VSA Live Blogging, 21 April 2013

Hi everybody! We are going to get started in a jiffy! This is looking like an interesting meeting, so brace yourselves!
7:03 // Call to Order
7:04  // Attendance
 Absent: Class of 2013 president (entered at 7:04)
Proxy: None
7:04  // Consent Agenda
  1. $1600 from Discretionary to Islamic Society

  2. $160 from Preorgs to Matthew’s Archers

  3. $2150 from Community to Shakespeare Troupe

  4. $300 from Discretionary to Davison

  5. $200 from Preorgs to SEASA

  6. $0 from Conference to Slow Food

  7. Minutes from 4/14 meeting

Challenge from Slow Food over fund allotment.

All other allotments pass.

7:05 // Activities Executive Board Report
Last Activities meeting will be next week.
7: 06// Finance Executive Board Report

Appeals have been submitted, only three this year.

They will hear appeals this week, and those discussions will close next week.

Finance will present their budget plans next week.

7:07 // Resolution for the Public Health and Safety Regarding Indian Point Nuclear Plant

Resolution writers:The nuclear plant is roughly 30 miles away.

 This resolution is important to the VSA because of the plant’s proximity to Vassar. If there were a spill, Vassar could need to be evacuated and may even make the land uninhabitable.

They cite the example of the power plant explosion in Japan.

Studies have shown that natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes may cause issues with the power plant and may cause spills.

This resolution calls for an increased evacuation area from 10 miles to 50 miles. It also calls for safer storage mechanisms.

This resolution, along with other supporting resolutions in the area, will be brought to state and national leaders in order to re-evaluate updating the nuclear power plant.

Town Houses: Who will this resolution be sent to? Will it be sent to Dean Chenette?

Resolution writers: This would simply be a show of student support and brought to the attention of the governor of New York.

Class of 2015: This would be a very political decision we would be making given that it would not be sent to the College. Do we do this?

Josselyn House: This makes sense to me, however, given the confusing relationship between the VSA and the Board of Trustees, we should take this to the Operations Committee to recommend the support of this by the Board of Trustees.

President: We can also just support this resolution as a show from students.

Operations moves to adopt this resolution.

2015 Rep.: I would like this to be brought to Student Life, as it affects students. 

Operations: I would prefer we bring this to Student Life than Operations.

T.A. Rep: We won’t be changing the resolution so why would we need to table and review it.

Josselyn: If we table this, we can bring this to the Board of Trustees and show that the entirety of Vassar College endorses this resolution.

2015 Rep.: As this is not time critical, I would like to bring this back to my constituency.

So. Cos: There’s a lot to be said about this being a motion on behalf of the student body, and not an administrative action.

Jewett moves to call this resolution into question.

All but  Joss Rep. support.

The resolution passes with all but Strong’s vote.

7:20 // Slow Food Application

Slow Food Reps: This event happens every few years, and this conference that we want funding for allows us to build connections and resources for the coming year. We are also asking for much less than previously.

We are now asking for $1350.

Finance: We have not met on this issue.

We do not finance events that occur after the academic year, or during study week.

Although technically legal, we don’t do this because the VSA cannot afford to events that occur during the summer.

Josselyn:  I was curious about the group’s decision to bring graduating seniors and rising seniors. Why not younger members?

Slow Food Rep.: As a graduating senior, I am bridging the gaps between the connections I have made and younger students.

Activities: I feel conflicted about this, in terms of events that occur after classes end.

Problems have arisen in the past about programming during study week in terms of academics, because some students have been lax in their studies and this has caused problems for professors.

There will be more crack downs regarding programming during study week and during finals.

Slow Food Rep: Is there a location on the application where it says no programming during study week.

Finance: It does not. It’s not a perfect system. However, I would like to continue following this policy.

Slow Food: I appreciate the concept of no on-campus programming, but this is off-campus and not disruptive. It’s 3 students, without finals, but it would not cause conflicts.

Activities: There’s also a large discrepancy between Activities and Finance because the VP for Activities’ job ends after next week, while VP for Finance remains in place until commencement; the VP for Activities for next year would be approving events for this week, while the previous VP for Finance would be considering funding.

2015 Rep. moves to alote $0 to Slow Food.

Lathrop: Can we only give them $0 or $1350?

Finance: We can give the group any number between $0 and $1350.

Davison: What amount of money can you fundraise for and still allow you to go?

Slow Food: We would need $600 to cover our registration fee.

2015: If we give them any money, we would be setting precedent.

T.H. Rep: But would we really be setting precedent since we will be out of office?

(Finance: The health of the speakers fund is currently $7000)

Activities: We should make an solid policy on this issue and not leave it up to discretion.

Ferry: What is the VSA Exec Board’s feeling on having events during study week.

Activities: Bad. We don’t want events during study week at all.

Finance: I would like to strongly discourage YOLO mode. Remember any money we don’t spend this year, does roll over into next year.

Josselyn moves to call into question this resolution.

This motion passes without the support of TA, TH, Operations, Town Students, Cushing, and So Co reps.

This motion passes.

Motion goes into voting. Motion to allocate $0.

opposed: Town Students, Lathrop, TH, TA, 2013, Davison, Cushing, Ferry.

This motion fails by 1 vote.

5 minutes on the conversation.

Operations moves to allocate $600 to Slow Food.

Operations: I completely understand the rules, that being said the rules weren’t posted anywhere and we shouldn’t punish the org for that. The conference meets your mission statement and doesn’t harm the funding of the VSA.

T.A.: I completely agree with Operations. The way we have been talking about this has been very haughty.

2016: Allocating them some money should be the amount that they need. But it bears noting that there’s a senior on this trip and they won’t be coming back and teaching what they learned at Vassar.

Activities: Although we have $7000 in the speakers fund, we still have more events coming.

Finance: Although compromise is great, if we vote for this, then next year people will look at this and say that the VSA will fund events like this.

2015 make a motion to consider multiple options. ($1350, $600, or $0)

All but Finance are in favor.

Voting in favor of $1350. Lathrop , TA TH, Davison, Cushing, So Cos, Town Houses.

Voting in favor of $600. Ferry, Strong, Main, Raymond, Activities, Academics, Noyes

None. 2014, Finance, Jewett.

Motion in favor of giving $1350 to Slow Food. passes.


7:45 // Declaration of Open Positions


Application are due Tuesday at midnight.

Council will vote on these applications next Sunday.


7:47 // VSA Executive Board Stipend Proposal 

Representative: We have been in discussion with Dallas Robinson. The plan is having this tabled this week and then voted on again next week.

Josselyn: Does a resolution restrict the giving of the stipend to certain students?

Representative: This would be given as a work-studies job. It would be based on a student’s qualification to the federal work studies program. This is done in the interest of transparency.

Representative: We have been in conversation with the Student Employment Office. This would be approving the idea of this program, not necessarily the mechanics.

Activities: How are hours calculated? Is there a cap on the number of hours?

Representative: You can only qualify a certain amount of hours, and so no overtime is given. Any additional time would not be paid for, as it works with any other student job on campus.

2015 Rep: How does the application process work? It seems radically different from any other form currently used.

operations: This sounds like HSA hour calculations. I think this shouldn’t be about making it work in detail, but our general support of this policy.

Representative: There is a means, and we will find the means.

This has been tabled to Student Life for the week.

7:56 // An Amendment Concerning VSA Policies

The motion passes unanimously.


7: 56 // Student Space Report

President: Adding hours to the Retreat is seeming very challenging. An idea currently being discussed is opening the East Room of ACDC late at night for warm food. However, UpC would stop serving food and transform into an event space.

Students could most likely pay with Dining Bucks and maybe a meal equivalency plan.

This needs to be decided upon quickly since Armark’s contract is currently under negotiation.

Activities: From the UpC perspective, it would be great for student programming. This would be great for UpC purposes.

2016: A number of peer institutions have a means of getting hot food until 2 a.m. for a meal swipe.

Noyes: Why is this easier to change than adding more hours to the Retreat?

President: I will ask.

2014: In terms of having a place on campus for students to eat and hang out like the Retreat, the East Wing may not serve this purpose.

Ferry: Would this food be served during the normal hours of ACDC?

President: This would occur during the hours that ACDC is not open.

Davison: It should be the food would still be Deece food. Also, I think people would be hesitant to get a-la-carte food from ACDC.

Academics: I see Main as much more welcoming for late night student spaces, especially for students living in senior housing, since they don’t use the Deece as much.

Lathrop: UpC is a wellness space; would this change make the East wing a wellness space? What would happen to UpC?

President: The new space would not be a wellness space. UpC may lose its wellness qualification.

Finance: Before, the Deece used to be a-la-carte and open much later, but the administration ignored student displeasure at the switch.


8:07 // Open Discussion

2013: Senior week plans will be released on Tuesday.

May 8 in the chapel, senior week tickets will be sold.

Encourage everyone to donate anything to the senior gift.

Josselyn: Discussion of a resolution about shared governance.

The administration has recently taken away shared governance from its mission statement.

I propose that we condemn this action, as they needed to have asked us to take off shared governance.

Operations: The college is reworking its constitution, because it has been told it was too confusing.

Our mission statement was 3 pages long and is now 1 paragraph.

This decision was a Trustee mission. However, the student body was represented in this meeting.

Shared governance is still in the student handbook.

Josselyn: I think removing the student voice/shared government from the college’s governing document is a bad for the VSA. In 5 years we will be much less valid given this action.

Finance: Shared governance is still required by the college based on other regulations of operations. Even though it’s been taking out of the mission statement, there is still shared governance at Vassar.

Jewett: What is the likelihood that they (Board of Trustees) would put shared governance back in to the mission statement?

Operations: There is no chance.

This resolution is going to sit, not being discussed in any committee, and be discussed again next week.

Jewett: There is an amendment on the regulation of pre-organizations.

Cushing: The Body Positive 3-day workshop is coming to Vassar starting this Friday.

Josselyn: I brought the previously resolution here because the administration is making regulations against the students’ will (ie keg ban)

President: You just don’t understand shared governance.

Davison: Davison is hosting a Thrift shop party this Saturday from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m.

Academics: In response to Joss’ action, I think understand your passion for shared governance but I don’t think that challenging the mission statement is the right way to affect change.

Motion to adjourn the meeting. Motion passes with all but 2015’s approval.

8:20 // Meeting adjourned.

Talk to you next week guys! I hope you have a glorious week!