Minutes of the SCU Senate Meeting April 23rd, 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 23rd, 2020 meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to order at 6:01pm, digitally, over Zoom.
Senate Chair David Warne recited the invocation.
2. ROLL CALL
Pro-Tempore Cat Bick took roll digitally at 6:03pm. A quorum was present.
3. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana moved to approve the previous minutes and First-Year Senator Meg Wu seconded the motion.
The motion carried by voice vote.
4. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews moved to approve the agenda and First-Year Senator Meg Wu seconded the motion.
The motion carried by voice vote.
5. OLD BUSINESS
New RSO Voting
Senate Chair David Warne: Are there any discussion points people would like to bring up?
Senior Senator Vidya Pingali: So, I think I sent a couple of questions to Kyle when they first presented and got some answers but I just wanted to dig in a little more. It didn’t seem clear to me if they are bringing students with IDD and bringing them to campus or events or how that would make them feel. I looked up a little about the organization and there is a lot on the internet about it. It has complaints about how it can be a scam and the workers have complained about it. The CEO makes around 400k a year and is a Kennedy, JFK’s nephew. He makes a ton of money which is not supposed to happen with a non-profit organization. The workers also complained about how they don’t really get paid well. They also have some ties to Tom Brady’s charity trust. I don’t know if other people have done any research, but I don’t feel comfortable with it.
Senate Chair David Warne: Just clarifying what our duty is as the gatekeepers. For new RSOs, we are not here to judge which charities we would donate to ourselves. Just want to make sure we all understand that. I appreciate your concerns Vidya.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: All the information I have is based on the presentation. One thing I will clear up. The students from IDD come from a local host organization. It sounds like Best Buddies has connections to local organizations.
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: Would it be possible to ask them to present again? I don’t remember their presentation.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: We always could if the Senate doesn’t feel comfortable voting on them. The one thing I would request is to email them questions beforehand.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I kind of also did some research and one of the main issues I see with this organization is it looks like they are just partnering up individuals who have disabilities and promising a friendship almost. I looked more into the charity it is linked up with and the charity standards aren’t being met. The governing bodies that overlook these best buddy chapters are very scrummy and have politics involved. I think it is just unethical to me personally to vote on a club that is tied to an organization without clear governance.
At-Large Senator Mika Phillip: What events is that club exactly going to bring people with IDD to? Will they make sure they have students to train them on how to deal with these people?
Tedd Vanadilok: The legal requirement that we will have Best Buddies do is similar to what we have every SCAAP program do. But Lori can speak about specific programs.
Lori: I only met with them once with Tedd before I went on maternity leave. They gave us a copy of their proposed constitution. But they hadn’t talked about specific programs, it was more talking about what it was and a little more conversation because they were talking with Gabrielle before because of SCAAP. They talked about a challenge or friendship walk, but those are ones that are more national, not Santa Clara based.
Sophomore Senator Luke Paulson: I just wanted to add a personal note. I have a friend who is a first year who was part of the organization in high school. She had a lot of positive experiences with it and has helped a lot of people. It would be making a positive impact, I think.
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: I just wanted to point out that we are not recording this Senate.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: I missed a lot of what Tedd had said so I just wanted to ask, is there any training or certification?
Tedd Vanadilok : Generally, yes. I think the part you missed is that Best Buddies has already agreed to do a memorandum of agreement.
First-Year Senator Cole Brunelli: I don’t really know much about the behind the scenes or charity but I would like to advocate that Best Buddies is a great organization for what it does for kids with disabilities. I have friends who are high up in Best Buddies and love it.
At-Large Senator Melanie Sam: I just looked on the Best Buddies website and what they would have to do to start a college chapter. They do have internal training. And for all on campus events, if they have any accommodation requests, it is required that the host give them certain information.
At-Large Senator Annika Kingsley: We had a best buddies program at my high school and it worked really well. But all of the IDD students were part of our high school. So it seems weird to me to bring students outside campus. I know it can be successful. I just don’t see it working.
First-Year Senator Ariel Perlman: I don’t want to be too redundant but I did go to a school with a bridge program which is for disabilities which was a great program.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I was just wanting to check on what the date of the presentation was. Would anyone need to abstain from voting?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The presentation was around February 6th, and I just want to remind everyone that the main criteria is do they have a minimum of 15 members and do they have a duplicate organization?
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: I want to ask Cole, Ariel, and Luke. In your experience were the students in the high school?
First-Year Senator Cole Brunelli: At my high school, they were all in the high school. But I just want to comment on what Annika said. After high school is over, there isn’t really a best buddies program they can attend anymore.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: It seems from the dialogue is the liability if something goes wrong. Will there be any responsibility on the university if something goes wrong?
Senate Chair David Warne: I am going to cut it off there because we are behind schedule as it is. I would prefer that we vote with Kyle’s criteria in mind. I don’t know if an additional presentation from them would solve that criteria. We have what we need in order to push forward to vote. Can I get a motion to vote?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews moved to vote on approving Best Buddies and Senior Senator Erik Echeona seconded the motion.
Senate Chair David Warne: On the question of approving Best Buddies as a club, raise your hand.
The motion passes.
6. NEW BUSINESS
New RSO Presentation
Senate Chair David Warne invited representatives from the Math & CS Society to present their RSO to the Senate. Their presentation is summarized succinctly below:
●Most broad reaching club within the Math and CS department.
●Mission statement: to provide community for networking and social events for math and CS students
Senate Chair David Warne thanked the representatives and opened the floor for any questions.
First-Year Senator Meg Wu: So, I know you talked about the fact that you believe it doesn’t overlap with women and math but there are other clubs that are more STEM based. Are you concerned at all that STEM does include math and CS in that branch?
Olivia Hess: From my experience, there's not much of an overlap. From what we have seen in the past, Math and CS majors don’t really go into the other STEM clubs so I think it is good to have something within the actual department itself.
Spencer Solaz: in the past we have also collaborated with a few of those clubs as well.
RSO Structure Changes
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: So there are not too many changes. Just a formality of time and date during the week. There were some concerns that students have of RSOs having some flexibility. So we added the ability to change during week two for their budget. Something new we are doing, is that RSOs must submit an online form within one week after the event date. To say either the event was cancelled or how much money they actually used. If RSOs don’t do that then there will be a 15% reduction in their budget. Based on feedback from RSOs we wanted to update when to use the ASG logo. The idea with the 50-mile retreat radius is to stop clubs from going to Tahoe because it is about a 3,000 or 4,000 trip. We are asking RSOs to stay within 50 miles and we are giving at most 500. But we understand if the retreat has to be more than 50 miles. The other change we made was for cultural shows. The MCC or the D/AD can submit funding requests for cultural shows. Besides those changes to the structure, there haven’t been any other changes. We added some new categories for funding.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: For the retreat funding, is there a reason you decided to make it a 500 cap instead of per person?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The reason is we really want to prioritize our funds for on campus events that are more open to students.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I was wondering about the survey you were talking about for whether they have completed their program? What would happen if an RSO event was postponed?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: There is an ability to say it was postponed.
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: What do you mean by non-submitted RSOs allocation?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: For the RSOs that we don’t receive a winter and spring budget form from, we give them some funding and have a budgeted amount for them.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I wanted to respond to what Abby had mentioned. The caps that are mentioned in the next page, will actually function to limit funding for those types of retreats anyway. Also, for sustainability, one of my priorities with this policy is for how we fund events. Under supplies and others, one of the things I wanted to push for was that SAC will avoid funding single use plastics, etc.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Going off Zach’s point too, no more flyers or anything that is paper as well.
Lori Salazar: I just wanted to bring up what my role is with the pending RSOs. So, any potential new RSos that want to be voted on in the spring, meet with me and CSI and we would treat fall, winter, and spring as a cohort system. I am able to, as their advicor, treat them in a cohort style. I think the new structure will really help them not feel like they are lumped into the big 170 clubs. I see a lot of benefit to that. And being in the pending status, hopefully they feel that support.
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: Lori, quick question, I feel kinda worried about RSOs not being approved until springtime. Is there any way to approve RSOs in any quarter and treat and train them in that cohort style?
Lori Salazar: I think it would be up to you all. I support any way you feel is best. But I do see that we get 20-30 new RSOs an academic year and don’t see them return the next year. So just trying to think about that also. I can do that cohort style also if we vote in the fall, winter, spring. But just trying to think about that efficiency.
At-Large Senator Melanie Sam: Something that was discussed during our last meeting was that even though we disbanded the ESO structure, we wanted to combine that with the pending status. Give them a little money and some rights to reserve rooms to get them started.
Lori Salazar: Right now when RSos are pending, they do have the ability to reserve rooms, informational table, etc.
Resolution on Expansion of Resources of the Cowell Center
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: This resolution began after Sahil reached out to me about how to address the issue of accessibility in CAPS. You will notice the beginning of this begins with some things I heard from Father O’Brien in his speech. Establishing virtual counseling, extending CAPS hours, raising salaries. And there are a number of goals that we as students wanted to support. One is that the Counseling Psychology Program be permitted to perform clinical services through CAPS. So, those are the main points of the resolution so I wanted to ask Sahil if you want to comment on this.
President Sahil Sagar: Everything Zach said is accurate, I think the biggest thing is that Zach made an extraordinary effort to reach out to Sabrina Zerkel who is the counseling psychology dean. The whole point of this resolution is just to advocate for support for expanding those resources on a broader scale. There were minimal conversations because of the COVID stuff so this resolution does two things. It solidifies that the student body is serious about mental health and it reminds them that it is still an important factor among all the transitions happening right now.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I am in favor of most of this and I was added to this doc a few months ago. I think the first point is something that won’t unfortunately happen at the university. I have spoken to Jeanne about this and students of the counseling psychology school wouldn’t be able to provide counseling services for liability reasons. Also looking into CAPS resources, they can’t provide new sessions at the moment because there is reduced funding and there is a law saying that only students within California may receive telepsychotherapy.
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: Just a small thing, right near the blue cursor there is a random e in that sentence.
President Sahil Sagar: Two things, the Board of Trustees have already approved an increase in their pay for counseling and psychology therapists to become more competitive. Number two, Raul you brought up a good point saying this might not happen. But last year Sam and Luke proposed a blue lights on bellomy project and no one thought that was going to happen and now we are discussing the funding because we got approval from the mayor. There are ways to make this happen; it's just not an immediate solution.
At-Large Senator Ifeanyi Ibediba: I was on the table with Jeanne during the diversity forum talking about virtual counseling and I just wanted to know if there are any updates regarding the process?
President Sahil Sagar: Last time I checked, Jeanne mentioned that is a switch they wanted to make but I can follow up.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I’ve been in contact with Dr. Zerkel, the dean, and one of the things I wanted to mention is that it is certainly possible for this to move forward. And there is already faculty and administrative support for this in the masters program. It is just logistics in trying to push it forward. The masters students wouldn’t be able to provide direct service by themselves but they are required to provide service for hours and could do so through CAPs.
Non-ASG Student Member of SAC Bylaw
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The main idea behind this is to have a member of the student body on SAC. We want someone to take notes for us and to understand the bylaws and rules. Also, to hold us accountable and provide an outside perspective. That person will also be able to have some voting powers on it and no other ASg obligations.
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: Are these people applying and then having a meeting? Or is it just an application and approval from Senate?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: They would apply and then they would meet with the SAC and Senate chair for joint recommendations to the senate for approval.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: You mentioned taking notes for you guys?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: Take minutes for us.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: Will that be in the exposition description? I think that would be important.
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: When you mentioned the take notes thing, did the parliamentarian used to be required to be part of SAC and take notes?
Senate Chair David Warne: Yes we got rid of that during my tenure because it didn’t seem to be useful. But it might be during all this change.
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: What is the difference between potentially reinstating the parliamentarian versus having some outsider?
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: We just wanted someone who was not ASG connected.
Junior Senator Ann Codiga: I think it is important to get the outside perspective but I think having them be the one to write the notes would be more like a chore. I think it is important to keep minutes but that someone inside ASG could do that too.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: We want the outside perspective and to be transparent with the student body.
Senate Chair David Warne: Is there anyone who would like to ask a question who hasn’t yet?
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: I wanted to recognize that I think at times we have a hard time finding a pro-tempore because of the minutes. I think it would maybe be better served to put the parliamentarian back on SAC.
Junior Senator Kyle Andrews: The person would also be part of discussion and decisions.
Lori Salazar: Minutes is part of it but also to have more students visible on campus. We have first years that might want to get involved and this is a way to get them experienced with ASG. And some students that just want finance-focused experience without being on Senate.
7. COMMITTEE UPDATES
Vidya Pingali for FOC
●I have been talking to Sonia Gonzalez from alumni giving about Luke’s idea of customized class of 2020 blankets. She said she could help with that and ask other departments.
Sophomore Senator Luke Paulson: I have been talking to Ted about it and we are still waiting on a response. There is collaboration with other groups on campus.
Amber Wang for SEC
At-Large Senator Emi Bellwood: So, my quick little update is that the career center is posting linkedin live sessions. They are holding quick 30-minute panels. On May 6th they are having another rstudent and myself join on what to do during this uncertain time. So, that will be something that I will advertise in the ASG group chat.
At-Large Senator Duncan McDonnell: Another thing we are working on is because the sexual assault awareness sumit is getting cancelled. We are still trying to put together something. We are not entirely sure what that will be but I’m going to have a meeting with Tiger and some other people. If people are interested then let me know.
At-Large Senator Emi Bellwood: I forgot to mention that SEC is also sending out quarantine tips.
Erik Echeona for CUIC:
●There are a few of us in Senate right now who are in the committee but it is kind of a working name right now. But a senior committee is looking for suggestions to combat the stay at home blues, talking and discussing digital programming. It would be fantastic to hear from you.
Kyle Andrews for SAC:
●So, you have pretty much seen everything that SAC has been up to.
At-Large Senator Melanie Sam: I had an idea to spotlight an RSO in our weekly ASG newsletter. This could also be a great opportunity to showcase what they use our funding for. It would also incentivize people to read our newsletter to see our friends.
8. ROUND TABLE REMARKS
Senate Chair David Warne : So, Father O’Brien responded to our resolutions and memo that we sent out. He said thanks for the resolutions and thoughtful expressions. Basically, he and his cabinet are going to talk about it in the Monday meeting. Now it is our job to hold administration accountable. So, pretty good news, as good as we can hope for. Secondly, saw the debate last night and wanted to commend you all for showing ASG in a positive light. Finally, I was really impressed by the committee updates tonight. It is clear that the committees are still super on top of their duties.
At-Large Senator Obasi Lewis: Just a clarification on Father O’Brien’s email, he didn’t say Monday’s meeting.
Senate Chair David Warne: That is fair I just kind of assumed Monday because that is when he meets with his cabinet.
President Sahil Sagar: I just wanted to remind you guys about some election day conduct. Please be mindful of your social media usage. Look at my email for clarifications.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: Just an update on Benson Worker stuff. There was a fundraiser started and was halted by administration so I had to refund everyone. Now I am currently working with some faculty and staff members who are putting together a fund for faculty and including benson workers in that.
At-Large Senator Melanie Sam: I had a couple smaller ideas to promote engagement with the community virtually. I chatted with Cecelia over the weekend. Some of the ideas were to just include some wholesome blurbs in the newsletter but also about competitions. A lot of people like to see cat or dog photos and we could spotlight them better or maybe send them some swag in the fall. Or we could create a cookbook with recipes for students who are cooking more.
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: I had some general questions regarding Splash. I kind of wanted to ask you guys, do you think Splash fits into ASG? Should it be its own separate thing?
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: I think that the project itself is a good idea, I just think that there is an issue with it being an ASG project unless we are able to solely fund it. Or if there is a way we can put our name and brand on something that is funded by different departments?
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: So, are you saying that since we got $5000 from other departments, it should be a school wide thing?
Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana: Yes, I think we just shouldn’t take credit for something others contributed to.
Senior Senator Helen Kassa: How does ASG maintain ownership of Splash after Justin graduates?
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: That is the biggest question right now. I am the face of it but Ariel, Cole, and Meg were part of it too. That is why I think we should form a committee and talk about it.
At-Large Senator Allie Bare: You mentioned when you were introducing this question, do you have any ideas of where you want this to go?
Sophomore Senator Justin Chan: I feel like the solution is something that ASG doesn’t have built in.
Junior Senator Zachary Meade: I think a club is a really good idea David. I think there should be some official vote from this body that can give it our brand name.
Sophomore Senator Abby Alvarez: I think whether it's Comm Dev or Senate, it would be a good idea to have it under ASG. One of our criticisms is that we don’t put on enough events.
At-Large Senator Mika Philip: If you all were wondering why I didn’t write the resolution for my parking thing, good news is that they are giving refunds.
Senate Chair David Warne: I just wanted to talk about my email from last week. I did see improvements, keep striving to keep your comments concise and not repeat other senators. We will keep doing this one speaking per senator per agenda item.
Senate Chair David Warne asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Sophomore Senator Raul Orellana moved to adjourn the meeting and First-Year Senator Cole Brunelli seconded the motion. The motion carried by voice vote. Senate Chair David Warne called the April 23rd meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to a close at 7:25pm.