From the Red Room: May 2 AAS Meeting Updates

On Monday, May 2, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) met for the 12th time this semester. Agenda items included the induction of new AAS officials, a potential bylaw to mandate senator attendance, and a discussion of reparations.

On Monday, May 2, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) met for the 12th time this semester. The meeting was held in the Red Room, and its agenda included the induction of new AAS officials, committee elections, a potential senator attendance bylaw, and a discussion of reparations.

After attendance was taken, the newly elected senators and Judiciary Council (JC) at-large members were inducted into the AAS. The senators first recited the Senate oath in unison and officially assumed their positions. Then, the JC at-large members followed suit, instead reciting the judiciary branch oath.

Following the approval of the previous week’s minutes, Treasurer Dania Hallak ’24 presented the Budgetary Committee (BC) discretionary funding recommendations to the Senate. The largest requests came from the Middle Eastern North African Association, Green Room, and the Black Students Union. The Senate unanimously approved the BC-recommended total of $17,753.80.

The AAS then held a number of committee elections.

The BC, which reviews budget requests and recommends funding allocations to the Senate, had six open spots. They were won by Lily Popoli ’24E, Alana Bailey ’23, Chris Tun ’25, Sophie Laurence ’24, Hannah Kim ’25, and Isaiah Doble ’25.

The College Council, which is primarily responsible for reviewing changes to the honor code, had one spot available for a rising sophomore and one for a rising junior. The positions were won by Isabella Malmqvist ’25 and Lucas Romualdo ’24, respectively.

The Community Standards Review Board, which adjudicates allegations of intellectual responsibility violations, had four open spots. They were won by Taha Ahmad ’24, Ankit Sayed ’24, Isabella Malmqvist ’25, and Popoli.

The Committee on Educational Policy, which reviews and reports on the college’s educational policy, had three open spots. They were won by Mia Griffin ’24, Gent Malushaga ’25, and Doble.

The Committee on Priorities and Resources, which examines both the short- and long-term allocation of resources at the college, had one open spot. It was won by Mollie Hartenstein ’23.

Lastly, the Committee on Sustainability and Climate Change, which evaluates and promotes sustainability on campus, had three open spots. They were won by Henry Pallesen ’25, Tun, and Clara Hoey ’24.

Officers then provided their weekly reports. Vice-President Jaden Richards ’25 said that the Multicultural Students Union had asked the AAS to send out an email in support of its upcoming event, during which musician and writer Michelle Zauner will deliver a talk about her book, her music, and her identity. The Senate voted in favor of supporting the event, and the email was sent to students on May 3.

President Sirus Wheaton ’23 then asked the Senate for input on the possibility of a bylaw to mandate senator attendance outside of just official AAS meetings. He suggested that weekly Senate office hours and events organized as part of Senate projects, like the recent prom, could become mandatory.

Griffin expressed support for the potential bylaw, noting a previous lack of widespread participation among senators. Laurence agreed, and suggested that it would not be difficult to implement.

Kim asked whether mandatory attendance would apply to all Senate events. Griffin responded that it should only apply to Senate office hours and other key events.

Wheaton then  brought up the possibility of using AAS funds to pay reparations to Black Amherst community members. He expressed the importance of doing research on the topic and speaking to community members.

Griffin suggested that the Senate could host fundraising events or other events to boost community engagement.

Wheaton also offered an update on potential changes to the Dining Services Committee, which currently includes three senators and two at-large members. He said that Director of Dining Services Joe Flueckiger wants to change the committee to have two senators, two at-large members, and a number of faculty members.

Hartenstein asked if there was any dining staff involvement in the committee. Richards responded that there was not. Hartenstein argued that they should have a presence in the meetings, given that they are responsible for serving the food.

The next AAS meeting, the final of the academic year, will be held on Monday, May 9.