From the Red Room: Nov. 29 AAS Meeting Updates

The AAS held its second to last meeting of the semester on Monday, Nov. 29. Senators discussed Budgetary Committee recommendations, concerns about the Omicron variant, and the possibility of providing Grammarly for free to all students.

On Monday, Nov. 29, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) held its second to last meeting of the semester. Senators discussed Budgetary Committee (BC) recommendations, concerns regarding the Omicron variant that they plan to raise in an upcoming meeting with Dean of Students Liz Agosto, committee updates, and the possibility of providing Grammarly for free to all students.

The meeting began with the approval of the BC’s recommendations, led by Treasurer Jae Yun Ham ’22. Funding requests were made by numerous student organizations, including the Mammoth Mentorship Initiative, Men’s Club Soccer, the Bioethics Society, the Asian Students Association, club volleyball, Marsh Arts House, and the Black Students Union. Requests totaled $15,758.20, and all were approved. As the semester comes to a close, the BC will not be funding any activities that occur past Dec. 7, which is the last day of classes.

Following approval of the BC recommendations, the senators discussed a standing meeting scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 1, between President Angelina Han ’22, Vice President Basma Azzamok ’22, and Agosto. Senators planned to raise concerns over the new Omicron variant at the meeting, and how it might affect proceedings at the college. They decided to ask if the college will have enough resources to accommodate international students who might not return home during January term due to travel restrictions, and to request more transparency in college proceedings as they make decisions about the variant. As of right now, the Office of Student Affairs is waiting for more information about the Omicron variant to be released before any final decisions are made.

After this discussion, senators gave officer reports and committee updates. Judiciary Chair Jasper Liles ’23 mentioned that the Judiciary Committee will soon release a statement regarding the disciplinary hearing that occurred a few weeks ago, and Han gave updates on the Five College Student Coordinating Board, which most recently met on Monday, Nov. 29 and approved funding the Five College Comedy Club show, which is happening this Friday, Dec. 3, at Hampshire College.

Cole Graber-Mitchell ’22 then gave updates relating to the Climate and Sustainability Committee, which met for the first time last week and is currently waiting for new Director of Environmental Sustainability Weston Dripps ’92 to start in January. In the future, this committee hopes to hold events educating students about environmental sustainability and the college’s Climate Action Plan.

Following these reports, Shreya Mathew ’25 then asked about the possibility of procuring free Grammarly for Amherst students, similar to how the school provides free Headspace and XFINITY On Campus services. Mathew and a few other senators plan to look into this topic further, and it will most likely be discussed at future meetings.

The Senate will meet for the last time this semester next Monday, Dec. 6.

Correction, Dec. 2, 2021: An earlier version of this article misstated the date of the meeting with Agosto. The meeting was scheduled for Dec. 1, not Dec. 6. The article was also unclear about the nature of the meeting. It is a standing meeting between Agosto, Han, and Azzamok, not with the AAS as a whole.