Senate Minutes 10/27/2020

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS STUDENT UNION JOINT SESSION 

DATE CONVENED // October 27, 2020

LOCATION // Zoom

RECORDING SECRETARY // Braxton Sizemore

TIME CONVENED // 7 PM — Speaker Gaby Smith Calls to Order

Agenda:
CDI Facilitation
Election Commissioner Confirmation
General Election Rules
General Budget (Part 3)
Updates/Open Forum/Student Body Pulse
Exec and Advisor Updates
Senate Snapz

Attendance

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StephanieHernandez-BarralesPPPPPPPP
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KristinaLeePPAEPPPPP
NicoleLeersPPPAEPPPP
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ChristineMuoghaluPPPPPATP
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JaitsiriKaur AhluwaliaPP

CDI Facilitation

Introductions

  • Mark Kamimura-Jiminez (he/him/his)
    • Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
    • Dean of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Travis Tucker (he/him/his)
    • Associate Director of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion

“Understanding and Managing Implicit Bias” Presentation

  • Travis Tucker and Mark Kamimur-Jiminez spoke about Guidelines for Dialogue for the facilitation.
  • Senators shared about things they have had to unlearn and relearn over their lifetimes.
  • Implicit Bias refers to the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.
    • Explicit Bias refers to an attitude or belief we have about a person or group on a conscious level.
  • Travis Tucker showed the “Peanut Butter, Jelly, and Racism” clip.
    • Senators were sent into Breakout Rooms to discuss the clip and aspects of implicit bias.
  • Biases develop in different ways, and we are often unaware of their development within us. They come from family, friends, education, location, etc.
    • Individual, Interpersonal
    • Community, Organizations, Institutions, Education
    • Policy, Ideals, Values, Belief Systems, Ideology
  • Travis Tucker presented a scenario involving implicit bias to the Senators and asked them to discuss in Breakout Rooms.
  • Takeaways!
    • We are all complicit — bias is pervasive.
    • Unconscious bias does not necessarily align with our declared beliefs or values.
    • Becoming aware of our biases can lead to changing behavior, but it doesn’t end there.

Announcements

  • Speaking caps are to be enforced in the meeting.

Election Commissioner Confirmation

Confirmation of Karin Dass (he/him/his)

  • Commissioner Madhulika Kastury introduced Karin as a motivated and passionate future member of the committee.
  • Karin Dass described his interest in politics and civic engagement, two reasons that he chose to apply for the Election Committee. 
  • Floor opened for questions.
    • Senator Tennyson asked how Karin might increase voter turnout and participation.
      • Karin spoke about increased social media presence as a catalyst for voter participation.
    • Senator Nkemjika asked what Karin believed was the most important role of a commissioner was.
      • Karin said that he believes a commissioner’s first job is getting people excited about voting.
    • Treasury Member David Wan asked how Karin would increase voter turnout.
      • Karin said that he feels students won’t vote if they don’t know the candidates. Spreading information is key to his platform.
    • Treasury Member Otto Brown asked how Karin would make sure students know what exactly they are voting on (amendments, candidates, etc.).
      • Karin said that unbiased reporting is important for transparency and voting awareness.
    • Senator Danny asked how Karin would keep people involved after the election cycle.
      • Karin described how he might provide information sessions and social media posts promoting civic engagement in the WashU community.
    • Senator Emmet asked how Karin would disseminate information about voting on WashU’s campus (both for campus issues and national/state government).
      • Karin suggested providing example ballots to students beforehand. He also hopes to distribute information about making a plan to vote and locations that student’s can vote.
    • Motion to move to discussion (Senator Phillip)
      • Seconded. 
  • Discussion
    • Treasury member Malar said she believes he is qualified and passionate.
    • Treasury member Adam Oubaita said he supports the candidate.
    • Treasury member Otto Brown thanks Commissioner Madhulika for bringing the candidate to the session.
    • Move to vote (Treasury member Otto Brown)
  • Treasury Vote
    • 15 in favor.
    • 0 opposed.
    • 0 abstentions.
  • Senate Vote
    • 16 in favor.
    • 0 opposed.
    • 0 abstentions.
  • Karin Dass confirmed to the Election Commission.

General Election Rules

  • Madhulika Kastury presented the General Election Rules.
    • Changes were made to the packet as discussed last week.
    • All posts on social media must have SU tagged.
    • SU Logo cannot be on any campaign materials.
    • No elected representative may endorse a candidate.
  • Questioning and Discussion
    • Senator Maddy asked for a revision of “3 standing committees” to “4.”
    • Treasury Member Bryan Peltier asked for clarification about what constitutes an endorsement.
      • Madhulika described an official endorsement as a confirmed organizational endorsement, using a logo, official email, etc.
      • She described that individual representatives may in no way engage with the campaigns of prospective representatives on a public platform.
    • Treasury Member Zach asked if likes or reactions would be considered endorsements.
      • Madhulika said she would not consider this an endorsement.
    • Treasury Member Jordan asked why chalking was not considered under the same qualifications as flyers.
      • Madhulika said chalking had not been discussed, and that further discussion would be required.
    • Treasury Member Zoe Hancock said she did not have a problem with chalking because it does not elicit the same sustainability problems.
    • Senator Philip Keisler described that he believes chalking would fall under the same qualifications because off-campus students would not be afforded the same resources.
    • Treasury Member Fadel Alkilani endorsed Senator Philip’s statements.
    • Motion to move to discussion (late).
      • Seconded.
    • Treasury Member Otto Brown asked about ranked choice voting in Student Union.
      • Madhulika said that the problems he mentioned did not apply to Treasury and Senate elections.
    • Move to vote.
      • Seconded.
  • Senate Vote
    • 15 votes in favor.
    • 0 opposed.
    • 0 abstentions.
  • Treasury Vote
    • 16 votes in favor.
    • 0 opposed.
    • 0 abstentions.
  • Election Rules passed.
  • Announcement: If anyone is willing to submit test ballots before the official election, let Madhulika know!

General Budget (Part 3)

  • Vice President of Finance Alexa Jochims describes Senate and Treasury’s responsibility to allocate the Budget and Activities Fee. 
  • Student Union dropped the Activities Fee to $50 due to Covid-19 for the fall semester.
  • Spring Budget Plans (according to most likely enrollment)
    • Students would be charged a $50 Activities Fee.
    • Block Funded Groups: 
      • Mental Health Fund: $60,000 requirement
      • WashU Votes: might still need some funding in the Spring
    • Student Group Programming:
      • A lot of funding goes toward room/space rentals.
      • Students receive subscriptions to NYT.
      • Groups have office supplies paid for.
      • No groups received budgets due to programming restrictions unless otherwise requested/required.
    • Senior Week:
      • Student Union typically pays for a week of programming for Seniors in the Spring Semester. This might be difficult/impossible due to Covid-19 restrictions.
    • Appeals Account:
      • Anticipating an increase in appealing/programming (permitted it can be conducted in a safe and effective manner) in the Spring Semester
  • Questioning
    • Treasury Member Alex asked how the Spring Semester budget allocation was determined.
      • Alexa described the process by which the budget was determined. 
    • Malar asked what programming was included in Senior Week and how the budget allocation was determined.
      • Alexa showed that Senior Week differs from year to year. Tour of different facilities and/or parks are usually included. She said that money was allocated under the pretense that little programming can occur, but that it would be irresponsible to completely defund Senior Week (supposing that it might be able to happen).
    • Treasury Member Fadel Alkilani asked why Senior Week funding was marked for such if it is going to be placed in Exec appeals. 
    • Move to discussion.
      • Seconded.
  • Discussion
    • Treasury Member Fadel Alkilani disagrees with the allocation of the budget to Senior Week.
    • Treasury Member Malar Muthukumar seconded Fadel’s statements and said the allocation seemed arbitrary. 
    • Speaker Gaby Smith clarified that voting is determining if the budget is sufficiently balanced considering all student needs, organizations, and circumstances.
    • Treasury Member Zach Sorensen said that creative suggestions could be made to change the allocation and/or carry-over of Senior Week money .
    • Treasury Member Zoe Hancock supported Zach’s assertion that Senior Week money be placed in a carry-forward. 
    • Continued discussion about Senior Week funding.
    • Motion to recommend budget for Senior Week to be changed to $0.
      • Objections: 
        • Vote to vote:
          • Does not pass
    • Continued discussion about Senior Week funding.
    • Move to vote on the entirety of the budget (Philip Keisler).
      • Seconded.
  • Vote (Senate)
    • 16 votes in favor.
    • 0 opposed.
    • 0 abstentions.
  • Vote (Treasury)
    • 16 votes in favor.
    • 0 opposed.
    • 0 abstentions.
  • General Budget passed.

Updates/Open Forum/Student Body Pulse

  • Appeals Account Update from Zach Sorensen
  • Senate Updates
    • Committees will meet next week, but no general meeting for 2 weeks.
    • Fall Seats: campaigning and elections will begin soon!
    • Add Senate Instagram posts to your stories! 
    • Braxton = Chief of Staff 🙂
    • Look nice at the next meeting! Administrators will be here!
    • Attendance Policy: no more than 2 unexcused absences.
  • Bryan Peltier announced that Student Union will be playing Among Us instead of its usual Assassin. 
  • Charlotte Pohl announced that there is a vacancy on the Senior Class Council. The application is open now. 
  • Ranen Miao spoke about the Spring Semester survey and its pertinence for Spring Planning.

Senate Snapz