Senate Returns for the Spring Semester

Senate has returned to regular programming from winter break as they held the first Senate Public for the spring semester this week. This week’s meeting also marked the first Public for the newly-elected senators. Given that the semester has just begun, much of the meeting consisted of senators stating that they had reached out to, established contact with, or set future meetings with groups and offices on campus, including Academic Support Services, Honor Council, Restorative Justice, Student Publications, Alumni Office, Disability and Accessibility Resources, Admissions and Financial Aid, and Community Safety. 

Student Body President Safi Zenger opened the meeting with committee reports, notably discussing a recent monthly check-in with the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID). Zenger and Assistant Treasurer Wani Pandey expressed intent to build a relationship between Senate and the Multicultural Resource Center (MRC). Aside from this, they are working to involve Senate in the MRC’s climate assessment. 

Zenger moved on to discuss a recent meeting with the Commencement Committee, where the importance of choosing a commencement speaker that embodies diversity was highlighted. In other news, Zenger also detailed a meeting with Madison Riethman, Reed’s COVID Response Coordinator, summarizing student grievances surrounding COVID as “safety and uncertainty”. Zenger then introduced the COVID Liaisons, new positions to be held by Senator Ana Quintana Bernal and Assistant Treasurer Wani Pandey.

Zenger then spoke about a meeting with Megan Simón, where they discussed improving furniture and lighting in the Student Union and furniture in the Exec Office. Zenger went on to elucidate a few of her plans, including cleaning out Shit Palace (the student body’s storage space under the Old Dorm Block) over the semester, as well as updating the format of SB Info to be more comprehensive. She expressed concern regarding administrative moderation of SB Info, as the last iteration came out over 24 hours late, creating challenges for events that needed to be marketed in a time-sensitive manner.

Student Body Vice President Margot Becker spoke next, reporting on a recent meeting with Johanna Workman, Director of Counseling Services at the Health and Counseling Center (HCC). They expressed concerns surrounding health accessibility. Becker stated that new projects are in the works, and they hope to create more meaningful links between the HCC and the student body. Another meeting has been scheduled with the Senate HCC Committee, Workman, and medical staff of the HCC to broaden this discussion from counseling to include medical concerns, including COVID.

Senator Ana Quintana Bernal then reported on a recent meeting with International Student Services (ISS) where she discussed hopes to raise student engagement by bringing back the International Festival, a student-run event coordinated with the International Student Advisory Board. Quintana Bernal highlighted preliminary discussions with the ISS regarding initiating Curricular Practice Training, a program designed to allow international students on F-1 Visas to work off-campus in fields related to their major while they are getting their degree.

Assistant Treasurer Wani Pandey then further discussed the recent meeting with the OID, emphasizing support for students from low-SES backgrounds from the OID. Pandey also brought up recent conversations around academic policy, noting discourse on the PE requirement and how to improve it with both the students and the PE department in mind.

Senator Ena Hashimoto spoke about the initial meetings of the Renn Fayre committee, stating that planning had begun. The committee has a general idea of what this semester’s Renn Fayre will look like, with more details to come as COVID safety precautions are established.

Appointments Committee Chair Arley Sakai gave updates on the committee’s work. Although Judicial Board hiring is typically done in Public Senate meetings, recent hiring decisions were made behind closed doors due to time constraints surrounding training. Alondra Loza, Iris Zhang, and Riley Ellis were hired to be members of the Judicial Board. Sakai then endorsed Kodinna Anachebe for the Student Committee on Academic Policy Planning. Anachebe was then officially hired, with the motion passing unanimously. Sakai then listed the positions that were open and hiring at the time, including Appeals Board Member, which closed on February 4, Student Committee on Diversity Member, which is set to close on February 11, Substance Recovery Coalition Member, which will remain open until February 20, and Student Body Election Czar, which will close on February 27. Interested students can learn more about these positions and apply on Handshake.

Head Treasurer Kiana Cunningham-Rodriguez closed the Public with funding updates. The allocation of $446 for the Euphoria Ball on February 12 was fully approved. Funding Poll registration, Signator Training, and Identity Funding all took place. Identity Funding was to be reviewed at the Executive Meeting on February 6. Funding Poll was set to be open from February 7 to February 11. 

Editor’s Note: Top 6 the Quest!!

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