SA argues over changing spending precedent, discusses Q1 RSO funding

Sen. Sean Nguyen ’25 discusses the REAL Chat & Chew Act // LEVI NATHANS

Tuesday, Sept. 20, the Student Assembly of the College of William & Mary passed one bill after notable discussion of the correct use of SA funds. 

Elections Update 

Candidates for the upcoming SA elections on Sept. 29 have been announced. 

Kieran Mangala ’23, Paul Anderson ’23, Aparna Parlapalli ’23, Alex Chong ’23, and Max E. Berckmueller ’23 are candidates for the two open class of 2023 Senator positions. 

Justin Bailey ’24 and Salaar Khan ’24 are candidates for the class of 2024 senator position. Khan has previously served as a senator and is running for re-election. 

Jack Williams ’26, Jason Zheng ’26, Cameron Scarpati ’26, Joey Zhang ’26, Zoe Wang ’26, Reenie Tian ’26, Mac Mueller ’26, and Peerawut Ruangsawasdi ’26 are candidates for the class of 2026 president position. 

Finally, Elise Bothner ’26, Jiexi Lin ’26, Andrew Walker ’26, Dylan Mantovani ’26, Daniel Connor Robbins ’26, Spencer Krivo ’26, Ashlyn Parker ’26, Nicholas Prather ’26, Matt Swenson ’26, John Powers ’26, and Kunal Chauhan ’26 are candidates for the four open class of 2026 senator positions. 

Candidate statements can be found on the Elections Committee website

Quarter One Finance Presentation 

Sen. Sean Nguyen ’25 gave a presentation to SA about Quarter One OBAC (Organization Budget Allocation Process) allocation. The process decided whether to accept, cut down, or reject RSO (Registered Student Organization) funding requests for the first quarter in bi-weekly meetings from May to August. 

Nguyen announced that RSOs had requested $101,908.05 total for Q1 funding. Considering OBAC has $156,785 to allocate over all four quarters this year, the committee had to make extreme cuts to many of the requests. Nguyen noted that the total allocation amount was around 20% more than was allocated last year. 

“A lot came down to if they followed funding guidelines,” Nguyen added, explaining that RSOs that fared better followed the rules about requests and what can be allocated for more carefully. 

Ultimately, Nguyen announced that $33,545.42 in Q1 funding was allocated, including competition and service funds. Out of 90 RSOs who requested, 83 received funding. 

Old Business

The most lively debate of the evening occurred in relation to the William & Mary REAL Chat & Chew (Road to Excellence for Aspiring Lawyers) Act. The SA passed this act in order to increase awareness of the Lemon Legal Scholars program, a William & Mary Law School scholarship intended for distinguished graduates of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU). 

The bill aims to partner with Howard University for a two day program called REAL (Road to Excellence for Aspiring Lawyers) to spread awareness about the Lemon Legal Scholars program, an initiative from the Marshall-Wythe School of Law which supports distinguished HBCU students interested in a career in law.

The bill stipulates that 15 Howard students will be chosen on a first come, first serve basis to visit the College and meet with law school leaders to learn more about the scholarship program. With Howard University’s student senate covering $12,000 in expenses for lodging and transportation and the law school covering most food expenses, the bill requests $300 for pizza and drinks at a Chat & Chew event.  

Some members of SA expressed concern that this initiative creates a precedent for SA to authorize extraneous expenses that don’t directly benefit the William and Mary student population. 

“Because it serves no educational aspect to the student experience it would be unfair to other student organizations [to pay for the pizza],” Nguyen said.  

They also opined the pizza should not be paid for because it is not a necessary component of the event, but merely a nicety. 

“Pizza would be considered a supplementary aspect and therefore not essential to the event,” Nguyen added. 

Finally, Nguyen argued that if the event were to be funded, it would create a precedent for Registered Student Organizations to bypass requesting funding from OBAC and abuse the bill system in order to more easily secure financing. 

“It does give a green light to a lot of RSO’s to circumvent the [OBAC] process and go through the billing process as a mechanism to ultimately fund their food allocations,” Nguyen said.

The sponsors of the bill, however, countered by arguing that the pizza was an essential part of the event that would be vital to creating a welcoming environment for the Howard University students.

Shauna Scott ’26 remarked that the event “is an experience that the HBCU students may not have if they don’t get it at William & Mary… food is a small portion of it but it is an experience and one [the Howard University students] deserve when they come to this institution.”

The bill eventually passed, with Chair of the Senate Eugene Lee ’23 being the sole ‘no’ vote and Nguyen abstaining. 

Also at this week’s meeting: 

  • Sen. Brendan Clark J.D. ’26 advertised the Brigham-Kanner Property Law Conference, which will be held at the Marshall-Wythe School of Law on Sept. 29-30, to interested pre-law undergraduate students.


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