SA discusses financial transparency survey, tables Anti-Discrimination Pledge Act

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EMMA FORD AND KIM LORES / THE FLAT HAT

Tuesday, Feb. 16, the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly Senate introduced, passed and tabled bills, passed a retrospective amendment and listened to a presentation about a potential student-led financial transparency survey. 

At the beginning of the meeting, John Lesko ’21 delivered a presentation about an upcoming student-run survey about financial transparency that he is organizing with Sen. Helen Tariku ’21. The survey, which will be supported but not administered by SA, will ask students questions regarding which “categories” of campus life need more funding. These categories may include on-campus housing, diversity and inclusion, athletics, health and wellness, academic building construction and dining options.

Lesko and Tariku emphasized that the results of this survey would not be used to suggest future projects or spending allocations to the administration; rather, they would be used to inform alumni about which initiatives and projects they should donate to during events like Impact Week.

“It’s a survey on where students would like to see investment from the College going…the main point of it is just to serve as a way to direct alumni donations toward student wants and needs on campus,” Lesko said. 

The survey results will be used to make infographics for those wishing to make donations, as well as a longer report that will include data and context about student responses. 

“I cannot stress this enough…we are not trying to tell the administration what to do,” Tariku said. “It is just to gather data…it’s mostly about gaining data so that we have it to back up whatever we say.” 

Lesko and Tariku hope to administer the survey in time for the Board of Visitors meeting in April.

Later, Sen. Owen Williams ’23 introduced the Electoral Procedure Amendment Act, which clarifies discrepancies that currently exist between the SA Code and Constitution about the administration of elections. Most of these alterations to the Code and Constitution would change the language so that election oversight rests solely with the independent Elections Commission, and not with the Senate itself. 

Senators then passed a retrospective amendment to the Naming & Renaming Referendum Act. The act, which was passed last week, authorizes a referendum to be sent to the student body regarding the naming and renaming of campus spaces. The amendment to the act changes the response options to the final question (which concerns a quote about race made by an unnamed, prominently-represented alumnus) to be styled on a continuum, so that students can answer, “Yes,” “Probably,” “Undecided,” “Probably Not,” or “No.” 

The referendum will be sent to the student body via email Feb. 17. 

Afterwards, Sen. Peter Hayden M.B.A. ’21 moved to table his Anti-Discrimination Pledge Act after senators raised several concerns and questions about the bill during committee meetings last weekend. These concerns included making the language more clear and providing definitions of several of the pledge’s terms, such as “discrimination.” 

Hayden tabled the bill until next week and said that he would be meeting with members of the administration in the coming week to clarify the language. 

Also at this week’s meeting:

  • Secretary of Health and Safety Sam Phillips ’21 delivered a National Eating Disorder Awareness Week presentation on behalf of Heal, the College’s Eating Disorder Awareness Club. NEDA week events, including art therapy and a student panel, run from Feb. 23 through Feb. 25. 
  • Senators passed the Even More Compost Bins Around Campus Act, which allocates $340 for the installation of four new compost bins throughout campus. 
  • The senate passed the Coffee & Connection Sponsorship Act, which was introduced last week by Sen. Jane Geiger ’21. The act allocates $2000 from the SA Reserves to purchase coffee for the Mar. 4 “Wellness Your Way” spring break day initiative.