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Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 3:40 p.m.

Voters will weigh in on smoke-free policy

Graduate students Neela Satyanarayana and Jahmeilia Paul spoke to the Student Association Senate Monday, urging senators to pass a ballot referendum considering smoke-free building entrances. Michael Boosalis | Hatchet Photographer

A campus smoking policy will be put to a student vote next week, the Student Association Senate decided at its meeting Monday night.

Senators voted to add a ballot referendum about a proposed 25-foot smoking ban around campus buildings, brought to the SA by the student wellness group Colonials for Clean Air.

The ballot measure would have no policy effect and would only allow the SA to gauge student opinion before supporting the cause.

The organization has lobbied University administrators since last fall urging them to take up their “25 feet for health” campaign.

“We want to get students to rally around this cause,” Tameila Paul, a graduate student and member of Colonials for Clean Air, said to the senate.

GW’s smoking policy, which is up for review in May 2012, allows buildings to enforce smoking restrictions near entrances if there are “concerns over air quality or the presence of combustible materials.”

No GW buildings currently implement this policy.

Senators rattled off questions about imposing the rule on non-University property like sidewalks and streets, and the feasibility of enforcement on campus. The pair said their group was looking at “best practices” at universities with similar policies, and would talk to the University about possible ways to uphold the rules.

Sen. Bradley Dlatt, CCAS-G, rebuked the policy for being “absolutely” unenforceable, but called on senators to give students the opportunity to decide themselves.

Another member who spoke on behalf of Colonials for Clean Air,  Neela Satyanarayana, stressed the group was not taking aim at “smokers’ rights,” and explained any smoke-free barrier around buildings would be somewhat flexible depending on that area.

“We know people aren’t going to count 25 feet and move away from the doors. But we at least want to get them to step away from the doors,”  Satyanarayana said.

The SA also unanimously approved nearly $14,000 of spending as part of its midyear allocations bill. The funding bill included $4,500 to continue free daily delivery of the New York Times for students. The free newspaper program was slashed this fall, springing up pushback within the SA. Sen. Michael Amesquita, G-GSEHD, and Rohan Batra, SA vice president of academic affairs, looked at various options before deciding to continue its New York Times daily paper deal.

Amesquita, who contacted more than a dozen other schools with a free daily paper program, said most paid for it using student activity funds.

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Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011 12:16 a.m.

SA committees promise fixes for student issues

Student Association Executive Vice President Ted Costigan listens as Sen. Josh Goldstein, U-CCAS, reports progress from the student life committee. Francis Rivera | Assistant Photo Editor

Student Association Senate committees are working on several new campus initiatives, including creating a University-wide calendar, digitizing laundry services and training for student groups on expanding their revenue base.

Chair of the SA Student Life Committee Josh Goldstein, U-CCAS, said that committee is exploring several ideas this fall, such as adding vending machines to Gelman and possibly incorporating emergency alerts, like the blue-light system, inside residence halls.

Sen. Cory Grever, U-Large, in an interview after the meeting, said he hopes to present a bill for an electronic monitoring system for the University’s laundry rooms at the Senate’s next meeting Nov. 7.

The LaundryView system enables students to see how many washers and dryers are in use, in addition to emailing and text messaging alerts when their load is done.

Grever said he worked with the company this summer to determine if the system is compatible with the University’s laundry services. The service differs from the system launched by American University in 2005, but will include many of the same functions.

He hopes the system will launch sometime next semester. The company has not supplied a price quote yet, but Grever said because the system is based online, the costs would not be substantial.

The Student Life Committee is also looking at creating a grocery service in which students could purchase basic food items from Sodexo and pay with their J Street dollars.

“These things take a while,” Goldstein said. “We’re trying to do a lot of things at the same time.”

The Finance Committee, led by Sen. John Bennett, U-At Large, just approved the first round of co-sponsorships, totaling $3,500, and is looking to expand the committee’s relationship with student groups this year.

“What is the new role for the finance committee now that the majority of work has been done?” Bennett said to the Senate, explaining that the new allocations system has freed up the committee’s time for the rest of the year.

Bennett said the group wants to host educational meetings with student groups to help them find additional sources of revenue as “funding becomes harder and harder to come by.”

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Sa meeting, Marika Lee, Allied in Pride, condoms

Marika Lee, vice president of Allied in Pride, lobbies senators Josh Goldstein and Cory Grever to sponsor a condom dispenser bill. File photo

The Student Association unanimously approved a resolution Monday calling for the University to install and maintain free condom dispensers on campus.

Sen. Josh Goldstein, U-CCAS , wrote the Be Safe Act after Allied in Pride members lobbied for the program at last week’s senate meeting.

“The bill is the easy part,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein, the chair of the SA Student Life Committee, met with his committee and members of Allied in Pride Sunday night to finalize the proposal. The bill calls for University action to fund and maintain condom dispensers, but does not include a timeline for when this program should be implemented. SA resolutions have no binding power for the University, so for the condom program to go forward, GW must implement it.

The D.C. Department of Public Health will supply the condoms for free, Allied in Pride’s vice president, Marika Lee, said. She estimated the program would cost a few thousand dollars to start up, including the cost of the dispensers and installation, but did not provide a specific breakdown of expenses.

Fourteen campus groups also support the proposal – including GW College Democrats, Organization of Latino American Students and the GW chapter of the National Organization for Women – Lee said.

The senate also passed a bill clarifying language in the Finance Committee bylaws.

Finance committee chair John Bennett, U-At Large, said the previous wording made it appear that the committee would allocate a full 85 percent of its budget during the first round of funding allocations.

The bylaws now state the committee will allocate “up to, but no more than 85 percent” of the SA budget.

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The Joint Elections Committee cleared executive vice presidential runoff candidate Logan Dobson of a dorm-storming violation at the second night of JEC violations hearings on last week’s Student Association elections Tuesday night.

Dobson, who is facing a runoff election with junior Rob Maxim for the executive vice presidency, was accused of campaigning in a residence hall, known as dorm-storming, without permission. During his hearing, Dobson maintained that he had been in Thurston to deliver a campaign poster to a friend, but was not soliciting votes from residents.

Dobson received one violation during the JEC’s first hearing last night. Maxim has received none. If a candidate accrues six violations, he or she is kicked off the ballot.

Former EVP candidate Josh Goldstein received a third penalty Tuesday night for leaving campaign t-shirts in a sorority house, which were considered “unsolicited” campaign material. Goldstein placed fourth in the EVP race and received two penalties Monday night.

The JEC will meet in a private executive session Wednesday night to determine probable cause for approximately 70 additional complaints that have been filed. More hearings are expected later in the week. Complaints are only heard at a hearing if the JEC decides there is probable cause.

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Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010 7:09 p.m.

“Dobson for EVP” video emerges

A YouTube video surfaced Sunday evening in support of Student Association Sen. Logan Dobson’s run for SA Executive Vice President.

Against the backdrop of the American Revolution, it declares, “A vote for Logan Dobson is a vote for liberty” while “A vote for Robert Maxim or Josh Goldstein is a vote for the status quo.” The video is a parody of “Massachusetts Miracle,” a video created during the Massachusetts Senate race earlier this year.

Dobson – known for his criticism of the SA and its members – said he was unaware of the video and does not know who is behind its creation.

The video includes pictures of “pundits” Jamie Baker, the SA’s Rules Committee chair, Dan Curran, chief of staff to SA President Julie Bindelglass, and 2008 graduate Elliot Bell-Krasner, a former SA senator who also ran for EVP during his time at GW.

Candidate registration for the SA elections has been extended to Wednesday, Feb. 17, the Joint Elections Committee – the independent body that oversees SA elections – announced on Friday. The election will be held Feb. 24 and 25.

Here’s the video:

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The number of Student Association executive vice president hopefuls has increased to three.

Rob Maxim, last year’s senate secretary, has announced that he will run for EVP.

On his newly-launched Facebook page, Maxim said additional communication between the administration and students “will allow for the most effective improvement of students’ lives.”

Maxim, a junior, named dining improvements and clarification of Student Judicial Services policies as priorities on his page.

“I have a comprehensive plan to improve GW life, and the drive to carry it out,” Maxim said.

SA Sens. Logan Dobson and Josh Goldstein previously announced for the EVP spot. Dobson also talks about SJS changes on his Web site, and Goldstein said he would work to improve dining options on his site as well.

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Sen. Josh Goldstein, CCAS-U, is the second candidate to declare a bid for the Executive Vice Presidency. Goldstein launched a new Web site Monday evening with an inaugural post decrying the Student Association’s “collective failure” in advocating for students.

The Joint Elections Committee also updated their Web site Monday night to say that candidate registration would begin as scheduled Tuesday despite the University canceling classes for the day.

Candidates can submit registration forms on Tuesday and Wednesday to the JEC’s office in the Marvin Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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