The Students’ Association Senate overwhelmingly endorsed a letter to be sent to President Joel Seligman regarding a new Hurricane Katrina relief proposal at Monday night’s meeting.

The letter, written by Speaker of the Senate David Ladon, asked the president’s office to match the funds raised by the Hurricane Katrina Relief Committee.

“I’m not trying to tell the university what to do,” Ladon said. “I’m trying to get them to recognize they can do something more.”

The funds from that committee will be donated to the American Red Cross.

“No private organization should be responsible for the hurricane relief – the government should,” Ladon said. “But I think the government hasn’t lived up to its responsibility, so they are asking for private donations.”

Continuing, he said, “I looked at our role as a university and I think we need to do more. Like I said at the end of the letter, it is at least worth discussing. This letter is not a demand, but a catalyst.”

Ladon’s proposal was met with mixed reaction and significant debate.

“There is concern that the president will simply say, ‘No, sorry, not interested,'” senator and sophomore Greg Meditz said at Monday’s meeting. “How would this reflect upon the credibility of this new senate?”

“We could raise tuition to compensate for our donation,” Meditz later suggested. “But I would find it difficult to explain to my parents and scholarship donors that their money is being rerouted to Hurricane Katrina relief.”

Senator and sophomore Hannah Geswein responded by stating that as representatives of the students, the senate cannot shy away from an issue merely because the senate is not certain their request will be met with the desired response. “That is not how countries are built or the senate is run,” Geswein said.

Several senators raised questions about where the money would come from to sponsor such a donation and what students and administrators’ reaction would be.

After a failed motion to table the issue until next week when more information could be gathered, the letter was endorsed by all senators except senior Tyson Ford and Meditz. Before the letter is ultimately sent to the president’s office, concerns over sources of funding will be addressed.

Additionally, this was the first meeting of the full senate. Take Five Scholar Patrick Brennan, freshmen Daniel Strauss, Brittany Carter and Hallie Cohn, junior Brian Clancy and senior Marc Perez were elected to the senate at the close of last week’s election.

“I am very pleased that I have been given the opportunity to serve on the senate,” Strauss said. “This first meeting opened my eyes to the extensive impact that we will be able to have on campus.”

In addition, senators were elected to serve on the various committees, including the Students’ Association Appropriations Committee and Steering Committee. Senators Ford, Geswein, Meditz, and juniors Gretchen Garcia and Ray Watts will serve on SAAC.

Those senators help to control and oversee the spending of the SA budget. Senators Hallie Cohn, Marc Perez and Amos Rosenstein will serve on the Steering Committee, which sets the government’s agenda.

Additional reporting

by Jeff Keesing.

Whitman can be reached at

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