Senate Beat: Nov 9, 2020

Senate talks Quest budget… again

Monday’s public senate meeting started out with few committee reports, and ended with Student Body President Al Chen sharing the results of the previous night’s executive board meeting where Senate privately voted on the Quest’s budget proposal. 

Chen announced that Senate had voted to approve the Quest’s budget proposal with the exception of item 12 on the proposal, which funded two print issues annually for “necessary news.” With Senate’s earlier vote to move the Quest’s funding from byline funding to Top 30/40, Quest editors were quick to point out that the Quest is required to publish certain campus news, such as the results of Funding Poll and Judicial Board (J-Board) case summaries, by the Senate and J-Board bylaws. To be able to ensure the publication of these specific items, the Quest requires a certain amount of byline funding to remain, so they can consistently fulfill their obligations to the bylaws, and the proposed budget was specifically aimed at funding issues that would contain necessary information. It should be noted that publishing a print issue of the Quest has a minimum set price that is required by the Quest’s printing company, and the proposed budget contained only enough money to meet those publishing minimums for six issues of the Quest per semester. If the Quest failed to secure Top 30/40 funding, with the proposed budget, they would still be able to run as a biweekly print newspaper. Senate decided that the two “necessary news’ issues were not required by the bylaws, so the Quest is only assured funding for five issues a semester.

Chen then said that the Quest can use this funding however they want and that no one will make sure that the funds are used as described in the budget. Throughout the meeting, Chen repeatedly insinuated that in the past the Quest had used their line item funding to buy themselves pizza during editorial board meetings. Other senators repeatedly reminded Chen that the Quest had never used line item funding for pizza. Chen said that the Quest could, if it decided to, use its line item funding for pizza in the future.

Student Body Vice President Apoorva Mangipudi followed that, while this budget may look like a giant slash to the Quest’s funding, through access to Top 30/40 funds and Financial Committee (FinCom) allocations, the Quest could potentially gain even more funding with the new funding model than they would have gotten through byline item funding. Mangipudi also stressed that there was no form of oversight from Treasury or Senate as to how line item funds were spent.

Committee reports began with Chen announcing that their proposal for a new feedback process for administration and faculty would be implemented by the spring, and that it may also include a more streamlined process for reported bias incidents. Chen also announced that next week’s public meeting will have lots of updates on the Center for Life Beyond Reed.

Mangipudi announced that the Student Committee on Diversity (SCOD) is excited about its three new members, and that as part of SCOD’s Hum 110 proposal, trained and compensated student discussion leaders will be going into Hum 110 conferences to speak about race to alleviate pressure from students of color who often feel tokenized in discussions regarding race. The program may eventually extend beyond Hum 110, and it may be implemented in Hum 110 conferences as soon as this spring.

Mangipudi also expressed the frustration of the Student Committee for Academic Policy and Planning (SCAPP) at the Committee for Academic Policy and Planning (CAPP). SCAPP was excluded from many CAPP meetings this summer. Mangipudi said that CAPP explained that the summer meetings were “too much for students.” Mangipudi stated that excluding student representatives was against CAPP’s bylaws. She also noted that, because CAPP is made up of all white faculty members and SCAPP is largely students of color, that type of condescension, while demonstrative of a pejorative view of students, especially students of color, is not surprising. Mangipudi has been in communication with CAPP to share these concerns.

Senator Viven Zhang led a vote to appoint Pixie Freeman and Izzie Hoff as members of the Wage Review Board. A tentative vote was held and passed unanimously, but there weren’t enough senators to pass it officially. Chen stated that the vote will pass in the next meeting where enough senators are present. Congratulations Pixie and Izzie!

Assistant Treasurer Kodinna Anachebe has been doing disbursements, and they are also thinking about changing the disbursement form to be editable, as well as easier to work with in general.

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