Student Council’s General Body met Tuesday to re-table a bill that would amend the spring Student Council budget to fund speakers and COVID-19 testing for students as well as discuss the current University-wide elections.
During the meeting’s legislative session, the representative body voted to table bill SB23-08, which would amend the Spring 2023 Student Council budget to allocate $5,000 in student activities fees to fund a speaker whose message opposes eugenicist ideology from William Shockley — who was paid to appear using Student Activities Fees funding in 1975.
This part of the bill is inspired by College and Darden alumnus Bert Ellis’ recent appointment to the University Board of Visitors. In his time at the University, Ellis voted not to cancel a debate during Black Culture Week titled “The Correlation Between Race and Intelligence,” which featured Shockley as a speaker.
Student Council’s Executive Board released a statement calling for Ellis’ removal from the Board in July 2022. The $5,000 was originally allocated in the fall but was redirected towards helping students cope with the Nov. 13 shooting.
The bill would also allocate an additional $5,500 in student activity fees to fund COVID-19 rapid tests for students.
Violette Cadet, representative and third-year Batten student said she appreciates the bill’s commitment to COVID-19 tests and the speaker fee, but felt the need to table the bill to finalize details. She hopes to pass the bill when Student Council returns from spring break.
As representatives hope to finalize bill SB23-08 in the coming weeks, Lillian Rojas, chair of the representative body and third-year Batten student also reminded representatives that they should consider planning and writing legislation they want to pass over spring break, as the current Student Council term ends at the beginning of April.
“The time for this term is ticking,” Rojas said. “So especially if you are not running to be a representative again or if you are in a contested race, just keep that in the back of your mind, that your time might be coming to an end.”
After returning from spring break, representatives will have around a month to propose and pass any legislation in this term.
In addition to tabling the bill, Student Council discussed student body elections. Voting for the next term’s representatives opened Tuesday at 10 a.m. and closes Thursday at 4 p.m, with results to be released Friday. Students can vote using a personalized link sent to their emails by the University Board of Elections. Issues on the ballot include Student Council elections, a multi-sanction Honor system, a UJC bylaw amendment and class council elections.
Following Monday night’s debate between Student Council candidates hosted by The Cavalier Daily and University Board of Elections, Jaden Evans, fourth-year and outgoing vice president for administration, addressed the current members running for positions, commending them for their hard work.
“Congratulations to all of the candidates who participated in last night's debate or who are running for a representative position,” Evans said. “Take care of yourself and be grateful to see that engagement is happening with Student Council and student self-governance with students across the university.”
Current Student Council members running for positions include third-year College Rep. Violette Cadet running for Vice President of Organizations, and Holly Sims, chief of cabinet and Lead Policy Advocate running for Vice President of Administration. Two current members are also running for President — Tichara Robertson, third-year Chief of Support and Access Services, and Tenzin Lodoe, third-year College representative.
Cadet, who also serves as the representative body’s Chair Pro Tempore, urged students to take care of one another during the elections.
“I know we're all going through midterms, it’s a rough time,” Cadet said. “Let’s just all operate through kindness and hold on to the fact that we are the only Student Council that U.Va. gets, so let’s all support each other.”