Senate Beat: Last SB of the Year

As the Senators filed in on Monday for their second-to-last Senate Public, Student Body Vice President Sean Brown (‘24) greeted the audience by blowing bubbles in the Student Union (SU). The last Senate Public will be taking place on the 24th, but will unfortunately not be covered by the Quest. If you’d like to attend the meeting, it will be taking place at 4:15 pm in the SU.

Senate has finally hired a Webmaster – a position dedicated to running the Senate’s website. Student Body President Safi Zenger (‘24) and Vice President Sean Brown recently met with them. “They’re really really nice,” said Zenger. Senate has not had a Webmaster for a while, and is excited to get back on track with some of the progress that had been made on the site. Senate will be figuring out what goals they want for future web development, and the Webmaster will be starting their work in the fall. 

President Zenger and Vice President Brown also met with Vice President and Dean for Institutional Diversity Phyllis Esposito for lunch on Monday. “It was a good time, as always,” said Zenger. They discussed the low student engagement on campus, and how it seems to affect events and community conversations in the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID). “Even if there’s little engagement,” said Zenger, “meaningful engagement is still valuable and important.”

“Even if there’s little engagement, meaningful engagement is still valuable and important.”

– Student Body President Safi Zenger

President Zenger also attended the last meeting of the semester with the Academic Success and Support Team, including Associate Dean for Academic Life Steve Abrahão and Director of Academic Support Christy Martin. They discussed the team’s plans for their upcoming orientation modules. Every year, Academic Success and Support Services runs orientation modules covering the team’s tutoring opportunities and academic resources. The group also discussed low student engagement, and suggested the Senate become more involved in orientation as well. 

The Academic Success Committee also discussed the importance of student feedback. According to Zenger, “Feedback that goes directly to professors is often a lot more meaningful,” rather than feedback that goes to professors from the faculty review forms submitted by the students. The committee wants to encourage students to communicate their constructive feedback about their experiences Qualing to their departments directly. 

The Appointments Committee currently has an open position on Handshake for Judicial Board member, and will soon also have one open for Baby Money (a member of the Treasury team on Senate) in the upcoming days. “It’s a great opportunity if you want to get involved,” said Senator Jefferson Ratliff (‘25). The committee has also finished designing and printing their promotional posters, which they hope will increase student awareness of the committee’s Handshake page. 

The committee recommended the appointment of Max Winslow, Mathew Signorello-Katz, and Keiki Miller to the appeals board, all of which passed unanimously.

Student Body Head Treasurer Wani Pandey (‘23) recommended the allocation of $97.40 to Rock n’ Roll ball, which also passed the vote, before someone pointed out that the ball had been canceled. The Senate nullified the vote, and Pandey retracted the recommendation.

Aside from the allocation, Treasurer Pandey asks anyone with outstanding disbursements to send them to as soon as possible. Disbursements received after the 26th will likely be delayed until late May, as the Treasury team will be occupied with Renn Fayre and the contracts that come with it. Additionally, Pandey asks that anyone with contracts in progress get the contracts in by the end of the week, so the Treasury has time to cut checks. 

In final Treasury news, next Tuesday the 25th of April is the final Finance Committee (FINCOM) meeting, “so if you have any finance activities you want done, it’s the last chance to ask us,” said Pandey. The Treasury members will not be having office hours after next week, “so we can study and graduate,” said Pandey.

The legislative committee met for the last time last Friday. The policies the committee has been working on will be sent to the Senate for final votes next week, then to Faculty afterward. Any policies that don’t pass will have to be discussed next semester.

International Students were required to file their taxes early. According to Student Body Vice Treasurer Nina Gopaldas (‘24), the taxes were due on Monday (4/17), and filing is required regardless of whether the student works or not, due to visa requirements.

Senator Lindsay Worrell (‘25) reported she is setting up a meeting with the Title IX committee to discuss summer work on the changes to the Title IX policy. 

Bon Appetit is still running the Recipe Submission program. Students can submit a recipe they’d like Commons to incorporate into their meals. According to Senator Xixi Dukes (‘26), one of the posters for recipe submission can be found above the soup area in Commons. 

Senate then turned its attention to elections. “Please, on my hands and knees begging. Run for Senate. Or Quest,” said President Zenger. 

“Please, on my hands and knees begging. Run for Senate. Or Quest.”

– President Zenger

In light of the recent shooting off campus, Vice President Brown would like to remind students that “CSOs are available to walk with you if you feel unsafe walking on Campus.” Additionally, the Night Bus program is available for students who live off campus and need transportation to get home. “If there’s ideas people have that would make them feel safer on campus,” said Zenger, “reach out to us. We can connect you with people that can work with you and make those ideas happen.”

As the meeting turned over to audience business, Aries Carnathan in the audience announced, “A couple things – first, I would like it to be known in the Quest that it is my birthday today.” The Senate, as well as the rest of the audience members, proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday” to Aries. “Second of all,” said Aries, “Y’all should be ashamed. I got no responses for wage review” — Carnathan had previously asked the Senate to submit their wage review surveys last Monday. 

“I just submitted one,” said Student Body Secretary Margot Becker (‘24).

“I got one more review,” amended Carnathan.

A member of the audience brought up the geese on campus. “The geese are ableist,” they said, “because my friend who uses a wheelchair gets goose poop on their hands all the time because they have to roll. I propose what we do about – give me a minute,” they interrupted themselves to laugh, “we get the Bio students, particularly those interested in Environmental Studies and such, to start doing forced sterilization of the geese so there are less geese on campus.”

After a minute of shocked reactions from Senate and audience members alike, Treasurer Pandey spoke up to say, “So Canadian Geese are federally protected by US Fish and Wildlife Services. It is illegal to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests without permission from Fish and Wildlife Services, so this is not a question for this Senate.”

The above audience member then said, “Please put in the Quest that this is a joke.”

“The geese don’t pay the student body fee,” said President Zenger. “They don’t pay tuition. They don’t pay housing. They don’t go to class. What do they do?” 

After the audience member finished speaking on the geese, Secretary Becker spoke up about trans safety in the US. “In the news, every single fucking day is another story about my community and the ongoing criminalization of trans existence in the US. The college has taken what seems like no interest in it. I’ve had to talk to my professors very directly,” she said. The students, the faculty, the staff, aren’t talking about these trans issues. “For me, it’s something I want to forget. Something I don’t want to think about. But it’s important to note we can’t actually wish it away,” continued Becker. According to Becker, it is important for people, especially those who are not a member of the trans community, to consider how they practice allyship.

“For me, it’s something I want to forget. Something I don’t want to think about. But it’s important to note we can’t actually wish it away.”

– Student Body Secretary Margot Becker

“I want people to think about this more,” said Becker. “I want it to be a present issue on campus. I want admin to take a stand, take a stance, say ‘you are a group that matters to us.’

I know making ourselves visible to structures of power isn’t something that behooves communities, but as a collective, as a community, we have the chance to make our space safer,” finished Becker.

Vice President Brown added that in his earlier meeting with Phyllis Esposito, they had talked about the dichotomy of Reed as a progressive place. “There are a lot of gay and queer and trans students. Whether they feel safe and welcomed is a separate thing,” said Brown. “In terms of resources for when they have to go home or need assistance, she (Esposito) said you can contact either her or Jessika Chi. They would be happy to talk with you about ways to accommodate you or ways to make you feel as safe as possible.”

According to President Zenger, the Office of Institutional Diversity (OID) has also been having conversations like these amongst themselves. The group has a goal of planning more queer-focused events on campus, and is trying to make it more of a staff-backed endeavor, in order to make it more sustainable in the long term.

In the audience, Max, an intern in the OID, chimed in to say that student engagement is also important to the OID, and that they would soon be hosting free, anonymous HIV testing in GCC-A on Monday the 24th, starting at 4:30 pm.

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