SA debates two Election Day bills

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October 31, 2008

4:05 PM

The Student Assembly senate considered a last-minute funding request from the Students for the Innocence Project as well as two bills related to the upcoming election at the SA meeting Tuesday night.

The Students for the Innocence Project, an organization from the William and Mary Law School, requested $1,600 to help fund a symposium featuring several wrongfully convicted criminals. Two Law School students presented the request, arguing that the event would generate positive press for the College while advancing a worthy cause.

The senate was, for the most part, receptive, though several senators voiced concerns about the exact sum to be granted.

“I think it’s really weird that we’re voting on an allocation and we don’t have any line items in front of us,” Sen. Matt Beato ’09 said. “I don’t even really feel comfortable voting on this now.”

Sen. Steven Nelson ’10 said the senate should not base its decision entirely on the event’s financing, noting that the SA has substantial monetary reserves.

“From what I understand, the roll over from semester to semester is huge. So I think that the last thing we should worry about is money,” Nelson said. “It’s not like a huge amount of money. Its money we wouldn’t have spent anyways.”

The senate approved the funding request 16-3-1.

In other business, the senate voted on the Room Reservation Deposits Online Act, the Election Day Act, and the President Election Day Outreach Act.

The Room Reservation Deposits Online Act, sponsored by Sen. Ben Brown ’11, seeks to ease the room reservation deposit process by allowing students to pay online, rather than delivering the payment in person to the Bursar’s Office. The bill itself does not allocate any funds for this purpose, but instead “encourages” the College to implement such a system. The bill passed unanimously.

The Election Day Act, sponsored by Sens. Ross Gillingham ’10, Sarah Rojas ’10, Ben Brown ’11 and Brittany Fallon ’11, acknowledges the large number of student voters in Williamsburg and encourages professors to cancel their classes Nov. 4, Election Day.

The bill also advocates that classes falling on future presidential election days be canceled by the Dean of Students Office directly, thereby allowing students full access to the polls. The bill included a letter expressing its intent to be delivered to various administrators and professors.

The President Election Day Act, sponsored by the Senate Outreach Committee as a whole, allocates up to $1,000 for 3,000 “Hark Upon the Ballot Box” stickers for distribution at the polls on Election Day. The bill also will fund the distribution of apple cider to voters waiting at the polls.

Though introduced as new business, the bill was heard on Tuesday due to its time sensitivity and was passed with unanimous consent.

The senate will not meet on Election Day. The next SA meeting will be held Nov. 11.

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