During Tuesday night’s Student Assembly senate meeting, senators returned once again to the discussion of how to fund blue books, used by many academic departments for midterm and final exams.
The Blue Book Bill, sponsored by Class of 2018 President Laini Boyd ’18 allocated $1,500 to purchasing blue books. This money was in addition to $5,000 budgeted in the Executive Appropriations Committee process.
This is not the first year that SA has passed legislation in the last weeks of the semester for blue books. At the end of the 323rd session of the SA senate, SA Vice President Annelise Yackow ’18, who at that time was representing the class of 2018 as a senator, sponsored the Blue Book Act to allocate $5,000 to print more blue books for final exams.
The funding gap started last year, when Earl Gregg Swem Library switched management to Hackworth for their print shop, the price per blue book doubled from $0.25 to $0.50. After negotiations this year, Hackworth lowered the price to $0.38 per book.
Prior to SA subsidizing blue books, students at the College of William and Mary purchased books for their exams from the College’s bookstore, as the administration has never allocated funding for academic departments to purchase the books. Now, after two years of allocating additional funds for blue books, senators discussed alternative solutions for the future.
According to Chairman of the Senate Alaina Shreves ’18, opting to print the blue books off campus might lower the cost per book, but it would place the responsibility of storing and delivering blue books on the senate.
“The money needs to be passed this semester,” Shreves said. “If we don’t pass this bill, there won’t be books for finals. Something that was discussed is that we are tired of being the ones paying for this, so we might want the cabinet to look for a different way to pay for them, but for now this is the most cost effective solution.”
Senators decided to amend the bill to charge the SA Secretary of Academic Affairs, who has not yet been confirmed by the senate, to research a more efficient way of printing blue books in the future. However, some senators, like Sen. Mitch Croom M.A. ’17 said they were opposed to using student activity fees for funding blue books, because blue books are not an “activity.”
We had a problem with paying for this through student activities fees, when it’s a fairly substantial reoccurring expense, it’s outside the norm to say this is coming out of activities fees when it’s not an activity,” Croom said.
“We had a problem with paying for this through student activities fees, when it’s a fairly substantial reoccurring expense, it’s outside the norm to say this is coming out of activities fees when it’s not an activity,” Croom said. “I think we should have a problem with subsidies because they don’t give us an incentive to conserve resources.”
In discussing how to amend this process for the future, Class of 2019 President Jonah Yesowitz said that he wanted to allocate more funding for printing blue books during the Executive Appropriations Committee process, so as to avoid passing legislation later in the academic year.
“I am a big believer that if we have the money and if it’s helping students then we should do it,” Yesowitz said. “It would be hypocritical of me to say that [funding] this is a problem; I just don’t ever want to hear about this again. I just want to make sure that we allocate more money for this next year so that we don’t have to pass another emergency bill.”
Yesowitz also proposed an amendment to add a clause that would charge the SA Secretary of Finance, confirmed at this week’s meeting, to explore the line item budget for the next academic year. However, Shreves said this would be counterintuitive, because they currently do have a cost effective solution, and recommended not including that amendment.
After agreeing on Boylan’s amendment, senators decided to pass the Blue Book Bill by a vote of unanimous consent and save other discussions about the future of funding blue books for a later date.
Also at this week’s meeting:
• Following the resignation of former Sen. Noah Ferris ’20, Abhi Chadha ’20 was selected by the class of 2020 representatives to fill his place. Ferris will now serve as chief of staff for SA President Elijah Levine ’18 and SA Vice President Annelise Yackow ’18.
• The senate confirmed Maimuna Sidibay ’18 as the SA Secretary of Finance.
• The senate confirmed Greg Akerman ’19 as the SA Secretary of Public Affairs.
• The senate confirmed Grace Murray ’19 as the SA Secretary of College Policy and Student Rights.
• The senate confirmed Abou Kamara ’18 as the SA Secretary of Diversity Initiatives.
• The senate confirmed Meredith Gosnell ’18 as the SA Secretary of Outreach.
• The senate confirmed Connie Lee ’19 as the SA Secretary of Student Life.
• Chairman of the Senate Alaina Shreves ’18 introduced the Gender Inclusive Alma Mater Act. If passed, this bill would charge the sponsors of the bill, a music professor, the SA Secretary of Diversity Initiatives and a director of a chorus group with drafting potential lyric changes to the alma mater.
• Senators passed the Executive Departments Modernization Act by a vote of unanimous consent. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Mitch Croom M.A. ’17 changed wording in the SA code to reflect updates in executive department titles.
• Senators passed the Closing of the Session Act by a vote of unanimous consent. This bill, sponsored by Chairman of the Senate Alaina Shreves ’18 reclassified 10 bills from the 324th session as bills for the 325th session.