AAS SENATE MEETING
Monday, September 13, 2004

 

I. Attendance

SENIOR SENATORS

2

Elan Ghazal

x

Steve Hollister

/

Esther Lim

x

Gabriel Mattera

x

Arpan Podduturi

x

Daniel Reiss

x

Christian Sanchez

x

Justin Sharaf

x

 

 

JUNIOR SENATORS

 

Rania Arja

x

Rob Cobbs

x

Viet Do

x

Techo Kim

x

John Lian

/

Stephen Scriber

x

Mira Serril-Robins

x

Mike Simmons

x

 

 

SOPHOMORE SENATORS

 

Richa Bhala

x

Boris Bulayev

x

Avi Das

x

Will Havemann

x

Noah Isserman

x

Marco LoCascio

x

Anoop Menon

x

Jacob Thomas

x

 

 

FRESHMEN SENATORS

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

Ryan Park

x

David Scherr

x

Ian Shin

x

Ryan Smith

x

Roslynn Graves

x

 

II. Call to Order (9:04 PM)

 

III. Approval of the Minutes

Elan: Motion to approve the minutes

Elan makes corrections.

Minutes are approved by unanimous consent.

 

IV. Officer Reports

A. President

Ryan Park: I apologize for my lack of spirit at the retreat because I was sick. One of the things I wanted to say was a brief list of things I feel you guys can do to be good senators:

1. Read the attachments. Reading the minutes is important.

2. Read the constitution. It seems like people who have actually read the constitution have a monopoly over what it says because no one else has read it.

3. Take your committees seriously. It is the expectation that you go to your committee meetings. Attending and giving your committees their due respect is one of the most important parts of being a senator.

I also want to read these candidate statements so that you remember why you ran for the AAS.

Ryan Park reads some of the candidate statements.

Ryan Park: The overwhelming things that come through is talking to people and making sure what you say and do here is representative of what you hear out there. Also, be proactive. Bring things to the table.

B. Vice President

Dave: I would like to apologize for not getting the agenda up on the New Athenian. We will have an announcement on the Daily Jolt from here on out. If you are emailing me about senate business please email the vice president account. Lastly, each class committee, except for that of the senior class, needs to elect a class committee chair.

C. Treasurer

Ian: The BC is off to a good start. We met last Wednesday. All of the constituents should know that all of our forms are online. We are still trying to move everything as quickly as possible. Check requests are due Wednesday nights. The only big thing I have to say regards carry over from spring semester. As the bylaws require me to do, I have to calculate the carry over. The spring 2004 budget carryover total was $28,704.38. Discretionary just grew by 50%.

Marco: I was wondering if you could inform us as to which clubs didn’t use their funding.

Ian: I am working on that list right now. That will certainly be taken into account. Sometimes it’s just inflating the budget and sometimes it’s just circumstances not allowing the event to happen.

Justin: How much is normally left over?

Ian: Between $8,000 and $25,000.

Elan: Are the BC recommendations going to be on the Daily Jolt?

Ian: The BC recommendations are always on its website.

Dave: We can link that from the agenda.

 

V. Announcements

Elan: We will announce the freshmen senate elections soon and we can work out the dates the next meeting. The College Council met today. We are going to discuss housing, community teas, the honor code, advising, student/faculty, reading period, etc.. If you have any questions, come talk to us about that. Also, there is the referendum that I submitted last year. I don’t think we are going to pursue that in its current state.

Justin: I just wanted to remind people that we should probably tell people that we have these additional funds. We should make that public knowledge.

Ryan Park: Do you know if there are going to be any constitutional revisions on the ballot?

Elan: I haven’t been told anything about it.

Ryan Park: I think there is a procedural thing.

Ryan Smith: If anyone asks you about club stuff make sure they contact me or the JC somehow. The JC is ready to start recognizing people.

Mira: Will you be reviewing clubs as well?

Ryan Smith: Yes, we are. We usually just pick out a couple that are questionable. We don’t necessarily want to review the entire club list, but if they aren’t doing anything we are going to start canceling them and they will have to reapply for recognition. We were pretty lenient last semester, but this semester we will let them know if they aren’t doing anything.

Boris: What are the requirements to start a club again?

Ryan Smith: It is all in the constitution. It’s pretty lengthy so I don’t think we should get into that now.

Noah: I wanted to extend a quick welcome to all of the new people here.

VI. Special Orders

A. BC Funding Recommendations

Requestor

Requested

Recommended

Allocated

La Causa

$2,980.50

$1,500.00

$2,130.00

Mock Trial

$800.00

$300.00

$800.00

ACPB

$7,500.00

$0

$0

TYPO

$1,846.11

$1846.11

$1,846.11

Amherst for Kerry-Edwards

$120.00

$0

$0

Hillel

$392.00

$360

$360

Rugby (Women)

$705.00

$705

$705

ACPBG

$8,846.71

$0

$3,456.00

ASA

$1,180

Withdrawn

Withdrawn

Total

$24,370.32

$4,711.11

$9,297.11

Elan: I move to amend the Amherst College Pre-business Group’s allocation to $3,456.00.

Marco: Second.

Joe: Before I begin, I want to take a moment to hand out a sheet I have prepared for the senate.

Here you have our amended budget and an overview of our program. I would just like to say that tonight you will be deciding whether the seminar continues or not. We had an incredibly constructive meeting with the BC at the first meeting. They gave us a number of suggestions and we have incorporated them into our new budget. One concern was that other funding sources were not being considered. We have been working with other organizations from campus to secure that funding. We have secured $2,500 from the Mellon grant. We are working with the Career Center for $1,000. We are working with Dean Haynes to get $1,000. Another issue was that the request was really high. We underestimated the amount we would need this year. Even though we are adding additional programming such as lectures and a career visits program, a newsletter, and a career fair, we are keeping our budget the same as other years. Another issue was the exclusivity of programming. Our program is only limited to the amount of seats in the red room. The reason we use the application process is to make sure the resumes the students send are on point and if they aren’t, we direct them to the Career Center. The main issue is that they said that the pre-business seminar is not something that should be funded by the AAS. I have to completely disagree. The total Amherst participation and the enrolment for each class show that isn’t true. If you look at the seminar topics, you will see that these issues are not just specific to business majors. I’m sure that if you talk to your constituents they will completely support that statement. I would like to say that all of our other sources of funding look to the AAS’ recommendation to see if they want to assist in funding. To recommend $0 to the program is saying that students do not need this program and that this program does not bring any value to the Amherst College community. If you believe that this program is worthwhile and the way it has been run has shown that we are responsible and that we do good things with the money we have been given then I hope you support this recommendation.

Jake: I think this is a part of what may become a stronger interterm program. If there is anything the AAS should be considering funding and expanding is interterm.

Roz: Aside from the interterm point, I have to wonder whether a liberal arts college should be looking at something that is pre-professional.

Ryan Park: I just wanted to explain the BC’s rationale in terms of what I saw. I really appreciate how you have come with a much smaller request and have addressed our concern. One of the concerns was misrepresented. We didn’t feel that it wasn’t a valuable program. From my perspective, the student activities fee should be going to enriching a students experience while at Amherst College. We have millions of dollars invested in helping you get a job after Amherst and making sure you are set up for graduate school. This fee specifically is intended for the development of the Amherst experience. What I would want to know is how it enriches the time while you are at Amherst. This doesn’t necessarily have to be what we use our funds for and if the senate wants to make an exception then that’s fine.

Justin: I was just wondering what $500 for a gift is and why the website costs $350.

Joe: We bring in 40 speakers every year and each one costs about $5000. We pay no money to any of our speakers. The only thing we provide them are the gifts and the dinners. Again, we haven’t asked the AAS to pay for the dinners. If you take that into account, our only cost per presenter is about $150-200. We are bringing in people that are normally in the multiples of thousands for $200. The website is being done by a student who has spent a lot of time on the website so far, and he charges $14 an hour. This will allow people to apply online to the program. It will also have references back to our Career Center and it will also continue to have events we are planning on campus.

Ryan Smith: When do you need this money? Have you exhausted all of the sources? Is there a way that you can wait another month or so and try to find some additional funding somewhere else? I don’t know how urgent it is to get this money.

Joe: Again we have 5 programs. In the next month, 3 of our programs are happening. We have 2 lecture series. The third event is the career visits trip. We are taking juniors and seniors to investment banks in New York. This is our bare minimum where we can be safe. The only 2005 amounts that have been confirmed are the Mellon grant, the Career Center, and the interterm one. If the AAS supports us, I think we can get the rest of that cash.

Ryan Smith: Let’s say the AAS grants you this money and the Mellon grant money doesn’t come, is this program done for?

Joe: Yes, we are in a tight spot. We can raise course fees. We can petition the Career Center for more money. I don’t think it is that likely. If we didn’t get funding, we would just have to stat cutting our programming. We would probably cut the lectures that are coming up and shorten the seminar by cutting the career fair.

John: I think being in a liberal arts college it is more valuable dealing with the professional world since we don’t have that here. You have a lot of good information about things you are doing but do you have any hard evidence on the results of this program?

Joe: As far as I know, we have actual matrices showing the success of our program. 100% of our applicants said they would take the seminar again and recommend it to their friends. We put on an incredibly successful program. We are incredibly organized and we really love what we do and feel passionate about it and are willing to go the extra mile as long as we are given the opportunity to do so

Dan: From personal experience, I actually felt the seminar very useful. It sent a really powerful message to me that the business world is a horrible world and I don’t want to spend my time in it. Also, there is a fair amount of micromanaging going on in the AAS right now. This is a program right now that only one person in this room is running. It is not our place to decide whether this program should be run a different way.

Richa: As far as the results comment. I think the AAS works for pushing for 100% participation. We have never been results oriented. I am unsure of why we are wondering how many of the pre-business students go on to be CEOs. We spend thousands of dollars on things that no one goes to.

Noah: A lot of the people I know that go to a liberal arts college say that they are at a disadvantage because they aren’t as prepared to go into the professional world and this does that at a reasonable cost. The college is getting a lot of bang for its buck with this program.

Rania: I want to make an amendment to the amendment. I want to amend the request to subtract $500 in gifts bringing the total to just under $2000.

Techo: Second.

Rania: It seems like an important event and they went ahead and found money for two thirds of their original request. I have a problem with funding gifts for speakers. I think gifts are a great idea but I have a problem with the student government funding it.

Avi: Move the question

Richa: Second.

Voting on moving the question – MOTION FAILS.

Elan: I think this is a really small fee and it would be rude not to give them this gift. I think it shows a nice hospitality and would have them recommend their colleagues to come back.

Justin: Motion to limit the debate on this amendment to 10 minutes.

Dan: Second.

Mira: Amend to 5 minutes.

Dan: Second.

Dave: Is there any objection to changing it to 5?

There are no objections.

Voting on limiting the debate to -$500 amendment – MOTION PASSES.

Justin: I think Joe has done a pretty good job here. This is not a huge amount and I think it is a manageable amount to give them.

Gabe: I agree with that. The AAS should not be the last effort. This is one of the more popular interterm events.

Dan: Call the question.

Voting on -$500 from the $3,456.00 amendment – MOTION FAILS.

Dave: Ok we are back to the original speakers list.

Dan Savage: It is a good idea to have some people get an idea of what the real world is like. Activities fees go to things that do not enrich the student body including Masspirg. Almost 500 people benefit from this. I think if you just take their activities fees it makes sense to fund this program.

Boris: I just want to say that even though this is a liberal arts school, interterm is a time when we experience something new. When I went to my open house for Amherst, I noticed that people we taken care of career-wise and this is an experience where people can make the connections they need.

Mike: I just want to clarify a couple of things. I want to speak about this as a member of this seminar. I learned that I didn’t want to necessarily establish a career in business, but I also learned a lot of the things we miss on campus. As some of you may know, I started a think tank on campus. I think it is important that the seminar is not just about making connections for the business world. It is also teaching you how to survive. You don’t really learn those skills here. You learn how to think here, but not to how to survive.

Mira: I think there are a lot of strange things going on. They are getting money from a lot of places that no one is really overseeing. The mugs they had last year were expensive and not many people bought them. Career visits were reduced in price somewhat and I know they are charging people for that as well and the request does not take that into account.

I have another question. Are you asking us to pay for services that already have been rendered for the website?

Joe: It is not finished yet. The work is ongoing.

Mira: Generally I don’t think money should be given by the AAS for services that have already been rendered. Also the printing costs, they request money for mailings; we always reduce that to 14 or 10. We always make the amount smaller for all campus mailings and table tents for other clubs.

Mike: While it may be an issue where there are a couple charges that need to be questioned, we have to remember that this is a very expensive endeavor. We are asking people to come from all across the country. I think the amount Joe is asking for right now is reasonable.

Techo: Basically why I have been objecting is because there is a really important piece of information discussed during the meeting that hasn’t been addressed. I was under the impression that you were working with the Career Center to get the entire program funded and one of the reasons not to go through the Career Center was because you wanted to remain independent. I feel the most important thing would be getting that program to the campus even if it is through the Career Center.

Joe: One of the reasons the Career Center didn’t fund it was because the request came in too late to the comptroller’s office. We did go to the Career Center. President Marx is starting a interterm committee and I guess eventually they are going to start an interterm office. In 2-3 years the seminar may be able to get funding from that office.

Avi: Move the question.

Dan: Second.

Motion to move the question – MOTION PASSES.

SEE VOTE 1 BELOW. Motion to add $3,456.00 to the Pre-business Group – MOTION PASSES: 22-2-0.

Mira: Program Board – The BC would like for Program Board to come back later and ask for money for new programming. We told them we can afford it but we won’t have money for programming in November or December. The BC wants us to fund this and then come back for money in November. Program Board should not have to come back 3-4 times to bring programming to campus. Even with an increased budget, the AAS has always given additional funding to Program Board’s big ticket event. This is a huge event especially during an election year.

Avi: I can understand Mira’s point that this is a big ticket item. We did double program board’s funding. I don’t see the problem with asking Program Board to come back. We do that with a lot of other clubs.

Ryan Park: I went back through the old minutes and Program Board’s funding was doubled. We have invested a lot in this program already. The relationship between the AAS and Program Board is that we usually give you additional funding. We trust though that you can operate within your budget and spread it out throughout the semester how you see fit. We give them an independent budget and we should expect that they can handle that.

Richa: I request to give Mock Trial their full amount.

Justin: Second.

Roz: We are asking for registration fees. There is a flat fee for the materials. At the time of registration you have to pay for regional tournaments and national tournaments. A credit is given to Amherst College second semester.

Mira: Call the question.

Elan: Object. It gets credited?

Roz: It goes back to the Mock Trial account and next year we would have to pay less.

Avi: Call the question.

Ian: Object. The big question I had was why these were pegged required fees without knowing how these teams were going to perform. We can’t force them to go our way. I am going to write a letter to them but as of right now there is nothing we can do.

Roz: You don’t need to do well to compete at the regional tournaments.

Avi: Call the question.

SEE VOTE 2 BELOW. Amendment to increase Mock Trial to $800 – MOTION PASSES: 22-1-1.

Rania: Amend to increase La Causa’s funding to $630.

Marco: Second.

Rania yield to La Causa’s representative who explains that they got $850 from departments and have $1,500 but we still need $630.

Richa: Why didn’t the BC fund it in full?

Ian: We asked them to go to the departments to see how much they would get. I think it is a great program.

Avi: Call the question.

SEE VOTE 3 BELOW. Motion to increase funding for La Causa by $630 – MOTION PASSES: 23-0-1.

Avi: Move the question.

Esther: Second.

Motion to move the question to vote on the BC recommendations for the week – MOTION PASSES.

SEE VOTE 4 BELOW. BC recommendations – MOTION PASSES: 24-0-0.

B. Special CPR Committee Election

Rania: the Committee on Priorities and Resources sees how much each department gets. A lot of what we do is confidential. I think there are only 3 students on it and each student gets a vote.

Ryan Park: Is it possible to wait until the freshmen come?

Rania: Yes but the chair would like it to be selected now as would I so I can fill them in.

Elan: I nominate Esther.

Esther: I accept.

Viet: I nominate myself.

Esther: It was a committee that I was originally interested in and I will be up at 8:30 regardless.

Viet: This is a committee that I ran for last time unsuccessfully. As Rania said, a lot of it is confidential so I don’t know a lot about it but I am very interested in knowing about it.

Elan: I would like for the candidates to give a few more reasons as to why they should be on this committee

Esther: I think that after being here for 4 years I know the campus better and would be a better committee member.

Viet: I do believe that being a junior and having aanother year to go at it would make me a better candidate.

Viet is elected.

VII. New Business

A. Ad hoc Committee on Academic Priorities

Dave: Ben Lieber has informed us that the college is forming an ad hoc committee on academic priorities. The student cannot be a senior because the committee is meeting through half of next year. We are holding elections and nominations for that now.

Ryan Park: This committee is incredibly important. This committee is charged with creating a set of guidelines for academic planning for the next 10-15 years to be proposed to the board of trustees. We want someone who is very dedicated.

Noah: Who makes up this committee?

Mira: Dean Griffiths, President Marx, and several other professors. This could mean the largest increase in full time employees.

Steve: Do you think this is President Marx’s move toward a core curriculum?

Ryan Park: No.

Elan: I move that we open this to the general student body with the elections of the freshmen.

Dave: Would you be ok with us taking this off the table now and seeing if it is ok with the administration to postpone this?

Ryan Park: I would say that the motion should be germane. We are kind of making the rules up as we go along. If the senate wants to discuss this motion, then that’s fine.

Rania: Second.

Elan: I think this is a pretty important thing that should be opened up to the student body. There are a lot of people that would want to be a part of this. If this was within the parameters of when we ran for senate last spring then some people who wanted to be on the committee would have run.

Ryan Park: The way it was presented to me was select someone and so we can do that however we want.

Stephen: I am confused with how you say the general election.

Elan: An election other than the senate.

Avi: I think Elan may have an excellent point. Really before we say this as a senate we should see what Dean lieber and President Marx want out of this person.

Dan: I think we should wait a week for a different reason. We just had some pretty impromptu speeches and I don’t think a lot of people have considered this proposal. Everyone is going to be interested in their own major and that this should going to get equitable treatment. We need to give everyone in this room time to think about what their role could be.

Anoop: What is the difference between this and the Committee for Educational Policy?

Ryan Park: This deals with procedural issues with the college such as ratifying new courses. The CEP has no authority to change educational policy. It can propose changes to be brought in front of the faculty.

Dan: I think this committee is a direct result of the CEP’s recommendation. There were members of the CEP that were serving the same purposes.

Richa: I agree with opening it up to the student body but my problem with that is the way that our student government is usually set up is that we have senators normally sit on committees.

Elan: My motion still stands regardless of the timeline. People do need to formulate the ideas they have for this committee. What I understand is that President Marx wants student input and I’m not sure the senators are more fit for this.

Ryan Smith: Can we have the interested senators see Ryan after the meeting? It looks like we are going to be putting it off anyway.

Marco: Move to postpone until next week

Avi: Second.

Dan: I think it makes sense because this choice is basically Ryan’s and we should postpone it since he wants to.

Moving the question on whether to postpone – MOTION PASSES.

Motion to postpone until next week – MOTION PASSES.

B. Parking

Christian: One of the biggest issues upperclassmen have is parking. I don’t know if there is anyone here who can speak on it. It seems like the alumni parking lot is open. Is there anything we can do temporarily?

Ryan Park: I brought it up at the college council meeting. I talked the chair of the Parking Committee and he said they would bring it up in their next meeting. I brought it up whether they should be able to park after hours and weekends.

Christian: I saw that it is empty during the week.

Ryan park: I think what would be best is passing a senate resolution and then recommend it to the committee.

Marco: A sort of related concern. They took away the only two outdoor basketball courts that the school has by putting the parking lot there.

Jake: I move that the senate resolves that some part of alumni lot be dedicated to student parking.

Avi: Call the question.

Ian: Object – I think it would be a good idea if in the aftermath some members of the senate wrote a letter coming up with some sort of concrete suggestions.

Gabe: You can just write one sentence each.

Dan: These aren’t exclusive thoughts. There is no reason for us not to vote on this resolution.

Rania: Call the question.

Motion for a resolution for student parking – MOTION PASSES.

Ryan Park: I will write a letter and will read it the next meeting.

 

VIII. Adjournment (10:54 PM)

 

ROLL CALL VOTES

VOTE DESCRIPTION:

1 Add $ 3,456 for Pre-Business Seminar group

 

2 Add $800 for Mock Trial

3 Add $630 for La Causa

4Pass BC Recommendations

SENIOR SENATORS

1

2

3

4

 

Elan Ghazal

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Steve Hollister

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Esther Lim

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Gabriel Mattera

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Arpan Podduturi

Y

N

Y

Y

 

Daniel Reiss

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Christian Sanchez

Y

Y

A

Y

 

Justin Sharaf

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUNIOR SENATORS

 

 

 

 

 

Rania Arja

N

Y

Y

Y

 

Rob Cobbs

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Viet Do

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Techo Kim

N

Y

Y

Y

 

John Lian

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Stephen Scriber

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Mira Serril-Robins

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Mike Simmons

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOPHOMORE SENATORS

 

 

Richa Bhala

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Boris Bulayev

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Avi Das

Y

A

Y

Y

 

Will Havemann

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Noah Isserman

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Marco LoCascio

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Anoop Menon

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Jacob Thomas

Y

Y

Y

Y

 

Y = Yes

 

N = No

 

A = Abstention

 

/ = Not Present for Vote