SA Senate tables budget, suggests Honor Council reforms

*Correction appended*

The Student Activities Budget was presented and returned to committee for further review by the Student Assembly senate at their meeting Tuesday night.

Several senators had not yet had the opportunity to read it, including Sen. Brian Gemino M.B.A. ’10. Gemino had not received the budget e-mail due to technical problems.

Sen. Tom Flahery ’12 moved to return the bill to committee, noting that senators would have an opportunity to adequately review the budget, which totals over $107,000, during Spring Break. The senate response to Flaherty’s motion was largely positive, though Sen. Walter McClean ’09 expressed concern that senators might use the time to propose “political” amendments to the budget.

“What I really don’t want to see … is if anyone tries to make political changes,” McClean said. “If amendments are given, and they look political, it’s going to look really bad for you on the floor.”

The senate debated and voted on three pieces of old business.

The Opinion Survey Act, sponsored by Sen. Betty Jeanne Manning ’12, would distribute a survey to the student body once per semester. This survey would, ideally, give the SA a better idea of student interests and concerns.

The bill passed unanimously.

The Preserving the Spirit of the Honor Code Act, sponsored by Sens. Steven Nelson ’10, Ben Brown ’11, Mike Tsidulko ’11, Stef Felitto ’12 and Flaherty, came before the senate severely watered down from the form in which it was presented to the senate the week before.

While the original bill — the Hold Accountable a Dysfunctional Honor Council Act, also sponsored by Nelson — unequivocally declared “no confidence” in the Honor Council and demanded the resignation of the Council of Chairs and the Undergraduate Elections Chairman, the new legislation simply suggests future Honor Council referenda retain several student rights, including the right to an open hearing and the requirement of changes to be approved by the student body by vote.

Several senators, including Sen. Sarah Rojas ’10, expressed concern that the suggestions implied that the SA viewed itself as superior to the Honor Council.

Nelson replied that the recent popular rejection of the Honor Council referendum constituted a vote of no confidence.

“That was not a vote of respect for the Honor Council, that was a vote of alarm,” he said. “Whereas half the cosponsors, I’m sure, hold the Honor Council in very high esteem, I certainly don’t.”

Nelson said that the bill was “striking while the iron is hot,” and that the reforms suggested therein had a possibility of being accepted by the council.

The bill passed 19-0-1, with Sen. Matt Whalen ’06 M.S. ’09 abstaining.

The Printer Reallocation Act, sponsored by Sens. Matt Pinsker ’09, Michael Douglass ’11, Ross Gillingham ’10, Manning and Tsidulko, is intended to ensure the efficient location of the various network printers for student use. Manning noted that several printers were rarely, if ever, used, and suggested a number of alternate locations where they might be more useful.

The bill passed unanimously without comment or debate.

Several pieces of new business were introduced.

The Lovely Referenda Act, sponsored by Brown[1], would mandate referenda on several potential high-cost SA projects.

The Better Integration of Transfer Students Act, sponsored by Gillingham, would attempt to increase the number of guaranteed living spaces on campus for fall transfer students from 50 to 100.

The Election Code Sanity Act, sponsored by Pinsker, would amend the election code to permit prospective candidates for SA office to gauge support for their candidacy via private conversation, e-mail, and instant or text messaging.

The Ruth Griffioen Act, sponsored by Pinsker, asks that the campus administration investigate College of William and Mary music professor Ruth Grifioen, who Pinsker said acted unethically and possibly illegally in her behavior relating to the City of Williamsburg’s lawsuit against the residents of 711 Richmond Road.

The Flat Hat has been unable to confirm Griffioen’s alleged relation to the case. She has not returned repeated requests for comment.

The Scheduling Office Information Act, also sponsored by Pinsker, would ensure that students can access information from the Student Activities office pertaining to events scheduled through that office.

The senate will not meet next week due to Spring Break.

fn1. __This sentence has been corrected. It mistakenly attributed sponsorship of the Lovely Referenda Act to Pinsker.__


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