Senate Minutes 4.04.17






TIME CONVENED // 9:40pm — Speaker Lahoti calls to order



  1. Convention
  2. SUmigos
  3. Robert’s Rules Review
  4. Start With Why Presentation
  5. Community Standards discussion
  6. True Colors Personality Test facilitated by Peggy!
  7. Adjournment


Vacancy Appointment Confirmations

    • Sophomore Class Council
      • Vice President of Finance
        • Jason Tang


  • Confirmed unanimously


      • Vice President of Programming


  • Confirmed unanimously


    • Junior Class Council
      • Vice President of Public Relations
        • Suparna Malia


  • Confirmed unanimously


    • Diversity Affairs Council
      • Chair
        • Joy Korley
          • Committee member last semester
          • Originally planned to run for Cabinet
          • Encouraged by Ruby to seek a higher leadership role
          • Kenneth, Ruby, and seniors on DAC selected Joy as their appointee


  • Confirmed unanimously




TIME RECONVENED // 9:54pm — Speaker Lahoti calls us back to order


Review of Attendance Policy

  • Once a Senator has accumulated four “absence points”, they must meet with the Speaker of the Senate



  • Spearheaded by Senator Rosen
    • First-year student
    • Danforth
    • Math and Spanish
    • From New Jersey
  • Today’s theme is Survivor
  • Each week, senators are paired up and will be SUmigos for the week
  • You are highly encouraged to reach out to and spend time with your SUmigo at least once outside of Senate
  • You must sit with your SUmigo during Senate
  • Want to know what you’re playing for?
    • Individual friendships
    • Personal connections
    • Closer Senate body as a whole
    • Fun events


Robert’s Rules Review

  • Speaker Lahoti presents a PowerPoint on Robert’s Rules
  • Motivation is proffered


Start With Why Ted Talk Presentation

  • We generally do not show Ted Talks in Senate, but Senator Detloff believes this is an exceptional framework for our function in SU Senate
  • Most of us ran for Senate because we saw a specific need on campus and wanted to take action for it
    • Challenge ourselves to think about why we ran in the first place


Community Standards Discussion

  • Why does Senate exist?
    • Fundamentally empowers students to do and change things
    • Without people believing in our sentiment, even the most comprehensive plan is insufficient
  • How should we function as a body?
    • Senator Tanenbaum says to put the group first and ourselves second.
    • Senator Rosen says to give others your undivided attention whilst they are speaking, and to challenge each other in a respectful and productive way.
    • Senator Adler says try to have compassion and empathy and understanding, especially because we all bring different lived experiences to the table.
    • Senator Mather raises the lack of diversity and stresses the need for each of us to input our views.
      • Moreover, Senate is the only body in SU that thrives on being open and able to have difficult conversations.
      • Consider intention.
    • Senator Hall recalls the Freedom of Speech resolution and the distinction between people and their ideas.
    • Senator Woythaler responds to Senator Mather, saying that this is not the time and place to revisit the scandal from earlier in the semester.
      • Disagrees strongly with Senator Mather’s view of the higher importance of intention.
    • Senator Vettienkal acknowledges his unfamiliarity with the body, but reminds us of the higher accountability we need to have, as elected officials.
    • Senator Weiner agrees with Senator Woythaler, emphasizing the need to be intentional in what we say and how we say it, because it is easy to have an impact you may not anticipate. References Senator Adler’s sentiment.
    • Senator Tanenbaum believes we cannot come to a conclusion if we continue to revisit what has been said before us.
    • Senator Berkowitz respectfully disagrees with Senator Tanenbaum and emphasizes the need to disagree with each other as a deliberative body.
      • Incumbent upon all of us to hold each other accountable
    • Senator Weiner echoes Senator Berkowitz and reminds us to consider the barriers we may be imposing to keep certain voices from being heard. Dissent is important and necessary, and often Senate can get tunnel visioned and build momentum that further discourages others from speaking up.
    • Senator Kadish revisits the CDI discussion following the scandal and the three words that stuck with him from that: “Give people grace.”
    • Senator Juan Williams says there is not necessarily conflict between considering intention and speaking up when there is dissatisfaction.
    • Senator Olivia Williams expounds the distinction between being cognizant of the past and stuck in it, because we need to learn from our mistakes.
    • Senator Levinson believes we all have the “why” in common here, but may lose vision of that.
    • Senator Liu disagrees with Senator Tanenbaum and says that conflicts of ideas are necessary to understand each other and make real progress.
    • Speaker Lahoti emphasizes the need to disagree with sentiment and not with individuals.
    • Senator Tanenbaum thanks those that spoke between this speaking time and the last, because he believes they proved his point. He finds it hard to understand why individuals may not speak up when they take issue with behaviors or ideas. He continues discussing the scandal from earlier in the semester.
    • Senator Juan Williams motions to close the speaker’s list.
      • Motion does not pass
    • Speaker Lahoti emphasizes the need to look forward and move forward, not simply discuss the aforesaid scandal.
    • Senator Woythaler responds to Senator Tanenbaum, saying that someone who feels victimized by what people will likely find it harder to speak up, and should not be expected to. She acknowledges the lack of trust that may appear and how that would affect the dynamic.
      • She requests for Speaker Lahoti repeat the guiding question.
    • Senator Zarazua tells the new senators about his presentation on his resolution from a few weeks ago and how this body is able to both give and receive constructive criticism. We demonstrate passion.
    • Senator Rosen talks about SUmigos as an exciting way for us to move forward and change the culture of Senate. We are here to do work and make a change, but it is also about outreach and learning from others.
    • Senator Hall encourages us all to present a project or resolution to increase our respect for the process and reminds us of our “why”.
    • Senator Levinson returns to the scandal and how we are stuck in the “how”, instead of “why is this a scandal in the first place?” The “roasting” of Exec did not help us or our community produce any sort of meaningful change.
    • Senator Tran echoes Senator Levinson and is discomfited by the lines that were drawn, because Senate is meant to be a team/family.  It is our obligation to build each other up.
    • Senator Olivia Williams reminds us that Senate’s buzzword is advocacy, but that is not just a buzzword. We have a responsibility to identify problems other students face, not just ourselves. “Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
    • Senator Kadish passes for now.
    • Senator Berkowitz strives to be open and accessible to his friends and community, because we represent hundreds of our peers.
    • Speaker Lahoti interrupts to say he made door decs for new Senators. Aww. Congratulations to Speaker Lahoti on being recently hired as an RA!
    • Senator Zarazua shares his reasoning for joining Senate, which is to speak for those who may not be able to speak for themselves.
    • Senator Tanenbaum thinks we are talking a lot to the new Senators, but they were not here for the scandal in the past. He points out that he did not bring up the scandal, although he admits he has been talking about it a lot. He believes there is a lot of hypocrisy in what people are saying.
    • Senator Juan Williams returns to Senator Detloff’s presentation and Senator Rosen’s new program. He then says there needs to be some form of conflict resolution for Senate, because we still are “not over” the scandal.
      • Senator Rosen explains in a point of clarification that this is part of the point of SUmigos; if we get closer as individuals, we may be better able to resolve our problems
      • Senator Weiner explains in a point of clarification that Exec (particularly Vice President of Administration Mandoli) has this responsibility of oversight
    • Senator Kadish makes several points:
      • Disagreement is healthy, but we should not lose sight of the individuals behind opinions and conflict. He asks if Senator Weiner would like to get coffee because the two have disagreed in the past.
      • Put this in the rearview: learn from it, but do not get caught up in it
    • Senator Mather gives why he is on Senate: to get and give student input.
      • Moreover, he does not believe everything ought to be sent through the formal process of Exec, although that option is important to have and employ.
    • Senator Detloff echoes Senator Kadish.
    • Senator Juan Williams rescinds his earlier point.
      • Senator Kadish clarifies that an internal review body was rejected before.
    • Senator Tran says we all have the opportunity to make meaningful change, and our roles are what we make of them because they are not strictly defined.
    • Senator Bash tells us to stop and ask if there is a single student that is going to care about some issues: “Does it really matter?”
    • Senator Hall appeals to “bipartisanship” and the idea that “talk is cheap”. Take action, he beseeches us.
  • Speaker Lahoti praises our discussion and reminds us that it is an ongoing conversation. He is always willing to talk.
  • VP Administration Mandoli is glad we had the time and space to have this productive conversation. She wants us to know she is here at any time, for any reason, especially if we need support in dealing with a conflict. She has the utmost respect for our body and what we do. VPA Mandoli wants to be our friend. 🙂
  • Because of the formality that going to Exec entails, Senator Mather encourages Senators to take pause before going this route. There are always multiple outlets.
    • VPA Mandoli does not want any of us to be afraid to go to her because of the Exec label.
    • President Robinson says Exec is here for us too, and that they took the positions they took for reasons similar to the reasons we took our positions.




True Colors Personality Test Facilitated by Peggy!



  • Executive Updates
  • Treasury Updates
  • Advisor Updates
  • Judicial Updates


Open Forum


TIME ADJOURNED // 1_:__pm — Speaker Lahoti adjourns the session