The Student Bar Association Senate voted to establish a program for students in financial need to receive discounted admission to ticketed SBA social events at its meeting Tuesday.
Senators passed the SBA Inclusion Act to collaborate with GW Law’s Dean of Students Office to distribute free and discounted tickets for all SBA-sponsored events for students with financial need, including access to the Halloween party and the annual Barrister’s Ball, a formal event open to the entire law school. SBA Sen. Sydney Blitman, a second-year law student, said students will apply for these discounts tickets, and the dean’s office will evaluate their demonstrated financial need to determine who receives a ticket.
“The executive does not exist, the senate does not exist, the SBA does not exist to make a profit,” Blitman said at the meeting. “We serve the student body. We’re allocated a certain amount of money, and I don’t know how you guys feel about this, but we should spend every penny that we can on the students that we can and in any way that we can.”
The bill states that students should not have to face the “extreme” disparity in socioeconomic status that acts as a “barrier” to their GW experience and access to events.
Senators voted to approve the Town Hall Act, which would schedule at least one town hall that the senate would hold in the first four weeks of the spring 2022 semester. SBA Sen. Rurik Baurmin, a third-year law student, said the town hall will allow students to connect with officials and participate in democracy to help the SBA advocate for its constituents.
“There’s something to be said for giving all students, regardless of their viewpoints, the opportunity to respectfully share their stories and suggestions before the audience of the real decision makers at this law school,” Baurmin said.
Senators also approved the Legislation Presentment Act to set a timeline for senators to submit legislation to the senate and for the president to either sign or veto a bill. After the senate passes legislation, the senate secretary will present the legislation to the senate’s presiding officer, who will then sign it and present it to the president, according to this resolution.
The senate passed the Senate Meetings Agenda Act, which would create a default format for future senate meeting agendas, which the senators can now amend after previously lacking any such format.
SBA Sen. Pavan Patmalla, a third-year law student, said before the meeting adjourned that he was frustrated with GW’s handling of student safety. Students’ concerns about campus safety have intensified in the past month since a staff member suffered serious injuries from an assault in the G Street Garage in October.
SBA President Jordan Michel said he held a town hall last month to discuss campus safety in the aftermath of the assault. The senate passed a resolution at its last meeting urging the University to take actions to address students’ safety on campus.
Patmalla said he plans to meet with GWPD Chief James Tate Thursday to discuss how the University can better approach threats to campus safety and protect its students. He said stalkers have been reported following students around the law school, but officials have done little to respond to these incidents.
“Students should not be being stalked in the dining area,” Patamalla said. “We’ve witnessed stalkers come back in. It is unacceptable.”