To acquire wisdom, one must observe

In the Senate, Oct. 18

Despite questions about whether or not proper procedure was followed, the Senate voted to approve a budget of $6000 for the Midnight Buffet, which will be substantially altered this year in light of the ongoing pandemic. Executive Senator Joseph Coles ’22 raised questions about whether Senator Courtney Thrun ’22, who proposed the budget, had underestimated the number of students that would attend. Coles suggested that even with the diminished number of students on campus, up to 500 people might be expected to attend the event, rather than the 300 which Thrun had planned for. However, Thrun pushed back and said that 500 people would not attend. Coles also suggested that the budget be reduced to $4000, though he admitted that he would not vote for the resolution even if the budget were reduced. 

Vice President Krupa Sourirajan ’23 expressed concern that the t-shirts would take longer than usual to arrive due to shipping delays caused by the pandemic, and thus argued that it was imperative that the Senate vote to expedite the resolution and pass it this week. The Senate did ultimately vote to expedite the bill, although Coles raised questions about whether the vote followed proper Senate procedure related to having a quorum of senators. At the end of the meeting Coles motioned for the Senate to enter an executive session so that he could express his discontent with the vote away from the public eye. After the meeting was finished the Senate conducted the vote again and passed an expedited resolution allocating $4000, according to an email Coles sent to The Brandeis Hoot after the meeting. Coles did not specify the margin of the vote, but did say that he was satisfied with the procedure used for this vote. According to Thrun, this year’s Midnight Buffet will be neither a buffet nor at midnight, but an event designed with social distancing in mind. Students will be encouraged to show up, collect a bag of paraphernalia, optionally use a photo booth and leave. The event will be themed around the 1980’s.

Senator Ashna Kelkar ’24 said that the Senate Dining Committee met with Sodexo to discuss student complaints, including that of mold having been found on grilled cheese sandwiches and insects having been found in salads. Senators also discussed issues with the “Bite” mobile app, including orders taking an inconsistent amount of time to be ready, and the fact that the mobile ordering menu did not accurately reflect what was or should be available from the restaurants. Senator Noah Risley ’24 mentioned that it is currently impossible to order a black coffee or a Danish pastry from Einstein’s Bagels, both of which are items which they serve.

Senator Skye Liu ’23 raised the question of whether the Senate should fill the condom dispensers which were put up in some dorms at the end of last semester and specifically whether supplying contraceptives would encourage students to have sex, which the university recommends against in light of the coronavirus pandemic. After some debate, senators concluded that students will almost certainly have sex either way, and that the best thing to do would be to encourage them to be as safe as possible by providing access to contraceptives. Liu did note that before filling the dispensers, the Senate would need to order Student Union stickers to put on them, so that students would give them proper credit, a sentiment with which the Senate as a whole expressed agreement.

Liu said that the Senate Health and Safety Committee would be putting up informational posters about safe consumption of alcohol around campus, even though they hoped that students would not be partying in light of the ongoing pandemic.

Liu also said that Vice President of Student Affairs Raymon Ou had “possibly ghosted” the Senate Health and Safety Committee about the Menstrual Project, an initiative to supply tampons in bathrooms around campus.

An amendment was proposed by Coles to update bylaws related to bystander training in order to refer to the organization formerly known as Rape Crisis Center by its current name, the Prevention Advocacy Resource Center (PARC). The amendment will be discussed and voted on at the Senate’s next session.

The Senate voted unanimously to charter the Brandeis Barbell Club, a club focussed on physical fitness.

While the Senate committees were making their reports, Senator Michee Kikobo ’24 reported the Community Enhancement and Emergency Fund (CEEF) Committee has not yet met. Sourirajan said that this is a problem and urged Kikobo to immediately message the committee to arrange a meeting. Kikobo noted he was not responsible for setting up the group’s meetings, but ultimately sent out the message after Sourirajan said that it did not matter whose fault it was, but that the committee needed to meet.

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