The Student Assembly held its final meeting of the 2010-2011 session on April 12. Finance Committee Chair Noah Kim (’13) announced that after having “moved some stuff around,” the Student Activities Reserve Fund has an outstanding balance of $3100. Kim plans to continue “trying to find money to un-earmark,” and plans to send out a list of unspent allocations to “get rid of.” Outreach Committee Chair Ryan Ruzic (JD ’11) announced that the committee was preparing its final Quarterly Report. According to Ruzic, the Senate debated 89 bills, excluding those brought up in this meeting, 79 of which passed. Of the bills that passed, 43% were spending bills, 32% code changes, 12% declarative bills, and 10% amended previously passed bills. The Senate debated four bills this session.
The first bill debated was the Publications Council Validation Act, sponsored by Ryan Ruzic (JD ’11). According to Ruzic, this bill would require student publications to “go to the Publications Council first” to secure funding.
Currently, the SA appropriates $150,000 a year to the Publications Council to fund student-run publications, out of a belief that having the SA fund publications directly would bring a political element into the process. Ruzic believes that the Publications Council is excessively “reluctant” to dispense funds, and noted many publications simply ask the SA for funds directly. However, Noah Kim expressed concerns that the bill would “exacerbate any tensions” that exist between the SA and the Publications Council. In response, Ruzic admitted that Publications Council Chair “Meredith Howard (’11) and I don’t have the best relations,” but said that he had spoken with several members of the Publications Council who support the bill. After a rousing speech in praise of Ruzic by Mike Young (’11), the bill passed by unanimous consent.
The Senate then debated the Better Consolidation Act. Sponsored by Dallen McNerney (’14), this bill would combine the Executive Committees for Student Life and Outreach, which according to McNerney would increase efficiency, as the committees have “very similar” roles. The bill was supported by incoming SA President Kaveh Sadeghian (’12), who said that he plans to add a press secretary to the executive and combining the committees responsible for relations with the student body “could be helpful” to this position. The bill was opposed by Noah Kim (’13), who expressed fears that “if you combine these then you’re going to lose one of them in the shuffle.” These fears were echoed by Outreach Committee Chair Ruzic, who said that many of the functions of the Outreach Committee are so time consuming that they would prevent a combined committee from effectively dealing with Student Life issues. The bill failed by a 6-13 roll call vote.
The next bill considered was the Policy/Student Rights Combination Act, sponsored by Mike Young (’11). This bill would combine the executive secretaries for College Policies and Student Rights as part of an ongoing effort to decrease the size of the SA executive. According to Young, the Student Rights position was originally created with little forethought and “in order to be an effective student rights secretary, you need to have policy know-how.” However, the bill failed after Curt Mills (’13) claimed that having two departments “allows us to hedge our bets” in case one secretary is ineffective and that a decision of such magnitude should be left to the next session, which would have to handle the potential consequences.