SA receives budgetary updates, introduces award redesignation bill

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EMMA FORD AND KIM LORES / THE FLAT HAT

Feb. 25, at the meeting of the College of William and Mary’s 327th Student Assembly held at the School of Education, senators received an update on the current status of the 2020-2021 SA Budget. Additionally, Senate Chair Anthony Joseph ’21 introduced The Cypher Award Act, which seeks to rename SA’s Ewell Award to the Cypher Award.

Sen. Meghana Boojala ’22 and Secretary of Finance Heather Rodenberg ’20 presented the budget to SA, which included edits from the Executive Appropriations Committee and from the administration of SA President Kelsey Vita ’20.

Some major changes included reducing funding for airport shuttles from $10,000 to $3,000, as well as cutting blue book funding in half from $8,000 to $4,000. Rodenberg said this money would most likely be depleted by the end of the year, which would force a conversation about the future of SA funding blue books.

Vita said that SA should be reevaluating whether it is fair to spend students’ money on these books, since they may be used more frequently by students in specific disciplines.

“It seems to make sense to me considering that it’s a little odd to have all students pay for something that only some students use,” Vita said. “It’s like, we don’t fund the lab fees for STEM students, but we have STEM students fund the blue books that only a lot of humanities students are using.”

Following budgetary discussions, Joseph introduced a bill calling for the College’s Ewell Award to be renamed to the “Cypher Award.” Each year, the Ewell Award is presented to graduating students who represent the College’s values and dedication to the liberal arts through their studies and extracurricular engagements. The award is currently named after the College’s 16th President, Benjamin Stoddert Ewell, who presided over the College during the Civil War.

Joseph stated that since Ewell sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War and created the College’s Confederate militia, he did not accurately represent the values of the College, especially the value of “belonging.” Since SA created the award in 1987 and senators are therefore eligible to rename it, Joseph suggested changing the award name since the cypher is a more accurate representation of the College.

Also at this week’s meeting:

  • Kyle Vasquez ’21 motioned for the Senate to go into closed session to provide updates on the Spring Concert.
  • Vasquez also introduced the Drag Ball Funding Act that would fund Pretty Boy Drag, which performed last Pride at the College. The act would also fund the group to do a drag workshop.
  • Angela Tiangco ’20 announced the bill The Interfaith Harmony Week Act, which would seek to bring a speaker March 27 to discuss Christian-Muslim relations.
  • Class of 2021 President Aria Austin ’21 requested funding for her bill “The William and Mary Multicultural Night Market Act”, which intends to designate a night on the Sunken Garden where students can sample a wide variety of food from different multicultural organizations.