The last Student Assembly senate meeting of the academic year opened with the introduction of the newly elected committee chairs.
Sen. Brittany Fallon ’11 will chair the Finance and Budget Committee, Sen. Ross Gillingham ’10 will chair the Public Affairs Committee, Sen. Betty Jeanne Manning ’12 will chair the Student Life Committee, Sen. Stef Felitto ’12 will chair the Policy Committee and Sen. Jill Olszewski ’12 will chair the Outreach Committee.
The first piece of legislation passed was the Student Outreach Department Act, sponsored by Sens. Ben Brown ’11 and Fallon.
In addition to forming an Executive Department of Student Outreach, this bill would dissolve the Agency for Internal Affairs and transfer its duties to the SA President.
“The Student Outreach Department would be responsible for the Ambassadors Program, among other things,” SA President Sarah Rojas ’10 said. “Members from the executive board would attend campus organizations’ meetings, helping to make the department more proactive and student … friendly than the internal agency currently is.”
The Act was passed unanimously.
The next piece of business was the Summer Shuttle Service Act. Sponsored by Sen Brown ’10 and Grad. Sen. Karl Mendoza ’10, this bill would provide transportation between off campus summer session residences, the Williamsburg area Transportation Center and Bloom during the summer months when the Green and Gold Lines stop operating.
There was debate as to whether Monticello Marketplace should also be included in the taxi service.
Mendoza pointed out that Williamsburg Area Transport lines could be used to reach many other locations like Monticello Marketplace and New Town.
“We’re not looking to provide an alternative to the bus system; we are looking to supplement it,” Sen. Walter McClean ’09 said.
The amendment to include additional locations was struck down, with 14 votes against, four votes for and one abstention.
The senate passed the bill unanimously without amendments.
The Instruction Act also passed, with 19 votes for and one vote against.
This bill appropriates money for the printing of posters to be distributed to all incoming students in the fall.
The posters, titled “SA’s Little Instructions for Life at William and Mary,” list various traditions and activities at the College.
“This is a great way to get [the] SA’s name out there and get new students acclimated to life at William and Mary,” Olszewski, the act’s sponsor, said. “It’s an outreach initiative aimed at welcoming newcomers to the College.”
The Exam Taxi Service Act II, which would allocate money for a taxi service to run within a five-mile radius from the center of campus between midnight and 7 a.m. during the upcoming exam period, passed unanimously.
The last bill discussed was the Response to Accusations of Terrorism Act.
This legislation came as a result of the Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment Report. Compiled by the Virginia Fusion Center, a division of the Virginia State Police, the report alleges that the College is a known location of anarchist extremists.
The act requests that William and Mary Chief of Police, Donald Challis, release all communications between Campus Police and the Virginia Fusion Center regarding the Terrorism Threat Assessment Report.
The Act also requests that an official explanation be offered to the College community from the Campus Police in the event that they declare the College to be a breeding ground for terrorism.
“These allegations are damaging to the reputation of William and Mary,” sponsor Sen. Steven Nelson ’10 said. “Let Donald Challis explain why we are terrorists, if he thinks we are terrorists, because we deserve an explanation.”
Nelson believes that this threat assessment is “anything but credible.”
The bill was passed with 14 votes in favor, five against and one abstention.