Student Council unanimously approved its 2023 summer budget — which reduced funding by over $34,000 compared to the 2022 summer budget — during Tuesday's meeting. Representatives also heard from and approved the formation of 10 new Contracted Independent Organizations and voted to amend their bylaws regarding the ability to file complaints about fellow Student Council members.
Holly Sims, vice president for administration and fourth-year Batten student, presented the summer 2023 budget during last week’s meeting. Sims said the reduction in the budget reflects more efficient spending by Student Council.
“I think it's a success and that we really know what we can maximize our money on what we know will work,” Sims said.
The most dramatic decrease in funding is a $24,250 reduction in the Executive Administrative Operations Committee budget, which previously oversaw the University Networks of Care pilot program — the program was aimed at creating an alternative to police intervention in dorms for students experiencing mental health crises. Due to administrative challenges in accessing sensitive data about the number of police responses to mental health crises in dorms, Student Council decided to end the pilot program.
The budget passed with 16 yeas, zero nays and zero abstentions.
The General Body also voted to pass SB23-24, a bill to amend its bylaws regarding rules and ethics complaints. This piece of legislation allows for any general member of Student Council — rather than just representatives or executive officers as was previously stated — to file complaints about fellow members, regardless of whether they were directly impacted by the constitutional or ethical violation.
“We also want to say that this is something that should be considered more of a last resort,” Sims said.
She said that she does not want this legislation to turn Student Council into a “toxic reporting culture” and urged members to use existing anonymous feedback forms to address any grievances before filing a formal complaint.
The General Body tabled this bill last week due to a rule that all bylaws bills must be tabled at least one time before final voting. This time, it passed with 16 yeas, zero nays and zero abstentions.
Following the unanimous passing of these pieces of legislation, the General Body voted down a resolution calling for the installation of a midblock crosswalk near the Emmet Street and Rothery Road UTS bus station. This resolution, written by second-year College representative Charles Liu, was the first representative-sponsored resolution of this Student Council term.
Liu said that the distance from the UTS bus stop from some of the Lambeth residences makes it dangerous for students to reach the bus stop in a hurry.
“Emmet St. North has some pretty heavy traffic, which prevents students as they travel to get to the bus stop,” Liu said. “This is especially more dangerous for students because there’s no convenient pathway to get to the bus stop.”
However, other representatives said that they were not sure that adding a crosswalk on Emmet St. was the correct solution to the problem. Second-year College Rep. Jason Almas said that he fears putting another crosswalk on Emmet St. will increase traffic further, and second-year College Rep. Nathaniel Doty similarly said he does not think a pedestrian crosswalk across four lanes of traffic will be viable.
The General Body also heard from multiple student organizations hoping to gain CIO status. The new organizations granted CIO status include One For the World Darden, Darden Part-Time MBA Student Association, Hoos Playing Bridge, National Society for Black Physicists, Biokind Analytics at U.Va., Central Asian Student Association, Virginia Poker Club, Undergraduate Student National Dental Association, Virginia Product Circle and Association for Women in Mathematics at U.Va.
Violette Cadet, vice president of organizations and third-year Batten student, advocated for the approval of these organizations, saying that they have gone through a “rigorous process” to reach approval, including creating a constitution and having a minimum of 10 members, at least 51 percent of whom are students.
The bill to approve these new CIOs passed with 16 yeas, zero nays and zero abstentions.
Tuesday’s meeting was the last General Body meeting of the semester and was held over Zoom due to a fire alarm going off in Newcomb, which is where the group usually meets.