The Student Union Senate gives probationary status to two clubs, keeps Branda’s secured status
On Nov. 5, the Student Union Senate gave probationary status to two clubs, maintained Branda’s secured status, appointed new Executive Board and Judiciary positions, and approved two Senate Money Resolutions.
Rani Balakrishna ’25, Gabe Haithcock ’25, and Ragini Kannan ’26 requested that the Senate grant Student Athletes of Color probationary status. Student Athletes of Color aims to create a community of athletes of color and provide a safe space for them.
The Senate gave probationary status to Student Athletes of Color by acclamation.
Alex Pickett ’24, Cassie Mastronarde ’25, and Jonathan Roman ’25 requested that the Senate grant Brandeis Swim Club probationary status. Brandeis does not have a club team for swimming, and Brandeis Swim Club wishes to fill that gap.
The Senate gave probationary status to the Brandeis Swim Club by acclamation.
Director of Club Support Sherry Tao ’25 explained why Branda was at risk of being demoted from a secured club to a chartered club. Branda is an app maintained by undergraduate students and alumni designed to offer students key services, such as Brandeis news, a campus events calendar, and a laundry tracker. According to the Department of Student Engagement, Branda leaders did not follow important rules, such as attending compulsory training. Moreover, the club has not been responsive and has not applied for Marathon club funding. A constitutional amendment created last semester solidified the process for de-securing clubs, and the process states that secured clubs will be given a chance to justify maintaining their status in front of the Student Union Senate. The Senate then votes on whether to demote them or not.
The difference between chartered clubs and secured clubs is outlined under Article VI: Union Clubs in the Student Union Constitution. A secured club is “an organization recognized by students as sufficiently important to necessitate annual funding, eligibility to office space in the Shapiro Campus Center, and an advisor, and thus attain secured status through the Student Union Constitution.” Additionally, secured clubs must have existed for at least five consecutive years and submit an annual impact assessment report to the DSE and to the Student Union Senate. WBRS, the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps, and the Waltham Group are examples of secured clubs. Unlike chartered clubs, secured clubs can submit budgets and budget adjustments to the Allocations Board earlier than chartered clubs, budget on an annual basis through the Allocations Board, and can only lose their status through a constitutional amendment.
Archer Heffern ’25 and Marco Qin ’24 defended Branda in front of the Senate. They argued that the club will run smoother with their completely new executive board and that they inherited a lot of problems from previous club leaders. They explained that they have difficulty recruiting members because working on the app requires specialized technical knowledge. However, they are working on increasing membership and diversifying the club to include people focused on business, social media marketing, and communication. Moreover, since TripShot is the new app that the school uses to track shuttles, Branda performed market research to find new features for the app. They are also aware that the laundry tracker is often inaccurate and want to address the issue.
The Senate voted to maintain Branda’s secured status by acclamation.
The judiciary appointed Eva Wibeto ’27 to be the clerk of court. The clerk of court is a position designed for first-years to acclimate them to the Student Union. Their responsibilities include note-taking and various administrative tasks.
The Senate confirmed Wibeto by acclamation.
The Senate also confirmed Lauren Rifas ’24 as the director of sexual violence prevention.
Senator Sahil Muthuswami ’24, chair of the health and safety committee, proposed a SMR to buy COVID-19 tests for students at the last meeting. The resolution passed by acclamation.
Since the Charles River Quad Senator Kat Xikes ’26, who is the chair of the facilities, housing, and transportation committee, was not present, Senator-at-Large Yoni Kahn ’24, co-chair of the social justice committee, presented updates from the FHT committee. They want to create a competition for which student’s dorm has the best interior design. Footage of winners’ rooms will be used to show prospective students what dorms look like and clear up any confusion about room layouts. They also finished flyers with QR codes linked to a survey for students to report concerns with their dorms. The survey is less focused on solving maintenance issues and more on adding infrastructure improvements.
Senator Eamonn Golden ’24 presented updates from the rules committee. They are considering eliminating residential senators and combining them with at-large or class senators. Combining these positions would allow more people to run for the position. Secondly, they are debating a switch from three election cycles to two spring elections: one for the judiciary and the president, and one for everything else. Spring elections would allow first-years to experience Brandeis before running for Student Union. Lastly, they want to change the executive board’s composition. Currently, the president can appoint and create positions as they like. However, the committee wishes to permanently establish some positions to allow for continuity between Student Union administrations.
Senator Ria Escamilla-Gil ’27 submitted a SMR to fund an event with the Brandeis Gen One Network to hand out free winter accessories, like scarves.
The Senate passed a motion to expedite the SMR vote. The SMR passed by acclamation.
—Editor’s note: Justice Editor Rani Balakrishna, the media coordinator of Student Athletes of Color, did not contribute to or edit this article.