Student Union Senate overturns budget veto, confirms new director of accessibility
The Student Union Senate voted to overturn President Peyton Gillespie’s ’25 veto of the Student Union budget for the 2023-24 academic year at its final meeting of the semester on April 23. The Senate also signed onto a resolution condemning the Brandeis Committee on Strategy and Planning for failing to make the softball field Title IX compliant.
Allocations board co-Chair Elisha Gordon ’25 spoke to the Senate on why the budget which the president vetoed was smaller than in recent years. Gordon said that because of the COVID-19 pandemic clubs stopped hosting events, so they had a surplus of funds which were redistributed last year and last semester. However, Gordon said that the excess has run out and clubs are back to receiving the usual amount of funding.
It was this smaller budget that Gillespie vetoed.
Executive Sen. Eamonn Golden ’24 said that vetoing the Student Union’s proposed budget was unnecessary and a conflict of interest. “Other secured clubs had their budgets cut more than [the] Student Union, and yet the only veto is for [the] Student Union’s budget,” Golden said.
The senate voted by roll call to overturn the veto, with 20 senators voting in favor. Only Sen. Koby Gottlieb ’26 voted not to overturn, and only Senate Rep. to the A-Board Rachel Gao ’25 abstained.
Undergraduate Diversity and Inclusion Officer Rani Balakrishna ’25, who is also on the Brandeis Softball team, presented a resolution to the senate to condemn the Brandeis Committee on Strategy and Planning, of which University President Ron Liebowitz is the chair, for failing to address the softball team’s concerns that the field was not up to the Title IX requirements that men’s and women’s sports have equivalent facilities.
Balakrishna said that the field has “horrible drainage,” no press box, and is not up to regulations. This limits the extent to which the Brandeis team can host opponents for competitions.
She also said that the softball dugout is inferior to the baseball dugout due to its lack of a real concrete wall.
“This is what [other schools] see when they come to our dugouts,” Balakrishna said, gesturing to a photo of the softball dugout.
The Senate voted by acclamation to sign the resolution.
The Senate also discussed making David Cahn ’26 the new director of accessibility to replace Hana Miller ’25, who resigned earlier this week. The Senate did not discuss the reason for her resignation, but several senators remarked on her work this past year.
“Chana has worked incredibly hard this year,” Gillespie said. “[She] has put forward some great initiatives.”
Golden said he was “confused” as to why the Union would be replacing an executive board member with only eight days left in the term.
Associate Justice Zachary Miller ’25 explained that executive board positions can be reappointed at any time at the discretion of the president.
The Senate voted by acclamation, though not unanimously, to confirm Cahn.
The Senate also voted by acclamation to charter the Guitar and Bass Club. The club’s president Joshua Silbersweig ’25 said that the club’s purpose is to “create an inclusive, welcoming environment for music fans.”
Golden also presented Senate Bill 12, which changes many of the ways the Brandeis Sustainability Fund operates. In an April 24 email to The Justice, Golden wrote that the bill ensures that “only undergraduate students have voting power on the board,” whereas that power is currently split between students and faculty. According to Golden, this split has allowed Director of Sustainability Mary Fischer to approve Brandeis Sustainability Funds that only benefit facilities, such as the purchase of an electric lawnmower.
Golden also wrote that the bill would require that the BSF report its funding decisions to the Senate in a public session. Students will vote on the bill in an upcoming election.
Sen. Sherry Tao ’25 presented Senate Bill 11, which would remove redundant terms from the bylaws in reference to club levels. Previously, recognized clubs were also called “tier 1,” chartered clubs were called “tier 2,” and secured clubs were called “tier 3.” The bill, which the senate passed by acclamation, removes uses of the word tier from the bylaws.
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