On Monday, Feb. 14, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) held their second meeting of the spring semester. Conducted in the Red Room with senators in isolation for Covid joining through Zoom, the meeting included Budgetary Committee (BC) funding recommendations, the selection of senators for committee assignments, officer and project reports, and the creation of a task force to address sexual violence on campus.
The meeting began with BC funding recommendations, led by Treasurer Jae Yun Ham ’22. Among the groups requesting funding were men’s club soccer, women’s ultimate frisbee, Amherst Student Orchestra, Ski Club, and the Marsh Arts House. The BC’s recommendations were approved for a total of $9,922.
The meeting then shifted to elections for assignments to the Committee on Educational Policy (CEP), which is responsible for the approval of departmental hiring and the creation of new courses. Among those elected for the committee were Jaden Richards ’25, and Dania Hallak ’24.
A subsequent election was held for a new ad-hoc committee created to evaluate January term (J-term) classes. The committee will consist of one humanities-oriented student and one STEM-oriented student who have taken a J-term course in the past, in addition to members of the administration. Jeffery Ma ’24 was elected to represent the Senate and the humanities on the committee.
The meeting then turned to a discussion of sexual violence on campus in relation to the @amherstshareyourstory Instagram page, which is, according to the page, “a student run account for survivors of sexual misconduct and violence to share their stories anonymously.” Various senators emphasized the importance of reaching out to survivors and holding the administration accountable. Cole Graber-Mitchell ’22 proposed that the AAS create an internal Senate task force to generate ideas and gather feedback on how to combat sexual assault and change campus culture. The proposal was approved.
The proposal was followed by officer reports. Secretary Lucas Romualdo ’24 reported that in the absence of Judiciary Chair Jasper Liles ’23, who is currently on leave while studying abroad, the executive board will collectively serve as the Judiciary Chair until officer elections are held. Romualdo also reported that elections to fill Senate vacancies will be held this week.
Various senators then suggested amending the AAS Constitution to eliminate the mandatory 25-person petition to run for a Senate position, in order to expand the number of students eligible to run. The proposal was tabled for the next election cycle.
The meeting then shifted to Senate project updates. Shreya Matthew ’25 stated that her Senate project, providing free access to Grammarly Premium for the student body, is pending final approval from the administration. Sirus Wheaton ’23 then reported that the administration deferred his request to provide free hygiene products and sustainable detergents, although alternative avenues through the Office of Environmental Sustainability or Senate funding remain possibilities.
The AAS’ next meeting will take place on Monday, Feb. 21.