SA resumes 2008 agenda, underage drinking discussed

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September 12, 2008

11:14 AM

The Student Assembly met at their new location in Washington Hall 201 for a two-hour meeting Tuesday.

After updates from committee heads, the senate confirmed several SA assembly secretaries. Braum Katz ’10 was appointed as secretary of student rights, Adeela Tajdar ’09 was confirmed as secretary of diversity initiatives, and Katie Dixon was confirmed as secretary of the department of health and safety. All confirmation decisions were unanimous.

Discussion mainly focused on the Amethyst Act, sponsored by Sens. Ben Brown ’11, Ross Gillingham ’10 and Steven Nelson ’10, and the AED Act, sponsored by Brown, both of which were introduced last week.
The Amethyst Act derives its name from the nationwide Amethyst Initiative, which calls for a reopening of debate about drinking age restrictions. Nationwide, 129 college presidents have already signed the initiative, which strives to lower the drinking age to 18. According to the initiative’s website, the statement makes clear “the signatories’ belief that 21 is not working as well as the public may think.” The bill before
the SA, however, merely encourages President Reveley to sign the initiative.

All of the sponsors emphasized the bill’s neutrality.

“It is not advocating a specific policy point,” Brown said.

The sponsors noted that by signing the initiative, Reveley would generate press attention for the school, in addition to advancing the cause of the movement.

Sen. Caroline Mullis ’09 asked if the aims of the initiative truly reflected campus sentiment.

“Maybe this is what I want, but I can’t know for sure that the students want this,” Mullis said.
The sponsors questioned whether it would be feasible to have a referendum for every bill, and again, emphasized the bill’s neutrality.

Sen. Matt Beato ’09 spoke up in the bill’s defense, stating that he did not feel that opening debate on the topic was controversial.

The senate passed the Amethyst Bill unanimously.

The AED Act received less support from the senate. The act allocates $19,500 for the purchase of 15 Automatic External Defibrillators to be placed on campus. Most of the devices would be located on Old Campus, where AED coverage is limited. Many would be located in residence halls, as students are unable to enter other residence halls after midnight. AEDs can save lives in the event of cardiac arrest. Although cardiac arrest is rare among college students, Brown noted that it can “affect people of all ages.”
Other senators responded negatively to the bill.

Mullis objected, saying that “it’s not our job to use student funds for this.” Brown replied, admitting that the initiative “should be done by the administration,” but that “it’s completely reasonable for us to step up.”
Many senators expressed doubts as to Brown’s methods for deciding the placement of the AEDs. Brown’s technique was to measure the time it took him to walk to the nearest AED from various locations on campus. His placement reflected the American Heart Association’s recommendation that an AED be no more than four minutes away. Brown made clear his confidence in his prospective placement of AEDs, saying that

“I think this placement would most effectively cover the campus.”
Due to widespread doubt about the placement of the AEDs, a motion to table the bill until next week was passed.

Sen. Matt Pinsker ’09 presented the Student Choice Mascot Committee Act, which allocates $500 as a reward to the person whose mascot submission is accepted by the athletics department. The act passed unanimously.

Several new acts were introduced for later consideration, including the Open Billing Act and the Post Office Act. The last-minute Sept. 11 Memorial Act was ultimately dropped, as it violated funding procedures. Instead, the Class of 2009 fund provided funding for the memorial.

The SA will continue to meet in Washington Hall 201 for the remainder of fall term.

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