Association of Amherst Students

Senate Meeting Minutes, March 6, 2006

 

SENIOR SENATORS

Attendance

BC

DC

Bradley

CA

Rania Arja

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Cobbs

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Andrew Gehring

X

Y

Y

Y

Y

David Gottlieb

X

Y

N

Y

N

Caitlyn Phan

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Jessica Rothschild

X

Y

Y

Y

 

Mira Serrill-Robins

A

 

 

 

 

Emily Silberstein

X

Y

Y

Y

Y

JUNIOR SENATORS

 

 

 

 

 

Avi Das

T

A

N

Y

A

Janice Djabatey

T

Y

Y

Y

Y

Andrea Gyorody

X

Y

Y

Y

Y

Charmel Maynard

A

 

 

 

 

Jordan McKay

X

Y

Y

Y

N

Gloria Monfrini

X

Y

Y

Y

N

Ashley Rose

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Tim Zeiser

A

 

 

 

 

SOPHOMORE SENATORS

 

 

 

 

 

Patrick Benson

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Adam Bookman

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Daniel De Zeeuw

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Michael Donovan

X

N

Y

Y

Y

Julie Kim

T

Y

N

Y

Y

Rohit Raj

X

Y

N

Y

A

Samantha Siegal

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Josh Stein

X

Y

N

Y

Y

FRESHMEN SENATORS

 

 

 

 

 

Jacqueline De La Fuente

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Anneliese Koehler

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Paul Nielsen

T

Y

N

Y

Y

Nicholas Pastan

X

Y

 

Y

Y

Jelani Lundy-Harris

T

Y

N

Y

Y

Michele Tran

X

Y

N

Y

Y

Ayyappan Venkatraman

T

Y

N

Y

Y

Shantel Watters

X

Y

N

Y

Y

EXECUTIVE BOARD

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Simmons

X

 

 

 

 

Noah Isserman

X

 

 

 

 

Richa Bhala

X

 

 

 

 

Kevin Nattinger

X

 

 

 

 

Austin Yim

X

 

 

 

 

Explanation:

BC – Budgetary Recommendations

DC – Constitutional Amendment presented by Jessica Rothschild, as amended

Bradley – $10 request for publicity

CA – Constitutional Amendment presented by Emily Silberstein and Josh Stein, as amended

 

Call to Order: 9:04

 

 

I.  Officer Reports:

None

II.  Committee Reports

a.  De Zeeuw: College Council has changed the judging of the lip-synch to make them fairer. Adding a rubric to the judging to make them more accurate. Also, they have made the judges more disconnected from the performers.

b.  Benson: Committee to choose a new Athletic Director has met 3 times since the last meeting. We have been reviewing application and deciding who we are going to call.

c.  Silberstein: The trustees met to talk about student access to Amherst

  i.  Simmons: The trustees asked me to convey that they did not want to make the meeting heated.

III.  Special Business:

a.  Rothschild Senate restructuring project;

  i.  Rothschild: I have e-mailed everyone to ask them about their concerns and to speak to their constituents, only two people got back to me.

  ii.  Gottlieb: How is the judiciary council seat going to be filled?

  iii.  Rothschild: Same as the way it is now.

  iv.  Gyorody: According to my reading of your proposal if a position is left unfilled the senate could fill it or the general student body could run, why is there this contradiction?

  v.  Rothschild: If an at-large position is left unfilled a student can run for it but if it is left unfilled someone can run for it during the spring without having to go through a vote of the entire school.

  vi.  Venkatraman: Why did you choose to have the committee elections before the senate elections?

  vii.  Rothschild: I put committee before senate because people have a more vested commitment to running for committees.

  viii.  Bhala: I think there was provision made that if someone missed three committee meetings they were thrown off the senate will this apply to at-large member?

  ix.  Rothschild: Sure

  x.  Yim: How would the impeachment procedures affect the committee positions? Can people be impeached if they are negligent?

  xi.  Rothschild: Sure why not.

  xii.  Simmons: How do we avoid the situation of non-senators shirking their responsibilities?

  xiii.  Rothschild: We can’t force them to come to senate meeting. You can ask them to write reports.

  xiv.  Simmons: We need to have a system to ensure people live up to their responsibilities. Can you look in the old SJO constitution to see if they had a method?

  xv.  Rothschild: I don’t think it needs to be in the constitution.

  xvi.  Simmons: There are provisions in the constitution about absences.

  xvii.  Yim: I think the provisions in the senate handle this.

  xviii.  De Zeeuw: None of these procedures have all at-large positions.

  xix.  Silberstein: What do you think we are doing so special in the special in the senate?

  xx.  Simmons: We have committee reports.

  xxi.  Benson: Did you consider having senate elections before committee elections so you can know who the six senators are and who ever lost can run for committee spots.

  xxii.  Rothschild: If they are really interested in the committees they will run for the committees.

  xxiii.  Bookman: But then you make it an either or proposition.

  xxiv.  Rothschild: I considered that, but having three elections is too much.

  xxv.  Donovan: Can you talk about the time constraints that prohibit three elections?

  xxvi.  Rothschild: If we have three elections we would come to close to spring break.

  xxvii.  Yim: Why can’t we switch the senate and the e-board elections around?

  xxviii.  Rothschild: You have to do e-board first.

  xxix.  Simmons: Why?

  xxx.  Rothschild: There needs to be a hierarchy.

  xxxi.  Silberstein: We spoke as a senate that we are concerned that the senate would lose power. We would rather have senate elections first.

  xxxii.  De la Fuente: Why are the three elections not feasible?

1.  Rothschild: We need to have the elections with sufficient time to correct anything unconstitutional.

  xxxiii.  Benson: Straw poll: who wants three different election: Wins

b.  Debate

  i.  Rothschild: Motion to approve senate project:

  ii.  Silberstein: Motion to amend to have three elections (e-board, senate, committee)

  iii.  Rothschild: I agree with the spirit of this, but if someone has a complaint about the last election there is no recourse; classes are over.

  iv.  Bookman: Someone, who wants to help the student body, has three chances to do so.

  v.  Simmons: If an election has a dispute in the last week of May then no one can devote the time to correct the problems.

  vi.  De Zeeuw: This three election process will cause the election confusion we are trying to avoid.

  vii.  Cobbs: A person that has been refused a position on the e-board and senate can become part of a committee and can get a line on his resume.

  viii.  Gyorody: I would rather have people who wanted committees fall back on the senate than people who wanted the senate fall back on committees.

  ix.  Benson: I wouldn’t want anyone to be so single-minded affecting the student body.

  x.  Bhala: Competition is a good thing. More competition would make us work with more vigor.

  xi.  Gottlieb: What if an election is contested in May? What if committee seats are not filled after the senate has stopped meeting?

  xii.  Silberstein: Can committee seats be filled in the fall?

  xiii.  Simmons: Can we juggle around the committee senate elections?

  xiv.  Benson: I think the way to solve this election dispute is to start elections earlier. Another school has already elected their e-board.

  xv.  Nielson: Move (not seconded)

  xvi.  Yim: We cannot implement what Benson is saying right now, but we can add that to future elections, but what can we do now?

  xvii.  De Zeeuw: Why can’t we have these committee elections in the beginning of the fall?

  xviii.  Donovan: I agree with this problem of the third election fading away and taking it as unimportant. Straw poll on reversing order: Denied

  xix.  Yim: Can we present all these alternatives to the student body? We can add these amendments to secondary questions on the referendum.

  xx.  Rothschild: We don’t know how this is feasible at all.

  xxi.  Stein: I am on the election committee and we can figure this out later.

  xxii.  Silberstein: My amendment is we will have three committee elections; E-board- 1st Tuesday in April, Senate- 3rdTuesday in April, Committee- 1st Tuesday in May

Hand Vote: Motion to have three elections: Approved

c.  Nielson: Motion to split the proposal to alter committee setup and the proposal to decrease the number of senators. Decreasing the senate could hurt the senate, but increasing at-large positions would either do nothing or help the senate

  i.  Gyorody: The problem with splitting it is people won’t take it as a whole. If we lessen the number senate seats but increase at-large positions on the committees it wouldn’t allow for enough senators to fill the committee seats.

  ii.  Gottlieb: This might work, but it might not. So, we shouldn’t assume that it will.

  iii.  Benson: I think this is a great idea to split the two propositions.

  iv.  Stein: Either way no one is going to vote yes to this motion.

  v.  Rothschild: The two go hand in hand.

  vi.  Bookman: I think we should vote on the committee plan first and then the senate plan.

  vii.  Nattinger: In the U.S. constitution, the senate usually pushes it through without the committees and I think you should do the same so that it will be in our language in stead of Jesse’s.

  viii.  Das: Do you have a referendum signed?

  ix.  Rothschild: No

Voice Vote: splitting proposals: Division

Hand Vote: Opposed

d.  Benson: Move: to cut out the part of decreasing the number of senators. There are many people in here who wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have 8 senators from each class.

  i.  Bookman: The people who came in 7 and 8 in the senate elections add a lot to the senate

  ii.  Nielson: If we continue with the committee part, but remove the part about cutting the number of senators we would allow senators to do more about what they care about.

  iii.  Pastan: Move

Hand Vote: to vote Passed

Hand Vote: To keep number at 8: Passed

e.  Das: Motion to table this indefinitely.

  i.  Rothschild: Can we not attack me?

  ii.  Das: If we make any legitimate changes you are just going to go around us.

  iii.  Stein: Nothing we do in here will matter.

  iv.  Cobb: Move

Hand Vote: to vote: Failed

  v.  Neilson: What can we do to get our suggestions put on referendum?

  vi.  Isserman: Anyone can make a referendum as long as they get a certain number of signatures.

  vii.  Bookman: I don’t think we should table this so we can get it in the minutes so that if the students see this referendum they can see what we wanted.

  viii.  Simmons: If Jessica takes this to referendum or not this should not affect our votes.

  ix.  Yim: I think their should be a provision to make sure the students see what we said about an issue that goes to referendum

  x.  Cobbs: Move

Hand Vote: To go directly to a vote: Approved

Hand Vote: To table indefinitely: Fails

f.  Cobbs: Motion to limit debate to 10 minutes

Hand Vote: To limit debate: Passed

g.   

  i.  Das: If the senate passes this with substantially different language that would go to referendum, but if you chose that our choices are untrue to the original language and you take the original language to referendum, which would have precedent?

  ii.  Rothschild: I never said I would go to referendum with the original language, but I can’t put out something that won’t work. If I wanted something additional added on this I would make my addition explicit.

Roll Call: to make constitutional amendment: Failed

IV.  BC Recommendations:

a.  Bhala: Items 5 and 6 have already been allocated. We have already allocate $2100 to ASA, the Chess Club is asking for $810 to bring the woman’s chess champ to school, we have already allocated a lot of money to the Riding team, and the Spring formal we have allocated all the money that was needed at that precise time, knowing that they could come back to us.

b.  Das: Motion to reduce chess club’s hotel allocation to $179

Voice Vote: Passed

c.  Silberstein: Motion to cut the riding team subsidies to $1740.

  i.  Riding Club rep: The whole team got together to reduce our fees to make the team more affordable to the AAS.

  ii.  Das: Call

Vote: to make change: Approved

d.  Donovan: Motion to add $150 for spring formal posters. They have done a great job cutting the costs.

  i.  Stein: They will be getting their funding from other places.

  ii.  Das: Do you guys need this money, now?

  iii.  Spring formal rep: We have all the money we need, right now. The BC recommended that we get the money for the DJ and decorations.

  iv.  Stein: Do you need the money, now?

  v.  Spring formal rep: No

  vi.  Gyorody: Call

Voice Vote: to add $150 to Spring Formal for posters: Failed

Roll Call: to pass BC Recommendations: Passed

 

V.  New Business:

a.  Rothschild: To run for the disciplinary committee you have to have a platform and it has to go to referendum.

  i.  Das: Call (Objected)

  ii.  Bookman: If we don’t pass this are we in direct violation of the faculty handbook.

  iii.  Cobbs: Move

Voice Vote: to go directly to a vote: division

Hand Vote: to go directly to a vote: Fails

  iv.  Das: We are supposed to follow the faculty handbook, but the faculty doesn’t really care about which senators sit on these committees.

  v.  Stein: The major problem with the disciplinary committee is that we have polarized ideas about what it should be. I think it is much better to have it as it currently is with senators who do not have a vested interest.

  vi.  Cobbs: There is no new information from the last time you brought this to our attention.

  vii.  Das: Call

Roll Call Vote: Constitutional amendment: Failed

b.  Bradley Shuttle:

  i.  De Zeeuw: Bradley shuttle requests $10 for publicity.

Roll Call: Passed

c.  Siegal: Motion to add $2500 for Holocaust speaker

  i.  Rothschild: This will be the 3rd annual Holocaust remembrance celebration. The speaker’s honorarium is $5000 and I will have to pay for her transportation.

  ii.  Das: Motion to commit to the BC. There were a number of issues raised in the BC about this proposal and the senate is not the forum to discuss this issue.

  iii.  Nielson: Is there a time issue?

  iv.  Rothschild: The event is April 17th

  v.  Cobbs: Call (objected)

  vi.  Gottlieb: There is no time restriction, so we can vote about this later.

  vii.  Gyorody: It is important for club reps to come to meetings. Jesse did not come to the meeting.

  viii.  Rothschild: If I was late with my request then would it be better to force the senate to vote on it now?

  ix.  Bookman: I think this is a good idea but I want to see this on paper

  x.  De la Fuente: Move

Voice Vote: Passed

Hand Vote: to commit this to the BC: Approved

d.  Silberstein: We came up with a fundamental flaw in the constitution. We have come up with an amendment to make it more difficult to change the constitution

  i.  Stein: This does not make it impossible to change the constitution

  ii.  Das: As is, the student constitution we have right now is meant to be flexible, but I think the constitution is particularly susceptible to bandit attacks.

  iii.  Pan: I think this is a good idea.

  iv.  Bhala: I think this cuts both ways. The senate tweaks the constitution all the time and this forces us to do it the right way.

e.  Gyorody: Motion to put a period at the end of proposal and to strike the end of the sentence. Having an open meeting is unfeasible.

  i.  Stein: If 40 students don’t find this important enough to come then it is not worthwhile enough vote on.

  ii.  Cobbs: Motion to not strike after proposal, but to make it at least 35 people

1.  Gyorody: I don’t take this as friendly. Depending on the importance of the referendum forcing 35 people to come is unreasonable.

2.  McKay: I think this goes too far and makes it almost impossible to make changes to the constitution.

3.  Silberstein: The procedure for proposing a referendum is for things that cannot pass through the senate. I don’t think we should be concerned with things that are not opposed to in the senate.

4.  De la Fuente: Does this apply to all students?

5.  Silberstein: Yes

6.  Bhala: I don’t think that 40 people is that much.

7.  Bookman: Call

Hand Vote: to change from 10% to at least 35 people: Approved

  iii.  Bookman: Straw poll to see who would like to change this to eradicate any requirement on how many people need to be at the open meeting. Majority for. Motion to remove the people requirement and to ensure that the meeting is highly publicized.

  iv.  Gyorody: Call

Hand Vote: People in favor of removing people requirement: 13 For 9 Opposed: Passed

f.  Benson: I don’t think anything will ever get amended if we require 25% from each class to sign.

  i.  De Zeeuw: I think these requirements are plausible.

  ii.  Stein: I think it is vital to keep the percentage from each class, but we can lower the percentage.

  iii.  Gottlieb: The only people that are ever going to be able to pass one of these are people that go from door to door or can pay people to hold clipboards.

  iv.  Nattinger: The JC has to pass all amendments before people can even collect signature. Someone mentioned that the constitution has been altered much, but the referendum went through last year and that had to go to a student petition. So, this has worked before.

  v.  Donovan: Motion to amend the proposal to change 25% to 15% and to make this percentage of people on campus.

1.  Das: Call

Hand Vote: To change percentage: 21 For 3 Opposed: Passed

  vi.  Das: Call (objected)

  vii.  Isserman: No one is on the speakers list

Roll Call: To approve amendment: 22 For 2 Opposed 2 Abstain: Passed

g.  Nielson: We should commend Jessica for all her hard work.

h.  De Zeeuw: Anyone on the Bradley Shuttle Committee should come and talk to me after the meeting.

i.  Benson: I want to open a discussion for anyone who has any ideas for social events on campus.

  i.  Venkatraman: Campus wide capture the flag

  ii.  Bhala: More house bonding. RCs should spend all their money on floor events.

  iii.  Lundy-Harris: More intramural games based on dorms.

  iv.  Das: Expanding on tea at the library or milk and cookie nights at Val

  v.  De Zeeuw: A lot of events are held during the week. We should have weekend events.

  vi.  Yim: Easter egg hunt

  vii.  Simmons: From the trustee meeting they want us to come up with meaningful ways to make cliquishness a non-issue

  viii.  Benson: If we could use these kinds of ideas to end self-segregation that would be great.

  ix.  Simmons: Why can’t the school provide alcohol for those over 21?

  x.  Gyorody: Bring back mountain.

  xi.  Bookman: Meet new students’ week, where students are encouraged to sit with strangers at Val.

j.  Stein: Motion to have referendum for constitutional amendment and spring formal on March 14th

Hand Vote: to have referendum: 24 For 3 Opposed: Passed

k.  Simmons: John Anderson and Martin Frost are coming to Amherst as a part of the Washington to Amherst program. We are trying to get $2500 for honorariums and lodging.

  i.  De Zeeuw: Is there a time issue?

  ii.  Simmons: Yes

  iii.  Silberstein: Motion to move to commit to the BC.

  iv.  Bhala: Mike told me the interdisciplinary committee won’t give them any money.

  v.  Simmons: They are working with us to develop this program and this is an unprecedented amount of money.

  vi.  Silberstein: Why won’t the interdisciplinary fund pay for this?

  vii.  Simmons: This would look better if it came from us and Dean Lieber and the President decided that $1000 would be a sufficient amount from the president’s office.

  viii.  Das: What do the senators whose project this is have to say about the issue?

1.  Kim: Mike asked me to help him out today.

2.  Raj: Mike asked me to help him out today, but I think it is a great idea. Having two former senators here would be a great benefit to the college.

  ix.  Stein: This seems like a president’s initiative.

1.  Simmons: A lot of the work it yet to come.

  x.  Stein: I think this needs to go to the BC so we can split this fee.

  xi.  Djabatey: This is too much money taken out of the senate fund and we can’t afford this if people haven’t completed their projects.

  xii.  Gyorody: I don’t like this sentiment of senate projects being spoon fed to senators.

  xiii.  De Zeeuw: Has the JC approved this senate project?

  xiv.  Das: The JC doesn’t have to approve proposals but they have to judge whether a senate project has been done enough to fulfill the requirement.

  xv.  Raj: There is a lot of work to be done. I wouldn’t simply have chosen this senate project because it was presented to me on a silver platter.

  xvi.  Silberstein: Move

Hand Vote: 22 For 1 Against: Passed

Hand Vote: to move to the BC: 22 For 1 Against: Passed

VI.  Announcements:

a.  Simmons: I think we have set really bad precedent tonight. We passed the Francis Bok event and the T-shirt project without committing it to the BC.

b.  Bhala: I completely agree with Mike. If we are going to set precedent we need to always follow it.

c.  Benson: I didn’t vote against it because I am on the BC, but because this is too much money to simply allocate right now.

 

Motion to Adjourn:

Adjourn: 11:56 pm