Senate allocates funds for lecture by former Bolivian President
Senator Mihailis Diamantis ’04 motioned to deny funding to pay for musicians for the Haitian Awareness Project. He questioned whether the musicians were necessary, citing the limited funds remaining in the discretionary fund.
Senator Avi Das ’07 supported Diamantis’ proposal. “We have a lot of events going on right now. Our budget has already been depleted,” he said. “Music is an essential part of many cultures, not just Haitian [culture].”
Noelle Kenel-Pierre ’05, a representative from the Haitian Awareness Project, disagreed. “Whenever this school sponsors an activity regarding African culture, it is never about the Caribbean,” she said. “One of the first times someone from the Caribbean comes to Amherst, and we try to eliminate it.”
The motion to withhold funding for the musicians failed.
Adrian Althoff ’04, Jose Olmos ’05E and Pablo Ruiz ’05 proposed the de Lozada lecture. Sanchez de Lozada became president of Bolivia in 1993, and was largely credited for halting the country’s hyperinflation in the 1980s while he was president of the Bolivian Senate. He served another term as president in 2002-03.
The AAS funding will cover Sanchez de Lozada’s speaking fee and travel costs. The initial request was made for $4,427.00. The Chicano/a Caucus and La Casa will contribute funding, as will the political science, Spanish, history and economics departments.
Secretary Di Shui ’06 objected, arguing that paying for a speaker’s airfare was unreasonable. Treasurer Paris Wallace ’04 disagreed. “It is considered standard to pay for a speaker’s airfare,” he said. The senate approved the recommendation.
The senate also discussed the executive board proposal to buy packing boxes to distribute free of charge to students at the end of the year. Wallace proposed that the AAS use the senate fund to buy 2,000 boxes, which will cost $2,915.
“A lot of people need boxes, students from everywhere should be able to use them � Mail Boxes Etc. comes here every year and basically gouges students for boxes,” he said. “I propose that we buy boxes and distribute them to the students for free. It would be first-come, first-serve, and we would limit three boxes to a person.”
Debate about the boxes was halted because of an objection from sophomore class officers, who stated that they would be unable to fund their class project if the box plan passed unaltered. The senate voted to postpone further discussion until after the discussion of the sophomore class project.
The sophomore class requested $760 to purchase pint glasses printed with the Amherst insignia and fill them with $200-worth of candy. Wallace expressed his disapproval. “It’s terribly inappropriate to be buying alcohol glasses for underage people,” he said. “And since 99 percent of the sophomore class is underage, I feel that this is something that we as the student government shouldn’t be doing,” he said,
Senator Luke Swarthout ’04 thought gifts were not a proper use of the senate fund. “The point of the senate fund is to serve the greater community with things like the shuttle or even the boxes � not to buy people things,” he said. “I don’t understand why the senate wants everyone to have a mug-that is not an appropriate use of funds.”
Senator Ethan Davis ’06 proposed an amendment to the sophomore class project. He proposed that the request be reduced so that the senate could afford to approve it along with the box proposal. The Senate passed the amendment and then approved the class project.
Debate returned to the executive branch’s box proposal, which the senate passed.
Senator Matt Vanneman ’06 presented his report on the status of club sports and clubs in general at the College. He compared the number of different types of clubs with the numbers at Williams College and the rest of the NESCAC schools. He revealed that Amherst had more clubs per area, such as religion or publications, than Williams. The College also allocates more funding to each club sport, and to club sports as a whole.
The College has the most club sports per capita of any school in NESCAC, although at all other schools, except Bowdoin, the athletic department funds the ski team, the crew team or both.
Vanneman said the AAS had several options in dealing with issues of funding for club sports. Potential options include seeking funding from the administration, reducing the number of total clubs or club sports, reducing the funding for clubs or club sports, mandating fundraising obligations for club sports or maintaining the status quo.
Judiciary council (JC) chair Ryan Smith ’07 proposed two JC recommendations for amendments to the election section in the constitution. He proposed mandating that write-in candidates receive five percent of the vote, all candidates submit a written request to be included in a run-off, and all five JC members be elected from the student body rather than including the senators on JC. The senate adjourned without voting on the amendment.