In the Senate Oct. 25

October 30, 2020

The Student Union Senate chartered the club Students Demand Action in their weekly meeting on Sunday. The club is part of a national organization of campus groups with the goal of educating students about gun violence prevention. The national organization advocates for gun control laws, according to its website.

The club was chartered unanimously and club treasurer Sabrina Salov ’23 said she hopes to use funds that the club now has access to to invite guest speakers and buy materials for letter writing, poster-making and art supplies. Students Demand Action has already hosted events at Brandeis, including a lecture with Professor Daniel Breen (LGLS) about a lawsuit against the National Rifle Association.

Krupa Sourirajan ’23 spoke about the union’s executive board meeting and two upcoming events. First, voting shuttles departing from the Admissions building bus stop will be available on Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., with shuttles running every 30 minutes. The shuttles will travel to the polling station at Nathaniel At Banks Square Condominiums, according to the Student Union’s Instagram account. Massachusetts polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day, according to a Patch voter’s guide. Local students can find their polling place online at the Secretary of State’s website.

Second, the union is hosting a pumpkin fest event on Friday, Oct. 30 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Shapiro Campus Center (SCC). Attendees can pick up a pumpkin, decorate it and take pictures at the Union’s photo booth, according to the Union Instagram page. The executive board also discussed using money leftover from a commuter rail subsidy—a subsidy for students traveling to Boston for internships—to aid student transport back home for Thanksgiving, such as funding rides to local airports. 

Class of 2024 senator Noah Riskey ’24, of the Social Justice committee, reported that the committee was looking into inputting pronouns into student’s Sage and LATTE accounts, so students are correctly gendered and named on the two Brandeis platforms that are how students engage with courses, grades and tuition, among other university activities. 

North Quad Senator Ashna Kelkar ’24 reported for the Dining Committee, saying she hopes to reach out to the South Asian Students Association (SASA) about a Diwali celebration and that students interested in using points that were left over from the spring semester need to contact the campus card office. She also mentioned that the dining halls were getting a new shipment of hand sanitizer this week. 

Courtney Thrun ’22 of the Services and Outreach committee said that t-shirts for Midnight Buffet—an annual, end of year celebration before finals week—have been ordered and will arrive a few days before the event on Nov. 13. The committee ordered 300 shirts at $6.50 each for “swag bags” for students. 

International Student Senator Skye Liu ’23 of the Health and Safety committee clarified that Vice President of Operations Lois Stanley is now in charge of the menstrual products initiative—a plan to make tampons and pads free in several on-campus bathrooms. She added that she would be filling out a Senate Money Requisition (SMR) for stickers to place on condom dispensers in dormitories so students would be aware that the condoms were provided by the union. She and other senators agreed that providing condoms would not necessarily encourage sex, but would keep sex safe.

Liu also mentioned White Affinity Spaces—spaces for anti-racist trainings available to students, staff and faculty according to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which offers the trainings. Liu started to go into detail, but was cut off by Sourirajan, who said the senate would discuss that topic in executive session—a period of the senate meeting where members of the public and press are not allowed unless requested by the senate, according to the union constitution

Class of 2022 Senator and Club support chair Joseph Coles ’22 discussed recent club approvals, including Students Demand Action which was approved in this meeting, and said that the final day for new club approvals is Nov. 1.

Massell Quad Senator Ben Topol ’24 of the Facilities and Housing committee reported that toilet covers could not be installed in Brandeis bathrooms because of building code restrictions, but he hopes to work on fixing vending machines around campus.

Class of 2021 Senator Jesse Zucker ’21 of the sustainability committee said he was looking into including reusable utensils in the Midnight Buffett goodie bags, increasing education of how to correctly compost on campus and let senators know about the Sustainability Education Grant, and encouraged the senators to reach out to him for more information.

MKTYP Senator Michee Kikobo ’24 of the Community Emergency and Enhancement Fund (CEEF) said he hopes to start working on the fund soon and that he spoke to other transitional year program students about their concerns. CEEF is a fund that serves two purposes on campus: it provides a source of emergency funding for student life and funds student-led initiatives, according to the student union website. Past CEEF projects include a Brandeis informational mobile application called Branda and the installation of treadmills in the library. 

Racial Minority Senator Jasmyne Jean-Remy ’22 of the Allocations Board reported that marathon—where clubs request money from the union for their operations—will be conducted on the platform Slate this year.

The senate passed an amendment to the club bylaws, updating the bylaws so that the Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center (PARC)—an office that offers bystander training to students and serves members of the Brandeis community impacted by violence—would have its current name reflected in the bylaws, rather than the “Office of Prevention Services,” a previous name.

Each senator then gave a brief report of their duties. East Quad Senator Asher Brenner ’24 said he hopes to fix drink vending machines in the SCC and Class of 2024 Senator Chris Tian ’24 reported that he hopes to make students more aware of mental health resources on campus, including Care reports. The Care Team at Brandeis is a group of Brandeis administrators that respond to reports of concerning behavior in students—like talk of self-harm, significant substance abuse, academic distress and others—and can intervene and respond to each case, according to the Care Team website.

Class of 2023 senator Adian Vinograd ’23 said he hopes to increase transparency in the Student Union, and Ziv and Ridgewood Quad Senator James Feng ’22 said he hopes to scale up the reopening of campus while keeping students safe.

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