SA unanimously elects Sen. Ellie Thomas ’20 to serve as new chair of senate

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Sen. Ellie Thomas '20 will serve as the chair of the Student Assembly senate for its 326th session. SYDNEY MCCOURT / THE FLAT HAT

One of the first business items the 326th session of the Student Assembly senate addressed was the election of a new senate chair. For the first time in at least four years, this election was uncontested: Sen. Ellie Thomas ’20 won with unanimous support.

Thomas said that her goals include promoting initiatives to support a culture of encouragement instead of stress at the College of William and Mary, something SA President Brendan Boylan ’19 has stated is one of his administration’s goals.

“I have enjoyed my time these last two years in Student Assembly,” Thomas said. “… This next year I want to focus on outreach, having banners at all of our events, I want to have an SA FAQ weekthis fall, I want to focus on mental health a lot this year.”

Additionally, as a member of the College of William and Mary’s 100th Year Co-Education Committee, Thomas said she would like to use her role as chair of the senate as a way to influence events to feature female artists for Charter Day and the annual spring concert. She also said that she would like to meet with Boylan and SA Vice President Samir Tawalare ’19 on a weekly basis to improve communication between SA’s executive and legislative branches.

The senate also elected a new secretary and historian during their April 10 meeting. The senate secretary is responsible for taking minutes during each meeting and the historian is responsible for archiving past business and organizing the SA house located on Jamestown Road. As the only student nominated for the role, Sen. Sarah MacPhee ’20, who has served in the SA senate for two years as well, was elected as secretary.

Prior to this April 10 meeting, Thomas had been serving as the interim secretary following the resignation of former Sen. Shannon Dutchie ’19 early in February.

The race for senate historian was also uncontested — only Sen. Jack Bowden ’19 received a nomination. Bowden previously served as a representative for the class of 2018, but following a change to his anticipated graduation year, ran for reelection as a member of the class of 2019.

The rest of this session’s first meeting was focused on meeting newly elected members, learning the structure of the senate and addressing upcoming business. Boylan announced that he would be selecting an executive liaison — a senator who serves as a delegate to the cabinet — at the April 17 meeting. Outgoing Chair of the Senate Alaina Shreves ’18 also introduced The 2018 Closing of Session Act. This bill rolls over passed legislation from the 325th session to the current one, so that senators can continue their work on ongoing initiatives.

The senate will discuss this bill further and vote on it during the April 17 meeting.

Also at this week’s meeting:

• Class of 2020 President Kelsey Vita ’20 introduced The Heather Marlowe Act, which if passed will allocate $5,207 from SA reserves to bring Marlowe, a survivor of sexual assault, to the College to perform her one-act play “The Haze.” This bill, as well as the event, is supported by Health Outreach Peer Educators.

• Newly inaugurated Sen. Jessica Seidenberg ’19 introduced the Steer Clear LDOC Funding Act, which if passed would allocate $250 from the SA reserves to provide additional funding to Steer Clear for daytime transportation on the last day of classes April 27. This would money would also help Steer Clear operate a second van from April 19 to April 26.