Michael Li / Sun Staff Photographer

Members of the Student Assembly discussed elections, carbon neutrality and laptop policy and its meeting Thursday.

November 17, 2016

Student Assembly Debates Campaign Reimbursements, Publicizing Carbon Neutrality

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The Student Assembly discussed ongoing resolutions they hope to take action on by the end of the semester —  assembly election rules for the spring, the 2035 carbon neutrality goal, and the University’s judicial and laptop policies — in Willard Straight Hall Thursday.

Campaign Reimbursement Policy

The S.A. addressed the importance of reimbursing students for their campaign expenditures during next semester’s assembly elections. Students running for election can spend $50 at most “to take away from the financial burdens that candidates face,” said Maha Ghandour ’17, director of elections.

The committee debated increasing campaign funding reimbursement from $20 to $35 for all S.A. election candidates.

“We really wanted to reimburse people in full,” said Diana Li ’18, Vice President of Finance. “But we just really don’t have the money to do so.”

Gabriel Kaufman ’18, S.A. undergraduate representative, said he believes increasing reimbursement funds should not be difficult, given the surplus funding in the S.A.’s special projects committee budget.

“The S.A. has a huge budget surplus,” Kaufman said. “We have literally $35,000 dollars that no one has touched.”

This money has been allocated to a special projects committeed, but Kaufman thinks it would be better used for reimbursing election costs.

Kaufman recommended putting this money into the elections committee because “elections [are] the best PR that we get all year.”

Carbon Neutrality

The assembly also discussed how to increase the visibility of carbon neutrality goals on campus by creating a more centralized platform on updates achieved on the way toward reaching the goal.

Vice president of outreach, Varun Devatha ’19, suggested using social media to educate students and promote support of the carbon neutrality plan.

The S.A.’s general consensus was in support of creating a centralized online platform to monitor and update the campus on progress towards carbon neutrality goals.

Laptop Policy

The final resolution debated was the feasibility of a universal policy on campus on the use of laptops in class.

“I think we’re all adults here,” said School of Industrial and Labor Relations Representative Noah Chovanec ’18. “We should decide how we take notes effectively.”

Chovanec addressed potential concerns from professors about the distractions that access to the internet can pose during lectures. He said that enforcing airplane mode during classes could solve this problem and emphasized the value of allowing students to use laptops when professors speak too quickly, rather than taking notes by hand.

Other members countered the effectiveness of an S.A. ruling on laptops, pointing out that some researchers say education is inhibited when students type out their notes, and it is not realistic for the S.A. to enforce such policies.

Discussion With J.A. Horvath

The S.A. was also able to discuss judicial inequity with Judicial Administrator Michelle Horvath, specifically regarding penalties for underage alcohol consumption and concerns of racial bias. Members asked questions about how the S.A. could help efforts of the judicial administration and clarify the process of citations.

“Our goal is to evaluate cases on an individualized basis on the realm of what’s appropriate,” Horvath said.

In future meetings, the S.A. is set to continue discussing these resolutions as well as the initiative to increase freshman involvement through online media channels.