Senate hears from new clubs, votes on Board of Trustees and parking fee resolutions
The Student Union Senate met on Dec. 4, hearing from four separate clubs seeking different levels of endorsement.
Re: Wild, previously Herbicide-Free Brandeis, presented plans to broaden the scope of their original mission to “replace products and practices that rely on the usage of herbicides around campus and transitioning to nontoxic organic landcare products.” The club was chartered with one abstention.
Three other clubs requested probationary status. Badminton Club presented, and a discussion followed about an unorganized club structure and budget. Probationary status was granted by acclamation, with senators’ recommendations to be passed on to club leadership.
BRASA, or the Brazilian Student Association, also presented, citing the existence of the network at many other Boston-area colleges. The club was unanimously approved for probationary status. Guitar and Bass Club also presented and was unanimously approved for probationary status.
Two resolutions were brought to the Senate. Nicholas Kanan ’23, who also led the meeting in the absence of Student Union Vice President Lia Bergen ’25, brought the first in his capacity as chair of the Facilities, Housing, and Transportation Committee. The resolution advises Brandeis Public Safety to not pursue any increase of parking-related fees, as they have demonstrated interest in doing. Pointing to confusion about the exact stipulations of parking passes, the resolution also petitions Public Safety to create an online directory of times and locations where parking is available to students on campus. The resolution passed by acclamation and talks of writing a second resolution to lower parking ticket costs briefly occurred. Kanan next plans to bring the resolution to faculty assemblies.
The second resolution, brought by Student Union President Peyton Gillespie ’25, addressed a recent amendment quietly passed by the Board of Trustees to revoke the standing invitation offered to junior and senior student representatives to attend BOT meetings. This is a substantial break from tradition and from the Student Union Constitution, which has held that the two student representatives attend and be allowed to speak at all BOT meetings. This is also standard practice at most universities, as cited by Kanan.
No members of the Brandeis student body were notified of these new bylaws, nor the details of their passing — representatives only became aware after asking Secretary of the University Orla O’Brien for dates and times of the meetings. Attempts to inquire with O’Brien, sent via email by Senior Representative Inaara Gilani ’23 and Junior Representative Shelley Polanco ’24, were met with silence.
The resolution condemns the Board of Trustees and demands that they “immediately and permanently restore the right'' of the representatives to attend BOT meetings. “We cannot feel at home without a seat at the table, and we have to restore respect to the senior and junior representatives to give them the voice they deserve,” Gillespie said during the meeting. Kanan echoed that the exclusion of student representatives from these extremely consequential meetings is “disgusting.”
The resolution passed by acclamation and will next be brought to the Faculty Senate, which is also facing issues of representation at Board of Trustees meetings.