Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Student Assembly of the College of William and Mary confirmed SA President John Cho ’23’s nominees, John Willis ’23 and Reenie Tian ’26, as Secretary of Data and Analytics and member of the Independent Elections Commission, respectively. SA also confirmed Sen. Brendan Clark J.D. ’24 and Carter Daugherty ’25 as members of the Honor System Advisory Committee and discussed legislation regarding graduate students and funding an ice cream truck for the Day for Admitted Students event.
Vineet Sworn In
At her first Senate meeting, Sen. Hazel Vineet ’25 took the oath of office, officially becoming the newest member of the Senate. Vineet’s appointment by Class President Yannie Chang ’25 came after the vacancy created by former Sen. Regina Chaillo ’25, who left before the completion of her term to study abroad at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Madrid, Spain.
Vineet previously served as an undersecretary for mental health and wellness.
Chang said the Class of 2025 saw 17 applicants for the vacant Senate seat. The review board for the position consisted of Chang, Chaillo, Sen. Sean Nguyen ’25, Sen. Hashir Aqeel ’25, Sen. Matthew Hwang ’25, Chair of the Senate Sen. Eugene Lee ’23, Sen. Shaunna Scott ’23, Sen. Justin Bailey ’24 and Class President Zoe Wang ’26.
“The way that that was reviewed was they were ranked on a scale of one to five on the conditions of fit, relevant experience and application quality,” Chang said. “We then took everyone’s ratings and then did ranked-choice voting to get the last five finalists for the interview round.”
Chang explained the Class of 2025 senators then deliberated and took into consideration the results of the voting among the four senators from other social classes.
Finally, she added that applications were reviewed anonymously, with the candidates’ names being removed from the applications.
“Because a lot of the focus that we had with this appointment process, because it is an appointment, was kind of trying to eliminate a lot of bias and any kind of favoritism based off of, or non-favoritism, based off of affiliation,” Chang said.
The Senate also considered Cho’s nominee for the Secretary of Data and Analytics. Prior to being tapped for the position, Willis served as a co-chair of the Department of Student Life’s Data Task Force and director of the Omnibus Project, which collects data for politically-related research for the College’s Department of Government. SA had charged the task force with creation of surveys for SA.
With the passage of the Data and Analytics Act in December, the task force was restructured into a cabinet-level department. While the Senate agreed to amend the code to establish the office, Nguyen noted concerns from the Senate Finance Committee against its creation, saying that the department could put too much trust on individuals to create unbiased data surveys.
The amendment passed unanimously, with support from every member of the Senate Finance Committee.
“At William and Mary, my main involvement was through orientation,” Willis said. “I was an orientation aide director this past fall, which gave me a really good understanding of student life, and I also got to work a lot with the administration, which gave me a good understanding of how data can be used to help with these processes.”
Willis also cited his experience working in data for the Democratic Party for the past six months. He said he has also managed confidential information for the party.
He expressed his desire to increase transparency for the department, establish a standard operating procedure, as well as establish a relationship with faculty and student organizations.
During the question and answer session, Sen. Jiexi Lin ’26 asked how Willis would select undersecretaries. Willis responded by saying that he had already chosen two undersecretaries and that he considered their technical backgrounds and asked them a technical problem during their interviews.
Patrick North ’23 and Kimberly Sejas ’25 currently serve as undersecretaries for the Department of Data and Analytics. North has constructed an original Microsoft Excel database of information on VCU Center for Sport Leadership alumni. Sejas, a Posse Scholar, is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery at the College.
The Senate unanimously confirmed Willis by voice acclamation.
The Senate also considered Tian, Cho’s nominee for member of the IEC. Tian previously ran for president of the Class of 2026, coming in fourth place in an eight-way race.
Tian cited her involvement in the Chinese Student Organization, ballroom dancing and Alma Mater Productions as her experience in campus involvement.
“I don’t have any relevant experience running elections, but I’m eager to learn,” Tian said.
Tian said she hopes SA will increase its outreach and engagement with the student body, which she believes would help increase voter turnout in SA elections. She opposes compulsory voting and supports ranked-choice voting.
“I don’t know how it’s going to work yet, but I highly, highly support it,” Tian said, regarding ranked-choice voting.
The Senate unanimously confirmed Tian’s nomination by voice acclamation.
Honor System Advisory Committee Nominees
The Senate considered College President Katherine Rowe’s two nominees for HSAC. Cho laid out the role of the committee to the Senate.
“HSAC is the advisory committee for the undergraduate honor council, as well as the sixth academic units of honor councils that we have for graduate students as well,” Cho said. “They’re responsible for liaising between students and the council in any changes to the honor code, as well as communicating with the president’s office, the administrators, Student Assembly, as well as the students.”
The president of the College nominates HSAC members through the advice and consent of the Senate. HSAC student members consist of two undergraduate members and one graduate member.
Daugherty cited his desire to promote reforms for students who violate the honor code. He also expressed interest in tackling issues that come with the misuse of technology such as ChatGPT.
“It’s important that we continue to develop that honor code in order to keep it as a leading model for, you know, universities across the country,” Daugherty said.
Clark, a member of the Senate as its law school representative, also received a nomination. He cited his past experience as a member of the Trinity College Honor Council. He graduated from the Connecticut-based college in 2021, where he also served as editor-in-chief of The Trinity Tripod. He mentioned his journalistic experience in his 2022 op-ed for The Flat Hat, arguing for the continuation of the College’s tradition of conferring honorary degrees to Virginia governors.
Clark laid out his goals as an HSAC member.
“In terms of things that I’m interested in in working on, it’s my understanding that the graduate college of arts and sciences has not had a working honor council in some time, and so as a graduate student in law, I would have an interest in working on that, and seeing that it was brought up to speed and integrated in some way,” Clark said.
The Senate unanimously confirmed both Daugherty and Clark via voice acclamation.
Arts and Sciences graduate student Sen. Morgan Brittain introduced The Graduate Fee Allocation Model Resolution and The Supporting 3MT Act. The resolution would recommend a change in the allocation of funds derived from the student activity fee paid by graduate students.
“WHEREAS, a seventy-five/twenty-five split maintains a graduate student investment in and oversight for important shared initiatives that support both the graduate and undergraduate student experiences,” a part of the resolution reads, which has support from Cho, SA Chief of Staff Owen Williams ’23, the Graduate Council, Graduate Student Association President Justin Cammarota, Clark and Nguyen.
Brittain also introduced The Supporting 3MT Act, which would allocate up to $1,800 to fund the Three Minute Thesis Competition.
“Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an internationally-recognized competition in which master’s and doctoral students present their research in under three minutes using only one, static slide and no gimmicks,” the bill reads.
Finally, Lee introduced The Dairy Vehicular Act VII, which aims to allocate $2,000 from SA reserves to hire an ice cream truck to support DFAS.
“This is for DFAS, we have funded in the past historically, just a nice way to have them introduced, to have a good environment,” Lee said.
Lee, answering a question from Class President Maheen Saeed ’23, said that there would be vegan options offered.
Also at the meeting:
- Members of SA attend a social event in the Sadler Center after the meeting. The event included pizzas from Papa John’s, which were funded by the Office of Student Leadership Development.
- Lee encouraged senators to come to senate meetings 30 minutes before to help set up the room. He also said that the William and Mary, Let’s Talk Initiative is planning to have a meeting during the week after this meeting.
- Nguyen said there were no budget appeals from the third quarter. He said he is also monitoring the distribution of key keepers.
- Chang encouraged senators to ask students to test their key keepers first, as sometimes they do not fit with the key perfectly.