Senate discusses VSO funding, ARP committee

The ASSU Undergraduate Senate (US) unanimously approved student group funding for 13 Voluntary Student Organizations (VSO) at their Tuesday meeting. Administrations & Rules Committee Chair Lauren Miller ’15 dismissed the only action item, a bill which she co-authored to expel senator Janhavi Vartak ’15 from the senate.

The bill was written to adhere to the Senate Bylaws, which state that, “In the event that any member of the US misses three meetings in a quarter, a bill for expulsion must be presented to the US at the meeting(s) following the third absence.” Vartak has missed three meetings this quarter.

However, Miller and Senate Chair Branden Crouch ’14 dismissed the proposal for expulsion, conditional on Vartak’s attendance at every meeting for the remainder of the quarter.

“I owe you an apology,” Vartak said after the bill was dismissed, “This quarter was a mess, and I do owe the senate my time. I really will commit to [the] senate.

The Senate’s bylaws also state that, “a salary shall not be paid out if an officer does not attend at least 90 percent of required meetings (as defined by these bylaws).” Since there are only nine meetings in a quarter, one unexcused absence can disqualify a senator under this definition.

However, Miller said that since the senate had not previously provided a clear definition for an excused absence, she anticipates that all senators will receive their $400 stipend regardless of their absences before the policy was clarified.

Viraj Bindra ’15 delivered an update on the first meeting of the Alternative Review Process (ARP) Committee. Composed of six senators, the senate formed the committee last week to create a more productive and focused discussion about the individual elements of the ARP.

“We are focusing most exclusively on outreach right now, and how to get enough relevant and representative feedback, and [how to] make sure we reach as much demographics on campus as possible,” ARP Committee Chair Bindra said. He reported that the committee is working on developing a timeline for the ARP’s revision.

Miller said that, after they reach conclusions, the committee plans to draft a bill including their recommendations for the ARP.

“Right now, we’re looking at the…Title IX guidelines and what we can actually change,” Miller said.

Echoing updates from previous weeks, senators Shahab Fadavi ’15, Brandon Hightower ’15 and Bindra reported some progress on previously announced initiatives, including collaboration with Stanford First-Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP), pursuing need-blind admissions for international students and providing practice spaces for independent musicians.

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