Student Assembly denies new Funeral funding legislation

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October 21, 2010

11:39 PM

The College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly voted on the new Funeral Transport Act during its meeting Tuesday. The bill, proposed by Sen. Noah Kim ’13, would give SA funds to two friends of Whitney Mayer ’13 for travel and lodging expenses, to attend her funeral service Thursday in Texas.

Mayer was found dead of an apparent suicide Oct. 15.

The bill passed 11-7 with three abstentions.

However, after the meeting adjourned, this type of allocation was determined to be a violation of the SA code. SA President Chrissy Scott ’11 then vetoed the bill.

After this decision, Vice President for Student Affairs Ginger Ambler ’88 Ph.D. ’06 volunteered to pay for the expenses that the bill would have covered.

“What can the student assembly do?” SA Vice President Kaveh Sadeghian ’12 said. “What should the student assembly do? It is really tough to see what we’re at liberty to and what we aren’t [at liberty to] do and what is overstepping our bounds. But I think in this situation, by helping these two students, we’re not just helping the two students. We’re also helping the larger collective to a certain extent.”

After it was proposed, the bill was amended to take the funds from the primary off-campus account, instead of the Student Activities Reserve. The total amount posed for appropriation was $1,712.

“If we really feel that it is our obligation, why don’t we do it out of our private pocket?” Sen. Curt Mills ’13.

Sen. Ryan Ruzic J.D. ’11 argued against the bill.

“My heart goes out to all of the friends of this girl, but we cannot fund this,” he said. “My first year, my grandfather died, and I did not have the $800 to fly back to Illinois for his funeral. Either we have to do this for everyone, or we can’t do it at all and we simply don’t have the money to do it for everyone.”

Also at the meeting, the Preventing the Finance Code from expiring Act passed unanimously, and the Student Conduct Selection Act passed by a vote of 18-1 with two abstentions.

Sen. Zach Marcus ’12 sponsored the Student Conduct selection act. The bill seeks to create another bill with the desired result to have the Student Conduct Council members elected, instead of being chosen from an application process. This year, the Student Conduct Council did not have enough quality applicants and entered the year with vacancies to be filled.

“I just know to fill the spots that were vacant, people were picked to apply based on friendship networks, which is something we need to take into consideration,” Sen. Erin Mee ’11 said.

The Preventing Conflict of Interest Act and an Independent Elections Commissions Act both failed to be passed Tuesday.

Ruzic introduced the Endowment Act. The bill would set a cap of $100,000 dollars on the Student Assembly reserve fund and every fall, all funds above this cap would be donated to the College’s endowment.

Senate Chair Stef Felitto ’12 referred this bill to the Senate Finance Committee for discussion.

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