Senate Beat 11/2: Longest Public Yet

Senate public on November 2 was forced to begin without quorum once again, with only seven senators in attendance. President Safi Zenger expressed her intention to “send a frustrated email to my colleagues” regarding this before beginning committee reports. Zenger also stated that there was “pretty much nothing to report” for most of her committees, and that the website team was currently working on replacing their webmaster position. 

Senate will be launching a new liaisonship with the registrar’s office, which plans to have quarterly meetings. President Zenger also attended a meeting to discuss plans for the upcoming Senate elections, and the implementation of solutions to the problem of high turnover in Senate positions. Generally speaking, Senate is supposed to elect four senators every cycle, but six seats will be open this cycle. Senate hopes to solve this problem and return to the four seat cycle in future elections. In the meantime, Vice President Becker asked that students please keep an eye out for emails, posters, and other communications about upcoming Senate elections. “Not everyone understands exactly what it is that we do,” Becker said, “but there’s a reason that we get to work so closely with the college administration.” Becker further stated that it is very important that students get involved in this election process and exercise their right to choose their representatives in Senate.

Senator Aidan Mokalla announced that the Committee on Academic Planning and Policy is considering making all 200 level psychology labs fulfill the group 3 requirement instead of the group 3+ requirement, a measure intended to reduce the number of people taking these labs and make it easier for psychology majors to get into them. In addition, Senator Mokalla learned at the monthly safety meeting that students on campus have had accidents with acetic acid, and recommended everyone be careful. In addition, as a liaison, Mokalla shared that the Restorative Justice program has expressed an interest in becoming involved in allegations of academic misconduct in order to provide students with the opportunity to resolve such cases before they are taken to higher accountability groups.

Meanwhile, Vice Treasurer Wani Pandey announced that the Finance Committee plans to grant $800 of the $2861.34 requested by the Women’s Soccer Team, but the funds could not be officially allocated because Senate did not have quorum. In addition, Pandey stated that Senate is “open to discussing” with the sports center how much of sports related funding the student body is responsible for, and possibly increasing sports allocations in the future.

In addition, Becker met with the Conference and Events Planning Committee to “start the ball rolling” on preparing for the Spring/Fall celebration. Janice Yang at the Office of Student Engagement will be taking over the planning process, while Vice President Becker has reached out to April Sams at the office of Risk Management and Environmental Health and Safety to begin the process of getting a permit for the event “as fast as possible.” 

Vice President Becker also met with Vice President for Student Life Karnell McConnell-Black and Dean of Students Tawana Parks, both of whom expressed an interest in creating a space to help trans students at Reed build community, a possibility Becker finds very exciting.

Student Body Secretary Miles Sanford announced the approval of a new study abroad program in Argentina, pending a “test trip” by a faculty member to ensure that the experience goes smoothly.

Senator Jefferson Ratliff shared that Senate has officially hired Renn Fayre Czars, and encouraged all to apply to the Honor Council, for which applications are open now, and SCAPP (Student Committee on Academic Policy and Planning), for which applications should be open very soon.

Senator Astrid Liu met with a SHARE advocate who hopes to change the fact that there is “no official policy against unconsensual intoxication on campus” by advocating for policy changes at the campus level. 

Community Safety Director Gary Granger attended public to update students on recent events. Granger said that Reed “has a growing problem” with people coming to campus who are not part of the community and “are not supportive of our educational mission.” Granger named one individual, who goes by the name Robert, who was found showering in Chittick, charging devices in Griffin, and taking food from Commons without permission. 

The CSOs have apparently asked Robert to leave campus and not return multiple times, but Robert has refused to comply. Normally, Granger said, the CSOs’ approach with an individual who truly refused to leave campus would be to call the police to make sure they left, ideally without arresting them. However, Granger said that this approach is no longer possible, as he waited on a police non-emergency line for twenty minutes before eventually giving up when nobody answered. Because of issues like this with Robert and other individuals, the CSOs are proposing to begin locking the SU doors at midnight to make sure it remains a safe space for students. 

In addition, Granger plans to start putting up posters with Robert’s face around campus with the goal of “making it uncomfortable for Robert to be here.” Granger also said that he is in many ways uncomfortable with the decision to put up posters, but at this point “sees no other way to deal with the situation,” although he is open to suggestions from students.

There was some debate among the Senate about different approaches to locking the SU, with Becker against the idea of installing swipe access in the doors, stating her belief that open access for students is an important aspect of the space. All agreed that locking, even only after midnight, is an interim measure because “it’s not attractive to any of us,” but may be necessary. Vice President Becker also expressed her sense of obligation to “protect the Portland community,” and that as people who always have enough to eat, Reed students should consider approaching this problem by creating a community outreach program. 

Granger responded that Reed does have a food pantry and Robert is welcome to get any food he needs from there, but that Robert’s decision to sneak into residence halls is an entirely separate issue. However, Becker stated that she still believed it important to “have a community conversation” about this issue separate from the community safety office. There was also discussion about whether the SU should be opened to the wider Portland community, which was not settled, but Granger expressed his belief that the management of the SU is entirely up to students to decide and he will follow whatever decision Senate makes.

Sustainability Coordinator Rachel Willis, who was in the audience, shared that she participated in an outreach program called the Food Sustainability Network while in college, and encouraged students to research that organization and get involved if they are interested in this issue. Willis also announced that there will be a work party at the Veggie Garden this Saturday, November 5th, from 10:00 to 12:00, with the goal to plant a pumpkin patch. In addition, Willis said that her position is new to campus, and they don’t yet have a formal definition of sustainability. Her office is therefore looking for feedback from students to develop a formal definition of sustainability, and will be working with Senate sustainability liaisons going forward.

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