A cappella

At the March 3 and March 12 meetings of the Student Union Senate, representatives from Brandeis’ a cappella groups each presented on why the Senate should charter them.

According to Richard Impert Jr. ’24, president of Voicemale, a cappella groups on campus were not previously chartered because they hold auditions, and Brandeis generally does not fund exclusionary clubs. Not having the status of a chartered club prevents the groups from requesting funding from the allocations board during the marathon process.

Amy Jarkow ’23, president of Starving Artists, said that the group’s past travel expenses have all come out of its members’ pockets. Jarkow said this was “a barrier to entry,” since not every student can afford the cost of going on tour.

The representatives also addressed concerns about the exclusivity of their clubs. Emily Weis ’23, from Rather Be Giraffes, said that “the quality of the performance is predicated on auditions.” Weis also said that no group discriminates based on sex. Up the Octave and Voicemale have historically included only female and only male singers, respectively. Impert Jr. and Caroline Vozzo ’24, president of Up the Octave, said that they are working on moving away from gendered terms in their groups’ activities.

Once the groups had finished their presentations, Student Union President Peyton Gillespie ’25 gave a brief speech encouraging the Senate to charter all of the a cappella groups. Gillespie said that there is nothing in the Student Union bylaws or constitution which precludes clubs that hold auditions from receiving funding.

The Senate then entered a 30-minute executive session to discuss chartering the a cappella groups, after which they unanimously decided to table the discussion until the next meeting. At the next meeting, on March 12, representatives from the a cappella groups returned and each gave a brief explanation of what made their own group unique. After each presentation, the Senate voted by acclamation to charter each group.

The senate chartered Company B, Proscenium, Rather Be Giraffes, Starving Artists, Up the Octave, and Voicemale. Manginah and Too Cheap for Instruments withdrew their requests for chartering in the intervening week.

Other business

Over the course of the two meetings, the Senate passed four Senate Money Resolutions. The Senate approved by acclamation an SMR to fund prizes for the leaders of Period Activists at ‘Deis as a reward for their successful implementation of their menstrual product project.

The Senate approved an SMR for snacks for a movie screening that Director of Accessibility Hana Klempnauer Miller ’25 is planning. Klempnauer Miller will be showing the movie “Crip Camp,” a movie about the struggle for rights for people with disabilities.

Sen. Tyler Johnson ’26 proposed an SMR for a raffle fundraiser for the Ukrainian Red Cross, and Sen. Lyla Chereau ’25 proposed an SMR to purchase office supplies and snacks for the Student Union office. The Senate expedited and approved the SMRs by acclamation.

At the March 5 meeting, Klempnauer Miller also proposed a resolution condemning the University administration for failing to act on their stated goals of accessibility. Miller said that after considering the construction of a ramp to the Brandeis Counseling Center, the administration decided that it was “too expensive and not necessary.”

Klempnauer Miller disputed this claim, saying that students with disabilities have fallen and been injured or otherwise unable to enter the BCC.

The Senate, like the executive board before it, unanimously signed on to the resolution.

At the March 12 meeting, Co-head Treasurer Emily Adelson ’23 presented the treasury’s budget proposal for the 2023-24 academic year. According to Adelson, the Union’s total budget will be $56,000, with $21,000 for the Senate, $20,000 for projects, and the rest to be distributed between the other branches, co-sponsorships, and supplies. The Senate expedited and approved the budget by acclamation.

At the same meeting, the Senate chartered the Brandeis Women’s Volleyball Club by acclamation. Marianne Coindreau ’25, the club’s president, said that the club gives students the opportunity to “meet and make connections.”

On March 5, the Senate chartered the Brandeis Culinary Club, which its president, Fitz Wangaru ’25, said would help members “learn to cook and gain some basic life skills.”

The Senate also chartered Bit by Bit, a club whose purpose is to teach coding and computer science to middle and high schoolers. Marco Wong ’26, the club’s founder, said that the club helps children from disadvantaged backgrounds get an early opportunity to learn about computers, which Wong said they would not otherwise be able to.

The Senate also heard from Brandeis Impact Club. The representatives from the club said that its purpose is to help other clubs in organizing and planning events. After the club’s pitch, some senators were skeptical of its distinctness. “We’ve just heard a pitch for the Hiatt Career Center somehow crossed with Handshake,” said Executive Senator Eamonn Golden ’24. “[This club is] not in the best interest of duality of purpose or club funding.” The Senate voted by acclamation to keep Brandeis Impact as a probationary club.