Senate Update 10/27

The Undergraduate Student Senate held their weekly meeting this past week on Thursday, Oct. 27. Many of the presented topics dealt with honorariums, the Joint Funding Committee (JFC), and finances.

The first order of business from the Committee on Student Organizations (CoSO) to amend bylaws regarding honorariums. To receive an honorarium as a member of CoSO under the proposed amendment, members must attend two-thirds of the weekly meetings.

The proposed amounts are $500 per member per year for new members and $750 per member per year for returning members. CoSO committee directors will also receive an additional honorarium. Current honorariums are $500 for committee directors and $250 for members. The vote on this proposed amendment will occur at the next Senate meeting.

The Student Senate handled two Special Allocations requests this week. Mayar - South Asian Student Association (SASA) requested $1,000 to cover an unexpected higher cost of food for their annual Diwali celebration. Mayar - SASA is a “South Asian social, cultural, and philanthropic organization at CMU.” The motion was approved.

The second request was made by the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE). SASE is a “National collegiate society aiming to increase diversity in workplaces, help people of Asian heritage succeed professionally.” SASE asked for $4,096.75 to help cover the cost of a conference registration and hotel rooms for the SASE national conference. The motion was approved.

The Senate also voted to approve a Senate Budget Amendation. The proposed budget change would take $1,450 from the Senate Executive Committee (Excomm) Initiative fund and put it toward a salary for a new Chief of Staff. The purpose of this role is to keep the Senate website up to date, make room reservations, maintain the Senate Google Calendar, and create and maintain a wiki with Senate institutional knowledge and best practices. The reason for this position is due to the work put into Senate, the frequent turnover in Excomm and General Body membership, and the potential for administrative consolidation in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). The amendment was approved.

The next proposed change was on Senate fiscal policy. This proposed change involves expediting Special Allocations requests. The change in Senate policy would make it so requests under $2,500 (instead of $750) could receive an Expedited Recommendation. This means that smaller allocations would no longer receive a full presentation at Senate General Body meetings.

The Senate Finance Committee would also only need a two-thirds majority rather than a unanimous vote to make an Expedited Recommendation. This proposed change will be voted on at the next Senate meeting.

The FY24 slate for the Joint Funding Committee was also presented to the Senate to be approved. There are slated to be 27 JFC members — 22 undergraduate and five graduate students. Nine are from Tepper School of Business, eight are from Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, five are from Carnegie Institute of Technology, three are from School of Computer Science, and there is one each from Mellon College of Science and Heinz College of Information and Public Policy; there is no representative from College of Fine Arts.

The Senate’s next meeting will be Nov. 3. The JFC Bylaw amendment presentation that was originally scheduled for the Oct. 27 meeting will happen at this meeting.