November 10, 2009
Prior to the meeting, Commissioner of Clubs and Sports Rylan Stewart ’10 dropped two large cardboard boxes on the table. Someone asked them what they were, and he responded that they were Mardi Gras beads. He then asked if anyone wanted some. He did not specify what they would have to do to get them.
At 5:08 p.m., exactly one minute earlier than last week, President Jed Cullen ‘10 called the meeting to order. If this trend continues, the eleventh Senate meeting in Fall 2033 will begin at 5:08 a.m. After approving last week’s minutes, the Senate gave the floor to Stewart who told them that “everyone should be at [the homecoming] game.”
Cullen then began a series of “shotgun committee updates.” Given that the emphasis was on speed rather than breadth, however, a drive-by shooting clearly provides a better analogy. At the urging of Commissioner of Environmental Affairs Joanna Ladd ’10, Cullen set a timer on his computer to prevent updates from lasting too long. Indeed, in the midst of an update on the Residence Hall Committee by North Campus Representative Stephanie Almeida ’11 and South Campus Representative Jeff Levere ’12, Cullen ordered them to “switch to Food.” Everyone else had no problems talking about how awesome they and their committees were. A few highlights: the Food Committee wants people to stop people from stealing bowls from the dining halls; the Junior Class Committee is planning a murder mystery dinner; the Senior Class Committee is narrowing down its proposals for graduation speakers; the Sophomore Class Committee is working on plans for a class-wide Secret Santa game, which is “like Assassins except you give gifts,” according to Sophomore Class President Tina Zhang; and the Coop Committee may end up reconsidering the Coop Store’s selling of cigarettes.
Commissioner of Communications Than Volk ’10 then proposed a change to the bylaws regarding the Speaker Committee. His change would enable the Commissioner of Communications to add more students at large to the Speakers Committee at his discretion. Cullen asked Volk if the added members would be voting or non-voting members. Volk said, “yup.” Eventually, Vice President for Finance Kelly Schwartz ’10—a former Commissioner of Communications herself—moved to change the bylaws to allow the Commissioner to add “at least” two students at large to the committee. Cullen, however, said that “no fewer than” should be used instead, since students are discrete objects. Associate Dean of Students Neil Gerard later said he would like to see the process for choosing and approving the members explained. He also said he did not understand why the words “at large” were included. Cullen subsequently asked Volk if he would like to make the changes Gerard suggested. Volk said he would not, since all the other bylaws were written that way; that is, since ASPC’s bylaws are fundamentally flawed, there is no need to be anything but flawed in particular circumstances. A very admirable work ethic. After shuffling some punctuation and splicing some sentences and making sure not to mess with any other discrete objects, the Senate appeared ready to vote. Commissioner of Academic Affairs Scott Levy ’10, however, asked what the bylaws meant when they referred to “off-campus events.” Volk said that they referred to events that did not occur on campus. Ultimately, the amendments were unanimously approved.
Consequently, Volk proposed the addition of two students at large to the Speaker’s Committee and the appointment of Schwartz as the Senator at large. Junior Class President Wintaye Gebru said that the committee seemed a little “senior-heavy.” Adviser Ellie Ash noted that all the juniors were off in some foreign land, studying and stuff. Juniors Almeida and Gebru abstained from an otherwise unanimous vote to approve Volk’s proposal. Senior Class President Calvin Kagan then nominated 20 people to the Senior Class Gift Committee. Cullen told Gebru that it was a “very senior-heavy” group.
Cullen and Schwartz then proposed that, in order to maintain a gender balance on the Student Affairs Committee, Almeida remain on the committee but Levere be removed. Levere said, “I’m getting kicked off because I’m a man.” With the exception of Levere’s abstention, the proposal was unanimously approved. Schwartz then proposed that Leah Streuer ‘11 be added to the Public Events committee, which would be approximately the sixth committee she serves on. Levy asked if that was “really appropriate.” No one said “no,” and, other than Levy and Gebru’s abstentions, the proposal was unanimously approved.
Last but not least, Stewart returned the Senate to the Great Coop Arcade Debate. Providing the results of a survey monkey questionnaire which allowed students to rank their top choices from one to seven, Stewart noted that the most popular option was the addition of couches and chairs, with an average rating of 5.37. Although air hockey was a close second with an average rating of 5.19, Stewart seemed somewhat glad it failed. Following these two options, were the installment of cable television and video game systems. He suggested that the additions include both the furniture and the television, since that would be the most sensible way to incorporate the most options. Stewart brought up the comments of one anonymous Coop Store employee who wrote that he was appalled that the ASPC would be spending its money so frivolously instead of raising his wages. Stewart said that, to prevent the spread of this misunderstanding, he would post something on Chirps to show where the money was coming from. Stewart proposed that the Senate delegate responsibility for developing a more precise plan to a committee who would then return a proposal to the Senate for approval. The Senate did not vote on the issue, which seemed to imply that they had no problem with Stewart’s ideas.
Cullen adjourned the meeting at 6:10 p.m. Miraculously, the Senate went the entire meeting without ever voting not to vote on an issue.