SA passes RSO appeals process, election Code changes, two Senators announce planned resign

Class President Yannie Chang '25 listens during Nov. 29 SA meeting. PEERAWUT RUANGSAWASDI // FLAT HAT

Tuesday, Nov. 29, the 330th Student Assembly of the College of William & Mary Senate passed four bills, including two major SA Code changes creating a Registered Student Organization (RSO) budget allocation appeals process and changing SA elections rules. 

Two senators, Sen. Regina Chaillo ’25 and Sen. Gloriana Cubero Fernandez ’24, also announced that they would be resigning at the next Senate meeting because they will be studying abroad in Madrid, Spain during the Spring 2023 semester. 

New Business 

Chair of the Senate Eugene Lee ’23 introduced The Department of Data Science Act, which would codify a new SA department within the Executive branch. SA created the Data Science Task Force earlier in the semester, and the bill would enshrine the survey, implementation, and data analysis work of the Task Force into a permanent role. 

“We all are aware how many surveys we create every now and then and the collection of that data usually gets caught in the weeds, so having a department whose sole focus is on data collection…would be extremely helpful,” Lee said. 

Sen. Shaunna Scott ’23 introduced The Sixth Annual Sankofa Gala Act, also sponsored by Sen. Daniel Bess ’24, Sen. Justin Bailey ’24, and Sen. Trinity Bea. The bill allocates $5,050 from SA reserves for catering, music, decorations, and flyers for the event. 

Sen. Matt Swenson ’26 introduced The Supporting LGBTQ+ Roommates Act, also sponsored by Class President Zoe Wang ’26 and Class President Mia Tilman ’24, which allocates $500 from SA reserves to pay for pizza for two events in early February to “offer LGBTQ+ students and allies the space to meet potential roommates,” the bill states. The events will be held in partnership with the Lambda Alliance and the Rainbow Coalition. 

Old Business 

SA overwhelmingly passed The Appeals Procedure and Parameters for Long-Lasting Equity (APPLE) Act, sponsored by Sen. Sean Nguyen ’25, which creates a formal appeal process for budget requests submitted by student organizations. 

Under the new legislation, student organizations can submit an appeal for budget allocation to OBAC. If the organization remains unsatisfied with the result, it can further appeal the request, the result of which would be determined by OBAC, the Chair of the Senate Policy and Student Rights Committee and the Chair of the Senate Student Experience Committee. 

The bill ultimately designates the Senate Finance Leadership Team, excluding OBAC members, as the final body in the third stage to consider the appeal.

During the bill’s introduction at the SA meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Nguyen cited a need for a codified appeals process for the budget allocation process for Recognized Student Organizations.

SA passed The Mock Mehndi Act on Tuesday, Nov. 1, to provide additional funding to the South Asian Student Association for its Mock Mehndi event. According to The Mock Mehndi Act, SASA received insufficient funding for the event this year after accidentally misrepresenting the attendance numbers for last year’s event in a misfiling error. However, some senators pushed back and claimed the bill creates a dangerous precedent of RSOs circumventing the OBAC process. The bill hopes to create a structured alternative to that precedent. 

Lee voted ‘No,’ while Sen. Justin Bailey ’24 abstained.

SA also unanimously passed The Bolstering Ethics of Election Fairness (BEEF) Act, sponsored by Nguyen and Sen. Max Berckmueller ’23. Through the passage of the bill, SA recommends the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) to implement ranked-choice voting for any class presidential election with more than two candidates running.

The bill also amends the SA Code to officially require a Student Body presidential candidate to run in conjunction with a vice presidential candidate, as well as added new campaign restrictions, such as reserving a table in the Sadler Center on a time and day not sanctioned by the Elections Commission.

Under the new system, the IEC is no longer required to publicize all campaign infractions and penalties. 

Berckmueller said the goal of the BEEF Act is to reduce the advantages that incumbent Senate members have.

“In the future, I might be bringing forward another piece of legislation to try to address some of the advantages that incumbent candidates currently have,” he said, “but I think in this current stage of the bill it still accomplishes a lot.”

The Create Your Own Fragrance Act, sponsored by Sen. Sophia Tammera ’24 and Wang overwhelmingly passed after some discussion over logistics of the event as well as whether the Health Center was contacted. Lee cast the lone ‘No’ vote. 

The bill allocates $950 from SA reserves to purchase materials for an event for students to create their own non-toxic oil dispenser or linen spray. 

An earlier version of the bill contained a provision to allocate $600 for food products from Aromas, which was later removed.

Some senators requested further investigation and research into the efficacy of the event before it passed. 

“If there is a lot of language surrounding the relationship between scent as well as individual wellness, then I think there is no penalty in reaching out to an institution that deals with this,” Nguyen said, referring to the Health Center.

Finally, SA unanimously passed The Charter Day Ampersand Bash “ & Bash” Act, sponsored by Bailey and Bess and co-sponsored by Lee, which allocates $15,000 to support Charter Day events. As with other SA allocations, any unused funds would be returned to SA reserves.

“We’re not looking to spend $8,000, but giving us cushion to be able to be like ‘Okay, we know it’s going to cost to have whatever we get from AmericaToGo,’” said Senior Advisor to Student Life Secretary and SA president Taylor Fox ’24 in regards to the allocation of money for catering, “and just comfort in that choice, not necessarily like, “Yes, we’re definitely looking to blow the $500 per-head guideline that we set for ourselves.’” 

Also at this week’s meeting:

  • Wang announced that the Class of 2026 S’mores event held before Thanksgiving break was “spectacular,” echoing last year’s sentiment from Class President Yannie Chang ’25 who said the Class of 2025’s iteration of the event “went well.”
  • Director of Student Leadership Development Anne Arseneau ’89 MA.Ed ’92 announced that Registered Student Organizations requested around $105,000 for Q3 funding, while only around $65,000 is available.


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