SA debates feasibility of statewide government coalition, reviews annual budget

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EMMA FORD AND KIMBERLY LORES / THE FLAT HAT

Sept. 10, the 327th session of the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly discussed the potential formation of a Virginia Student Government Coalition and reviewed finances for the upcoming academic year. 

In a presentation to SA, Sens. Henry Philpott ’22 and Vicky Morales ’22 explained that they were in the process of creating a Virginia Student Government Coalition. The new coalition  which would serve as a network linking Virginia’s public universities in a common framework, where representatives could discuss changes occurring on their respective campus and provide insight on how other universities could emulate similar changes.

Philpott and Morales began discussing the coalition’s viability after Philpott was inspired by the student government coalition formed in his home state of Texas. Although discussions about the coalition’s formation are in the early stages, Philpott and Morales hope to start the coalition by reaching out to up to five public universities in the state. The coalition would center each new academic year around a particular subject matter, and the two senators hope to frame the coalition’s first year around topics regarding mental health whenever it materializes.

Sen. Meghana Boojala ’22 gave a presentation about SA’s finances for the upcoming year.  She began by announcing that SA’s Reserves Budget, which senators use to allocate funds for bills passed throughout the year, has a starting balance of $195,797.25 for the 2019-20 year.  

Boojala then reviewed the way in which SA has allocated its budget in the past. Last year, 86 percent of the budget was spent on speakers and performers. Boojala urged her fellow senators to reflect upon whether this was the most effective use of their funds. She also requested that the Senate consider depending more heavily on the Activities and Events funds this year when it comes to allocating money for events put on by campus groups and clubs.  

Financial discussions then shifted into a conversation about the funding of the annual Spring Concert. SA currently has around $59,000 allocated to pay for the performers at this year’s show, and Senate Chair Anthony Joseph ’21 brought up the fact that different groups on campus have unique expectations when it comes to the kind of performers they would like to see at the concert. 

“We’re always going to expect the Spring Concert to be a sunk cost,” Joseph said.  “It’s always going to be a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation, because there’s always going to be a group on campus or a good portion that is not going to be satisfied.” 

Also at this week’s meeting:

  • Zenobia Goodman ’22 was confirmed as a commissioner on the SA Election Commission. 
  • Anne Pietrow ’20 and Katie Heller ’20 were confirmed as representatives to the Honor System Advisory Committee. 
  • Senators passed the Elections Commission Amendment, sponsored by Joseph, which allows for two commissioners on the elections committee who work alongside the Elections Commission chair. Previously, SA code required there to be three commissioners beneath the chair. 
  • The Media Council Code Review Act sponsored by Boojala and Joseph was passed which updated the language in the code in reference to Media Council, as well as confirmed the appointment of two liaisons that will attend Media Council meetings.