Minutes of the SCU Senate Meeting April 9th, 2020
Senate Chair David Warne
Pro-Tempore Cat Bick
Parliamentarian Eduardo Ruano
Juliana Monela Teter
Senate Chair David Warne called the April 9th, 2020 meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to order at 7:05pm, digitally, over zoom.
Senate Chair David Warne recited the invocation.
Pro-Tempore Cat Bick took roll digitally at 7:05pm. A quorum was present.
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali moved to approve the previous minutes from February 27th, and Sophomore Senator Justin Chan seconded the motion.
The motion carried by voice vote.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews moved to approve the previous minutes from March 5th, and Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez seconded the motion.
The motion carried by voice vote.
Discretionary Fund Merger Bylaw
Finance VP Nick Neihaus: The funds allocated to RSOs will now come from the ASG discretionary fund with this bylaw.
Senate Chair David Warne: We are going to do the raise hand thing for comments on this bylaw. Is it correct that nobody would like to say anything on this bylaw? Raise your hand if you are ready to vote on this bylaw? Ok, that is pretty much everyone. We are going to go ahead and vote. Tedd, I remember you mentioned some possible problems about this administratively.
Tedd Vanadilok: I don’t see much of an issue as long as the Finance Chair and the SAC Chair communicate. It actually streamlines everything.
Lori Salazar: I already track this when I do the RSO training. And I already share this with Nick and Kyle so we could use that for discretionary funding also.
Senate Chair David Warne: Because no one had any questions or comments, I am going to do this by negation. Anyone opposed to passing this bylaw, raise your hand. Ok that is no one so this bylaw passes. We will merge the discretionary fund as nick has written in the bylaw.
Appeals Process Bylaw
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: Basically, with the whole behavioral and attendance processes for violations and such, judicial ran into a lot of inconsistencies and issues regarding the existing format. So, we wanted to develop a more partisan and fair way for going about future infractions. It also helps people who are appealing against the judicial branch’s decision. The main change is with approving this bylaw there would be a subcommittee that is created and all the appeals would filter through that subcommittee. This subcommittee would be made out of nonpartisan members of ASG.
Senate Chair David Warne: Any questions for Emily, myself or exec about this bylaw?
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: So, could the subcommittee members be composed of anyone from ASG?
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: It is the Student Body President, Vice President, Senate Chair, and the Chief Justice, who acts as a nonvoting member. Because if someone in ASG violates the bylaws, they are going to be under one of these branches.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: Would there be any problem if someone is under one of those branches, does the person that supervises them a part of that committee? If a senator was brought into an appeal and David was brought in, he might have bias. I can’t remember if that was part of it.
Emily Yekikian: Yeah that might happen but there are things that an appeal needs for it to get passed onto the judicial branch for a second retrial. So, they are basing their decision on the qualifications of an appeal, so I don’t think bias would play into it. This is after the case has already happened so it is not about how they feel about a certain person.
Senate Chair David Warne: Also, the decisions of the subcommittee needs a simple majority vote so one person wouldn’t be able to sway it.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: Is there a separate document that outlines what the requirements for an appeal are?
Emily Yekikian: There is a subpoint in this document and some other instructions in the actual bylaw. My branch and I talked about creating a different document that had listed things but we felt that that was too much and it isn’t judicial’s job to walk someone through an appeal. We thought this would be a better way of allowing them some discretion of what they want to put in their appeal.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: The chief justice is on the subcommittee, is the chief justice one of the voting members?
Emily Yekikian: Nonvoting. Just there to clear up any discrepancies.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: So, let’s say the appeal is granted, then would it just go back to the same process as before?
Emily Yekikian: If the appeal is approved, then they send it to the judicial branch and they do a retrial.
Senate Chair David Warne: Were all questions answered?
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: If someone feels like they haven’t been expelled but they feel wronged and don’t feel they deserve to be on contract or warning, do they have to accept that?
Emily Yekikian: If they feel like the warning or probation was wrong?
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: Yes, if they feel like they didn’t do anything.
Emily Yekikian: We decided no because when the judicial branch makes a decision, a lot of factors are weighed into that. The person in that situation can’t just decide they don’t like the decision.
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: Is there anything in between the process of getting your first judicial process and then appealing it? Can you guys deny an appeal?
Emily Yekikian: You can denial an appeal but there has always been some gray area about an appeal going back to the judicial branch since they made the decision. So, now all appeals would go to the subcommittee.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: Prior to this change, were other types of appeals available?
Senate Chair David Warne: Allie, hold tight for one second. Tedd?
Tedd Vanadilok: There are three levels. There is a warning, a written letter, and then expulsion. The written letter is usually a conversation. It is something that is conversational.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: Were other appeals allowed prior to this change?
Emily Yekikian: We are not getting rid of any type of appeals that were already existing. We are just clarifying the process.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: So, with infractions, there are only appeals for expulsions?
Emily Yekikian: Yes.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: If the individual broke their contract and that resulted in their expulsion, would they have the same right to appeal from there?
Emily Yekikian: No, because the contract is something that is agreed upon. If they break it, they can be expelled. It is a real case by case basis. With probation, it is not like the judicial branch doing x, y, z it is a conversation. They know going into it, that if they don’t do x, y, z there is potential for another meeting with the branch or expulsion.
Senate Chair David Warne: In other words, the student’s opportunity to deal with the contract has come and gone by this stage.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: Isn’t the point of this bylaw change that they want to go to a third party? So, it is conceivable that the court telling me to do these things is wrong. If the result of the decision is going to be expulsion, they should have the same rights to appeal.
Emily Yekikian: I see what you are saying but this is if the first decision of the branch is expulsion, then you get to appeal that decision. If it is probation, then you get the opportunity to improve. This appeals process is if first time around you get expelled. If you are on contract and probation and you don’t fulfill what you need to do, there is a reason why this person can fulfill these things and didn’t.
Senate Chair David Warne: If there are any comments about ways in which you object, please raise your hand.
Emily Yekikian: Can I suggest something David?I don’t know if the majority is ready to vote but if people are not, can people just email me concerns or questions and if changes need to be made, can we do that and then vote on it next week?
Senate Chair David Warne: I would rather not postpone it. If there are enough senators to vote it down then we can visit it next week. Is anyone not ready to vote on it? Ok, I see no hands raised. We are going to do a vote now. Is anyone opposed to passing this bylaw? Allie, Duncan, Zach, voted no. We have a supermajority so this passes.
Proposal for Student Wage Losses Resolution Discussion
Senate Chair David Warne: We have a resolution coming from Mika and Obasi.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: So, as many of you are aware, a lot of students have lost the ability to work on campus or remotely during this quarter and potentially for the next academic year. Obasi and I have written a proposal in the form of a resolution, so I highly recommend that you look through it. We are basically proposing to allow for remote work and if students cannot work remotely, they still get paid the average of what they got last quarter. Our precedent for that is under the aware of section. We strongly believe that at least remote work should be a possibility because universities like USF are doing it. We are looking for grammatical suggestions. We also want suggestions as to who to send this to.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: Can we add a section that if they don’t change their current policy, then they explain why?
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: I think that is a good idea, we can work on adding that.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: If I could ask, if we do pass this resolution would it be any more than a recommendation?
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: No, that is all a resolution is.
Senate Chair David Warne: I would like to add that anything in the new section of this new business section we will vote on next week.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: Could you include auxiliary as well? Campus bookstore, for example, is considered auxiliary.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I don’t know if this is jumping the gun but it seemed like one of the major points is that the services at school are no longer easily accessible by students.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: I am confused as to the wording of your question.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: In the other resolution it says why they should lower tuition because services on campus are no longer offered. Since on campus jobs are included in that I was wondering if we could reword it.
Senate Chair David Warne: The other resolution is about decreasing tuition to summer prices. So, Raul, Abby or Vidya if you want to chime in on this about how those two resolutions can work together
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I think the point of having both be separate is that they are two very distinct issues. I was going to mention that I could see both of these working together.
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali: It is only a resolution. We also mainly did this because every student has been talking about it. We know that they are not likely to do anything but we wanted a statement to say that we support the students.
Senate Chair David Warne: I am working on having Michael Crowley back on. It might be too high up of an issue but we can talk about it.
President Sahil Sagar: I have an update about the tuition stuff and can give insight about the employment thing. The way that they wrote it up makes a lot of sense. I tried to understand why the university can’t use the endowment. But it is not really a bank account, it is an investment account.
Lori Salazar: Just a suggestion, when the resolutions are final, we can always send a memo talking about both of them.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: I was just going to agree with what Sahil was saying. I don’t think the tuition decrease is going to happen and the worker wages are more important. But since so many students signed the tuition decrease resolution we should take a stance on it.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I definitely think it would be a good idea to put a memo on it.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: What I’m hearing is that one person should send it.
Senate Chair David Warne: So, I don’t think our discussion is done on this. I think it is logical to choose one or the other.
Tuition Resolution Discussion
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: I think it pretty much has already been said. We are just asking for a decrease. The only other thing we didn’t mention is that we have a little section for if they don’t approve it then they tell us why.
First-Year Senator Ariel Perlman: There is just one thing I want to add, one of the issues that I saw is that they said both they that they aren’t lowering tuition but that we are getting the same Jesuit education. I think it is important that they are not addressing the students concerns.
At-Large Senator Annika Kingsley: I think that if we add on to the recognizing section, we should also add something about the collegiate experience and how that isn’t the same.
RSO Structure Changes Bylaw
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: SAC has been working on ideas to change the RSO structure and discretionary funding. We have decided just to change discretionary funding and not the overall structure. The main change to structure is that we would connect to RSO leadership boards that align with Senate. We would have an election day for SCU and RSOs. The other is that ESOs can now form during the spring quarter and ask to move to the RSO category. Basically, SAC has decided to get rid of the whole discretionary funding category of the bylaws. Everything will go away if these are approved. By week one of fall quarter, RSOs must submit a budget plan for the events being held weeks 1-3 of fall. Same for week 2 and events week 4-10. The big change is that by week 6 of fall quarter, all RSOs must submit a budget plan for winter and spring quarter. By week 9 of fall quarter, SAC determines allocations amount and liasons email out potential allocations for RSOs to review. By week 1 of winter quarter, SAC, after hearing feedback from RSOs, makes final allocations. If RSOs do not submit a budget plan, they get a SAC pre-approved quarterly amount allocated for Fall, Winter, and Spring quarters.
Senate Chair David Warne: That was a lot of information, Senators should review this outside Senate. Hopefully you reviewed it yesterday. Let’s talk about the main issues you have or complaints.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I think it is really long and I am wondering if there is a way to cut this down in parts so it is not done all at once. I guess winter and spring, how are RSOs supposed to plan out all of their events.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The idea we are going for is that we want to make RSOs better planners. The idea is that we would rather they request for an event they will think they have than not request because that saves money. We feel that these RSOs are established enough that they should be able to complete this. For breaking it down into pieces, the answer is no. It would contradict the existing bylaws. And honestly the bylaws now are so confusing for RSOs.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: What would you do in the case of new RSOs forming in the spring or the fall?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: As soon as they get into the process, they are allowed to ask.
Sophomore Senator Luke Paulson: I just had a similar thought. I think in terms of week six fall quarter deadline for spring events. I agree that it is for the most part cultural events and established RSOs but I think that newer RSOs might not know what they are doing. So, I think maybe a quarter ahead might give RSOs a little more flexibility.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: We will add something for new winter and spring RSOs.
Sophomore Senator Luke Paulson: How much money do you think RSOS will be getting for the ones who do not submit a budget?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: These percentages are still rough and being worked through.
Lori Salazar: Just a clarifying point, RSOS will still have access to ASG funding. If a new RSO wants to plan an event they still have the 100 that we give them.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I had a question about what constitutes a budget change.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The idea would be any change.
Senate Chair David Warne: Does this change their own accounts? If JSA needs more mustard, they can potentially dip into their existing account and buy it right?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Yes, we could do that. The goal also is to have SAC members have more flexibility than just handling funding requests. We also have been having 2-hour meetings which has to stop.
Senate Chair David Warne: Ok, let’s move on.
Vidya Pingali for FOC:
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: I am still going to be doing the Bronco app. An idea for a collaboration with the PR team.
Sophomore Senator Luke Paulson: In FOC, we were talking about what we can do for seniors, one idea is creating personal and customizable blankets for each student. So, your major, the school you are in, your involvement, or whatever else you have done in your four years here.
Amber Wang for SEC:
First-Year Theo Lassen: For the Lyft project, we are putting a hold on their project until June.
At-Large Senator Emi Bellwood: I was working on this project with the career center, however that is tentative as to whether that is moving onto an online platform
Erik Echeona for CUIC: Quick update, Sahil and I were discussing the Bronco Bar pilot program but that has been scrapped for this quarter. But, I am going to meet with Robin regarding if we can set a full plan for one of you to pick up next fall.
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: I met with Phil, he’s great, and our game plan is that I am going to meet with him again over the summer and he said come to him with an idea of how Safe Walk is going to go.
Kyle Andrews for SAC:
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: So, I mentioned last meeting of emailing transportation regarding refunds. They haven’t gotten back to me so it seems like I will have to write a resolution. I would love to hear feedback before the next meeting so I can draft something.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I just wanted to also give a shout out to Kyle.
At-Large Senator Annika Kingsley: So, something that I have been working on is at-home workout videos by athletes. What I wanted to ask was what is the best place to put these?
President Sahil Sagar: I think it would be good to work with Amber and put that as part of the guide.
First-Year Senator Cole Brunelli: I know that we have to get 100 signatures for elections but since we are not on campus it is not an even playing field. So, I am wondering what everyone thinks about this.
Vice President Charlie Douille: We had already talked about this and came to the conclusion that this is always a risk. So, we are choosing to follow the standard protocol.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I just wanted to say thank you for Ariel and the other people who have been working on the Pass/Fail resolution.
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: Motion to end round table remarks.
Senate Chair David Warne: Do I hear a motion to adjourn. Ok, I got a motion and a second, we are adjourned.
Senate Chair David Warne called the April 9th, 2020 meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to a close at 9:00pm.