While the senate recessed, representatives spoke anxiously amongst themselves.
A pause in proceedings is unusual for the Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA). However, at the April 6 meeting, controversy demanded a change in procedure.
The docket before the senators on Monday included two measures: an increase of the student activity fee from $130 to $160 per semester and an approval of the student government’s budget.
According to junior Emma Drongowski, vice president of WCSA, the “vote on the student activity fee [will] give WCSA a better sense of what our budget next year will look like.”
In regards to the docket’s second item, junior Jerry Lherisson, president of WCSA, reminded senators that the “proposed budget is only preliminary but will guide the budget committee…so they can go forward with fall planning.”
With comments and questions answered, Lherisson moved to vote on an increase of the activity fee. Before the vote commenced, a senator asked if the representatives could put their head down during the count.
At this point, calls were made by sophomore Hayden Knisley, a non-voting member of WCSA, to “own your vote.”
Drongowski deferred to sophomore Jessica Sanford, chair of the administrative policy committee. Sanford said that a heads-down vote, in which the senators would put their heads down and vote, was not permitted by WCSA guidelines, but she did have concerns about a student sitting across the room. Senior Noah Manskar was recording the full senate meeting on his iPhone. Sanford asked if he would turn it off.
The request prompted Drongowski to call for a two minute recess while WCSA’s governing documents were consulted.
During the break, Dean of Students Kimberly Goldsberry said the meeting “was public, it’s open to the public and [Manskar] cannot be told to stop recording.”
Lherisson called the meeting back to order after two minutes. Drongowski said “to make WCSA transparent and accountable to the student body” recording would be permitted and a paper vote would be used to decide the docket.
Senators submitted a paper marked with their decision and name. Sophomore Lee LeBeouf, secretary of WCSA, collected the submissions and escorted professor Sean McCulloch, a WCSA advisor, into the hall for counting.
Both measures past.