CUSC in Brief

Drashhti Bilimoria, Layout Editor

This week’s Student Council meeting began with role call, after which the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Evan Hoffman, announced his resignation from Council. After this, the Council E-Board announced the various committee allocations along with the chairs of each committee. This year, Alexandria Ross will serve as the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Ana Troyanos and Emma Clark will be the co-chairs of the Communications Committee, Lars Dahl will be chair for Elections, Maha Akbar and Zainab Farid will serve as co-chairs for Student Life, Andrea Villarreal and Garren Kalter will be co-chairs for Finance, and Michael Mischle will be the chair for Grants Committee. 

Once this was done, the student representatives rearranged themselves by committee and presented the Council with updates. As this was one of the first few meetings where a fully formed Council met, these updates were short and to the point. Grants, Finance, Student Life, and Communications presented no updates, and elections committee announces that they will be hosting interviews next week for several appointed Council positions.

The Judiciary Committee then presented its updates. This week, the Judiciary Committee focused on charter renewals and applications for the Clark Keys and the Squash Club, both of which were approved. In addition, they received a surplus fund request for a project involving menstrual equity (presented by Treasurer Ivette Mendoza) which was also approved. This project would aim to provide menstrual health products to students across locations on campus, including in dorm rooms, AC, and the UC.

The E-Board then presented their own updates to Council. President Emma Dinnerstein announced the creation of two ad hoc committees – one for constitutional reform and the other, a special committee on oversight and reform (SCOR). While the former would serve to update Student Council’s outdated constitution – last updated in 2007 – the latter sparked much discussion amongst some of the Council members. Most prominent amongst the concerns was that the committee was taking on the same role as the Judiciary Committee. However, Dinnerstein explained that SCOR was meant to serve as a check on Council, and would separate the two areas of oversight and the duties of the judiciary. SCOR would consist of both Council representatives, whose names would remain anonymous, and one constituent, in an attempt to further remove bias. As President of Student Council, Dinnersteinw would meet with SCOR and present Council with monthly reports. 

Dinnetstein then motioned to appoint eight students – selected by the elections committee – to the Trustee committee. At this time, the Judiciary Committee reported that an anonymous complaint was made to them regarding the fact that a non-Council member was present during the interview process. Though this should not have occurred, Judiciary reported that there was no blatant disregard of Council rules. The committee recommended that the interviews be redone with a new set of members form the Elections Committee. Because the Committee was understaffed at the time, Dinnerstein then decided to redo the interviews for the position that the complaint came from. 

At this time, a member of the public spoke up, announcing himself as the complainant in order to plead with the rest of Council to reconsider. A former member of both Student Council and a former appointed member of the Trustees Committee, the complainant claimed that one of the reasons he was contesting the decision was that precedent indicated that Judiciary decides the course of action in these situations, instead of making a recommendation to the President. Dinnerstein then explained that the notes notes provided by the elections committee leaned in favor of applicants other than the complainant even after the interviews were redone – citing their enthusiasm and experience as factors in the decision. 

Members of Student Council then began a long discussion regarding this matter, with members sympathetic to the complainant citing his status as a senior, which meant he could not try again for the position the following year. In response to this, Lars Dahl, chair of the Elections Committee pointed out that one of the members chosen for the appointment is also a senior, and that factors such as class standing should not cloud judgement. At this time minority representative Zainab Faird questioned Council about how many of the appointments were minorities. The debate then shifted to amend the motion and appoint all members except for those in the contested position or to appoint them all. Council motioned to move towards a vote for all eight members and then to appoint all eight members, both of which passed with a majority vote. 

Vice President Eunice Dollete then presented her own updates to the Student Council. She began by reminding Council members that their positions lead them to face tough situations involving students, and that perseverance and a lack of bias is key. She also asked Council for feedback on CUSC Orientation, which was held over the weekend. Many members of Council – new and returning – felt that the orientation was helpful. 

Secretary Domenica Cevallos reminded Council about setting up one on one meetings with her. 

Council then moved onto new business. First, Dinnerstein announced that a runoff election would be held for JSC and Off Campus representatives, due to the large number of write-in votes. She also presented an update about transportation and the buses that CUSC normally funds to Blackstone Valley and the Solomon Pond Mall. While the Solomon Pond buses have shifted to Saturdays, she explained, the Blackstone Valley buses were now being canceled in favor of a partnership with Uber where students could take Ubers to locations around Worcester on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at a discounted price. Constituents that have questions should be encouraged to both follow the Clark Buses Facebook page as well as contact Council through the messaging option on facebook. 

Other new business included that the Grants application is now active for students to apply and that the Faculty and Grants Committees were seeking applicants. Lastly, a member of Council asked that a survey be sent out to possibly coordinate a new meeting time, and the meeting then adjourned.