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Senate Discusses Ideas Raised in Exec Board, Nov. 6

November 6, 2017

Senate Discusses Ideas Raised in Exec Board, Nov. 6
by Shanil Verjee

At this week’s Senate meeting, ASCMC senators considered a transparency constitutional amendment and discussed a proposal to build a hammock lounge in Mid Quad. Regarding the ASCMC Constitution, President Pro Tempore Thomas Shalke '18 spoke about the updates he has made to it (the full change-log can be found below). He focused on the most significant update: the provision that “at the discretion of the president pro tempore, electronic communications pertaining to votes shall be presumed public and may be included in the next set of minutes.” For example, a couple weeks ago, the ASCMC Executive Board held a vote within an email chain regarding the status of student club 5C InterVarsity. Under the new amendment, the conversation surrounding the vote in this email chain would have been disclosed in the subsequent minutes. Shalke announced that there would be a vote on the updated constitution in the ASCMC Executive Board meeting next Sunday, and a vote in Senate next Monday.

Constitutional Changes Log:

  • Added non-discrimination clause

  • Added 50%+1 majority for votes and explained abstentions

  • All electronic communications pertaining to voting are presumed public and will be published if either the Pro Tempore or Board feel it is appropriate

  • Give the CO Chair a vote on Board

  • Fixed some numbering issues

  • Tightened language in order to maintain 10,000-word length

The majority of the meeting included a discussion of a hammock lounge in mid quad. For the past few months, Executive Vice President Patrick Elliott '19 and Campus Improvements Committee Chair Biniyam Asnake '20 have been working on getting the lounge approved with the help of Ken Eppinger at Story House. Elliot and Asnake will be requesting roughly $1,500 from Senate and about $3500 from the Executive Board.

The hammock lounge in question is a free-standing structure, which Asnake likened to playground equipment. If implemented, CMC students will be able to either clip their own hammock onto the structure or rent one for a few days. CMC trustees have approved ASCMC to purchase a hammock lounge, namely David G. Mgrublian who spoke with Eppinger about the idea. Still, there are several concerns among ASCMC members. Senators expressed hesitation about using such a large part of the budget since Asnake asserted that the general fund is at a “historic low.” Schalke explained that there is less money in the general fund due to the excess money in the ASCMC budget taking a larger a hit than usual because of “unforeseen circumstances.” Elliott noted that he is investigating whether or not the infrastructure budget could be tapped into, and when asked, he noted that Dean of Students is not interested in pitching in.

Furthermore, there are concerns about liability, since ASCMC would be funding the hammock lounge; therefore, all thefts and damages would come out of ASCMC’s pocket. Asnake stated that students would be required to sign a waiver through DoS to rent their first hammock in order to limit liability issues. Some Senate members questioned why hammocks had to be rented instead of remaining in the structure permanently. Elliott responded that Kammok, the hammock company, estimated that the hammocks would only last six months if constantly kept outdoors. Other members of Senate inquired about possible noise complaints from Mid Quad residents, and whether students would be likely to use the hammocks since they would be in very close proximity to each other, resulting in a lack of privacy. Asnake likened the hammock lounge to a regular lounge and noted that due to the low number of students on campus, noise levels were not likely to be too much of a concern. Elliott acknowledged these concerns and said he would pursue them if the plan moves forward.

The structure would also be compatible with other hammocks, so some suggested alternatives to buying the $85 Kammok brand ones. 

Administrative Affairs and Appropriations Committee Chair Connor Bloom '19 suggested that students could bring their own hammocks, or that the dorm presidents could pitch in to provide them. Elliott responded that ASCMC is trying to provide an item that the whole student body can use, not just students who can afford their own hammocks. Student Engagement and Consortium Affairs Chair Elliot Behling '19 suggested a cheaper brand called Eaglenest Outfitters that sells hammocks for $50 to $70 and often has sales where they are sold for even cheaper.

The Environmental Affairs Committee is working with the mailroom to reduce paper usage. The committee also hopes to improve awareness about checking out greenware for free.

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