SA votes for Hindi class and student-police tailgate

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November 21, 2008

1:21 AM

During Tuesday’s meeting the Student Assembly senate received its monthly finance report and passed legislation that will help bring a Hindi class to the College of William and Mary next year.

The meeting began with Secretary of Finance Yael Gilboa ’11 presenting on the finance report, which detailed the state of the SA’s various funds since the beginning of fall semester.

The consolidated reserve, the SA’s largest single fund, currently contains $207,624, after having started the term with $233,101.36, a difference of $25,477.36. The Conference Fund currently contains $19,504, down from $20,345, $841 having been spent. The current balance of the Activities and Events Fund is $29,738, and the Off-Campus Account holds $13,072.05.

The senate voted on two bills. The first, the Helping Haul Hindi Here act, sponsored by Sen. Brittany Fallon ’11, allocates $500 to help fund an introductory Hindi class. The $500 to be provided from the Off-Campus Account is only a fraction of the total cost of the program. The Charles Center, the Dean of Arts and Sciences Office and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are collectively contributing $4,250.

Fallon argued that the program would be beneficial for the College on several levels, citing the popular support on campus for Hindi classes and noting the success that the language has had at nearby universities including U.Va. and Georgetown University.

Sravya Yelesavarapu ’10, said that the prospective program has “had a lot of support from the administration,” and that the class would be available on Banner as soon as two days after the passage of the bill.

The senate was largely receptive to the request, though a few senators questioned whether the SA should have responsibility for funding academic programs given that the Hindi program would be available to only 30 students.

“I don’t think it’s really our role to determine which departments could or couldn’t get money,” Sen. Matt Beato ’09 said.

Sen. Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 spoke in favor of the bill, arguing that the introductory Hindi class could lead ultimately to a more comprehensive Hindi program.

“In my view, this is a very small amount of money for what could turn into a really great program,” he said. “It’s a pilot program. It has the possibility of turning into something that could really help this campus.”

The bill passed 19-1-0, with Sen. Matt Pinsker ’09 dissenting.

The senate also considered the Student Police Tailgate Act, sponsored by Sen. Ross Gillingham ’10. Designed to improve relations between College students and the William and Mary Police Department, the bill allocates $400 for the purchase of food for a tailgate to be held Saturday, Nov. 22. The tailgate will take place prior to the Tribe football’s game against the University of Richmond. According to Gillingham, various members of WMPD will be attending, despite the increased police activity required during a home game.

Several senators voiced concerns about the possible ramifications for the event. Fallon noted that forums of this type rarely have high student turnout, while Sen. Sarah Rojas ’10 asked whether this might have a negative effect on student-police relations. Gillingham replied that he did not expect that the police would be offended, stating that the event “can only be a good thing.” Sen. Steven Nelson ’10 expressed his support for the bill, though he requested that a specific passage be reworded so as to be less adulatory of WMPD. He acknowledged that the event could possibly improve the relationship between students and the WMPD.

The bill passed 19-1-0 with Beato dissenting.

The SA senate will not meet next Tuesday and the last SA meeting of the semester will occur the Tuesday following Thanksgiving break.

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