SU Senate Minutes – 2/28/2017

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS STUDENT UNION SENATE

DATE: FEBRUARY 28 2017

LOCATION: SIMON 113

RECORDING SECRETARY: DANNY WEINER

 

TIME CONVENED: 9:38pm — Vice President of Administration Cheng calls to order

 

AGENDA

  1. Convocation
  2. Election of Speaker Pro Tem
  3. Tamara King and University Judicial Code Revisions
  4. Chief of Staff Confirmation
  5. Committee / Executive / Judicial / Advisor Updates
  6. Open Forum
  7. Adjournment

 

Election of Speaker Pro Tem

  • Term is through March 28th
  • Five minute discussion of what we, as a body, are looking for
  • Two minute speeches per candidate
  • Senator Tanenbaum requests the room to be cleared of all non-Senators to discuss without influence or external bias
    • Other senators are opposed to this on the grounds of transparency, accountability, and
    • Senator Tanenbaum continues to suggest that Senate needs to speak as a body to process recent controversies prior to anything else
    • Senator Kadish clarifies, via Point of Order, that our first order of business must (constitutionally) be electing a new Speaker
    • Senator Hyder requests time to reflect on CDI’s discussion before voting
    • Senator Woythaler emphasizes that we must be kind to one another so that no one feels silenced
    • Senator Adler echoes Senator Woythaler
    • Senator Weiner reminds the body that VP Administration Cheng is working three jobs and needs a break
  • Senator Lahoti reiterates that Senate needs time to recover and come back together
  • Senator Tran nominates Senator Lahoti, who accepts
    • Been on Senate for four semesters
    • Need to define what Senate is
    • A lot of the issues that have come up are because we lack focus in what we want to do
    • Losing focus and getting off topic feeds into systemic issue
    • Speaker energizes the body in the way that that President of the United States energizes the country
    • Guided by this acronym of AIM: Aggregate, Initiate, Mediate
    • Regulate Slack, GroupMe in how we use them: explicitly productive purposes
    • Cites intimate knowledge and Senate leadership experience
    • Make every meeting meaningful
    • Be held accountable to make Senate meetings more educational
    • Applause
    • Questions
      • Senator Woythaler
        • Praises Senator Lahoti
        • Points out that Senator Lahoti appears to be running for the next full Speaker term, more than just these next four weeks
          • Senator Lahoti emphasizes the need for consensus in implementing systemic change, and cites his experience as requisite qualification
      • Senator Levinson
        • Asks if Senator Lahoti is up for election — he is
        • Asks if Senator Lahoti wants to run for Speaker following March elections
          • Senator Lahoti is currently unsure of future plans, and hopes this helps him and the body identify who is most qualified and interested in serving as the Speaker
          • Senator Lahoti believes he knows what it takes the lead this group right now and retain the passionate people involved
      • Senator Juan Williams
        • Asks if conversations surrounding what happened are going to be facilitated by Senator Lahoti
          • Senator Lahoti wants to know how we all feel and what we believe happened
            • In a moderated and productive manner
              • Does not want to scapegoat StudLife or any particular senators
      • Senator Adler
        • Asks about Senator Lahoti’s plans for going forward
          • More efficient time management
          • Direct committee chairs to work with advisors, campus partners, etc to better coordinate Senate functions and distribute information
          • Senator Lahoti says he has too many ideas to fairly share now without taking away from Senator Mathers’s time
      • Motion to extend Q&A time by three minutes
        • Passes, with opposition
      • Senator Hyder
        • Asks if Senator Lahoti intends to reflect on the CDI’s questions posed to us
          • Senator Lahoti intends to continue discussions and dialogues, reminding us all that this is not a one-off conversation
          • That said, the CDI does not necessarily need to come in every week, because we need to facilitate our own internal discussions as well
      • Senator Smith
        • Asks about time commitment and availability and Senator Lahoti’s ability to fully dedicate himself to this
          • Senator Lahoti has always loved Senate and wants to dedicate as much time as possible
          • Senator Lahoti is a WUSA
          • Senator Lahoti is pledging AKPsi
          • Senator Lahoti sees longterm change as necessary and believes he will be able to prioritize the time needed in the next four weeks to address the immediacy
      • Senator Liu
        • Asks about a more efficient communication system
          • Senator Lahoti does not have time to answer (not his fault)
      • Motion to extend Q&A time by one minutes
        • Passes, with opposition
      • Motion to extend Q&A time by three minutes
        • Fails, with opposition
  • Senator Olivia Williams nominates Senator Mathers, who accepts
    • Here when Senate started off a year and a half ago as a more independent body
    • Thinks there has been a change in climate that has not been addressed
    • Need to take ourselves more seriously in some respects
    • Does not hide that he is one of the people involved in this incident
    • Does not take his job lightly
    • Main project for the past four weeks has been to talk with the CDI
    • Wants new senators to speak with the CDI to better understand their roles
    • Cites his experience in the recent incident as providing greater perspective and ability to provide advice and insight
    • Sees this four week term as opportunity to engage with student body and acclimate Senate to current climate
    • Questions
      • Senator Duran
        • Asks if Senator Mathers intends to run following March elections
          • More focused on these next four weeks
          • Does not believe future intentions should affect this election or the reasons for currently running
      • Senator Zarazua
        • Asks if Senator Mathers intends to continue pushing for his initiatives and goals regardless of Speakership
          • Senator Mathers states that these ideals and projects too important to be limited to the role
          • Senator Mathers wants to instruct
      • Senator Levinson (later, Senator Tanenbaum returns to this topic)
        • Inquires about Senator Mathers’s role in recent scandal and how it would look to the student body if we elect him
          • Senator Mathers is willing to submit his statements publicly and move forward productively
          • Regardless of how student body sees him, changes are internally focused and would not be hampered
          • Senator Mathers affirms that Constitutional Council and Campus Life determined that his work as a senator is unhampered
      • Motion to extend Q&A time by four minutes
        • Passes, with opposition
      • Senator Detloff
        • Asks about logistical breakdown of GroupMe and Slack and a place for fun vs. professionalism
          • Senator Mathers explains that Slack is more official and professional, and this needs to be more explicitly clarified
          • Senator Mathers suggests an informal GroupMe to contrast with professional discussion space
      • Senator Smith
        • Pass
      • Senator Duran
        • Points out that Senator Mathers ran for Speaker in the past and wants to know how his platform compares
          • Senator Mathers notes that previous platform was more project based
          • Senator Mathers notes that minutes have not been published previously
            • Senator Weiner clarifies that minutes have been taken, even if not posted
      • Motion to move to discussion
        • Passes
  • Senator Smith nominates Senator Tran, who respectfully declines
  • Discussion
    • Senator Adler wants to focus on Senate morale and visible presence to student body
      • Notes that Senator Lahoti is more open to public relations and crisis control, whereas Senator Mathers is looking to isolate the body more to focus on internal work; sees Senator Lahoti as having a healthier approach
    • Senator Hall notes that both choices are excellent
      • Does cite that he has more experience working with Senator Lahoti and speaks highly of his passion
    • Senator Olivia Williams points out the damage to our relationship with the student body
      • Afraid of the perception the student body will have should we elect an individual directly involved in the recent scandal
    • Motion to vote
      • Passes, with opposition
      • Secret ballot: Senator Lahoti wins!

 

Tamara King and University Judicial Code Revisions

  • Joined by Deanna M. Wendler Modde, Assistant Vice Chancellor and Associate General Counsel
    • Every three years, as required by the Code, Judicial Administrator must come before SU, Faculty Senate, and others to affirm new changes
    • Mostly formatting and stylistic changes
    • Changes to Title IX reporting system: complaints will now be handled primarily by TIXO instead of OSC
    • Senator Detloff asks about change from “Judicial Code” to “Conduct Code”
      • Change based on a national organization decision
    • Academic Integrity
      • Offense 1: now includes a couple additional examples of violations
      • All divisions have their own individual panels/processes and language better reflects this now
        • Senator Detloff asks for further clarification
          • Grants flexibility for each division to handle matters as they see fit
      • Clarified proceedings for matters of suspension and expulsion as referred to UJB/SCB
    • Senator Smith passes
    • Senator Detloff asks about differences in definition of academic integrity between divisions because there should be uniformity
      • Tamara King clarifies that this governing document is supreme, but the Undergraduate Policy for Academic Integrity enumerates in more thorough detail
    • Senator Levinson asks about substantive changes to Title IX proceedings
      • Tamara King clarifies that the main difference is who hears reports, but this change has already been in effect
    • Senator Mathers asks about TIXO ability to delegate to other offices, but there is no specification of to whom
      • Ms. Modde explains that complaints can come from any member of the university, so referrals are based on standing (faculty, student, etc.)
    • Senator Hyder asks about amendment of the Code on the last page and asks about the shift from Vice Chancellor for Students to Dean of Students
      • This more comes down to a title difference than anything else
    • Senator Woythaler points out a doublespeak typo
    • Senator Juan Williams asks about addition “Respect for different points of view is essential”
      • Tamara King explains an increase in inappropriate comments, but that the Code is for offenses that rise to a certain level to be formally disciplined
      • Healthy respect for those who may or may not disagree with you
      • Free speech is not uniformly protected, but not all speech violates the Code
      • Senator Detloff asks about wrong but not prosecutable speech: is the line drawn consistently with federal government, or Wash U specific?
        • Tamara King explains that a course of conduct is different from an isolated incident, and a threshold must be met
      • Senator Juan Williams asks if the threshold is explicitly drawn
        • Definitions are provided in the beginning of the Code: Offense 2
      • Senator Tanenbaum asks for a specific example of this threshold
        • Tamara King talks about a situation where a student publicly rallied people to call and stalk another student
      • Senator Kadish asks for a specific legal definition of interference with academics
        • Tamara King says that there is an objective line that must be crossed
        • All students entitled to go to student groups and engage in activities all over campus
    • Senator Mathers notes that most changes are not very debatable and are form over function
    • Senator Juan Williams really liked free speech changes

 

  • Passes unanimously!

 

 

Chief of Staff Confirmation

    • Sydney Robinson, current Treasury Officer and Activities Committee Chair
    • VP Administration Cheng explains some aspects of the role and explains that he cannot continue to act as both Chief of Staff and VP Administration
    • Sydney very much wants to help out with the position and take on what needs to be done
    • Explains that her time commitment is more than sufficient because Activities Committee’s work is effectively done for the term
    • Acknowledges that this would cause her to resign from Treasury, but she is more than willing to do so
    • Questions:
      • Senator Adler
        • Asks if Sydney plans to run in March Elections
          • Running for Exec, but unsure of which position quite yet
        • Asks about her projects in mind
          • Student Media Board → Wash U Media Collective
          • Annual Report
      • Senator Zarazua asks how Sydney was chosen
        • Sydney explains the process
      • Senator Kadish
        • Asks about her ability to campaign and fulfill the role of Chief of Staff, and which she will prioritize if need be
          • Sydney has thought a lot about this and says her decision to leave Treasury is indicative of her intention to proceed with both effectively and wholeheartedly
    • Discussion:
      • Senator Mathers speaks very highly of Sydney and her dedication to SU

 

  • Unanimously confirmed
  • Cary resigns

 

 

Speaker / Committee / Executive / Judicial / Advisor Updates

  • Constitutional Opinion is now on the front page of the SU website
  • New Activities Committee Chair must be filled ASAP
  • Within power of Election Commissioner to decide date of election related events
  • Advisors’ doors are always open

 

Open Forum

  • Speaker Lahoti and VP Administration Cheng encourage discussion and time to process, but believe these concerns ought to be addressed at a future session, perhaps Thursday
  • Senator Kadish does not want to take this time to litigate anything that happened, although discussions of how we can move forward are necessary
    • Believes consensus in the room against sending out the all-school email
    • Wants Exec to send out another all-school email to conclude this
  • Senator Levinson wants to table discussion for next meeting for sake of time and energy
  • Senator Mathers does not want his role in the situation to spread beyond this room, although he is willing to speak about his experience with us
    • Explains that he believes all of Exec’s actions were well-reasoned and thoughtful, even if we do not entirely agree
  • Senator Detloff asks for clarification on Resolutions Chair, now that Senator Lahoti has evolved into Speaker Lahoti
    • Chief Justice Buchbinder explains that this vacancy must be filled as soon as possible
  • Senator Detloff is not sure we need such a level of formality to discussion
  • Senator Tanenbaum wants to speak about Thursday meeting, believes it is pushed upon us and unfair to mandate it
    • VP Administration Cheng responds that different ideas of how to conduct Senate business this week were floated, and two days was more preferable to an overlong Tuesday session
    • WU/FUSED is coming to give a presentation on Thursday
    • Constitutional Amendments are on the ballot on Tuesday and we must discuss before that
    • VP PR Fong asks for grace and patience while we handle a great deal at once
  • Senator Tanenbaum wants to speak about issue at hand to make sure his voice is heard and acknowledge what others had to say
    • Believes we are our own body and have say over what we can and cannot do
    • Does not want formal meeting for the rest of the semester so we can focus on internal problems
    • Wants to show he we feel through action, because he is hurt by the way Exec and the school have handled things
  • Senator Olivia Williams wants to say that we should not discredit anyone’s voice, including in our body language
  • Senator Woythaler acknowledges miscommunication in the past and suggests that we speak with one another to resolve these frustrations and hopes we can come closer together with time
    • Worst thing we can do is only talk about this with people who agree with us
    • Reach out to those that you may be frustrated with and talk it through
  • Senator Mathers explains that the process was focused on those involved, not all of Senate
    • Will be offering feedback
    • Not even people directly involved have decided next steps or finished processing
    • Wants to offer perspective
  • Senator Weiner cautions against stressful, hasty decisions; needless drawing of lines in the sand; avoid pitting Senate against Exec; remember that no one has a manual of exactly how to handle this situation; etc.
  • Senator Adler wants to see continuing work going forward, as well as mutual respect and friendship
  • Motion to Adjourn
    • Passes, with opposition
  • Motion to Close Speakers List
    • Void

 

TIME ADJOURNED: 11:17pm — Speaker Lahoti adjourns the session