Tuesday, Apr. 13, the College of William and Mary’s Student Assembly prepared for the transition to the 329th Senate by passing the annual Closing of Session Act. Additionally, senators passed five bills ranging from wellness initiatives to senate transparency.
Sponsored by Sens. Owen Williams ’23 and Maheen Saeed ’23, senate unanimously passed the Accessibility Regardless of Ability Resolution with minimal discussion. The resolution aims to address disparities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic towards students with disabilities by condemning the understaffing of Student Accessibility Services at the College and other inadequate responses by the College towards students who need accommodations.
The resolution calls on SAS to create a Disability Ambassador program to provide insight into the different needs of students. Additionally, the resolution asks the College to hire more staff members for SAS, introduce courses centered around Disability Studies and evaluate buildings to improve accessibility. The resolution also calls on student organizations and Fraternity and Sorority Life to evaluate the accessibility of their recruitment processes.
Senators unanimously passed the Recording and Broadcasting Act, sponsored by Sen. Rory Fedorochko ’22. The act calls for the SA secretary to record all meetings of the 329th senate, and for the SA historian to make all of these recordings available to the general public after each meeting. The legislation also charges the historian with keeping digital records of senate proceedings and with digitizing past senate documents. The historian must ensure that all of these documents are added to Special Collections at Earl Gregg Swem Library.
Previously, this bill had included language that would solidify these changes in the SA code. However, after an unfriendly amendment from Senate Chair and President-Elect Meghana Boojala ’22, the senate voted to implement this recording procedure as a trial run during the 329th session and to revisit the idea of codification at a later date.
Lastly, Senators debated passing The Wellness Bag Act which allocates $1,170 towards 400 bags containing different wellness items ranging from tea bags to wellness calendars to give away to students on the final spring break day Apr. 26. Class of 2021 President Aria Austin ’21 proposed eliminating lavender incense sticks from the bags, due to dorm limitations on candles and incense.
Senators ultimately voted to pass the bill, with only Sen. Eugene Lee ’23 abstaining.
Also at this week’s meeting:
- Chair of the Independent Elections Commission Will Ryu ’21 delivered a presentation on the results of the Apr. 1 elections, noting that voter turnout was about average for an uncontested presidential election.
- Senate unanimously passed the Seize the Awkward Campaign Act, which allocates $40 from the SA Reserves to fund the purchase of a banner, snacks, and flyers in order to publicize the upcoming mental health awareness campaign and encourage students to support one another.
- Senators unanimously passed the Graduate Council Communication Act, which amends the SA Constitution to include clauses inviting the Graduate Council President to attend meetings with the SA Executive Branch and charges the Outreach Department with improving outreach to graduate students.