Senate Beat: Honor Class and Renn Fayre Funding
At the start of this week’s Senate meeting, it seemed like the meeting would result in nothing more than a droll presentation of student bureaucracy. This Quest reporter was privileged to be one of four students watching the Senators at work (this is not counting the burner who quickly scurried off as the gavel struck down), but administrators and student life workers buttressed attendance. However, not only did the heat and action rise up in this Senate meeting, but a glimpse into the minds and hearts of several Senators reflected off of the large SU windows on that day.
There was little to say about information from this week. Appointments is still looking for people to run for offices; the new mural in the lower GCC will be painted during Reading Week; Glo Opera will be on the SW side of the West Lawn. The most exciting news from this point was information about the Renn Fayre Czars asking for approximately $13,000—and being provided with only about $9,000 (more on this later), and information that a firetruck will be on campus at 1pm on the Friday of Renn Fayre (apparently they will be meeting with White Bird at that time).
Next, a proposal for a poll to be put in the upcoming elections ballot was discussed by Senate (Elections Assembly was held on Wednesday April 18th, and voting is open until the 21st). A healthy discussion took place regarding whether ballots for elections is the proper place to put a poll. Several Senators held the position that the elections ballot is not the proper or appropriate place for polls of any content to be given, whereas others felt that not allowing the poll to be placed on the ballot was setting a bad precedent, with allusions to the student body perceiving the Senators restricting speech. Especially due to the content of the poll, Senators wanted to be careful that it was not perceived that they were restricting the speech of students with radical positions. After a healthy conversation, student body Vice President Aidan Sigman motioned to ask the student submitting the poll to publish it in a different location than the elections ballot due to procedural reasons. The motion was seconded by Senator Sarah Carlisle.
The next piece on the agenda was a proposal to organize a class for incoming freshman next year to more formally teach them about honor and the honor principle at Reed. There was general enthusiasm when the next piece on the agenda—finalizing the wage review at last—came to a final vote of approval. The long challenge of structuring new wages has come to an end.
The final piece on the Senate’s agenda was, however, slightly more heated. With the Renn Fayre czars in attendance, a discussion concerning whether $55,000 for Renn Fayre should be provided as a line item—rather than as being given out through funding poll and Top 40. The logic for making this change is that it will both allow more students to choose from a variety of different clubs and groups during Top 40, (without additionally selecting Renn Fayre as a Top 6, which has received first place so regularly that it is no longer relevant to put it in the Top 40 selection process) while also ensuring that Renn Fayre will have a certain sum of money available. While issues about the choice of making Renn Fayre a line item came up when some czars were worried that the Senate was possibly making it more difficult for them to get more money from Senate, most of the discussion between the Senators and czars concerned the relationship the two bodies will have in working together. Several other issues, how the two bodies should communicate with each other, how much control over funds should be available, and whether Renn Fayre should make an effort to become cheaper, came up in discussion. By the end of the meeting, it was determined that no decision could be made at the moment, and the issue was tabled.