Senate Beat is Spooky

This week’s Senate meeting began with the formal appointment of the Renn Fayre Czars, Natasha Cruz, Betty Demissu, Benny Gunn, Fatuma Hussein, and Andee Gude, as well as the new Pool Hall Assistant Manager, Maya Hanser-Young, a new Honor Council member, Emma Hill, and the new Election Czars, Tommy Ghassaei and Aidan Mokalla. The motion had no dissenting votes. 

The bulk of the meeting was dedicated to public comment on the lightning petition, which was initiated by Senator Meera Balan. The petition seeks to repair existing light fixtures and create new ones in low-light areas, particularly Eliot Circle. She said additional lighting would promote student safety. A member of the audience argued the scientific literature on the subject suggested that was not the case. 

Senator Balan confirmed no new lighting would be installed in the Canyon, which had previously been a point of controversy among students concerned with the possibility of light pollution and environmental damage. 

Senate does not have the ability to install new lighting unilaterally. Rather, it can make a formal recommendation to Facilities Services, which would then conduct its own survey. It was not immediately clear how the project would be funded.  

One student criticized the Senate for what they said was a lack of transparency regarding whether the lighting petition was a “Senate project or a student project.” The confusion stemmed from the term “personal project” – a project taken on by a senator, with the assistance of senatorial resources, but not related to that senator’s committee work. Some students may have believed that when Senator Balan had used the term in the past she did so in the colloquial sense, rather than the specific sense, thus the wording had to be clarified by another senator. 

The meeting was adjourned with Student Body President Safi Zenger noting her disappointment with the relatively sparse attendance – which is characteristic of Senate meetings – and said she had hoped for more robust public comment on the lighting petition. She also noted that Reed students would have further opportunities to share their thoughts on the matter before it came to a vote.

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