Senate Discusses Online Voting, Van Purchases

The Senate opened its session with a follow-up presentation by Ned B. Friend ’01 on this fall’s online elections. On the whole, Friend said that the elections were a success.

According to Friend, the largest complaint was that the password-retrieval process was cumbersome. For this spring’s campus-wide election, Friend said that he hopes to implement a login system “just like the online facebook, where you enter your username and VAX password.”

Friend indicated that the previous process of voting in the Valentine atrium could not be used in conjunction with the new system because the Valentine database is completely independent from the UNIX network on which this fall’s ballots ran.

According to Friend, in his online voting system double-voting was impossible.

Because of the success of the system, Steve Vladeck ’01 joked that “the state of Florida just called for you, Ned.”

SGO Treasurer Ben Armour ’01 reported on the progress the SGO had made in acquiring vans exclusively for student use. According to Armour, the Student Finance Committee (SFC) has been presented with a “drastic, dire need” to provide transportation assistance to various campus groups.

Though no final agreement has yet been reached with the treasurer’s office, Armour suggested that three eight-passenger and three 12-passenger vans would be purchased “by the end of next semester.”

The vans would be “cycled” and, every few years, two new vans would be purchased to replace aging older vans, according to Armour.

“We’ll use them daily. We’ll use them all daily,” said Armour.

Vladeck reported briefly on the College Council investigation of cheating on campus.

“Students at Amherst seem unclear as to the definition of plagiarism,” said Vladeck. The Council proposed that first year-seminars stress the College’s statement of intellectual responsibility.

Vladeck also reported that the Council has recently considered the residential master plan and is soon due to evaluate the College’s theme housing. The Council will consider the contributions of the houses to the rest of the school.

“We have to ask-what have they been doing other than living there?” said Vladeck.

Daniel Shore ’02 and Julie Ajinkya ’03, directors of ASAP’s “No Sweat” campaign, presented their campaign to the Senate and asked that it pass a motion to join the Worker’s Rights Commission (WRC), a nonprofit watchdog group that oversees working conditions in clothing factories. The group would advise the College regarding whether Amherst apparel relies heavily on sweatshop labor. The WRC, which charges $1000 per year, consults with the University of Massachusetts, Smith College and 55 other schools.

The Senate passed a resolution to support ASAP’s motion. Though most were supportive, a few senators questioned the College’s ability to find manufacturers that do not use sweatshop labor.