Live Blogging VSA Council March 3, 2013

Hey everyone! This is the last meeting until after spring break. Good luck on all of your finals!

7:01 | Attendance

Class of 2014 President Dan Shaw is absent.

7:02 | Consent Agenda

  1. $2,000 from Community to Vassar Prison Initiative
  2. $1,350 from Conference to MEChA
  3. $1,130 from Speakers to Democracy Matters
  4. $2,500 from Discretionary to Founder’s Day
  5. $5,000 from Collaboration to ASA
  6. Minutes from 2/24 meeting

The items are all adopted without debate.

7:02 | Forum with Dean of Freshmen Benjamin Lotto

The Dean begins by discussing Vassar’s collaboration with the Posse Foundation, an organization dedicated to improving veterans’ graduation rates.

He is outlining a brief history of Vassar’s relationship with the military and America’s various war efforts, starting with World War I. After the Great War, France was so grateful for Vassar’s support efforts that it sent the College a tank. This tank was displayed on campus for roughly twenty years afterward.

The Posse Foundation was created several decades ago to group veterans together and prepare them for attending college together. It was formed after a student veteran, who was leaving school before graduating, made an offhanded comment that he would have graduated if he had his posse with him.

The Posse Program is also a networking tool for veterans to find internship and employment opportunities after graduation.

Last spring, at President Hill’s suggestion, Vassar became a “Posse school,” and eleven members of the Class of 2017 will be military veterans.

A typical posse is composed of student veterans who are all from the same city, but these eleven are each from different locations across the country.

Veterans coming to Vassar alone will live in residential houses with the rest of the student body; but it is yet to be decided how veterans with partners or veterans with families will be integrated into the residential system.

These eleven veterans are in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties.

7:45 | Executive Board Report with VSA President Jason Rubin ’13

The Committee on College Life will discuss some of the issues raised during the Westboro Baptist Church protest in March, and has pushed back its vote on the smoking ban until April.

Rubin reports that it has all but been decided that the bookstore will not move off-campus in the immediate future.

The College has passed the 2013-2014 budget, with renovations planned in Strong House. Looking forward to the 2014-2015 academic year, however, it is expected that the Trustees will pass budget cuts. The goal would be to decrease Vassar’s spending from the endowment by roughly 1 percent. According to Rubin, the reason for this, in part, is the growth of Vassar’s spending on financial aid since going “need-blind” five years ago. The country’s recovery from the Great Recession has also been slow, and that has had an impact on the growth of Vassar’s endowment. He does not mention the new science building project.

7:56 | Executive Board Report with VSA VP for Operations Deb Steinberg ’13

Updates are being made to the governing policies of VSA subcommittees.

The Admissions Office has launched a new website. The Alumnae/i Office is revamping its reunion program.

8:01 | START Town-Halls update with Terrace Apartments President Devin Griffin ’13

Town halls had modest attendance. A student survey was to be emailed to the student body today, but upon learning that CCL moved the decision to April, Griffin decided it would be better to hold off on the survey as well.

8:06 | Amendment Concerning Judicial Board Representatives

The amendment, copied below, is meant to create a pool of Judicial Board representatives who may be called upon to assist after their term had ended. It was written at the suggestion of the Dean of Students DB Brown.

Chair of the Judicial Board Alaric Chinn reports that there is substantial opposition to the amendment among members of the Judicial Board. He says that members of the Board feel that, since there are 17 of them, there should never be a case that fewer than four are available to hear a case.

Chinn adds that participation has not been a problem this year.

VP for Finance Alex Koren ’13 says that increasing the pool of available students may weaken participation further due to the psychological “bystander effect.”

The amendment has been tabled to the Operations committee for review.

8:27 | Open Discussion

There are 83 days until graduation.

Council adjourns

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Vassar Student Association Amendment 27

An Amendment Concerning the Pool of the Judicial Board

Principal Author: 2013

Whereas at the request of the Dean of Students, the VSA recognizes the need for an increase in membership of the Judicial Board to broaden the pool of students able to hear cases and participate on panels.

Therefore, be it resolved that the VSA Constitution Article IX, Section 1 be revised to read:

Section 1: Composition

The Judicial Board shall be composed of:

A. One chair, elected at large by the VSA.

 B. 16 additional members, 4 from each class, newly elected each year.

C. A pool of auxiliary members to serve in exigency.

a. This pool shall consist of any VSA members currently on campus who have been previously elected to, trained for, and served on the Judicial Board for at least one term.

b. Any member may choose to opt out of this pool upon consultation with the chair.

c. Individuals may also be removed from this pool at the discretion of the chair

Enactment: Members elected during the Spring 2012 election cycle for the 2012-13 term of service shall be the first representatives included in the pool of auxiliary members. They will be notified of their extended duties as well as their ability to opt out of auxiliary membership.

Vassar Student Association Amendment 27 –

An Amendment Concerning the Pool and Process of the Judicial Board

Let Article XI, Section 1.A of the VSA Bylaws be revised to read:

Section 1: Process

A. The Judicial Board Chair shall choose 4 of the other 16 members, on a rotating basis,

to hear each case. In the case of an appeal, 4 of the 12 remaining members who have not

already heard the case shall hear the appeal.

Let Article X, Section 6.G of the VSA Bylaws be revised to include:

2. An exception shall be provided for former representatives of the Judicial Board included in the pool of auxiliary members defined in Article IX, Section 1.C of the VSA Constitution, whose membership in the pool shall not be considered an additional term of service.