Senate Meeting Minutes :: 04.16.20 :: Week 3
Minutes of the SCU Senate Meeting April 16th, 2020
Senate Chair David Warne
Pro-Tempore Cat Bick
Parliamentarian Eduardo Ruano
Juliana Monela Teter
1. CALL TO ORDER
Senate Chair David Warne called the April 16th, 2020 meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to order at 7:02pm, digitally, over Zoom.
Senate Chair David Warne recited the invocation.
2. ROLL CALL
Pro-Tempore Cat Bick took roll digitally at 7:05pm. A quorum was present.
3. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana moved to approve the previous minutes from April 9th, and Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez seconded the motion.
The motion carried by voice vote.
4. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis moved to approve the agenda and Junior Senator Kyle Andrewsseconded the motion.
The motion carried by voice vote.
5. OLD BUSINESS
Senate Chair David Warne: Mika, would you like to start with the memo and then move on?
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: It is up to Abby, Raul, Obasi, Vidya, and Zachary.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: We kind of revised the wording of it because we got some suggestions from Zach and some other senators about it being outdated. I think Mika sent out an email Sunday or so about the revised changes. We are now not really asking for a specific decrease but instead standing in solidarity with students who asked for it. We just want to get the message that we want the decrease but it is not happening and we know that. And in the memo we switched up the language so it is more reflective of what the current time is and asking them to respond to their decisions to not pay student workers or decrease tuition.
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali: We also renamed it tuition response not tuition decrease.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I wanted to say that I really liked the memo. I thought it brought them together well.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: One thing, at the discretion of Helen, we added a clause to the wage proposal to extend that if this happens any time in the future, the admin does what we recommend to them.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: I am undecided on the memo currently but wanted to take the position of someone who would have reasonable concern with it. We are acknowledging that we can’t pay student workers or decrease the tuition. The university would probably have to incur debt to fulfill these requests, how would you respond to that?
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: To address that, we didn’t respond to the fact that SCU might be receiving funding over the stimulus bill but we want them to respond to this first and see what their stance is. We want to know how it is being used. We are conscientious that their endowment is not physical money and it is assets essentially and it has been hurt because of the economy. We want them to be aware that we know that and see first their response.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: That is also what the memo addresses.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I think one thing that could be rephrased on the memo, I agree with Cam, I think the contradiction is still there and it could be clarified in the second paragraph more.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: Raul and Abby, I think the point would be better served if you mentioned the potential grants from the government.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: Yeah, that is a good idea.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: And to answer Zach’s point, I think what you mentioned is in that first bigger paragraph. What you just mentioned is already stated.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I don’t think I was very clear. What I am really trying to address is the idea that while this will decrease revenue, we are still paying tuition but we want to support student workers. It should be more of a positive statement, we are comfortable paying tuition if you do this.
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: So, I think this could open up a whole different issue so it is probably not worth mentioning in the memo. I was trying to think of scenarios where the school may not be bringing in as much money. I’m sure they have reduced staff during the summer and they are still paying them. If they are able to accomodate students during the summer at reduced tuition they should be able to accomodate students now.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: I think all the money they are using to pay student workers now is going to pay work study students.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: The work study money comes from the federal government though.
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: I think half of it does and the other half comes from the school
President Sahil Sagar: Obasi, you are correct. It is a combination.
Senate Chair David Warne: I think regarding students about work study and the staff during summer, I don’t think we should include that until we are sure about the data.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: Do you know if the school is expecting a sufficient number of people to not do spring quarter or pay tuition at all?
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I know at this point if you do withdraw from the school you get zero refund. I kind of like the simplicity of the memo. I think the complexity should be in the resolutions themselves.
Tuition Resolution Discussion
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: I think the tuition one has bigger changes than the student wage losses.
Senate Chair David Warne: Would the authors like to talk?
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali: Zach brought up a lot of issues on the language and how before it had been resolved, and it was very windy. So, we changed some of the language to make it flow better and used different words. But the main points are the same. We also asked for more of a response instead of decreasing since admin are adamant that they are not decreasing.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: To add onto that, the only new piece of information is that it was a bit of a time issue but we are updating it so the university knows we did our homework. But it is basically the same, it just flows better.
Senate Chair David Warne: Any comments about this resolution?
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I was wondering, do we know the petition that was online for student tution was only Santa Clara students?
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: Yes, we know that. It was passed around the student body and sent to administration by the senior class.
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali: We may not know. But we can check on it if you want us to.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I think it is very possible that multiple people signed it multiple times.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: The first section had awkward phrasing. But I think the meat and context of it is good.
Senate Chair David Warne: Everybody in the future, I would love to see your hand raised in the participants section. Great. Now, let’s take a quick look at this, Mika mentioned some changes.
Proposal for Student Wage Losses Resolution Discussion
At-Large Mika Philip: I think the biggest one is the suggestion from Helen. For example, there are exceptions to the student wage losses. Helen suggested we make it more geared towards the future. Tedd brought up 2020-2021 and to keep in mind those students. Finally, this section asks that admin take remote work into consideration and allow it.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I was wondering about allowing all students to work remotely. And if the students work less then it doesn’t ask that they be compensated the same amount as they were before.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: One thing is we do want to be mindful that some departments might be getting less and it wouldn’t make sense to pay them an amount that the department doesn’t have funding for. And the department might need less people. We don’t have enough data to know how much money has been lost, etc.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: Allie that is a good point, people may not be able to work as much as they used to.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: I see that it says auxiliary services, is this going to Robin Reynolds who handles that stuff.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: Yes, that is a really good point.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: What does auxiliary services do?
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: Workers who aren’t directly employed by the school.
Resolution Memorandum Discussion
Senate Chair David Warne: I don’t think that the memo requires all of our approval.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: But if we are going to have the heading coming from student government then we should probably vote on it too. On that same point, I was wondering why we would just want to have the names of the authors. In the sense of what is our message? Is it coming from them or from the entire student government?
Senate Chair David Warne: Zach, let me ask you this. Do you think it would improve if it instead said Associated Student Government and then authored by… these people? I think specifically resolutions are understood that they are voted on by all of the Senate. As for the memo, I don’t know if it would necessarily be understood.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: My thought is that we could add language at the bottom of the two resolutions that a memo should be authored by these people to explain these two resolutions in conjunction with one another.
Senate Chair David Warne: I am going to do something unorthodox. I am going to go through the authors and ask if they are in favor of Zach’s idea. Raise your hand if you think it would be ambiguous. Ok, so per the normal schedule we should vote on these things tonight but I am also comfortable voting on them next week since the memo is new content. Can I have a show of hands from the authors of any of these three documents who are not comfortable voting on them tonight? Ok, so all of the authors are comfortable voting on them. Can I now see any senator who is not comfortable voting on any one of these documents tonight?
Senior Senator Nicole Jacobus: I was just going to add that SCU presents is umbrellaed under HR. Otherwise, I don’t have an issue with voting.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: I guess maybe third party was the wrong wording to use.
Senate Chair David Warne: Helen, I see your hand raised, which one are you not comfortable voting on?
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: I don't mind voting on it today if we can edit the phrasing later.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I think to satisfy that, there is some wording that can be changed in the memo as well. I think if we make it clear that we are voting on drafting a resolution and sending it, it would be a third vote after the two resolutions to clarify. Then, we can edit the language after the fact.
Senate Chair David Warne: We could also send these resolutions any time in the next week. Show of hands, who is in favor of modifying the memorandum and sending it after the resolutions? Who would like to edit the memo and send it next week? The function of voting on these now is to vote on the memo later and clear up our agenda for next week.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I feel like this is already a time sensitive issue with these memos and resolutions. I think we should figure out the wording after this meeting so we could still vote on it and send it this weekend.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: I thought what you had suggested before was that we could approve the memo and then it would be at the discretion of the authors to edit and send it.
Lori Salazar: I was going to say, David, for voting someone could put a motion on the table that you are voting to approve the memo with the stipulation that the authors are able to edit it.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: Is there a way Lori that we can set a time so senators know when we will send it?
Lori Salazar: Yes, someone can put that motion forward and give a deadline.
Senate Chair David Warne: It sounds like our ideal option is the one Lori mentioned. I am going to ask for a motion. You can raise your hand if you would like to first or second it. Do I hear a motion to approve the memorandum on the condition that the authors finalize the language by tomorrow evening?
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: Shouldn't we do the resolutions first?
Senate Chair David Warne: Motion to vote on the resolution regarding student wage losses?
At-Large Senator Allie Bare moved to vote on the resolution and Senior Senator Nicole Jacobusseconded the motion.
Senate Chair David Warne: If you are against approving this resolution, please raise your hand in the participants chat. Ok, the motion passes unanimously. We are going to move onto spring quarter response to tuition. Do I hear a motion to vote?
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali moved to vote and Senior Senator Nicole Jacobus seconded the motion.
Senate Chair David Warne: If you are opposed to the spring quarter tuition response resolution please raise your hand in the participants response chat.
The motion carried.
Senate Chair David Warne: Now, moving onto the memo. I am going to move that we vote on the approval of this memo with the stipulation that its language be finalized by tomorrow evening closed business.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I’m pretty sure the chair can’t make a motion. I move to approve the memorandum on the condition that the authors of the memorandum, Abigail, Obasi, Raul, Mika, and Vidya, can change the language based on the discussion that we had before it is sent out with the two resolutions.
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali seconded the motion.
Senate Chair David Warne: All in favor, raise your hands in the participants chat. Why didn’t some senators vote yes?
Senior Senator Cam Bick: I think I am more voting to abstain. I appreciate that we are taking a stance on it but I really don’t see this advising the school in a meaningful way.
Senate Chair David Warne: Ok, the motion passes. We will approve this memorandum on the condition that its language be finalized.
6. NEW BUSINESS
RSO Structure Changes
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The yellow represents highlighted changes. The biggest change regarding RSO approvals is to move them to spring. It simplified the process and RSOs can still apply during fall and winter quarter, but they will be given pending approval. They still can table and host events, they just can't use the SCU name, host events, or book rooms. This is also to help keep our numbers low for RSOs. We are also eliminating ESOs to simplify percentages and we only have four ESOs. We also got rid of the mid-quarter budget changes. We also renamed our funding and redid some percentages. I reached out and talked to Helen and we also want to create some sort of pamphlet to RSOs that goes over how to be successful, tips on funding so hopefully we have more successful RSOs.
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: Would this mean that in the spring quarter there would be an overload of RSO presentations to the Senate which would impact our workload? What if week one people want to start an RSO, they would have to wait two quarters for it to be official.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: While I do see the point that it is a long time, it is really to simplify it. There are a lot of flameouts and we can see which ones will last and it won’t overwhelm them. The majority of RSOs too don’t need funding either. We want to make sure our funding goes into RSOs who truly need it.
Lori Salazar: That is what we currently do for RSOs who are new RSOs We consider them in the pending status and so they are able to table only for informational tabling and get members. If they host events it has to be purely informational. So they are not necessarily hosting a full RSO event. We have it outlined on the CSI website of what that means now.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Also, through this by the elimination of the plus 1000 presentations, overall we are saving a lot of time. And SAC will have a good understanding of the RSOs and which ones will last.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: Mine was just a comment. The other part of it is it will have a measure to see how the tools are helping RSOs grow.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I was thinking of seeing this new addition that it might cause new people to campus to not start an RSO and it might be an obstacle. And I think that would be one of the major changes that would have on our campus. I think the people most affected by this would be new people to campus.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Good point, one thing though is that a lot of new RSOs seem very similar. So hopefully this would encourage people to join ones that are similar. We are one of the few universities who have new RSOs fall, winter, and spring.
Sophomore Senator Luke Paulson: I just wanted to say I was kind of thinking what Ann was thinking. I understand Kyle what you are saying about putting everything together in the spring quarter. But my main concern is I think it is a long process so if I didn’t have that knowledge that it was official with Santa Clara, it was very hard to build and gain members. I think this could work if there was a lot of support from CSI because going a whole year without being official could be very challenging.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Yes, for sure. Another reason for spring too is to line up with spring renewals and we would work on spring workshops to ensure that they grow and do well. We think it will line up better with our existing system, help with our budgeting, and ensure that the people that are in the RSOs remain in those RSOs. But I will talk to SAC and CSI about this.
Splash Ad Hoc
Senate Chair David Warne: So, Justin you mentioned having a Splash ad hoc committee but didn’t send me any materials. Would you rather talk about this during round table or now? Ok, we will move on.
Confirm Election Committee
Vice President Charlie Douille: So, basically, as you guys are aware there was an election committee earlier in the year but that was during the chaotic period. We have established another committee where I am the committee chair. I have selected Erik, Cecelia, Emily, and Tarren. They are all extremely qualified. Let me know if you have any questions.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: In past administrations, it has been a lot more transparent regarding the election committee. How did you come to the determination of members on the committee? It seems like selection was very quiet and limited to exec rather than people who have been here longer and have more knowledge.
Vice President Charlie Douille: I am sorry about that. I definitely guess I could have been more transparent. But I chose these four people because I think they are four of the most qualified and experienced on ASG. These are just the four that I already have a strong working relationship with.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: Am I correct in saying that all the people on the election committee are currently seniors? In that case, I feel a little uncomfortable that all of the people on the committee are not eligible to run.
Vice President Charlie Douille: I totally understand what you are saying.I intentionally chose all seniors because we had to plan a month in advance and I didn’t know who was running for next year. I thought that electing seniors would save us complications if they decide to run and their experience.
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: I was the election committee chair in the fall. In the spring quarter, the election committee has to be comprised of people who aren’t running. That excludes a solid amount of people in the Senate. It is the easiest way to do it. Also, a lot of us have experience in the background and foreground of this experience.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: One thing, going off of Allie and Kyle, I noticed that there is only one person who has been a senator. Can I ask why there are not more senator nominations and there was no email sent out gauging interest?
President Sahil Sagar: So, the election committee does not require you to be a senator. It is anybody that the election committee chair deems fit and able to serve on the committee. We could even ask an individual with no ASG experience. Your question regarding a lack of interest form, as you guys know, a number of individuals on the election committee in the fall are running for positions now. There needed to be some body of individuals making decisions of when elections started. When all of this started happening, we didn’t have the right people in place to take over for the spring.
Vice President Charlie Douille: I’ll be honest that there was just a lot going on so I want to acknowledge I could have been more transparent but I still think that the selections that I made are extremely qualified.
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali: I think because it is an election it would be good to have people who have actually run for an election and know the process. I do agree that they are qualified but they are all in appointed positions. So it would make more sense to have people who have experienced it themselves.
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: I totally get where you're coming from and while I do think it makes sense to have half the committee be people who are or were previously senators but really that is not the top priority. It is to manage the election. It is more important that you are familiar with the bylaws associated with elections. As long as the people in the committee have read through that and are following Charlie’s lead, that is the only necessity to be in the election committee.
President Sahil Sagar: Also, just to add, Charlie did run he just couldn’t complete.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: I guess my biggest thing is that a lot of people complain about ASG not being transparent. And while this is too late to fix, we always talk about how we are not transparent enough and this is one of the most non transparent things I have ever seen. Especially compared to the past Senates that I’ve been in and other vice presidents who have run it.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: I just wanted to express a little bit of confusion. I am not really understanding the exact duties of what the election committee does.
Vice President Charlie Douille: It is all in the bylaws. We are responsible for hosting the events, misconduct, the zoom info sessions, tracking the signatures.
First-Year Senator Ariel Perlman: Not to be redundant, it is not that I don’t think that those people are extremely qualified. It just seemed like a politician selecting all of their friends.
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: Just to clear that up, in the fall, I just asked people to be on the committee. We didn’t experience any problems. We are not actively doing anything big, just making sure that all the requirements are met. It is pretty cut and dry.
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: I was just going to reiterate. According to the bylaws, because in fall quarter we didn’t have a vice president, I could choose who could be election committee chair. I chose Erik and he just texted people. I didn’t see the same kind of backlash that is happening now.
Senate Chair David Warne: I am going to cut off comments there. I want to give everyone who has a problem here, a chance to voice those concerns either by comment or vote. I have been a part of Senate for four years and I have never seen the kind of openness, broadcasted search that some members are looking for. It was always kind of like this. Having said that, I want to see how we can vote on this. We need a supermajority of the Senate to approve the election committee. We have to do it tonight. If you are a member of the election committee, could you step out and leave a comment in the chat?
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: What would happen if we voted no since elections start in a couple of days?
Senate Chair David Warne: I would assume that Charlie would have to choose a new election committee tonight.
President Sahil Sagar: We would need to figure it out during this Senate. The senators would need to think of another person on the spot.
At-Large Senator Duncan McDonnell: Just to clarify, so we have to think about who to nominate?
President Sahil Sagar: It is the vice president’s responsibility but if you guys choose not to approve them then we have to do it on the spot.
Vice President Charlie Douille: I would essentially ask any of you if you are interested on the spot.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: Obviously David, you have been in the Senate longer than I have, but I think ASG has been in place longer. I felt that when Erik was the committee chair, he asked senators to be on the committee. Jawala also was very transparent. I don’t think it's fair to say that.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Going off my three years in Senate, all the other committees had at least one or two members from non ASG on it. Personally, my viewpoint is that I am going to vote no on all. I think Senate should create new recommendations.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: I just wanted to clarify that when Erik was saying that you just follow the rules, I think this isn’t a business as usual thing and this committee differs from the past. I think that is why it actually matters what the members of the committee think. So I am also going to vote no.
Senate Chair David Warne: Would you take Charlie speaking on their point of view?
Vice President Charlie Douille: We were hoping to propose a new provision after this that would reduce signatures temporarily for this position. These people know what you are going through and frankly I don’t think there are any more decisions that need to be made. So, I am just hoping that being in ASG for the past three years would be enough to understand.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I was going to say something very similar to Helen. I think it is unfair to say this is as usual and a lot of people are disagreeing with the decisions being made.
Vice President Charlie Douille: That is totally fair, and I realize that most of the comments being made is that I should have been more transparent. I accept responsibility but I think all the people are still very equipped and I don’t think that the discussion is involving them.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: Can you talk about what decisions have been made?
Vice President Charlie Douille: Basically just the decision to move things online. We have just been discussing the signatures. We have just been following the bylaws to this point.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: I do have some comments about the people who are nominated. For example, I don’t feel comfortable with Emily being nominated. What happens if we find an issue with the election code. I think for separations sake we should not approve of her. In addition, I don’t think that Cecelia may be well qualified because she does not have to read the bylaws as much as we do.
Vice President Charlie Douille: Emily does add expertise to the subject.I understand what you are saying about a conflict of interest but there has been no indication that there is a problem. Regarding Cecelia, every member has to read up on the bylaws so I don’t think it is fair to say Senators would be more qualified.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: I think a lot of points brought up are being considerate. But I think we are questioning the process. The only right thing to do is to do a formal no on all of the candidates.
President Sahil Sagar: Kyle, I understand your point but the reason that Charlie had to bring in individuals, is the chair has the right to bring in ex officio members who are not confirmed yet. By technicality, we are still following the process. I told Charlie we need an election committee formed so that is when all of this came together. This is not an ideal situation, this whole election is not an ideal situation.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: We all know that elections happen in the spring and other administrations have followed this in the winter and started this process earlier.
President Sahil Sagar: Yes this process could have been more transparent but we started off without a vice president.
Senior Senator Nicole Jacobus: I was just going to add in that it is one thing to have a problem with transparency as a whole but also a lack of transparency from each person on the committee. It is not ideal but I think that shows that there is even more of an obligation to be transparent.
At-Large Senator Emi Bellwood: Charlie, you said that the committee started doing work when the transition to online classes happened. Why was the election committee not brought up last quarter?
Vice President Charlie Douille: I agree that I could have been more transparent. Basically, it was one of the few things of the election that slipped my mind. I definitely could have had this confirmed earlier, I am sorry.
Senior Senator Cam Bick: I just feel that Charlie is being piled up on unfairly. As Erik said before, it seems like there is precedent to this where the VP picks who will work well with them and who is most capable of managing it. And that is what the vote is for. If we don’t like Charlie’s voice then we are free to vote it down.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I really appreciate you Charlie and the way that you responded to these questions, but I do agree with the points that were made though. I really only have an objection to one of them though which is the Chief Justice because if there are disputes within the election or individual members, the appeals go to the chief justice and I think it would not be proper for that same person to sit on the committee.
Junior Senator Raul Orellana moved to end debate and Senior Senator Nicole Jacobus seconded the motion.
Senate Chair David Warne: We have to vote on every member. If we vote a member down, we will have to appoint a new member. We are going to start with Erik and then do Emily, then Cecelia, then Tarren. If any one of them is voted down then we are going to pause. Those in favor of approving Erik as a member of the election committee, please raise your hand. Erik is approved. Those in favor of approving Emily to the election committee, please raise your hand. That is not a super majority, we will need to replace Emily. I am going to start with a recommendation for Emily. Raise your hand if you are interested. Cam and Allie. Please raise your hand to approve Cecelia. No supermajority on that one either. Let’s move onto Tarren. All those who want to approve Tarren to the election committee, please raise your hand. Ok, that is a supermajority so Tarren is approved. So, we have two people interested in filling the spots. So, we can move forward on voting for Cam and Allie. So, I have Cam, Allie, and Kyle. Sahil has to approve any nominations.
President Sahil Sagar: Charlie has to pick two before I do that.
Vice President Charlie Douille: The three of you are all extremely qualified. Based on the experience I have had working with you guys, I think the election committee would be enhanced by Cam Bick and Allie Bare.
Senate Chair David Warne: Sahil do you approve those choices?
President Sahil Sagar: Yes.
Senate Chair David Warne: Cam and Allie, could you guys step out. We are going to start with Cam, we are looking for a super majority here. We are looking for 16. All in favor of approving Cam as a member. Ok, that is not a supermajority. All in favor of approving Allie as an election committee member. That is a supermajority. So, Allie is on the election committee, Charlie, do you have another nomination.
Vice President Charlie Douille: Can I nominate you David?
Senate Chair David Warne: Yes, I will do it if you need me.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: I am not running for any position but I might be applying for senior positions if they are vacant, in the interest of full disclosure.
David: If you are in favor of adding Kyle to the election committee, please raise your hand. Ok, that is a supermajority. Ok, Charlie you have your election committee.
Election Code Provision
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: Pretty straightforward, there has been discussion about whether the signatures should be lowered or completely removed. What we had discussed with everything going digital and it being more difficult. We have determined that it would be in our best interest to lower that requirement. It is in my opinion that it shouldn’t be reduced more than 50%. If you think otherwise I would love to hear your feedback on that.
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: I completely understand the rationale behind people wanting to lower the petition count. That being said, the petition being online is even easier online since we have everyone’s email, facebook, etc. I don’t think it is necessarily a barrier because if you can’t even get 150 signatures on your petition maybe you shouldn’t run anyway.
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: Just to clarify, I don’t think we should lower that, but there have been people suggesting it. I think it would be in our best interest to vote whether we keep the status quo or lower it.
First-Year Senator Theo Lassen: I agree with Justin. It is too late to be changing that and all the candidates have gathered their signatures already. I also think there is a conflict of interest since most of us are running for a position.
First-Year Senator Christina Abudayeh: I agree with that.
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: Emily, thoughts on that?
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: Yeah, any changes that are made before the campaign starts are still valid, but if you are a senator who is running, then you would have to abstain.
Senate Chair David Warne: We are going to vote on whether we want to lower it first. If you are currently running, raise your hand now so I can count you out. Ok, we have 13 and that is not a quorum.
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: I think that is a quorum we are just abstaining.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: That is right.
Senate Chair David Warne: Emily, or Tedd, can you talk about what we are looking for to change this?
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: From what I read, it is a super majority vote and it needs to be approved by the chair and approved by the president.
Senate Chair David Warne: Sahil and Charlie, are you in favor of this change?
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I am wondering if this is ⅔ majority of the Senate itself or the voting members.
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: It doesn’t specify.
Senate Chair David Warne: We are looking for nine for a supermajority in favor of lowering it. Without saying first what we are going to lower it to. Please raise your hand if you are not running and in favor of lowering the threshold at all. That is 11. So, now, keep your hands raised. Can I hear from some of the people what they would like to lower it to. Obasi, what would you like to lower it to?
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: I agree with Erik to lower it to 50%.
At-Large Senator Emi Bellwood: I feel like 50% is pretty decent. The only thing I’m worried about is if people don’t have means of social media.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: I think the 50% threshold is good.
Senate Chair David Warne: Having heard from four people about 50%, and you are in favor and not running for a position. Please raise your hand. Ok, that did not pass. We are going to re-vote.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: Is this only for this year or does this extend into next year?
Chief Justice Emily Yekikian: Depending on the language, it would be temporary.
Senior Senator Erik Echeona: We could make the stipulation that if the university is holding all classes digitally, then this would apply.
Senate Chair David Warne: Is anyone opposed to making that amendment? Hearing none, if you are in favor of changing the signature threshold to 50% with the condition that SCU is online, and you are not running for a position, please raise your hand. Ok, that is twelve. The provision passes. With the permission of our committee chairs, I would like to adjourn now. Ok, can everyone live without round table remarks? Ok, we are adjourned.
Senate Chair David Warne called the April 16th, 2020 meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to a close at 9:20pm.