Senate Brief: Bylaw Changes, Auction

Free Speech Board message regarding Food Insecurity. Photo credits:  Jerry O’Mahony

Free Speech Board message regarding Food Insecurity. Photo credits: Jerry O’Mahony

BYLAW CHANGES

Senate motioned to approve a change to its preamble, as well as three changes to its bylaws. 

Parliamentarian Samuel-James DeMattio argued that the former preamble, written years ago, did not represent what the modern Senate does. The new one, he says, redefines “for the students, by the students.” It explicitly states that “[i]f the interests of the students conflict with those of the College, its first responsibility is to those of the students.”

Senate’s Executive Committee will handle purchasing and distributing paint for the Bates free speech board, thanks to one of the bylaw changes. This change came after a clash with the administration last semester on what constitutes free speech on the boards. If the administration did not deem whatever appeared on the board as “protected speech,” it would be painted over and the person or people who wrote it could be charged a fine, Paige Crandall told the Phoenix at the time. For all intents and purposes, that message would be considered vandalism. The administration also monitored and controlled who could check out paint for the board.

Due to the bylaw change, Senate hands out the paint for the wall, and if a genuine mess emerges, Executive Committee has pledged to clean it up. 

The two other changes concern parliamentary procedure. One ensures that if there is one or more senator on the list to speak when time runs out on an issue, they receive sixty seconds to make their point. The other allows the Senate Chair—currently Penny Kapusuzoglu—to call on senators who have not yet spoken if the call list is empty. 

SENATE AUCTION

Senators  finalized the last details on their Day of Service, which will be a live auction to benefit the Food Sharing Space. 

The event will be called “Live Auction: Student Senate 4 Food Sharing Space” with the subtitle “Pop the Corn, Feed the Children.” The title will be rendered exclusively in capital letters. 

Isoke Atiba, Senior Class Co-President, suggested the name. The title comes from RuPaul regular Jasmine Masters’ catchphrase, “Pop them corns so the kids can eat.” Masters clarified in a 2015 interview on “Hey Qween” that the phrase didn’t refer to food, but the foot corns that come from wearing tight-fitting shoes for long periods of time. When she was young, she saw a prostitute wobbling in high heels and cried out, “Pop the corns so the kids can eat.” The phrase remained her call for hard work. 

The auction will be from 6pm to 8pm this coming Thursday and will feature senators selling time and talents. Ian Gonzalez, Atiba’s Co-Class President, volunteered to cook a meal and compose a song. Maddy McNeila, the representative to SSSF, attested to Gonzales’ song-writing skills. He once wrote her a song that she “treasures to this day.”

Sarah Almeida and Samuel-James DeMattio will be the Masters of Ceremony. 

BIG SENATE GOALS

The remaining Big Senate Goals groups presented their action plans for the rest of the semester to the assembly. 

The Transparency and Student Outreach pitched making “Senate Swag,” apparel senators could wear around campus. Whether hats, pins, or shirts, the articles would identify the senators as such and encourage students to approach them. The group also proposed an increased social media presence. 

Belle Edeoga, Sarah Almeida, Samuel-James DeMattio, and Kayla Anne Santos make up the Transparency and Student Outreach group.

Sustainability and Campus Upkeep reinforced their commitment to promote and support existing campus groups that focus on sustainability. In particular they plugged G.R.O.W. and the the Sarah Lawrence arm of Sunrise. “Sustainability is a long-standing issue in Senate and it’s important that these conversations continue to occur,” Murray Hannon read from a statement prepared by Ilyssa Daly. Both women are members of the group, and are New Student at Large and the Sustainability Senator, respectively. The Sustainability and Campus Upkeep group also includes Jessie Shiner. 

The Mental Health group “stands in solidarity with all students seeking equitable and affordable mental health services on campus,” according to their prepared statement. They promise to lobby the school to provide, among other things, more therapists of color, informational brochures and more than the current six sessions per semester of therapy. 

Priya Masker, Emma Tynan, Jessie Shiner, and Samuel-James DeMattio comprise the group.

“We haven’t done much,” said Jessie Shiner, Diversity Committee representative, about the Faculty and Staff Training group. The group aims to hold diversity training for faculty and staff, and has so far spent their time researching the precedent of those sort of events on campus. According to Shiner, the Art of Teaching graduate program developed a course to teach their students how to support diversity in the classroom, but the funding was slashed. Arya Burke, Transfer Student at Large, said that the group wants to establish the training sessions and eventually make them self-sustaining. “It’s not the responsibility of the students affected by these things,” she remarked.

The Faculty and Staff Training group also includes Emma Oppenheimer and Emma Tynan.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Admissions spoke to the Committee on Student Life about retention rates and the issue of isolation on campus. 

Curriculum formed a task force charged with streamlining the registration process.

Diversity is working to secure winter housing for students who cannot or do not wish to return home over winter break. They also discussed the aftermath of the Town Hall on Food Insecurity held last Wednesday, and talked about student feelings of anger and distrust towards Paige Crandall and Danny Trujillo, who hosted the town hall. Additionally, the Committee reported that the search for more members of the diversity office will be held between the ’18-’19 and ’19-’20 school years. “Having searches over the summer seems like a good way to avoid getting student input,” said Jesse Shiner. 

Student Life held a discussion with the Office of Admissions on the President’s charge to address isolation on campus. 


Jerry O’Mahony ‘19

SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.