Senate Meeting Agenda
8:05pm – February 28, 2012 L301
- Brad C. Sam, Rob, Holly, Brad H., Dean, Matt, Steph, Mike, Lauren, AJ, Juan, David, Giri, Justin
- James (class)
- Absent: Janet (Proxy), Alex, Kyle (proxy is Holly), Jackie (Proxy is Matt), Adam (proxy is Dean), Umang (proxy is AJ)
- Quorum is present,
- Approval of 2/13/12 Minutes
- Motion to approve
ii. Motion passes
- S06: Repeal of Bylaw 605
- Lenny: the proposal on the floor is to eliminate bylaw 605 which governs the gavel club. Holly and Rob are sponsors
- Holly: In our opinion, the duties as they are outlined in the bylaw are currently either not being accomplished or are being accomplished by someone else in the executive committee. To our knowledge there have been no dealing with disputes in fundraisers. The calendar has been maintained by another individual.
- Rob: I agree.
- Nick Nikic and Mike Johnson on the gavel club
i. Mike: The bylaws are inaccurate. When I took the position, the primary duties were to deal with conflicts between student groups. There have not been any of these over this year. Second, the most time consuming duty is to assign the Thirsty Thursday Hosts and dealing with the contacts between CADE and the host. I usually get a call once every three weeks from CADE relating to problems with a student organization . The final thing is a student organization recognition event. We will form a committee and solicit nomination to give awards to organizations
- Holly: Do you only do CADE stuff for Thirsty Thursdays?
i. Mike: Yes, there is a lot of overlap however, since my name is on all the paperwork for all the thirsty Thursdays, I get the phone call because CADE sees me as the law school contact for them. There is no official duty to be the appointed CADE rep to the law school
- Rob: After hearing that I stand by the legislation removing the Gavel Club. There does not seem to be a need for it. I am unaware of any conflicts between student organizations. The bylaw has this whole elaborate series and duties, but it is unnecessary to have it on the books. The job being done by the Gavel Club chair is doing an important rule and we can give the President to have discretion to organize that committee.
- Sam: This is something that you might be able to do with one person or have the Senate do that as well.
- Nick: It all makes sense, if nothing in the bylaws is happening, it is fine to get it out of the bylaws. Any future president will continue the current position.
- Brad C.: Just so it is clear, we are not getting rid of a person, we are getting rid of something that doesn’t even exist as it is stated in the bylaws
- Motion to Vote
ii. In favor: 19
iii. Opposed: 0
iv. Abstain: 2
v. Bill Passes
- Law Revue Ad Hoc
- Law Revue put in an ad hoc request. The show was on Saturday. Essentially we started out with a budget of 9,000 this year, we raised a lot of money this year through various events such as Band Gig, dues, Barbri Sponsorship, etc. Our biggest source of income is ticket sales. I estimated 7,800 for ticket sales. We are at around 9,000 based on ticket sales. That still brings us to where our expenses are. We are breaking even including decisions to cut events that happen after the show. With the ticket sale money we are breaking even without including 3L farewell party, for DVDs of the show, and Election Party.
- Juan: You mention people
i. Typically we have cast pay for the cost of the DVD, but does not cover the cost to film the show.
- Rob: what does the 2000 dollars represent?
i. We are 400 or 500 under expenses. These expenses will help us cover expenses and for future events.
- Finance committee recommendation: Brad C.: Given the fact that ticket sales came in higher, we are going to stick with the request they initially requested. Holly is right that we are not funding election meetings this year. Given that, we still want to make sure Law Revue has money in its R Fund next year. As everyone knows they took a big cut in funding this year, but stepped up in doing a lot of fundraising. So we want to make sure they have room left in their R Fund for next year.
i. Sam: Two other things, the cost of Lisner went up this year and also we do not know what our budget situation will look like next year will be helpful to give them
- Rob: How many came to the show?
i. We had around 800 this year, end of the expenses comes out to about 26,000 and we only started out with 9,000. We made sure we spent efficiently, make as many cuts as we could to avoid asking for too much money. What ever we do not spend will help us out next year.
- Alternative proposals on the floor? No
- Motion to Vote
i. Recusal is mandatory if you are apart of a groups executive board, optional if you are apart of the group in any other way. I am mentioning this with Law Revue members in the senate.
ii. In favor: 22
iv. Abstain: 0
v. Motion passes unanimously
- After that ad hoc request, we are at $11,239.68
- JLSA Ad Hoc
- We are doing an Ad Hoc request for the Passover meal, we are asking for a little less than $2000. The numbers are influx and depending on how much money we are going to get, also because wine is apart of the tradition. We are also going through the process of getting a new vendor approved that would give us a lower price. Our fundraiser was not as big as we were expecting, but we are putting in money from our accounts. We are also putting on more events this semester.
- Brad C.: The exact request is 1894.69
- Sam: How many did you have attend?
i. Roughly we had 100-200 students based on last years results. Hopefully we will have faculty participate. We are doing a co-pay, so students that are attending will be paying a $10 fee.
- Finance Committee: We recommend the full amount. JLSA’s original budget request was much larger and we asked them to try to bring the costs down. Instead of buying the books used during the service, they found an online option.
- Motion to Vote
i. Passes unanimously
- Lambda Ad Hoc
- We are co-presidents of Lambda Law, we are requesting funding for Lavender Law event, the LGBT national event, it will be in DC this year. We used money in our R Fund and got money from the SBA last year to send 17 people to LA. This year, we would like to send every member to the event since it is in DC. At least 3 or 4 members who attended were able to get jobs from the event last year. The event provides valuable educational opportunities, networking opportunities and hosts different symposiums relating to LGBT issues. The total funding request is $4050. Because it is in DC, we want to help as many go as possible. By having a lot of our members to go to the conference and have more GW Law students than other regional schools will build our visibility. This request number is base don
- Holly: Will you get more than 30 people to go?
i. I think so. Last year the only help students received was $500. So to go to LA and other related expenses were more than that. We also have 85 active members in Lambda. If we have more that 30 people we will consider using our other funds to help more students go. I believe we would want more students to go with less reimbursement to maximize.
- Sam: Can you tell us more about the people who got jobs through the even last year.
i. For sure. Beth Dalmut was able to meet with Kirkland and Ellis to work as a summer associate and received a scholarship. Another 2L, Chris Freeman, was able to do small dinners with firms who met a firm while at the event. Finally, another student received an offer from a public interest organization as well. These three examples highlight the benefits of the conference.
- Nick: This is something that in previous years would we consider the Deans Referral, if you award them money and we run out, we can go to the deans regarding this number.
- Brad: Finance committee is recommending the full amount. This is less than last year and we hope that they get the 30 people, if not more.
- Sam: this is exactly the thing I think we should be funding. Help students get jobs and meet people.
- Lenny: Are there any alternative proposals?
- Justin: do we usually have students help pay something to attend these events?
i. Sam: This year we have been spending money very judicially when it comes to all events. Mostly because we thought some events would require more money that have not. We have the money, this is the kind of event we want to fund, and we also want to have a discussion for where the money is going for the rest of the year.
- Juan: Another thing we have noticed, other groups are going out of the city, while this event is in DC. We cannot afford the cost of fully funding students. In my previous experience it looks worse when we do not spend the money we have.
- Motion to vote:
i. In favor: 20
ii. Oppose: 0
iii. Abstain: 2
- FC Discussion
- Updated number for Ad Hoc reserve: $5294.99
- Brad C.: This discussion is spurred by Rob’s comments from last meeting that we are now at around $5000 dollars, we are done with all the big requests we know of. We obviously still have money left over. There has been discussion on what the proper approach is. Do we reach out to groups that did not get as much money as they could have received? To reach out to all groups to let them know money is available. The entire committee agrees that we will never get more money if we do not spend what we have. We cannot act unilaterally as a committee.
- Dean: How many more meetings do we have?
i. One more after spring break and then transition is April 1. The money would still be available after the transition
- Dean: I absolutely believe the groups that did not get much money the first time around should get the first crack at it.
- Holly: I think we should open this to everyone. My question is what would be our backup plan if we get ad hoc requests that go over that number?
i. Brad C.: We would encourage them to come to us prior to spending the money.
- Holly: we should make it explicit in the email to let them know.
- Sam: First, if we go to groups that requested at the beginning of the schools year, we probably cant go back to help them. There are a few groups from the beginning of this semester that we could help more with their events. WE need to find a way to spend it and there are lots of organizations out there that have good events to spend this money on. Preferably we should come to consensus during this meeting. Last thing we want is money left over at the end. We all feel very enthusiastic about this.
- Juan: I don’t know how perfect my memory is. But I do not think we denied this amount. I think we need to run out completely.
- David: I think I agree on sending it out to everyone rather than certain organizations. For people that have had events and they are past, but we want to encourage them to have as many events as possible and groups will come if they know money is available.
- Brad C.: We should keep in mind that we will not have any other groups come for ad hoc, but at this point of the year we are done with the big ones we know of.
- Giri: I do not think any one is arguing we should not spend all the money. One of the things that has come up all year is scrutinizing the requests as they come up. At the end of the year, being more lenient to groups at the end of the year, we need to keep up with the same scrutiny to keep up fairness.
- Rob: I agree that if we open this up we need to be an equal opportunity disperser of money. The fact they were denied funding before may weigh on our analysis
- Sam: For the concern on running out of money, we can ask for ad hoc requests from the SA as well. As far as student groups on whether to open it to everyone. There are groups that could use more money for certain requests. Regardless we need to do it soon. Allow groups to prepare the requests for this senate’s last meeting. I do feel bad for the cuts we made to a lot of groups, but again there is nothing we can do about groups that have their events earlier in the year and I am all for giving the groups all the money they requested so we can spend the money we have and fund good events.
- Nick: I want to add that whatever is left, that does not get added to the Executive Budget, it is left on the senate side
- David: First, in the event we are not able to get groups, is it possible to roll over to next year? Second, who is the message going to and who is crafting the message to the student groups?
i. Shirley, first question is unclear. The leftover fund could be put in R Fund or create a larger ad hoc pile. Also, about this time my time send email to groups to remind them to spend their C Fund. It may be a reminder that you may not get as many requests because groups have not spend all of their C Fund
ii. Lenny: Bylaw 410(e) – the Senate can take ad hoc requests from SBA executive officers and would be in the SBA’s R Fund for next year
iii. Brad C.: In answer to second question, I would suggest that Shirley and I will look into that. The senate would approve the group the email would go to and then Shirley and I would submit it to the Senate. I think it is better to get the email out sooner rather than later.
- Lauren: I agree to let them work on the email. It will allow them to handle it so it is done sooner
- Rob: I would echo what everyone said. I agree that it is vital to get this out now. We need to think holistically from the position of a student organization. The process is cumbersome and turns groups away. It stops them from dreaming big when they consider the different costs. Anything we can do to help facilitate would be better. Also to throw in monkey wrench, I think it is great to send it out to student orgs, but they are not the only one’s who can request money. Where to draw the line is a tough question, but one thing to think about
- Sam: I think they should send it out on their own. Can we allocate it to the Executive Vice President and have them allocate it back to the Senate if we cannot spend it all? It would give us an extra 5000 to give to student organizations at the end of the year.
i. Lenny: I do not have the ability, as EVP, to disburse money in my budget
ii. Nick: First, our budget is worked out for the entire year, once it is worked out there is not a lot of moving around that happens. Main idea is also that if we take a chunk of money and allocate it to an executive officer cannot just give it to another officer. It works in the executive side as well. We would have to look at spending within the law school office itself.
iii. Sam: The point I am trying to make is that even if EVP does not have unilateral authority to spend the money, the senate can direct the EVP to spend the money in certain ways.
- Juan: I feel that the image to that idea would be awful. We do not want to make it look like we depleted our ad hoc and gave it to ourselves. We should not be planning ways to hide it.
- Rob: I think we should focus on how to disburse this money first
i. Move to limit debate to 5 more minutes
- Passes unanimously
- Mike: If we want to spend the remaining funds, I don’t think we will have a problem. I think there is consensus built to send an email.
- Lenny: The finance committee and Shirley do not need consent from Senate to send an email.
- Sam: I agree with what Juan said, I wanted to make sure we had the option on the table. As a member of the finance committee, I think we would like the consent even though we do not need it
- Motion to approve sending email to all student organizations
ii. In favor: 17
iii. Opposed: 4
iv. Abstain: 1
v. Motion passes
- Election Results
- Lenny: I do not have a election results document because it was already sent to the entire student body. All we need to do is to ratify those results to make them officially elected.
- Motion to approve the election results
ii. Motion passes unanimously
- S07 – Senate Committee Designation Bill
- Lenny: this bill will insert definitions of the committees into the bylaws, listing responsibilities
- Holly: We talked about this last time, I am all in favor of moving forward, if there are other amendments to be made they can be made next year at the discretion of the senate.
- Motion to Vote
ii. Bill passes unanimously
- Point of information: any idea on when the bylaws will be updated?
i. Hopefully on a monthly basis based on the legislation we passed a month ago
10. S08 – Charter Committee Reform
- Rob: The memo sent out explains this. This is all common sense. I say we vote.
- AJ: I wanted to state on the record that the 20 person minimum for a new organization to be recognized. But it is not worth while to fight over it.
- Motion to vote
ii. Bill passes unanimously
11. Senator Soapbox
- Brad H.: I have been in the process of updating the outline bank, we have gotten 8 people to submit outlines. Holly and I have discussed ways to get more involved, such as a raffle or gift cards.
i. Holly: Sam Dillon is in the process of brainstorming with me about how to create a better outline bank so that it is self uploaded and they can be rated by students. If people find it helpful they can star it or give feedback. Hopefully we can get more interest.
ii. Justin: How did we solicit for more? Would a single blast work better?
- Nick’s weekly newsletter is where it was sent out
- Justin: also helping to pay would be helpful
iii. Rob: one idea is to reach out to 3Ls that are leaving to have them give back. I don’t feel comfortable passing them out right after I take the exam, but might be worth while to ask 3Ls that are leaving.
- Brad H.: For anyone that wants to submit, we will get rid of all the metadata, I don’t know about telling people that before the submit
- Mike: what about putting $294.99 into an account for buying gift cards.
- Lenny: we did an allocation to the wellness committee last year.
- Brad C.: I do think we need to look at the ethical issues before we spend the money
- Holly: I wanted to say that I am not going to be moving to impeach anyone, we do not have a full and complete record of attendance. I wanted to have this on the record.
12. Community Comment
- Peter: Peter, 1L, we were thinking it might be possible to get a couple of different options for the business card sale. We wanted to know if there were a possibility to get different styles for the cards?
i. Nick: in the future, there is a possibility, you would need to send out an email to VP of Student Affairs
ii. David: I think part of the reason Peter came is to show that there is a strong interest in the student body to have something change.
iii. Nick: if there is a strong sentiment, the simply truth of it is that when dealing with these things there are lots of requests for very individualized thing. The nature of the job is difficult to process all of these. If it was on me and someone sent an email that was not addressing the needs
iv. Sam: when we are talking to our constituents, how do you encourage we tell them to contact the executive?
- Nick: I don’t know if that is the kind of thing for there to be a procedure for. If one student asks, we consider the feasibility of the request. If there is long standing tradition we do, like the business cards being done since 2004. That does not mean it is not open to change, but for one student request it is often hard. When we start doing things on one thing.
- Sam: How do we show student need?
- Giri: students bring it to the attention of their senators.
- Holly: the fact that a student came for community comment indicates that there is an interest and although it may be too late now, it is something we can do with it next year. As the new president complies his list of
- David: it was more of matter the email seemed to suggest this was not possible.
- Nick: Contact point for committee members is helpful for executive board. Some members are more of staffers that handle the work. Policy things should go through
v. Rob: I just wanted to say thanks for coming, I would also like to ask having two community comments, one at the beginning and one at the end.
vi. Nick: I wanted to ask if anyone was available to help out, specifically 1Ls, regarding the GW Law games on March 23rd.
vii. Holly: vote for John Bennett for SA President
- Motion to Adjourn
ii. Motion passes unanimously
- Meeting Adjourned at: 9:34pm