Tuesday, Oct. 4, the 330th session of the Student Assembly of the College of William & Mary swore in several newly-elected members, and Dean of Students Stacey Harris spoke to the Student Assembly about a variety of issues facing the student body.
The newly elected senators of the Class of 2023 are Aparna Parlapalli ’23 and Max Berckmueller ’23. The newly-elected senator of the Class of 2024 is Justin Bailey ’24. The freshman class elected Zoe Wang ’26 as president, and Ashlynn Parker ’26, Jiexi Lin ’26, Matt Swenson ’26, and Spencer Krivo ’26, as senators.
Harris spoke to the Student Assembly at length about her vision for the College. She asked a variety of questions in order to better understand the issues SA faces in allocating resources to improve the student experience. She also emphasized her commitment to consistently engaging in self-reflection in order to become more accessible to the student body.
“So every day I think, am I making my work accessible? You know, can people find me? Can students find you? Can students connect with me? Can students connect with my team? What does it feel like to get an email from me or a call from me? Does it make them feel approachable? Maybe some of you have. You can tell me. Does it feel reassuring?” Harris said.
The IEC officially reported the election results to the SA, as is custom following each election. Although minor violations of campaign rules resulted in warning to candidates, no major foul play was detected and no candidates were disqualified.
Senator Sean Nguyen ’25 introduced a new bill, the The Distribution of University-Branded Complimentary Keypers Act (DUCK). This is a response to the controversial new lockout policy instituted by Residence Life for the 2022 semester, which charges $40 for dorm lockout service, when it was previously free.
Three pending bills were voted on, the first being the 988 Stickers Act, introduced by Sen. Hashir Aqeel ’25. The bill aims to raise awareness for the new 988 Suicide Prevention Hotline Number by allocating $290 from SA reserves to create 300 stickers with the number on it and distribute them to students. The bill passed with 3 Yes votes and two No votes.
The RSO Swipe Act also passed. This initiative aims to address Registered Student Organizations’ concerns regarding closet storage spaces in Campus Center. Previously, the system required an organization member to provide their Student ID to the attendant to access their storage closets. However, the new system uses security codes, which student organization leaders believe represent a significant security risk. The bill allocates up to $5000 from SA reserves to fund a project undertaken by facilities management to change the system to a swipe card access system.
The Let’s Talk Act was the most heavily discussed bill of the evening. This initiative by Sen. Eugene Lee ’23 intends to restructure the Counterspeech Working Group Act into the William & Mary, Let’s Talk Initiative. While the bill posits that current policies regarding freedom of expression are effective, as the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression awarded the College a “green light” rating for its policies regarding student expression, it states that policies can only be effective toward their goals if they are understood by students.
The Let’s Talk Act intends to educate students on their First Amendment rights so they can engage in open intellectual discussion in a healthy and productive manner. However, voting on the bill was ultimately tabled due to questions from multiple Assembly members about the focus of the bill, as well as how it could be practically implemented.
Also at this week’s meeting:
Tribe TutorZone services are now free.
SA Cabinet Position applications are now open, and are due Wednesday, October 12th.