The ASSU Undergraduate Senate kicked off the academic year Tuesday evening by passing a bill supporting a queer studies minor through the Feminist Studies program, confirming the Nomination Commission’s first round of nominees to University committees and discussing the first half of a comprehensive financial reform package. The Senate tabled a bill revising the the group’s rules of order.
First introduced last spring, the bill to foster queer studies through the Feminist Studies program was written by Karli Cerankowski, a graduate student in Modern Thought and Literature, and Charles Syms ’11 of the Queer Studies Coalition.
The bill initially included the allocation of resources to the Feminist Studies programs for a major, minor and Ph.D. certificate in queer studies. A friendly amendment introduced by Senator Will Seaton ’13 was adopted to only encourage the creation of a minor in queer studies.
Several senators expressed concern that the bill needed more details about the contents of the minor and more student participation in a survey assessing interest in queer studies. The amended bill passed with 13 affirmative votes and Senators Juany Torres ’13 and Kamil Saeid ’13 abstaining.
ASSU President Angelina Cardona ’11 and Stewart Macgregor-Dennis ’13 voiced their opinions that passing the bill, rather than tabling it for a week, would give momentum to the movement for queer studies.
Daniel Khalessi ’13 agreed, saying the bill might also serve as commentary on the U.S. Senate’s recent failure to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Ryan Peacock, a graduate student in chemical engineering and chair of graduate issues for the executive cabinet, encouraged the bill’s authors to continue to reach out to deans and high-level faculty.
Financial Reform Package
At the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting, Peacock unveiled the first half of a financial reform package, a significant ASSU initiative for fall quarter. The report was a combined effort between Peacock, the ASSU executives, Senate Chair Michael Cruz ’12, Senate Treasurer Macgregor-Dennis and others.
The goal of the current financial reform is “to codify how we deal with money and who is in charge of what,” said Peacock.
The report states its purpose is “to address the lack of clarity in dealing with the political
budgets and implement bylaws that describe the current best practices of the Association.”
Proposed bylaw changes include the creation of four categories — allocation, stipend, line item and discretionary — for all budget items. The report also outlines the budget modifications voting system and clarifies the roles of GSC financial officers and the Senate treasurer.
The second half of the report, still to be unveiled, will discuss spending on student campaigns.
The Senate unanimously confirmed Tuesday the Nominations Commission’s first round of nominees to University committees. Many positions, particularly graduate student positions, remain unfilled. The Commission plans renewed publicity efforts to target graduate students.
Because of time conflicts, the chair and deputy chair of the commission have stepped down. The ASSU executive is tasked with appointing replacement chairs and will do so this week after a joint meeting of legislative body chairs.