Senate absenteeism postpones two votes

The Student Association Senate delayed votes on two changes to its bylaws because not enough senators were present at the last meeting of the semester Tuesday.

The bills, a bylaw that would create the Tuition Action Commission and an amendment to the bylaw that lays out the Senate allocation process, are expected be brought to vote at the first Senate meeting in the spring.

Only 12 senators were present at Tuesday’s meeting. According to the SA’s constitution, any change to a Senate bylaw must be approved by two-thirds of the full Senate – 17 senators.

The proposal to establish a tuition commission stems from the creation this semester of a tuition task force, charged by SA President Kuyomars “Q” Golparvar to investigate students’ concerns about tuition increases and University spending.

According to undergraduate Sen. Jesse Strauss (CSAS), a bylaw to establish the commission would ensure that a group would be formed every year. Strauss emphasized, however, that the bill is not timely, since the tuition task force is already in place for this year.

“TAC is not time-sensitive,” Strauss said. “Hopefully everybody will get their senator friends out to the next meeting so we can vote on both bylaws.”

The second bill was to change the bylaw that controls the way Senate funds are allocated. At a Senate meeting earlier this semester, Executive Vice President Tony Sayegh, who has complete discretion over the allocation of the Senate’s funds under the current bylaws, earmarked $5,000 of the Senate’s funds to help the Program Board pay for Homecoming.

The proposed amendment would create more checks on how the money is allocated. For instance, it would require the EVP to consult the chairs of the Senate’s standing committees before making a financial decision. Under the proposal, if a majority of the chairs do not consent, the expenditure would have to be approved by the entire Senate.

The Senate was able to pass several other bills which only required a majority vote.

The Senate passed a resolution to encourage the University to wire all residence halls for Ethernet and cable television.

Strauss, who sponsored the bill, said the University’s current plans are to use its facilities management crews to have the residence halls wired within the next six years. However, Strauss said that by hiring an outside contractor, the University could have the residence halls wired in two years, with no increase in cost.

The Senate also passed a resolution to urge the University to allow student groups to place posters on the Quad and in the Academic Center breezeway to publicize their events. The current postering policy does not allow groups to poster in those locations.

According to the GW Distribution and Posting Policy, groups which poster in non-approved areas are subject to “organizational sanctions” including fines, service charges and a loss of student organization registration privileges.

Undergraduate Sen. Patrick Macmanus (at large), who sponsored the bill, said the current poster policy is inadequate to serve the needs of student organizations. He said that putting posters on the Quad will foster more of a “college atmosphere” at the University.

Macmanus is working with the Student Activities Center to form a committee to review the campus poster policies.

He said he hopes to provide student groups with clear information on where posting is allowed and on the responsibilities of groups regarding posters.

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