Senate Weekly Beat: ASCC Constitution, New Ath Brochure, and Budget Updates

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On Dec. 5, Senate held its weekly meeting in the Freeberg Forum. The meeting began at 9:06pm, with ASCMC Vice President Felipe Afanador ‘18 approving the minutes from last week’s meeting before addressing the committee updates. This week's meeting saw a common theme of handling budgets, with various funding requests and important documents pending approval. This week the Administrative Affairs and Appropriations (AAA) Committee had two funding requests, both of which were approved in full (leaving ASCMC with a $8,300 budget until spring break). The first was for the CMC Engineering Team, requesting $180 to reimburse students Russell Salazar ‘18 and Devang Patel ‘19 for the 18-20 hours that they spent creating the swipe-in system that has been put in place to expedite the sign-in process for weekly Senate meetings. The second funding request was for the Chinese Students Association, seeking $1,200 to fund its Spring Festival on Jan. 20 to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Last year's festival was attended by 400 students, and the association expects a greater turnout this year. The funds will go towards performances, costumes, food, drinks, and marketing for the event.

Environmental Affairs Committee Chair Sam Becker ‘19 spoke about an upcoming meeting with President Chodosh to propose a sustainability fund. The meeting will take place on Dec. 14, with other meetings to come. These meetings will be held to establish and solidify plans for an orientation presentation surrounding sustainability and other related affairs.

Consortium Affairs Committee member Gemma Sykes ‘20 discussed funding requests at Harvey Mudd, with the goal of planning a student philanthropy campaign that will provide group therapy sessions for students. Members also discussed ways in which they can support the mental health of students, such as with the expansion of their wellness garden. Grace Kelleher ‘20 shared updates including Pitzer's recent approval of old bills that aimed to change the College's impeachment and budget procedures. Melanie Wolfe ’20 talked about Pomona's revision of its election codes, mission statement, and initiative to take down posters that no longer offer pertinent information. The final topic discussed was the efforts the library plans to make to promote Oculus Rift and Google Glasses, and emphasizing the purpose of the Collaborative Commons.

Campus Improvements Chair Connor Bloom ‘19 had updates about mid-year room draw, which took place last Wednesday. He explained that this process went very well for the most part. It reportedly had more favorable outcomes than in past years’ room draws, despite some students winding up in "forced triples."

Technology, Innovation, and Student Affairs Committee Chair Ryan Chakmak ’19 announced updates on the Athenaeum brochure, which he hopes will be finished prior to the end of the semester. It will be presented by the committee within the first couple weeks back from break. The brochure is also expected to increase inclusion of the other 5Cs in the Ath, making its mission comprehensive to all students.

The Personal and Social Responsibility Committee shared updates on the recent Title IX meeting that took place, as well as comments on the Civil Rights Handbook. The committee shared that CMC is now officially a partner school of the It's On Us campaign to combat sexual assault.

The Off-Campus Study Committee announced the approval of applications for programs and petitions that will increase student input as to which programs CMC will partner with.

Following committee updates, Afanador announced the winners of the ASCMC Survey Raffle, after which Bloom provided the results of the survey. The survey yielded 299 responses, with conclusions supporting the importance of living in the same dorm as friends. It also indicated that most students do not have strong feelings about gender-inclusive and substance-free housing, and that students are open to going forward with block housing. This feedback reinforced the residential life plan as it currently stands. The data will be presented to Senate before final recommendations are made.

Discussion transpired over this year’s financial records compared to the amount of money left in the budget at this time last year.

"We both have more money this year and have spent more money this year, [both of which] are good things," President Pro-Tempore Thomas Schalke ‘18 said. Afanador later added that the school is doing very well fiscally.

Next, Senate voted to approve the ASCC Constitution. The motion to pass was ratified, with 11 senators approving the motion and 3 abstaining. Soon after, Senate voted to pass the Senate Operating Procedures and the ASCMC Budget, both of which were also ratified. All votes were conducted using Slack, a mobile app that allows senators to cast votes for/against motions in real time from their smartphones.

In the meeting’s closing remarks, there was mention of reexaminations of the tutoring structure. Some departments have more sufficient tutoring systems than others do, so it is important to make tutoring opportunities more equitable across all disciplines. This process would involve meeting with the deans to discuss and research the best tutoring policies.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:03pm, running just over an hour.