SA passes five bills, funding for professional development sessions fails

SA Senate meeting. Stock photo. PEERAWUT RUANGSAWASDI / THE FLAT HAT
SA Senate meeting. Stock photo. PEERAWUT RUANGSAWASDI / THE FLAT HAT

Tuesday, March 5, the Student Assembly of the College of William and Mary Senate met and passed five bills, while one bill failed to advance from the chamber. Two new senators also joined the body — Sens. Hunter Steele White ’27 and former class presidential candidate Sophie Kennedy ’27, following vacancies created by former Sens. Jason Zhou ’27 and Jonathan Aspin ’27’s resignations.

New Business

The Nowruz Act, sponsored by Sen. Laayba Tanoli ’26, aims to provide $600 to fund an event celebrating Nowruz, the Persian new year. According to the bill, the Center for Student Diversity has committed to providing space for organizing the event, which will be set up on Tuesday, March 19 to Saturday, March 30.

The Ceasefire in Palestine Resolution, sponsored by Sen. Hashir Aqeel ’25 and Secretary of the Senate Sen. Hazel Vineet ’25, and co-sponsored by Tanoli, Sen. Matthew Hwang ’25, Sen. Mayer Tawfik ’27, Sen. Tyson Liverman ’27 and Class President Yannie Chang ’25, says it aims to recognize and condemn ethnic cleansing in Palestine. The bill calls for College President Katherine Rowe to release a statement calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Drink Spiking Prevention Act, sponsored by Chang, Hwang, Vineet, Aqeel, Tawfik, and Sen. Soleil Garnett ’24, is supported by SA Undersecretary of Health and Safety Zoe Powers ’24 and SA Secretary of Health and Safety Terra Sloane ’25. The bill aims to provide $3,020 from SA Reserves to purchase 250 Scrunchie NightCaps at $1500, 250 Keychain NightCaps at $1500 and flyers at $20.

The CPR Education Act, sponsored by Hwang and Chang, and supported by Yang, aims to provide $170 to provide for food and funding for cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes, otherwise known as CPR, to be held on Friday, March 29.

Old Business

The Providing Resources and Opportunities for Enhanced Student Development (PROFESsionals) Act, sponsored by Sen. Marshea Robinson MBA and Sen. Shalini Kumar MBA, aimed to allocate $27,000 from SA Reserves to subsidize the costs of comprehensive group training opportunities for 24 students. The training sessions were aimed at preparing undergraduate and graduate students in getting their Project Management Professional and Capital Asset Pricing Model certifications.

Following financial concerns and concerns that the event was not aimed at the whole student body, the Senate rejected the bill with 11 ‘No’ votes and 10 ‘Yes’ votes. Sen. Brady Clark J.D. ’26 and Kennedy abstained. The ‘No’ votes were from Chair of the Senate Justin Bailey ’24, Chang, Sen. Sean Nguyen ’25, Vineet, Hwang, Class President Zoe Wang ’26, Tanoli, Sen. Meaghan Jain ’26, Sen. Matt Swenson ’26, Class President Nico Giro-Martin ’27 and White.

The ‘Yes’ votes were from Sen. Sophia Tammera ’24, Garnett, Aqeel, Liverman, Tawfik, Sen. Connor Cheadle J.D. ’25 and Sen. Connor O’Neill J.D. ’25, Robinson, Kumar and Sen. Chelsea (CJ) Roberts MA.Ed.

According to meeting minutes, Cheadle voiced his support for the bill, arguing that it was beneficial to students.

“This bill does something real, this is not some silly event we are putting on. Many of our other events are a much greater waste of money. This is the most direct I’ve ever seen this body try to further student success,” part of the meeting minutes reads, summarizing Cheadle’s sentiments.

Swenson, who chairs the Senate Finance committee, offered his response.

“Want to push back that the events we host are not helping student experience. Many of them are cultural and support marginalized communities. We are Student Assembly. There are other places on campus that can fund PD. This is not a more real use of our money than other things,” part of the meeting minutes reads, summarizing Swenson’s reply.

The Senate unanimously passed The Paws for Stress Act, sponsored by Tammera. The bill provides $1,500 from SA Reserves to fund therapy cat events, in collaboration with the organization Pet Partners. The event is scheduled to be held at the Crim Dell in the week of March 25.

The chamber also unanimously passed The Women’s Wellness For All Act, sponsored by Garnett and co-sponsored by Tawfik, which allocated $1,670 to fund the Women’s Wellness For All event, held on Monday, March 18.

The body then passed The Supporting the Business Law Review Spring 2024 Symposium Act, which allocated $5,000 to cover “various expenses” related to the Business Law Review symposium to be held on Friday, April 5. The bill received two ‘No’ votes from Tilman and Swenson, every other senator present voted ‘Yes.’

According to the meeting minutes, Director of Student Leadership Development Anne Arseneau ’89 MA.Ed ’92 said greater transparency surrounding the expenses would allow for better results.

The chamber also unanimously passed The Intro to American Sign Language Act, sponsored by Chang and Hwang. The bill allocated $3,800 for an Intro to American Sign Language event to be held on Wednesday, April 3, featuring guest speakers and ASL interpreters.

The last bill the chamber passed was The Bridging Resources for Access to Crutches and other Equipment (BRACE) Act, sponsored by Wang and Hwang and co-sponsored by Tilman. The bill allocated 1,000 from SA reserves to the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center to subsidize the cost of durable medical equipment for students. The bill passed unanimously. 


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