Tuesday, Sept. 5, the College of William and Mary Student Assembly Senate held their first meeting for the Fall 2023 semester and approved three nominations from SA President Sydney Thayer ’24. Class President Mia Tilman ’24 and Sen. Daniel A. Bess ’24 introduced The Pronoun Pin Part 3 Act.
The Senate heard introductions and approved three nominations to the Independent Elections Commission. Jason Zheng ’26, who has been serving as a member of the commission since his appointment last Spring, is filling the vacancy created by Megan Campbell ’24.
Thayer noted that Campbell had to step down, but did not specify the reason.
Zheng, a former SA class presidential candidate, called his policy platform “O.N.E.” which stands for outreach, notability and engagement.
Zheng, pointing to low turnout numbers in recent election cycles, said he plans to conduct tabling and promotional events to increase student outreach. Zheng, as chair, will also be tasked with exploring options to conduct ranked-choice voting for the Class of 2027 presidential election.
Currently, all members of the commission are new members, with Zheng being the only one returning after having only been confirmed in the Spring 2023 semester. Former members Mateo Huerta ’24 and Reenie Tian ’26 are both not returning.
Sophia Hoffman ’26 and Kathleen Khorn ’27, who both recounted their high school student government experience, were also nominated by Thayer to fill the vacancies.
Khorn, in particular, said she has experience running elections at her high school of about 3,500 students.
The Senate did not ask the nominees any questions and all nominees were confirmed by unanimous voice votes.
Tilman and Bess introduced The Pronoun Pin Part 3 Act, which aims to allocate $200 from SA reserves to purchase more pronoun pins. The bill serves as a continuation for the initiative which was last renewed with The Pronoun Pin Part 2 Act in 2021.
“It was actually when we stopped at the SA office and realized that there was a low supply of pronoun pins,” Bess said. “This is essentially kind of a restock bill.”
Bess also hopes that SA will conduct more events to distribute the pins to the campus community.
Thayer said SA is holding elections information sessions for the upcoming Class of 2027 elections, saying also that around 20 students came to the first one. She also said a new executive branch application is open, noting that with the amount of engagement the Class of 2027 is having, some students will not be able to secure a senatorial position and might be interested in applying to join the cabinet.
Secretary of the Senate Sen. Hazel Vineet ’25 asked a question regarding the potential leftover COVID-19 tests from the summer. Director of Student Leadership Development Anne Arseneau ’89 MA.Ed ’92 said she believes some of them may have been offered to the College staff.
“I know there was a point this summer where Student Affairs was offered the option to come get expired tests, it wasn’t the whole university stock. But I think, there were tests that were expiring, I don’t know where the rest of them went, but I imagine that a good source of stock, because they’d have shelf life, were then made available to staff on campus over the summer,” Arseneau said.
“I know there was a point this summer where Student Affairs was offered the option to come get expired tests, it wasn’t the whole university stock,” Arseneau said. “But I think, there were tests that were expiring, I don’t know where the rest of them went, but I imagine that a good source of stock, because they’d have shelf life, were then made available to staff on campus over the summer.”
Past, Passed and Pending Business
Tilman provided updates on The . Act Part IV, which aims to provide menstrual products for the College community. Tilman said she still needs to figure out which specific dispensers to purchase, and has requested dispensers in the Raymond A. Mason School of Business, the School of Education and the Integrated Science Center. She also said that she is tracking the usage of the dispensers in the next two months.
Arseneau said the sleeping pods, as ordered by the Senate through The Swem Napping for Optimal Rest Enhancement (SNORE) Act, are still in the BuyWM purchasing process. The pods will be located in the Earl Gregg Swem Library once they arrive.
Thayer, speaking on updates for The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Course Evaluation Resolution, said she met with Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences Suzanne Raitt the week prior and was told the diversity effort was dispersed among administrators.
The resolution, passed in the Senate’s 330th session, encouraged the College to take various measures to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in courses, including requiring all faculty, teaching assistants and staff to undergo training on implicit bias and inclusive practices.
Thayer said she will follow up on the process with Dean of Students Stacey Harris.
Chair of the Senate Justin Bailey ’24 said the Constitutional Reform Committee’s first meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 13. The committee was created by the Senate with SR 331-01: The Student Assembly Constitutional Reform Resolution, sponsored by Bailey, Arts and Sciences graduate Sen. Morgan Brittain, Sen. Eugene Lee ’23 and Sen. Matt Swenson ’26.
The resolution created a committee comprised of SA Attorney General Owen Williams ’23 MPP ’25, who also serves as the chair, an SA Executive Leadership Team representative, Bailey, Vineet, two additional senators, Zheng and SA staff advisors.
The legislation charges the committee with presenting a revised Code and Constitution to the Senate for ratification before the conclusion of the 331st session to take effect at the beginning of the 332nd session.
Also at this week’s meeting
- Arseneau said a new 60-inch television monitor is approximately two weeks away from arrival and installation in the SA office. She said this monitor is to be used for meetings and shared work opportunities.
- Sen. Connor O’Neil J.D. took his oath of office, replacing former Sen. Brendan Clark J.D., who, in turn, succeeded him as a member of the Student Bar Association.
- College President Katherine Rowe is scheduled to attend the Tuesday, Sept. 19, Senate meeting for a presentation and a question and answer session.
- Vineet gave a presentation on what SA members and Arseneau did during the summer.