On Monday, Oct. 25, the Association of Amherst Students (AAS) held its fifth weekly meeting of the Fall 2021 semester. Senators approved the Budgetary Committee’s (BC) recommendations, discussed Committee on Priorities and Resources (CPR) allocations, nominated representatives for an upcoming Judiciary Council (JC) hearing, and went over on-campus issues and projects.
The meeting started with BC requests, most of which were approved. Funding requests totaled $21,259.30 and were made by organizations including Quiz Bowl, the Korean Students Association, La Causa and Homeless Connect.
There was a lengthy discussion over a request from Intersections Dance Company to fund their upcoming performance. Since the AAS historically only funds clubs allowing equal access to all students, the objection arose from Intersections’ audition-based nature, with some Senators arguing nonetheless that the request should be approved because the performance will be accessible for viewing to the entire student body. A motion was held, and the majority of the Senate voted against the request.
Afterward, the Senate quickly came to a consensus that they would allow a school-wide email informing students of the second iteration of the Marriage Pact to encourage participation, before moving on to discussing CPR priorities. Senators requested more funding for additional student housing, better dining hall menu options, greater access to basic hygiene supplies, more student common spaces, summer study abroad programs and improvements to ACData, among other things. The Dining Hall Committee also discussed the possibility of opening up more food options at night and allowing students to use meal swipes at Schwemm’s.
The Senate then addressed the upcoming JC hearing, which was prompted by a complaint made against a letter the AAS sent in May of 2021 condemning the violence of the Israeli government toward the Palestinian people. Maira Owais ’23 and Cole Graber-Mitchell ’22 were nominated to represent the Senate at the hearing, but additional nominees will be put forward during next week’s AAS meeting to give Senate members more time to think about the decision.
Committee elections were held next. For the Counseling Center Search Committee, Graber-Mitchell, Anna Leake ’23, Kya Rincon ’22 and Courtney Resch ’22 were chosen. For the Mental Health Committee, Michael Bai ’25, Lori Alarcon ’24, Sydney Ireland ’23 and Hannah Kim ’25 were elected. And for the Student Town Advisory Board, Mia Griffin ’24 was appointed.
The meeting ended with “on-campus check-ins” and “Senate project updates.” Rincon mentioned the lack of school support for students desiring remote learning options due to safety concerns surrounding Covid. Instead of being allowed to partake in remote learning, some students were told to withdraw from the semester.
Shreya Mathew ’25 then suggested introducing coffee machines in prominent school buildings, such as Frost Library and the Science Center. In response to Mathew’s project, other Senate members brought up the possibility of creating a late night coffee shop to provide more dining options for students at night.
The next AAS meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 1