SA Senate debates no legislation at second meeting of the spring

Media Credit: Danielle Towers | Assistant Photo Editor

Senators also filled one vacancy Monday as the body has faced a large number of resignations throughout the year so far.

The Student Association Senate did not debate any legislation at its second meeting of the semester Monday.

Senators have passed more than 20 pieces of legislation so far this academic year, marking the third straight fall semester they did so. SA Sen. Yan Xu, ESIA-U and the chair of the finance committee, announced at the meeting that the finance committee will create guidelines this semester to explain how student organizations can request co-sponsorships from the finance committee and “info sheets” explaining certain financial concepts like areas the SA is prohibited from funding.

He said these guidelines will help student organizations understand how to request general allocations for the fall 2022 semester.

“We will have more guidelines and info sheets in this upcoming semester to help everyone to navigate this very complicated financial process,” Xu said at the meeting.

Senators unanimously passed a bill at a meeting earlier this month, adding three sections to the SA’s finance bylaws – prohibited spending of SA and University funds, temporary funding policies and political activities.

Xu also said the finance committee has approved nearly $9,400 in co-sponsorships for nine student organizations in January leading up to this week. About $72,000, or 32 percent of the SA’s co-sponsorship fund, is still available for student organizations through the remainder of its term this semester.

Senators also confirmed junior Maram Baider to fill an open seat for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in the senate – the ninth empty seat left by senator resignations this term.

Baider, who transferred to GW earlier this year, said she plans to take on initiatives catered toward transfer and Muslim students, including plans to offer more inclusive food options to serve more students’ diets. She will serve on the undergraduate policy and student life committees.

“I want to help make educational transfer policy more transfer-friendly and make the transition process more easy,” Baider said. “I hope to serve in the student life committee to make sure that events we host are welcoming to everybody, and that includes offering halal options.”

Senators confirmed sophomore Benjamin Flaherty, an Air Force ROTC cadet majoring in political science, as assistant secretary of military affairs. Flaherty said he would work to give Army cadets better access to gyms in D.C. and to waive course fees charging Air Force cadets who take more than 18 credits per semester to fulfill degree and ROTC requirements.

He said he helped secure free transportation for ROTC cadets last semester through meetings with SA leadership, and he wants to continue that advocacy in his new position. The University started providing free transportation for Army and Air Force ROTC students enrolled in off-campus classes in August to decrease travel expenses after the SA advocated for the service.

“I would like to give our Army cadets better access to gyms, as we currently have the worst physical fitness scores in our consortium,” Flaherty said.

The next senate meeting will be held Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. in the Continental Ballroom in the University Student Center.

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