SA revisits VIMS liaison debate, hears updates on Student Rights Initiative

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EMMA FORD AND KIM LORES / THE FLAT HAT

At the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly Sept. 29 meeting, Senate Chair Meghana Boojala ’22 reintroduced the previously tabled VIMS Liaison Act, which introduces an amendment to SA’s Constitution requiring the body to appoint a graduate senator for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Article I, Section I, Clause II of SA’s Constitution states, “there shall be seven Senators from the graduate schools, apportioned among the schools as the graduate council shall designate, provided every school is represented by at least one Senator.” 

Two weeks ago, at SA’s Sept. 15 meeting, some senators emphasized the part of the Constitution that allowed Graduate Council to apportion Graduate Senators, while others felt the Bill could not be voted on as the Constitution required VIMS to have a Senator position in SA. 

Boojala argued that because VIMS did not pay student fees and because the distance between main campus and VIMS campus would likely make it difficult for a VIMS senator to attend meetings, organizing a liaison position was more feasible for including VIMS graduate students. 

The re-introduction of the bill calls for the amendment of the SA Constitution to say, “There shall be seven Senators from the graduate schools, apportioned among the schools as the graduate council shall designate, provided there is agreement within the Graduate Council, and that every school that petitions the Graduate Council for representation is given it.” 

The bill then grants an ex-officio liaison position to VIMS with the stipulation that the liaison position is suspended if VIMS plans to appoint a VIMS Senator during Senate.  

At the end of the meeting, Sen. Jahnavi Prabhala ’22 spoke about her progress on the Student Rights Initiative. Prabhala announced that the initiative is currently working on three projects: approaching student rights from the perspectives of different identity groups on campus, teaming up with different organizations to dispense information about the rights and collaborating with the Police Policy Project. 

“The second theme is logistics, so teaming up with different groups on campus, whether it be FYE, ResLife, multicultural orgs, Panhel, Fraternity Life, National Panhellenic,” Prabhala said. “Trying to get all this content into programming such that we can disseminate it in a very organic manner by training individuals that have a lot of social capital in these organizations, so they can spark that organic conversation, but offering a kind of pamphlet for everyone if they want to look at it.”  

At the beginning of the meeting, the College’s Chief Intelligence Officer Ed Aractingi delivered a speech to Senate about the recent technology advances and projects that the College has pursued in recent semesters, including meal swipe donations between students. Senators then had the chance to ask Aractingi for his advice on some of their technological challenges, such as Livestreaming meetings and communicating information to their constituents.