Senate Minutes 8/24/2020

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS STUDENT UNION SENATE MEETING

DATE CONVENED // August 24th, 2020

LOCATION // Zoom

RECORDING SECRETARY // Kristina Lee

TIME CONVENED // 7:30pm — Speaker Gaby Smith Calls to Order

AGENDA 8/24/2020Senate & Joint SessionCRE Chair Internal ElectionsPossible Review of Legislation Reaffirming Virtual Meetings General Budget Presentation General Budget Q&A/Discussion (Q&A may partially take place during the Presentation)General Budget Vote (Treasury + Senate Votes) Carry-forward Vote (Treasury Votes) Updates and Open Forum 

Attendance

FirstLast08/24
ChloeDoumarAE
NkemjikaEmenikeAE
StephanieHernandez-BarralesP
PhilipKeislerP
KristinaLeeP
NicoleLeersP
EricMillerP
SophieScottP
GabySmithP
DylanRosenthalP
TennysonHolmesP
AdamOubaitaP
ChristineMuoghaluP

CRE Internal Elections

  • Sophie Scott nominates Philip Keisler for CRE Committee Chair
    • No blinding presentations
    • CRE chair presentation:
  • MD, starting junior year, in Senate since January 2019
    • Work in Senate: sustainable dining practices, change SU statutes to allow for climate change advocacy, working with WUGWU for $15 minimum wage, expand swipe access
    • Proposals: transform WUPD (demilitarizing), tuition reduction and housing refund w/ closure, election day holiday no mandatory class attendance (easier with asynchronous classes), carbon neutrality and sustainability, fraternity reform/abolition, establishing mutual aid network
    • Questions
      • What is the most feasible despite COVID?
        • Setting up mutual aid networks
        • Securing tuition reduction/housing refund
          • WashU sees a lot of profit in this, may be difficult 
        • Transforming WUPD
          • Will probably have push back, more of a long term project
    • Philip wins!

Updates

  • Senate meetings on biweekly Tuesday evenings (either 7 or 8 Central, though it will likely be 7)
    • Every other week starting the second week of school
  • Committees meet weekly, but new format will be put in place to have broader meetings with constituents and student group members
  • Please fill out fall update form & your standing on Senate in the fall
  • Won’t be doing Improve WashU in fall 
  • Applications for Senate open first week of school

Joint Session Notes

  • Exec council passes Constitutional amendment: permits Senate and Treasurer to organize virtual meetings, considered to be in effect as of March 25th
    • Treasury votes: 13 votes in favor
    • Senate votes: 8 votes  in favor
  • New General Budget Presentation from Alexa 
    • Background
      • Do not have a final number of how much money is available
      • Started from scratch in budget-making, focusing on what we need funding-wise to survive fall semester
      • Have met with block-funded groups and campus contributions to figure out what can be altered
      • Keep SAF as low as possible
      • University gave general number of enrollment number, no exact number (prepared ~10 different budgets)
      • Want to use carryforward to offset costs of lack of SAF & covid impact of Spring semester
    • Budget Talks (anticipating 5,500 enrollment)
      • Any 6,000+ enrollment will yield a $45 SAF and around 100k appeals account
      • 4 block funded groups
        • Campus Y, funding includes operational/ office costs
        • EST, eliminated all fall social programming, can appeal for funding, expected to remain fully operational
        • Habitat for Humanity, no funding 
        • Uncle Joes, funding includes operational/office costs
      • Campus Contributions
        • WashU Votes: funding for advertisements and office needs for voting
      • Space Usages
        • All cancelled, only paying for space usage for DUC 
      • Readership
        • Eliminated USA Today, keeping NYT
      • Background check/Salaries/Computer SVC
        • Non-negotiable
      • SU Entities/Programming
        • Eliminated, will need to appeal
      • Any enrollment under 5,250 will yield at least a $50 SAF and 56K appeals account
    • Q&A
      • Q: What factor was the main deciding factor for making this budget?
        • Low SAF and operational costs
        • Appeals: set aside to assist student orgs
      • Q: More background on numbers on appeals account
        • Prioritization on budget
        • Likely that student programming that students want will not be allowed, keeping appeals account as low as possible
      • Q: If the amount for appeals does not meet enough, what then?
        • Can’t pull money from everywhere else!
        • VP Finance can request more money from carryforward to put into appeals account (more uncomfortable due to uncertainty)
      • Q: Who are we charging SAF to?
        • Any student who is a full time student at WashU in fall
  • Discussion
    • Important to explain to students about charging them a SAF, must justify
    • Context from Alexa
      • Really anticipating no programming will happen in the fall (seeing Campus Life programming guidelines)
      • If appeals account is used, it will be for virtual expenses
  • Vote on General Budget
    • Adam motions to vote on budget based on the fluctuating enrollment of full-time students with raised hands function
      • 21 votes in favor
    • Senate: 8 votes in favor; 0 opposed, 1 absentions 
      • Passed in Senate
    • Treasury: 12 votes in favor, 1 opposed
      • Passed in Treasury
  • Updates
    • Treasury applications open, Senate opening applications soon
    • Election commissioner is working on increasing number of poll workers
    • Tenny is leading an initiative to partner SU with Power the Polls 
    • Ranen:
      • Sending all-school year before school starts
      • Still opening 1-1 meetings 
      • Reach out about back to school concerns
    • SU Finance is changing servers! 
    • New group recognition process officially updated 
      • Combined campus life & su recognition forms