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Senate discusses culture, code changes

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August 30, 2016

11:58 PM

In his opening words to the Student Assembly Senate, Chairman of the Senate Danny O’Dea ’18 said, “We are more than just a hand that writes a check.”

To O’Dea and some of the other senators, this means that this year, they will work on writing legislation that is important to them and fostering conversations with SA executives and students, rather than only writing bills that require approving funding for campus events and initiatives.

At the end of last semester’s senate meetings, senators prioritized communication and efficiency as goals for the rest of their term. When the 324th session of the senate met again tonight, these goals were addressed with new legislation and proposed cultural changes.

Starting off, O’Dea said that he would like each senator to sponsor or co-sponsor at least three bills a semester to make sure that everyone is active in their role. He does not plan to enforce this through legislation, which would require a roll-call vote to change SA code. He wants to shift the culture to encourage senators to follow this guideline and make sure he is giving new ideas for bills to senators who haven’t participated as much.

Class of 2019 President Jonah Yesowitz ’19 also brought up ideas to change the environment of the senate’s weekly Tuesday night meeting. He said that he would be interested in bringing members of the City of Williamsburg’s City Council, the Williamsburg Police Department or representatives from the Earl Gregg Swem Library senate meetings to share information about their current initiatives.

In the past, representatives from the Swem library presented information on Open Educational Resources during a senate meeting to rally support. Student organizations also have made presentations at senate meetings.

I think it would it be really cool if at our meetings we could get people to come in and talk, it might spruce things up a bit, to have Council Members or the William and Mary Police come talk to us,” Yesowitz said.

“I think it would it be really cool if at our meetings we could get people to come in and talk, it might spruce things up a bit, to have Council Members or the William and Mary Police come talk to us,” Yesowitz said. “That might give us something new.”

Beyond changes to the culture, senators introduced a new bill that, if passed, would create a senate delegate to SA President Eboni Brown ’17 and Vice President Hannah McKiernan ’17’s Cabinet.

This bill, introduced by Sen. Mitch Croom M.A. ’17 and Sen. Annelise Yackow ’18, would require the delegate to attend all Cabinet meetings and report the proceedings to the Chairman of the Senate. Under this bill, the SA President could order the Cabinet into closed session which would require the delegate to leave.

This bill was introduced as new legislation and will be brought back on the floor next week for further discussion and voting. If passed, Brown has one week to choose the first delegate. O’Dea assigned the bill to the student life and executive committees for review.

This is an act that gives Eboni the power to appoint one of us senators to be a note-taker at Cabinet meetings so that we can be more informed about what happens in their weekly dialogues,” Croom said.

“This is an act that gives Eboni the power to appoint one of us senators to be a note-taker at Cabinet meetings so that we can be more informed about what happens in their weekly dialogues,” Croom said. “This is just part of that broad initiative to improve transparency and communication.”

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About Author

Sarah Smith

News Editor Sarah Smith '19 is an undeclared major from Ashburn, VA. She formerly served as Associate News Editor.