Senate provides funds for Lips, passes finance bill

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October 24, 2008

1:19 AM

A funding request for $800 for the student publication Lips received unanimous support from the Student Assembly senate Tuesday night.

Lips founder Annie Brown ’10 spoke on behalf of the magazine, which focuses on issues of female sexuality and was originally conceived as a women’s studies project. Brown explained that her magazine had received a lukewarm reception from the Publications Council, which she had approached for funding last year.

“During the question-and-answer session, I was harassed about the content of my magazine,” Brown said. The experience was so unpleasant that the Lips staff has deliberately avoided membership on the council.

“We didn’t try again to get onto Pub. Council because we, as a staff, believe that Pub. Council, right now, would not be a good place for us,” she said. “We’re waiting for [the] Publications Council to reform.”

On the whole, the senate was sympathetic to the request. Sen. Matt Beato ’09 asked why Lips had not, however, received funding originally from the executive branch.

“The reason why we didn’t give [funding] was because of you,” SA President Valerie Hopkins ’09 said, addressing Beato specifically. “The reason we did not fund it originally was because you felt like this was something that needed to come before the senate because it’s not appropriate for the SA to be putting money into publications.”

Beato insisted that this was not the case, stating that Hopkins had misinterpreted his stance.

“I’m sorry if we have a misunderstanding,” he said. “If you thought it should have been fully funded, you should have done that.”

Other senators agreed that there was no reason to withhold funding, and the request was approved unanimously.

The Flu Vaccine Funding Act, sponsored by Sen. Caroline Mullis ’09, had previously been considered by the senate, but was returned to committee due to disagreement as to the amount of money to be allocated. The revised bill appropriates up to $5,500 so that the Student Health Center can provide a $25 discount for the first 100 students to receive flu vaccines. The next 300 students to receive vaccines on “special events days” will receive $10 discounts. The bill passed unanimously.

The Necessary Changes to the Finance Code to Further Ensure the Safety of Our Money Act, sponsored by Mullis and the other members of the senate Finance Committee, is a comprehensive reform of SA finance code intended to address various weaknesses that contributed to recent abuse of senate funds.

The bill eliminates the senate debit card that was used by former SA Vice President Zach Pilchen ’09 for personal purchases. All expenditures from the off-campus account must now be approved through a bill passed by the senate. Expenditures from this account are limited to $750, an amount which can be exceeded by the passage of a separate senate bill.

The requirement that transactions exceeding$150 be proposed by the SA president and then approved by the SA senate chair, currently Sen. Walter McClean ’09, was met with disagreement from Sen. Michael Douglass ’11. He argued that the amount was too small, but his proposal to raise the cap to $250 failed by a vote of 9-12-0.

The finance bill passed 19-1-1.

The Know Your Rights Act II, sponsored by Sens. Ben Brown ’11, Steven Nelson ’10 and McClean, grants $525 from the Student Activities Consolidated Reserve Account for the purchase of 6,000 “Know Your Rights in a Residence Hall/Know Your Rights in a Police Encounter” plastic wallet cards. The bill was passed with unanimous consent.

The Technical Requirement for Access to Voter Files Act, sponsored by Beato, was presented as new business, but was voted upon immediately, as its provisions are time sensitive. The bill updates SA bylaws to enable the senate to receive a list of qualified voters from the State Board of Elections. The bill passed unanimously.

Several bills were also introduced for future consideration.

The HIV Testing Act, sponsored by Sen. Tom Flaherty ’12 and Nelson, would allocate a yet undefined sum to increase the accessibility of HIV testing on campus.

The Ludwell Printer Act, sponsored by Sens. Matt Pinsker ’09, Ross Gillingham ’10, Mike Tsidulko ’11 and Betty Manning ’12, allocates $306 for a network printer to be placed in the Ludwell Complex.

The Parking Services Review and Improvement Act, sponsored by Nelson and Pinsker, requests certain changes to Parking Services that would improve efficiency and student relations. Among the changes proposed are same-day notification for violation of campus parking policies and a call to expand parking in certain areas of the College.

The Elections Day Act, sponsored by Sens. Brittney Fallon ’11, Sarah Rojas ’10, Brown and Gillingham, calls for encouraging all College professors to cancel classes on Election Day.

Finally, the Outdoor Recycling Containers Act was introduced as new business. Sponsored by Brown and Fallon, the bill calls for financial support from the SA to help improve environmental sustainability on campus.

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