Senate Debates Budgets, Appoints New Members, Hears Proposed New Policy
By Sarah Hinck, Staff Writer and Benjamin Pontz, Managing News Editor
Budget proposals, committee presentations, and the proposal of an amendment to the Student Senate Constitution came to the floor at the body’s final meeting before Thanksgiving break Monday evening.
Entering the meeting, Senate had allotted 47% of its annual budget, though only 18% had been spent as of the meeting. Because clubs are required to remit any unspent funds at the end of the semester, Treasurer Sarah Berkowitz said she anticipates having some additional money to work with in the coming weeks, though it is unclear how much. Senate intends to allot only half of its annual budget in the first semester.
To that end, two budget requests that came to the floor Monday evening were heavily scrutinized both at the Budget Management Committee level and by the full body.
A request from the International Club for $1,681 towards decorations for its annual BurgBurst event was approved, although a larger request for funds towards food for that event was denied because the money would not have been available to the club until only a few days before its scheduled event. As such, the club was advised to consider rescheduling its event for next semester. As of November 15, the event still appeared on the college calendar for December 2.
Model Arab League saw its request for $570 towards conference registration reduced by $225 after senators raised concern over whether participants were contributing their share toward the event.
Later in the meeting, Patrick McKenna ’20, Chair of the Senate Policy Committee, read a proposed amendment that would: limit the total amount allotted by the Senate for a conference to $200 per attendee, make clubs responsible for funding half the total cost of the registration of attendees for the conference, require clubs to advertise the conference to the entire campus community in some form and present proof that they did so to the Clubs Liaison before the date of that event, have verifiable proof that they explored obtaining funding from relevant academic departments, the Eisenhower Institute, the Provost’s Office, or other relevant offices or organizations, and, after the conference, host an educational event advertised and open to the entire campus showcasing the club’s experience. The amendment was tabled after reading for discussion at a future meeting.
Elsewhere in the meeting, President Luke Frigon announced that, in accordance with the Executive Board’s constitutional prerogative to appoint “no more than 3 (three) Senators-at-Large if it feels that representation for a segment is lacking,” Candice Montenegro ’20 and Suleymi Suarez ’19, Co-Chairs of the Senate Diversity Committee, would join the Senate as full voting members.
A presentation from their committee during the meeting said that Senate needs to do more to engage diverse perspectives and suggested that Senators be required to attend events and/or club meetings pertaining to diversity each month. While any formal policy proposal would have to come through the Senate Policy Committee, the suggestion was heard and briefly discussed by Senators, who expressed interest in further exploration of the issue.
Finally, a proposed opinion from the Opinions Committee pertaining to freedom of expression was sent back to committee for further development.
Senate will not meet next week and will reconvene on Monday, November 27.