Student Assembly approves interfaith speaker, new debt limit

The College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly Senate approved two bills during its Tuesday meeting, one of which was the Interfaith Speaker Act of 2014.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Chase Jordan ’15, arranges for Chaplain and New York University Professor Khalid Latif to speak at the College regarding interfaith themes. The Student Assembly will work with the Muslim Student Association to facilitate the event.

The bill states that $1,000 will be taken from the Student Activities Reserve to cover Latif’s transportation, lodging and meal costs. Aside from these expenses, Latif is not charging to give the speech. Undersecretary of religious affairs Yussre El-Bardicy ’16 will be charged with assisting the MSA in coordinating the event.

“This is going to align with our goal of partnering with some other student organizations on campus,” Jordan said.

President of the Muslim Student Association Maab Yasin ’15 spoke to the Senate regarding the bill.

“We’re hoping to give interfaith a little bit more of a conversation on campus,” Yasin said.

The Interfaith Speaker Act of 2014 passed unanimously and the event is set for a tentative date of Nov. 17.

Senators also discussed the Debt Limit Crisis Act of 2014, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Ackerman ’16, at Tuesday’s meeting. This bill amends the Code of the Student Assembly so that the executive appropriations committee will have three weeks after the first day of the spring semester to prepare its budget.

The code usually sets the deadline for the budget at the first day of February; however, due to the spring semester starting later this year, the amendment is meant to give secretary of finance Thomas Obermeier ’15 a few more days to prepare the budget.

The Debt Limit Crisis Act of 2014 passed unanimously.

“I think it’s a really well-written bill,” Jordan said. “And I think it’s nice we show due diligence and respect to the code that guides this student body.”

Secretary of transportation Gabriel Morey ’16 and undersecretary of transportation Nate Sutherland ’16 spoke on Department of Transportation updates.

The department plans to extend its bus service to Washington, D.C. over Thanksgiving, after sending buses to D.C. for fall break. They are also planning to make changes to how the program is run to make it more financially stable.

In the new system, Director of Parking Services Bill Horacio will contract out one of the College’s pre-existing contracts and students will buy their bus ticket at full price, rather than the Student Assembly renting out the buses themselves.

“It will most likely be cheaper than what [students] are paying so far, because Bill’s contracts are going to be cheaper than ours were,” Morey said.

The department is also working to send shuttles to GRE/LSAT test sites, seeing as the College’s campus itself is not a test site.

They also plan on continuing transportation to off-campus athletic matches in the spring semester, including women’s lacrosse and men’s baseball.

“These are going to be the only home games that are off campus,” Morey said.

Morey and Sutherland also discussed the Department of Transportation’s future goals, including increased disability access, international student cultural trips and the addition of one or two new undersecretaries.

“Every committee chair and committee secretary is aware that they are going to be a little more strict on [attendance],” Daniel Ackerman said.

At the opening of Tuesday’s meeting, Ackerman clarified the Student Assembly’s attendance policy. After three absences — excused or unexcused — the member must go in front of the senate and explain why he or she was unable to attend the meetings. There are special exemptions for graduate school senators. The same rule now applies for committee meetings.

“Every committee chair and committee secretary is aware that they are going to be a little more strict on [attendance],” Ackerman said.

The Dairy Vehicular Act was introduced under new business. Under this bill, the Senate would partner with the Admissions Office to provide an ice cream treat on the Sunken Garden on Day for Admitted Students.

Ackerman assigned this bill to the student life, finance and outreach committees.


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