Senate Beat: Sept 3, 2021

Senate’s back and better than ever!

This week, among other meetings and orientation events to commemorate the beginning of the new school year, the first Public Senate meeting happened. Not only was it the first Senate meeting of the year, but it was also the first in-person meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began, as well as the first in-person meeting for several senators. There was no theme of the meeting; Senate simply wanted to introduce themselves and their platforms for the year! 

Student Body President Alondra Loza began the meeting. She spoke about her role as president and her responsibility to support other senators with their projects. This year, she wants to be a driving force to get things done. Student Body Vice President Orion Pendragon followed Loza and agreed with everything she said. Pendragon is optimistic that they will build on the momentum from last year and better the lives of students on campus.

Vice Treasurer (a.k.a. Middle Money) Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez wants to get back to the root of what Treasury is supposed to do: facilitate funding for clubs and students who do not have them. She is also very excited to continue the work she began last year on the Academic Success Committee. Last year, Senator Safi Zenger and Cunningham began reforming the advisor process to help students get the most out of the pairing between faculty and students.

Newly elected Senator and former Head Treasurer Ena Hashimoto is excited to reform how Senate itself works. She outlines two main ways she wants to do this. First, Hashimoto wants to implement procedures on how to address misconduct in Senate and the Reed community as a whole. She gave an update about the Bylaw Committee, a committee headed by Senator Margot Becker that is looking through every part of the Senate Bylaws and making any changes necessary. Bylaw committee worked during the summer but still has work to do this year. Becker is equally excited to continue that work. Hashimoto is also working extremely hard to give student workers on campus a voice not only through the hiring process but at every point in their respective jobs. 

Newly elected Senator Ana Quintana Bernal ran on a platform of advocating for and empowering international students. Whether that means working on committees that support international students or bringing their voices into Senate conversations, Quintana is looking forward to giving international students a spotlight in spaces they’ve often been left out of. 

Senator M.J. Quintana-Rodriguez is incredibly excited to continue their partnership with the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). Quintana started a pre-health group for minority students as well as a biology mentoring program in the MRC last year, and wants to make sure that BIPOC students have support when they need it. 

Senator and Appointments Committee (AppComm) Chair Safi Zenger spoke next. AppComm, as Zenger explained, is in charge of hiring a large portion of student jobs on campus. As its chair, Zenger makes sure that the applications and hiring process are equitable, and goes into every application and interview with equity at the forefront. This year, Zenger wants to expand the scope of AppComm to ensure that students are supported in their work. 

New Senator Arley Sakai’s platform during the election was creating a survivor support fund, which would be a pool of money dedicated to financially supporting survivors of sexual assault. Sakai is confident that as the SHARE and Title IX liaison, he can begin a conversation about creating that fund. Senator Anjali Reddy spoke next. Their goal for the new year is to reduce stigma around different groups on campus. She spearheaded the creation of the Substance Recovery Coalition, a group that provides support and resources to sober and recovering students.

Loza then took the floor to give updates about Senate as a whole. The Humanities 110 proposal with the Office of Institutional Diversity is being implemented for the first time this year. This proposal created a student consultant program where students will be trained to mediate conversations about race during HUM 110 conferences. In Finance Committee (FinComm) news, signator training will happen within the next few weeks. Following that training, clubs will be able to participate in funding poll, submit budget proposals, and receive funds.

Loza opened the meeting to questions. One student asked when the Student Union (SU) would be open; the SU will be open from 8:30 a.m. – 12 a.m. this semester. Pendragon and Loza are looking forward to making the space a more social place and for students to begin using it as such. Another question that arose regarded the Student Body Info emails and potential censorship. Following parent backlash to a joke made in one of last year’s emails, Vice President for Student Life Dr. Karnell McConnell-Black (Dr. K) began looking over the emails before they are sent, sometimes making changes he deemed necessary. Dr. K, who was in attendance, responded and said the changes he makes, if any, are small things. Loza jumped in, restating how important both transparency and Senate autonomy are to her and the rest of the Senators. She promised to continue to raise her concerns about Senate autonomy in future conversations. 

A question then arose about the general relationship Senate has with administration. Pendragon answered and said Senate’s job is to bridge the gap between the student body and administrators. That looks different for every situation; sometimes, Pendragon explained, that looks like introducing the student to certain administrators, and other times Senate will be in the room advocating for different student groups. The relationship, they said, is always changing. 

Senate Beat is a weekly column dedicated to reporting on what happens during Senate Public meetings. To learn even more about Senate, attend a meeting (Fridays at 4:30 p.m. in SU), read SB Info, or email them at

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