
Members of the sports business club also presented to the Senate. David Monasebian ’25, the club’s president, explained that the club would give students interested in sports business and management an opportunity to learn and gain hands-on experience in the field through speaker events and other activities.
Monasebian also said he wants to use the club to help promote Brandeis athletics in general to boost student attendance at games, which he said “isn’t what it should be.”
The Senate chartered the sports business club by acclamation.
Zach Macenas ’23 came to request that the Senate charter the new club squash team. He said that the club would give students an opportunity to play and learn more about squash.
The Senate chartered the club by acclamation.
Coles also informed the Senate of Meli Jackson’s ’25 resignation from the Union for “personal reasons.” Jackson was the senator for North Quad and chair of the Facilities, Housing, and Transportation committee. They have been replaced as chair temporarily by Sen. Sahil Muthuswami ’24 of East Quad.
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