Senate Minutes 12/8/2020

WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS STUDENT UNION BIWEEKLY SENATE MEETING

DATE CONVENED // December 8, 2020

LOCATION // Zoom

RECORDING SECRETARY // Braxton Sizemore

TIME CONVENED // 7:00 PM — Speaker Gaby Smith Calls to Order

Agenda:
Resolution Advocating for the Dehousing of Fraternities
Project Overviews
Senior Class Council VPPR Confirmation
General Budget Overview
Project Updates/Open Forum/Student Body Pulse
Exec and Advisor Updates
Senate Snapz

Attendance

FirstLast03/3104/0704/1404/1808/2409/1510/610/20
ChloeDoumarPTETEPAEPPP
NkemjikaEmenikePPPPAEPPP
StephanieHernandez-BarralesPPPPPPPP
PhilipKeislerAEPPAPPPP
KristinaLeePPAEPPPPP
NicoleLeersPPPAEPPPP
GabySmithPPPPPPPP
DylanRosenthalPPPPPPPP
TennysonHolmesPPPPPPPP
AdamOubaitaAEPPPPAPP
ChristineMuoghaluPPPPPATP
AniKesanapallyP
ZoeSiegelPP
MaddyKishPP
BraxtonSizemoreP
EmmetKleinPP
RamadanIbrahimPA
JaitsiriKaur AhluwaliaPP

Resolution Advocating for the Dehousing of Fraternities

  • Speaker Gaby Smith introduced the resolution and gave context for discussion. She noted that resolutions are not formalized or specific policies, rather stances held and promoted by SU.
  • Committee Chair Nkemjika Emenike reads the resolution and moves the Senate into discussion.
  • Senator Danny Eckert asked about future Greek Life surveys and safety concerns about expected movement of Greek housing off-campus.
    • Speaker Gaby Smith said it is unlikely that another survey will be conducted.
    • Committee Chair Nkemjika Emenike described that off-campus presence is already growing, regardless of dehousing, and should likely not affect stance on dehousing.
  • Senator Ani Kesanapally asked about the survey and its results, specifically percentages of responses, and also about how the transition to cultural affinity housing would occur.
    • Speaker Gaby Smith described that around 26% of students agreed or strongly agreed that fraternities should maintain housing on campus. She explained that the transition would be the responsibility of the University, although Senate must continue to advocate for and represent the student body.
  • Motion to Enter Discussion, Second
    • Committee Chair Nicole Leers said that she feels that she was bogged down in the details of the resolution in the previous discussion, and that she now feels it is clear that Senate should support dehousing. She said that it is not the onus of the student body to consider safety at parties. 
    • Senator Philip Keisler asked about the language of the resolution and its consistency with other documents regarding dehousing.
    • Committee Chair Chloe Doumar expressed her support, but noted that 25% of students still would like fraternities to have housing, and Senate must also represent those students fairly.
    • Senator Danny Eckert said he was on the fence about the resolution due to the uncertainty regarding implementation of dehousing. He asked about IFC/WPA officials that had supported dehousing.
      • President Ranen Miao explained that different student groups will have plenty of time to advocate for housing on campus following dehousing, and that mobilization and enforcement will occur over time following resolutions and University action. 
    • Alumni Matthew Eshelbrenner introduced himself and asked Senators to discuss fallout and social implications of dehousing.
      • President Ranen Miao described that it is first-and-foremost the Senate’s responsibility to make recommendations following the student body and its ideals. 
      • Eshelbrenner asked if Senators understood what might happen to fraternities if they lost housing. He discussed the personal investments of alumni toward housing.
    • Senator Ani Keesanapally echoes the sentiments of Senator Danny Eckert, saying he is concerned for the general safety of the student body.
    • Senator Philip Keisler acknowledged concerns, but said that general student body pulse should take precedence in discussions about safety.
    • Committee Chair Nicole Leers described her opposition to the suppliance of University space (housing) to organizations that have consistently undermined the well-being and safety of the student body.
    • Committee Chair Nkemjika Emenike explained that, until recently, this movement was spear-headed by Greek life members and leaders. 
    • Committee Chair Tennyson Holmes supported the resolution based on the pulse of the student body, and explained that the details are not important to the passing of such a resolution. 
  • Motion to Vote, no Objections
    • In Favor: 14
    • Opposed: 1
    • Abstain: 2

Senior Class Council VPPR Confirmation

  • VPP Charlotte Pohl introduced Senior Class Council VPPR appointee Sammie Schein.
  • Sammie introduced himself and detailed his qualifications
  • Speaker Gaby Smith opened the floor for questions.
    • Senator Zoe Siegel asked what his favorite position was in his time at WashU.
      • Schein said he loved serving on CS40 Executive and organizing WUStock
    • Senator Emmet Klein asked what his favorite social event to program was.
      • Schein said he loved programming WUStock and the Jump into Junior Year Event.
    • Treasury Member Malar Muthukumar asked what other commitments he has.
      • Schein holds an internship with a New York political consulting firm, but feels he has plenty of time.
    • Committee Chair Tennyson Holmes asked what he felt is most important to accomplish as VPPR.
      • Schein says it is most important to have the senior class on the same page. 
  • Motion to Enter Discussion, Second
  • Motion to Vote (Senate):
    • In Favor: 17
    • Opposed: 0
    • Abstain: 0

General Budget Overview

  • Alexa Jochims introduced the General Budget and gave an overview of Senate’s and Treasury’s responsibilities.
    • She discussed the Student Activities Fee and its role in the budget of Student Union.
    • Block funded groups make an arrangement with Student Union to secure a certain level of funding for one year. 
    • SU operating costs include operational, software, and hardware costs to keep all branches up and running.
    • A large portion of the budget is allocated to large-scale SU programming and generalized campus contributions.
    • Veteran Senate and Treasury representatives described why the General Budget is so important to SU’s functioning and the student body.
    • Section Teams last year held unbalanced work loads; new teams this year will hopefully be more even.
  • Senator Danny Eckert asked what the main process of General Budget looks like after the sessions
    • Alexa Jochims described that the budget would not be implemented until the beginning of the next FY in July.
  • Speaker Gaby Smith asked how much money we might allocate this coming year.
    • Alexa said that Rob Wild described the FY budget as “beautiful.”
  • Treasury Member Fadel Alkilani asked if we would vote directly on budget items.
    • Alexa described that this had yet to be decided, but that voting procedures were certainly open to improvements.
  • Treasury Member Emily Chen asked about how reallocation worked in the past year considering Covid-19.
  • Exec recommended that new representatives attend the upcoming Tuition Forum.

Project Overviews

  • Ani: ImproveWashU Peer Institution Research
  • Adam: Learning Disability Inclusivity in Covid-Era 
  • Braxton: LGBTQIA+ Mental Health Resources
  • Danny: Improvement of Covid-Era Study Spaces on Campus
  • Dylan: Wifi Access for Students Across St. Louis
  • Emmett: Accessibility and Promotion of Mental Health Resources
  • Olivia and Jaitsiri: POC Inclusive Mental Health Resource Report
  • Christine: Meditation
  • Layan: Halal, Kosher, and Vegetarian Dining Options
  • Maddy: Nutritional Messaging on Vending Machines
  • Stephanie: Academic Equity and Infrastructure
  • Philip: Carbon Neutrality Plan

Updates/Open Forum/Student Body Pulse

Executive and Advisor Updates

Senate Snapz