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  • bethanjohnson 12:01 am on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes—24 November 2013 

    Hey, everyone, we’re going to start in a few minutes. Today, Chris Gonzalez, next semester’s Editor-in-Chief will be liveblogging. Outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Bethan Johnson, will be assisting.

    7:01 // Call to Order…..President
    Absent: Student Life
    Proxy: Davison

    7:02 // Consent Agenda

    Attendance ……………Operations
    Consent Agenda
    Business Club – Discretionary ($400/$500)
    SEASA – Discretionary ($800/$1635)
    CHOICE – Speakers ($1000/$1000)
    Capital to NSO $30

    All Consent.

    7:03 // Wendy Freedman, Director of Counseling Services

    FREEDMAN: I’m a clinical psychologist. Wanted to give you a brief overview of the services I offer. I’m really curious to focus this conversation on what matters most to you. You probably know we’re a fairly utilized resource. 500 students a year, and about half of Vassar by the time they graduate. We offer individual short-term counseling. There are only 5 of us in the office. Some students because of their circumstance have to go off campus for long-term services.
    We have a psychiatrist who is there

    One of my favorite things to do is run therapy groups. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet with other students and the facilitator. Some of them are topical in nature—social anxiety, body image, etc.

    We want to do prevention work and outreach. We want to do some . We’re therapists but we’re also people. We’ve been doing a lot of partnering with different offices. We want to reach out to students who are from traditionally marginalized groups.

    Emergency services are a big part of what we’re doing. We have a counselor on call 24/7. The evening and weekends we have a counselor on call. The counselors on call are the professionals. TLC and sometimes CARES will refer students to us.

    Other thing I want to mention: I sit on the Student Support Network and Bias Incident Response Team as well as being the director. I’m fairly new, but I can talk about my experience in working on those teams.

    We’ve been trying to get out and be an ally for the community. We’re also building our counseling services for the fall—a post-doctoral fellow and social work interns.

    MAIN: What’s the College’s policy for students who have expressed self-harm or have those tendencies?

    FREEDMAN: Well with students with suicidal thoughts we usually come up with a safety plan. We assess to see what level of risk there is. A plan is one level but intent is another level. So if at all possible we try to manage through the counseling service. If a student expresses intent to self-harm or injure another student we haSt. Francis has a psychiatric emergency room and that’s where we stabilize them.

    Most of the time students who self-harm are not suicidal. So we try to come up with a safety plan. If someone self-injures we need to contact a medical professional. Sometimes students who think they are okay will have cuts that need further medial attention, etc.

    OPERATIONS: About the SSN, are students being discussed by the network notified about that status?

    FREEDMAN: Information will come in that a student is struggling. The team meets every Tuesday and that information will come up. We look at what the student might need and what resources they might need. We figure out who has the best relationship to that student to reach out and explain to the student why they are on that list.

    PRESIDENT: For the group therapy session, how do you pick the time for those? And is there any leeway?

    FREEDMAN: It’s something we struggle with. Some groups are set for a specific time depending on when we have counselors available and when a room is available. We try to be mindful about privacy. With the interpersonal relationship groups we try to offer them at different times. For topical groups we use a When Is Good document. We can usually accommodate most of the students. A lot of groups run Wed. between that 3-5 hour because there are no classes offered.

    PRESIDENT: One of your main initiatives is student outreach, what can we do as student leaders to help?

    FREEDMAN: One of the major issues we’re seeing. We all go through hard times, but what do we do those emotions. A lot of students are coming in, to no fault of their own, without having learned those skills. So we’re trying to think about how students can learn more of those skills to manage and tolerate really hard feelings. There are skills we can learn. The other thing, Self-care, is really important. We know when people are struggling with anxiety and depression, not sleeping and not taking care of yourself is the worse can you do. We’re trying to figure out how we can promote Self-care as a campus.

    As student leaders you’re interacting with

    2014: One of the most common critiques of Metcalf I hear, is that you don’t have enough counselors. But how do we rank in comparison to our other schools?

    FREEDMAN: Across the country, there is usually one counselor to 1800 students. But we’re being more utilized. It’s an interesting dichotomy. We are over staffed,
    Three years ago the discussion of a post-doc wasn’t on the table. But now it’s being taken seriously.

    TOWNHOUSES: Do you have any tips for students with finals coming up?

    FREEDMAN: I think the hardest thing, I think it’s really hard to say no to things. Especially you all, you wouldn’t be in these postions if you were dedicated to serving. I want to work with students to learn how to set limits and how to say no. This is the worst thing to say to college students, but sleep is very important. If there’s a way to try to get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule, but…huge in terms of functioning and managing stress.

    CUSHING: During house team orientation, my house team expressed some concern that there wasn’t a counselor on call while we were there. Is there a way we can make that happen?

    FREEDMAN: Right now we’re available while the houses open and the houses close around graduation. So we haven’t had an on-call counselor, but it’s something we need to think about.

    NOYES: In terms of psychiatrist, how do we rank with other schools?

    FREEDMAN: If you look at our sister schools, we’re significantly under. One of the things we’re talking about is moving to integrated health. We talked a bit if there is a way to be more collaborated with the health services, if we could have a psychiatric nurse available who would be cost less.

    2015: I was curious about the integrated health concept. Could you tell us where that is in terms of the discussion process and what the time line looks like?

    FREEDMAN: I wish I could tell you a time line. In a perfect world, we would have a Wellness building. There are about a thousand ways that could actually look. They’ve been talking about this for at least six or seven years. We’re talking about getting training for all three of our offices. We’re seeing if we can get more effective training for those with disordered eating—health services, nutritionist and counseling, for example.

    Operations: Last week we talked about the smoking secession… We talked about how smoking might be related to stress. Is there a way for Health Services to look into that.

    FREEDMAN: There is a certain level of abuse which is self-medicating for stress, anxiety, etc. Part of our challenge in terms of outreach, is that if we create something it’s hard to get people to come to it. We have more success if we come into preexisting groups. We’d be curious to hear any ideas around how to get this training out to a group to people.

    OPERATION: Putting on the hat of EMS, we really appreciate the help you give us in terms of training.

    FREEDMAN: I have a lot of support for EMS. And we would be happy to come into different groups and talk to them as well.

    PRESIDENT: Houses have study-breaks. Would you be willing to come and do like stress-related study-breaks?

    FREEDMAN: I did that with Strong last year, and it’s something we would love to do.

    TOWNSTUDENTS: I wanted to know about how confidentiality is handled, and about data collecting. Where does that data go?

    FREEDMAN: We do collect data for demographic and the type of concerns they came in for. We don’t give out any data related to identifying students. When we work with other offices, other offices will share information with us, but we don’t share any information out unless we have a signed release. So when we sit with the SSN, for example, we don’t reveal anything about them. We don’t reveal that we know them or that they’ve come to see us. They don’t know, now we know, because I have access to a laptop with our notes that no one has access to, that we would refer them. Within the counseling service we talk fairly openly with each other, but that says only within the counseling service.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming in and thank you for all of the work that we do.

    FREEDMAN: I really mean that we’re interested in the ideas that you have. Having student feedback is very important to us.

    7:39 // Exec Board Reports

    ACTIVITIES: There’s been some concern with activity going on in spaces. Be respectful these spaces are used by multiple people. Founder’s Day is in the works. Applications for community chair positions are due Dec. 3rd. The survey with the theme choices will be coming out. Storage space project is underway. We’re meeting with the ROC to look over the spaces for the orgs that have requested them. VSA Webmasters have helped me in creating a dashboard for preliminary orgs, where they can upload their constitution and mission statements. Next semester, the committee will be planning a second activities fair.

    MAIN: Good job.

    FINANCE: Hi everybody. I will be emailing you the blurb I typed up for exec fund levels. We’re ordering new VCash machines. They should be in service by the beginning of next semester. We’re meeting this Wednesday. We are spending money a little too quickly in the Speaker’s fund. I’m not worried.

    7:44 // Discussion

    PRESIDENT: A lot of people have been contacting me about various forms of communication on campus. For instance, the email on Tuesday on campus that Cappy sent out about the two students who were removed from campus. A lot of people were upset, and we can’t do anything about something that already happened. But I was wondering if you had any feedback about the way administration communicates with us.

    2015: Class Council met today and we discussed that information coming as an email is less effective than something else. People would prefer to be communicated with in some way other than an email. We also wanted to know about what policies govern when you decide to send out an email about the investigation. It looked pretty odd that it came out then with that information.

    RAYMOND: Our House Team had a heated discussion. People felt Cappy’s email was an odd level of vague. Too vague because it didn’t give people information they wanted to know. But vague enough to manipulate the information that students did have. I don’t know, people just felt that administration was being manipulative.

    TOWNHOUSES: I think it’s great we’re having this conversation. All of the emails all at once throughout the week was a lot for students’ stress levels. As students we have a lot going on, and I wish the administration was more concerned about how we’re going to take this. Even though it needs to be sent, maybe waiting.

    PRESIDENT: It sounds like email messaging in general, there’s kind of mixed feelings about it. Maybe, I don’t know, our professors utilize Moodle. Maybe if we had something like there where students could

    FINANCE: I felt both emails, all emails from administration, have this sense of closure and finality. There’s no follow-up. And not recognizing that there will be reactions.

    2017: I think the past emails created confusion. They didn’t clarify.

    JEWETT: I feel like the way the email was sent out was most valuable. It’s the one thing that will guarantee everyone will look at it. Administration was being real with us byt giving out as much information as they can give out.

    PRESIDENT: Good point. There’s a lot of information they legally can’t share with us.

    JOSSELYN: My only concern was that it was this low-key stab at being transparent. But it put a big distinction between students and administration.

    PRESIDENT: I think it’s a good point, the emails need to have some way for students to react.

    FINANCE: I mean at the end of the day the student leaders and House teams are the ones dealing with this. So maybe they can host something as an opportunity for students to discuss these things.

    AT LARGE: I kind of felt that something happened and they took advantage of that opportunity to say look we’re doing things, instead of trying to find a solution to these issues of hate.

    OPERATIONS: No matter what that email said about those incidents of bias, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t very real incidents of bias. I took issue with the email. I think we need to have dialogues about bias and language and about speech.

    JOSSELYN: I also felt that when Cappy said we’re handling it, it felt like a pass on the people who were hurt by those messages. It was saying if you don’t want to get hurt, don’t write this stuff.

    PRESIDENT: I know Cappy and Roellke were reaching out to the Spectrana group, the ALANA Center, but we have to recognize that students who don’t identify with those groups are also affected.

    2015: People also discussed that the attitude the administration had was linked to this incident. They were smug.

    JAMES: I was talking to Luis Inoa, about the distrust and vagueness this email came with. He said we can’t give out too much information, but the students who were responsible were removed. We talked about it in our House Team, but we don’t know what the administration is doing. Inoa asked me if the campus was lighter after this, but I think it’s the complete opposite.

    PRESIDENT: One thing that came out of BIRT was moving forward. When it comes to student demands like gender neutral bathrooms and having more safety and security, those are clear actions that administrators can support.

    SOCOS: While we understood while it was important to contact those students who were most affected, there needs to be a way for students who don’t fall into those groups can access that information.

    TOWNHOUSES: Personally, I think more dialogue needs to happen. In the past there’s been this idea that we’re talking enough about it. But this last week has showed me that there needs to be talk between students and administrators, and students and the VSA.

    RAYMOND: I want to speak to the point that demands are the best way to reach out to administrators. But these demands are made because students feel like it’s the only way for them to be heard.

    PRESIDENT: Administrators probably don’t realize they’re not doing anything wrong, but that’s why we give feedback. There’s very specific ways they listen and respond to things we bring up.

    OPERATIONS: I think something on our side we could do better is helping students on campus who have issues get to the administrators. I know people like to write out a list of demands. I would be happy to sit with any student who is interested in writing out a list of demands. So that we could make sure to get as much of the students voices, so they can say what they want to say, but so we can also mitigate it to the administrations so they would be more likely to respond.

    JEWETT: Can you ask administration what their take is on the student labor dialogue? It’s something that deals with the people who make Vassar.

    PRESIDENT: That is a good point. It sounds like you all have a very good grasp on what students are thinking or responding. It shows you are good leaders. Second, I think a lot of this is productive feedback.

    8:06 // Special Elections

    OPERATIONS: Basically we held an emergency council meeting to vote on a time line for special elections. People have raised some concerns throughout the week.

    2016: So everyone has the time line that we approved. I have a couple of concerns. One, the time line said that any student who holds a VSA postion or a judicial board postion is ineligible to run. I hope we can address some concerns that I have with how we choose to follow the by-laws. This is the election we approved, but I don’t feel the eligibility requirements meet the standards we approved. I understand there are things in the bylaws, but this is what we approved. I think the bylaws are confusing in regards to who can and cannot run given the applications to these rules.

    OPERATIONS: The bylaw in question is on page 30 of the governing documents. Section 6 of Article 10, specifically subpoint e.
    House team and class council reps are eligible to run for committee positions, whereas exec board members cannot. The bylaw here is fairly straightforward here. We are not telling people they cannot run for this position, but they would just have to resign their other position.

    AT LARGE: The Jud Board was called in for an emergency meeting to review the VSA bylaws. Within the same day, we were informed that the VSA made a decision without our help. We are just a bit confused.
    2014: There was confusion about student fellow eligibility for the position. We met with Luis Inoa to discuss the issue. The situation in specific was resolved earlier so there was no reason to have the emergency meeting.

    FINANCE: Can I look at the emergency council meeting minutes?

    AT LARGE: What is the protocol about resigning a VSA position before running?
    OPERATIONS: You cannot run for more than one council position at more than one time. The exception is in the Spring Semester. There should never be overlapping terms, so that was the problem in this special election scenario.
    PRESIDENT: Because special elections are special, the protocol is more subjectively decided. The Student Life position sits on various committees and that would impact the eligibility of individuals.

    JEWETT: Can there be something written down about our procedure so that it is made clear?

    FIANCE: My question is, does the approving of this time line trump the bylaw?
    PRESIDENT: There is no conflict. It is simply additionally true.

    2015: I think that the subsection E is very confusing and being interpreted in a variety of ways. I think that the context is not the context of how other people are thinking about it. Now it seems to mean that you can’t apply to two positions, but not run for one and holding another. It is additionally confusing given our Spring elections. So maybe we should re-write this bylaw.

    OPERATIONS: Operations Committee is currently reviewing the bylaws; we do know that they are confusing. We appoint board of elections co-chairs, so they should also be getting feedback. People should remember that we had no more preparation for this surprise resignation than anyone else. We met the same day as we found out to make this election as equitable as possible. It should be remembered we tried very hard and we did our best.

    RAYMOND: I know that some people were not thrilled with this process but I want to thank Operations, 2014, and Zach Struver for their work.

    PRESIDENT: This didn’t happen in a vacuum. There were emotions and other situations going on, so this was more complicated. Also, thank you for your feedback.

    2016: I am still confused. What the bylaws said is that all VSA Council members were not eligible. But the email from BOE said that any VSA elected member is not eligible to run, which includes members of committees.
    2014: Yes that is true and they do contradict, but that is the way we conducted this election. This information has come up too late now. I am not sure what you want.
    OPERATIONS: In terms of this document, I made a mistake. I sent out a clarification email as soon as I could.

    MAIN: At which point did we decide to choose to do a special election?
    PRESIDENT: We decided to do so at the emergency meeting.

    FINANCE: I want to look at what can we do moving forward. Can we motion this discuss this in a committee so that the bylaw can be reviewed. Maybe we could send it to the board of elections.


    2016: My problem with this isn’t the rule itself but the procedure behind this. What I felt is that we have a Council that could control what happened here. I feel like the BOE told us what was going to happen and we didn’t discuss it. We didn’t even receive an email explaining where the error was made. I apologize if I came off as agressive or making demands.

    PRESIDENT: I think it would have been great that more people knew/reviewed the bylaws. In the future, I will send the bylaws in question before the meeting.

    SOCOS: FINANCE moved to table this bylaw. I don’t understand why.
    PRESIDENT: The wording is somewhat confusing in terms of how to hold one position and run for another.

    2014: I think we will codify a set protocol for special elections. As far as I know, no special elections have taken place while we have been at Vassar.

    NOYES: I think it is worth considering changing the bylaw rather than simply amending it.
    PRESIDENT: I had a lot of concerns about committee members and their level of eligibility.

    VOTE: Table this bylaw to the Board of Elections and Operations Committee.
    Opposed: None
    Abstentions: None


    8:33 // Open Discussion

    2014: I’m just going to tell you how many days left. There are 181 days 13 hours 26 minutes and 20 seconds…until graduation.

    2016: So my class council met this past week and we talked about a bunch of different things. One thing we talked about is the blast email that gets sent out covering the bias incidents. I know we talked about this last week and about whether or not it gives power to the people doing these things. The consensus was there should still be a way for students to have access to this information. It’s naive to believe that just because an email isn’t sent out it means that students aren’t going to find out about this information.

    PRESIDENT: That’s what I was saying about the Moodle Post. When something happens on campus, how many of you check SayAnything or Facebook…that’s all gossip.

    JOHNSON: I wanted to let you know that I am going abroad next semester and Gonzalez will take over. But feel free to email questions to Gonzalez and myself.

    OPERATIONS: I move to open secretary 2016 until Monday, Dec. 2 at noon. Council will vote on the recommendations on Sunday, Dec. 8. Interview dates will be announced later.


    2015: There is a concern that juniors abroad right now can’t vote. According to the bylaws they should be able to vote.

    JOHNSON: I know you’re reviewing for those who are coming back, what about those are leaving?

    OPERATION: Because this is a decision that will affect everyone who will be here next semester, I will email CIS to make sure everyone can be eligible to vote.

    RAYMOND: We talked to Inoa about dorm damages. So, I think we’re going to end up drafting a letter to Reslife to spread out the dorm damages. That’s in the works. Also, VHP threw together ver quickly….so tomorrow there’s going to be a Feeling Session for everyone who wants to talk about how they were affected by the hate speech.

    JEWETT: I just want to say that we have our VPs and they have their own special thing they are for. So if something is already happening due to time or whatever the situation is, I feel like we should just say this is a thing, we made a mistake, it’s happening, come to this meeting if you have any concerns. I think one of the things we’re trying to do is be more efficient as a council.

    MAIN: I think OPERATIONS, THE PRESIDENT AND 2014 and AT LARGE member have done a good job.

    AT LARGE: As the only student fellow running, I wanted to show my appreciation. I also wanted to show appreciation to whoever on VSA backed me up because there was hate speech against me on SayAnything saying I was abandoning my fellow group.

    TOWNHOUSES: I sent out a smoking ban survey, out of 250 surveys I got 3 responses. I did want to address this issue that e-cigarettes are covered under the ban.

    2015: I think Renee Pabst was adamant about ecigarettes not being a thing.

    OPERATIONS: I think it said nonFDA approved ecigarettes.

    ACADEMICS: We’re trying to bring the New york Times to the campus, but I was wondering if there are other publications people wanted to come to the campus. If there are any news sources not available you would like to see on campus, please let me know.

    STRONG: Hello. I made a list of people I want to give knocks to. To Deb, you never get any knocks and you deserve them. To Zach and Connor, for putting this election together. And Ali, you get a special one because you’re the best. Stephanie, because I heard your recital was great. 2015 and 2017, way to put on a Mug Night inspired by Google. And to my House Team for putting on an event last night.

    OPERATIONS: You can’t forget to knock for the fantastic Strong.

    RAYMOND: So it’s been a stressful semester and week, so I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving. I move to adjourn.


    8:50 // Meeting adjourned.

  • bethanjohnson 12:10 am on November 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes- 17 November 2013 

    Council is meeting in a different room this week so listen
    7:04 // Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    7:05 // Attendance…OPERATIONS
    Absent: NONE
    Proxy: NONE

    7:07 // Consent Agenda
    Hunger Action – Collab…………………………………………………..($400/$400)
    MEChA – Community……………………………………………………($500/$500)
    Quidditch – Collab……………………………………………………….($800/$900)
    Poder Latino – Soc Consc…………………………………………($1100/$1300)
    vCash machines – Capital………………………………………………..($9000/$9000)
    Preorg to Generation …………………………………………………………………… $30
    Minutes from 11/10/2013

    7:07// Executive Board Reports
    We finished our data collections for the gender neutral bathroom situation. We found that even some buildings have gender neutral bathrooms located in closets or other, far off places.
    Students of high financial need are in some places not able to get home. Students in these situations work over break and even during the summer. Sometimes students who work over the summer and into the school year cannot meet their contribution.
    In regards to the bias incidents email, this time we included the language used in some of the situations.

    JEWETT: Sanders Physics is being renovated, so maybe we could use this as an experiment in favor of gender neutral bathrooms.

    Shout out to the committee for all of its hard work on the peer advising event.
    120 underclassmen showed up, and we had over 50 peer advisors.
    In the coming weeks we are working on the newsletter, which is focused on “food.” People from various departments and jobs are contributing.
    We are working on getting the textbook list earlier so that students can find less expensive options for books. We are meeting with Dean Rock and we will bring a proposal to him.
    We are working on a subscriptions for The New York Times for the campus. This subscription has been an issue for our peer institutions as well. Both the President and Dean Roellke have pledged money to the project.

    7:15 // Discussion of the Bias Incident Response Team…STUDENT LIFE
    I am the only student who sits on BIRT. One of BIRT’s main goals is transparency, which is why I am bringing .
    After an incident is reported, a meeting is called within 24 hours.
    As most incidents take place in the dorms, on occasion house presidents are called
    There are monthly meetings, and there is a meeting on Wednesday.

    JEWETT: Some of my constituents were confused as to the locations of a bias incidents. Context for where or when an incident takes place may

    TAs: Are there any discussions of having more students on BIRT?
    STUDENT LIFE: This has not been discussed, but I think it would be possible and I agree with the idea of adding more student representatives.

    DAVISON: I second JEWETT’s statement. I felt somewhat unprepared on how to address my constituencies.

    2016: I think more needs to be done in terms of reaching out the entire campus. Bias incidents don’t just affect the house
    Our public spaces are public to everyone. Also, the community needs to address these issues as a whole.

    CUSHING: I think they should consider sending an email after every time a bias incident is committed.

    STUDENT LIFE: One of the concerns with that idea was that doing so would give a lot of power and attention if they were individually reported.

    2014: What about bias incidents on SayAnything?
    STUDENT LIFE: BIRT can’t respond or react to SayAnything until a student reports it.

    2017: What happens if an incident is targeted against one individual?
    STUDENT LIFE: Typically the individual is encouraged to come to a meeting or have a representative attend in the stead. The student can then ask that an all-campus email can be sent out.

    PRESIDENT: What happens when hate-speech is targeted against a specific community?
    STUDENT LIFE: If it is targeted against a community, for instance a racial slur is used, then the Director of the ALANA Center is consulted.

    AT LARGE: Can you speak out against the pros and cons about sending an email?
    STUDENT LIFE: We do try to be transparent, which is a reason why we are sending out emails. A con we have encountered is that not everyone wants to know about every incident.

    RAYMOND: We have been trying to bring up this issue in the past, but we haven’t been able to without an email until right now. We, as student leaders, should be made aware of these things, as we can set the atmosphere in our houses.

    2015: With this question of transparency, at Student Life Committee or at council, we could acknowledge that something has happened.
    STUDENT LIFE: I would just have to negotiate how much of a BIRT meeting is confidential.

    2016: My class council has been . This is a conversation we should be having in our council meetings; people were unaware. Main’s response to an incident in their house was amazing.

    2017: How does BIRT handle accountability?
    STUDENT LIFE: Instead of focusing on an individual event, in which it is very hard to find the perpetrators, we want to behave proactively and focus on preventing these incidents in the future and how do we move forward.

    TAs: How do people address and investigate these events?
    PRESIDENT: Recently the Poughkeepsie police has been involved, and Security has been involved as well.

    MAIN: In our house we had a racial slur written on one of our sofas. We invited members of BIRT, Luis Inoa, the Director of the ALANA Center, and our House Advisors. We had a discussion about the nature of the bias incident, how it affects our house and community, and we had small group discussions.

    STRONG: We called a mandatory house meeting. We talked about the stigma of living in Strong, what gendered vandalism does to a community of students and in general.

    2017: I think that Strong’s discussion was very needed. A general sentiment among freshman, even with the Main event, is that they don’t understand how effective or how serious these incidents are.

    STRONG: We heard these complaints but we felt that it is more important to hold the event.

    MAIN: A lot of freshmen felt that way, but we believed that by holding the event we send a message that we don’t tolerate racism in our house.

    RAYMOND: Thus far, we haven’t had many, or any as far as I know, incidents this year. Are there ways that we can have proactive discussions?
    STUDENT LIFE: In Jewett they had a conversation in the past and are planning to have another in the future. The Privilege campaign is also a great means of conversations.
    CUSHING: Our response was to hold a house meeting talking about the history of bias incidents in Cushing. This was interpreted positively.

    2016: I think that it is important for us, as student leaders, to give people resources to talk with.

    FINANCE: The Social Consciousness Fund works to help communities proactively and retroactively address bias. If something happens in your dorms, please consider the fund; we helped Main, for example.

    7:41 // Smoking Ban…OPERATIONS
    The timeline for the implementation is moving forward; July 2015 the ban will be fully enforced.
    The implementation group is called the Smoke Free Tobacco Free Task Force. There are a number of student representative in this committee, as well as staff and faculty representatives. I sit on the committee, as well as representatives
    We want to make sure the student voice does remain strong in this committee.

    2015: I find the passing of this ban as a failure of shared governance. I want to make sure that this aspect of student voice is heard.

    OPERATIONS: I acknowledge that opinion and have brought this up to the committee. However, that is not really what the purpose of this discussion is.

    DAVISON: Is this an open task force?
    OPERATIONS: Basically it is closed but if you wanted to present something specific, they may invite you to speak.

    SOUTH COMMONS: I think we need to be really clear about the enforcement of this ban. I think it needs to be clear what Security’s role in enforcing this ban is. I think we should also be pointing out the resources we have to help students.

    JEWETT: What does this actually mean, in terms of enforcement?
    OPERATIONS: We mean that in the entire area of senior housing and main campus, there will be no smoking of cigarettes.

    JEWETT: how do we accommodate students who do smoke? Will there be a question on applications that asks about smoking? We are supposed to be all-inclusive.
    PRESIDENT: In terms of other schools, students are allowed to go off campus to smoke. There would not be a question on any applications.

    FINANCE: I would like to continue having cigarette butt recepticals on campus because people may not stop smoking right away.

    2016: Would it be more helpful for us to inform people about what we have done thus far.
    We have a number of phases:
    Phase 1: EDUCATION
    We are educating people of the current rules and what the end-game of the campaign is, as well as intermediary steps.
    Phase 2: RESOURCES
    We are discussion cessation options such as classes or nicotine patches. We are still deciding what to do here, so we are looking for feed-back.

    OPERATIONS: E-cigarrettes would be allowed, but not other forms of tobacco such as chewing tobacco or cigars.

    2014: I think we should be addressing why students start smoking, ie stress, is really important. I also think asking students to pay for classes when they may not want to quit smoking is not fair.

    TOWN HOUSES: I think we need to make sure there is no schism between smokers and non-smokers.

    TOWN STUDENTS: We should think about how we are dividing up Poughkeepsie would be interpreted. We don’t want it to turn Vassar into smoke-free space and then ashtrays right outside our brick walls.

    STUDENT LIFE: Have there been discussions with workers about how this we
    OPERATIONS: There is a representative from HR who is there to represent workers. Many of the people who are on the committee would be classified as staff versus administrators.

    STUDENT LIFE: If or when marijuana is made legal in New York, will students be asked to go off campus to take a medication?
    OPERATIONS: It has not been brought up in committee yet but I will bring it up in the future.

    8:02 // Amendment Regarding Motions…OPERATIONS
    Last week we voted to allow students at large should not
    Then RAYMOND noted that we also have the regulation in our bylaws so we need to amend our bylaws. I recommend that we vote on this amendment today, thus suspending a bylaw to do so for only this conversation (the bylaw that mandates an amendment must be voted on one week after they are brought before council)
    Absentions: None
    Opposed: 2015

    Abstentions: None
    Opposed: None

    8:07 // Amendment Regarding Debt…ACTIVITIES
    ACTIVITIES: Currently if a student organization is in debt, they must fundraise it back within two semesters, otherwise their recognition can be revoked.
    FINANCE: I am not thrilled with this language in general. Also I think that we should also note that the term should be changed from ‘debt’ to ‘deficit.’
    MAIN: I think that more specific language is necessary. There are some organizations are always in deficit, such as ViCE or the Vassarian.
    FINANCE: Also we have to take into account that some student organizations do take on some financial risk but are important parts of our student life.
    STRONG: We are doing this not to hurt organizations, but we are trying to avoid decertifying organization.
    2016: For future reference, could you quote it on the paper so that it is readily available.
    OPERATIONS: We can hammer out language in committee.
    (tabled to next week)

    8:14 // Amendment Regarding Preliminary Organization Event Requirements…ACTIVITIES
    NOYES: We are drafting this bylaw, which requires that preliminary organizations must hold one open-to-campus event each semester, to help grow the student involvement or interest.
    STRONG: We not expecting them to hold events of the same size, but the pre-organizations need to hold an event that is more than a general body meeting.
    JEWETT: I think the language should be cleared up with regards to ‘events of a similar nature.’
    MAIN: How are pre-organizations expected to find spaces and funds without any great assistance?
    NOYES: Activities committee has divided itself up so that every preliminary organization has a representative to help them plan events.

    8:20 // Open Discussion
    2014: December 6 will be 99 Nights in the Aula. We will announce the student gift there.

    2016: Congratulations to JEWETT
    I want to make it clear that we have the right to abstain not only for conflicts of interest but really for any reason we want to.
    I would also like to talk about Don Marsala’s email. The email made me very upset because the school should do everything in our power to keep hunters off our land. There should never be any threat of danger to students. If that is an issue, then more needs to be done to prevent this.

    STRONG: Strong’s fall event is this Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. It is called “The Blacklight Ball.” It will be held in the Aula.

    CUSHING: It was my boyfriend who caught the hunter on camera.

    2015: Classes of 2015 and 2017 are hosting our traditional Mug night this Saturday. The theme is “chrome.”

    JOSSELYN: I just want to congratulate myself this weekend for Four Pillars. Good for those who went to the event.

    OPERATIONS: Motion to adjourn.
    Opposed: MAIN
    Abstain: None

    End of the meeting!!

  • bethanjohnson 12:05 am on November 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Minute Meetings- 10 November 2013 

    Hi guys! We are all starting late tonight, so I’ll let you know when the gavel knocks.

    7:07// Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    7:07// Attendance…OPERATIONS
    Absent: CUSHING
    Proxy: NONE

    7:09// Consent Agenda
    a. Challah – Collab ($80/$115)
    b. Monkeys – Speakers ($1600/$2050)*
    c. SJIP – Preorg ($30/$30)*
    d. Limit – Speakers ($2750/$3000)
    e. Helicon – Speakers ($2000/$3625)*
    f. Capital to CSA $50
    g. Quest Scholars (Pre-org) – $50

    *denotes non-unanimous decisions

    7:10 // Executive Board Report
    PRESIDENT: I will be setting up an anonymous forum for councilmembers to discuss any concerns they have about Council. This will begin next week. There will be both a google doc and a box in the VSA office.

    Operations Committee completed 4 appointments this week. Thanks to all those who were part of the Committee, as this was very stressful.
    The Committee is also reviewing the appointment process.
    We are looking into some demographic surveys about who votes and who doesn’t for VSA Council positions.
    Last year we voted to have an audit of the Council; this is what VSARC came out of. This is an important commitment that we made.
    Dean Roellke agreed to have the administration pay for half of the audit fees. This is a really generous gift.
    This audit needs to be a collaborative process. We made this commitment, and we need to see it through.

    TAs: What is the status of VSARC now?
    OPERATIONS: That’s actually a challenging question. There are 4 or 5 consistent members. It is in transition now because it is going from simply an Operations committee to an Operations and Student Life committee. I am currently investigating which external auditor to use.

    2014: Will you send us moments of progress from VSARC can you send them to me so that I can tell my constituents?

    7:19//An Amendment Concerning the Appeals Process for Election Results…OPERATIONS

    Principal Authors: Joshua Tempro, Class of 2016 Main House Representative; Maximilien Moran, Class of 2016 President; Maggie Donolo, Class of 2016 Representative to the Operations Committee; Abigal Johnson, Class of 2017 Lathrop
    SECTION 11: Let Sub-Section F be amended to read:
    The Board of Elections Chairs shall post and publicize the names of the winners,
    and the total vote counts of each race all results within 24 hours of the end of the
    voting period. Access to the remaining voting information, including individual
    vote breakdown by candidate will be made accessible to members of the VSA
    through the Board of Elections Co-Chairs and/or VP for Operations. Individuals,
    including candidates, shall not be notified of results until such results are publicly
    SECTION 11: Let Sub-Section A be amended to read:
    A VSA member may protest any questionable action by another VSA member related to the election process to the Board of Elections Chairs. A VSA member may appeal any official decision or posting of results by the Board of Elections Chairs within 24 72 hours back to the Board of Elections Chairs, unless extenuating circumstances deem otherwise as decided by the Board of Elections Chairs.
    ENACTMENT: As is prescribed in the Article XII Section 1 of the Constitution, this amendment shall be enacted by a two-thirds majority vote of the VSA Council. The VSA Governing Documents shall be shifted accordingly to reflect these changes.

    2016: We have decided that we should not be sending out the voting breakdown, as it can be really shameful for students who did not receive many votes.

    2015: Are the results emailed out or are they posted on the website?
    OPERATIONS: They used to be emailed out, but this year we posted the election on the website. I took them down after getting a number of complaints, and this is the byproduct of these concerns.

    FINANCE: I just wanted to express my approval and say thank you to those authors of the amendment who do not sit on Council.

    TAs: What kinds of complaints did you receive?
    OPERATIONS: We get complaints about this every year. There were people who said that they would never run if they knew their results would be publicly posted. There were also people who ran who said they felt bullied from this posting.

    2017: Will the percentage of votes received by the winner be posted?
    OPERATIONS: No they will not.

    2015: How do we store the information we don’t publish?
    OPERATIONS: I think that we should pass an Operations Committee that would change how results are stored for posterity.

    This amendment will be voted on next week.

    7:29// Appointment of Davison Vice President…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: We recommend the position of Vice President Luke Kachelein. We understand that Davison will lose a junior class representative, but Davison needs a vice president more.


    Abstentions: 2015, DAVISON, 2016.
    Opposed: NONE


    7:31// Appointment of Class of 2014 Secretary…OPERATIONS
    There were 5 applicants for this position. The Operations Committee recommends Katie Adrian to the position.


    Abstentions: 2016
    Opposed: NONE


    7:34// Appointment of Noyes House Junior Representative
    There were two applicants for this position. We recommend the appointment of Dan Kilion for the spring semester. We chose not to fill the position for the fall semester, as there is only one month left.


    Abstention: 2016
    Opposed: NONE


    7:38// Appointment of South Commons Programming Director…OPERATIONS
    Hillary Frame


    Abstentions: 2016, SO COs
    Opposed: NONE


    7:40// Open Discussion

    JEWETT: Dormal Formal is this Saturday in the Rose Parlor and Villard Room starting at 10:00 p.m.

    2016: This week there was more restructuring in terms of representatives to the 2016 Class Council. We had our first
    Thank you to The Misc for the coverage; it was really well written.

    The committee met this week regarding our committee laws.
    Something that we are concerned about is Councilmembers presenting fund applications before Council.
    P-Card auditing is happening now.
    If there is something you want to take of the Consent Agenda in regards to Finance recommendations, please email me ahead of time so that we can change the agenda.

    OPERATIONS: What if we are treasures for a student organization?
    FIANCE: I would advise someone else present the application as you will be voting on the application. But this isn’t a policy set in stone yet.

    2014: Congratulations to ACADEMICS for the peer advising event.

    The meeting has adjourned.

  • bethanjohnson 12:00 am on November 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes- 2 November 2013 

    Hi everybody! We are going to start in a couple of minutes, but not everybody has arrived yet, so things will probably be slightly behind schedule. Also, today I am giving a report to council, so Palak, our lovely design editor, will take over during my section!

    7:04 // Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    PRESIDENT: Some lovely ladies from Bryn Mawr. I was worried they would be more social than me, but, in fact, all they wanted to do is play Taboo and Cards Against Humanity. They were also shockingly in love with the Decee.

    7:06 // Attendance….OPERATIONS
    Proxy: Davison, Cushing
    Absent: None

    7:07 // ViCE Concert Report…ViCE President
    AT LARGE: The concert went very well. It sold out. We received no complaints from the administration.

    7:0 // Consent Agenda
    ACCESS – Collab…………………………………………………………($600/$551.50)
    Limit – Speakers…………………………………………………………………….(tabled)
    Croquet Assoc. – Preorg…………………………………………………………($70/$145)
    GAAP – Conference……………………………………………………………($650/$900)
    Act Out – Conference……………………………………………………….($952/$1175)
    VCTV – Preorg………………………………………………………………($76/$84.37)
    Noyes – Speakers…………………………………………………………($3,250/$3500)
    CBS – Speakers……………………………………………………………($1,971/$1,971)
    Minstrels – Capital……………………………………………………………($845/$845)
    QCVC – Speakers..……………………………………………………………….($2,200)
    Speakers to Democracy Matters $200
    Collab to ProHealth $370

    2016 Abstains from the Consent Agenda
    This means everybody needs to vote.
    Absentions: 2016
    Opposed: None

    This motion passes.

    7:10 // Forum with Michael Cato, Chief Information Officer…Michael Cato
    CATO: This is my second month at Vassar College. I’ve spent 12 years in higher education IT, my latest job is from UNC. My position is new, or at least it has been revamped. We work with computing and information systems.
    One of the most important parts of my job is outreach to my constituents.
    You are by far the largest constituent group that we deal with. I know I’m not doing my job well if our technologies aren’t working well for you. I always want feedback on how things are going.
    We are going to do a simple 4 question survey now (done via computer and cellphone).
    QUESTION 1: Which technologies at Vassar do you find HELPFUL and how?
    ANSWERS included: “printers” “not moodles” “askbanner” “stalkbanner” “vcash” “almost universal wifi” “technology is subjective i’m confused.”
    QUESTION 2: Which technologies at Vassar get in the way and how?
    ANSWERS included: “printers” ; “Vspace-what is it” ; “VPrint” ; “multiple sign ins to google” “wifi” ; “no printers in academic buildings”
    QUESTIONS 3: What should Computing & Information Services STOP doing?
    ANSWERS included: “stop taking really long to answer work orders” ; “askbanner” ; “I don’t know what they do…” ; “emphasizing Facebook” ; “managing printer maintenance solely through students”
    QUESTION 4: What should Computing and Information Services START doing?
    Answers included: “bring back vcharge” ; “printers in academic buildings” ; “xbox live” ; “stop da phishing” “put add/drop forms online”
    I will consolidate everything we have done hear and then we can have more conversations with Deb and other members of council. This has been really successful in the past.

    JEWETT: The removal of computer in the dorms has been happening. I understand why some of them were taken out, but we could really use them.
    CATO: I can’t speak to that. One of the cost-saving measures was taking away dorm computers because most students have computers. I’m not defending it, but that was a decision.

    JEWETT: Who can we talk to about this?
    CATO: You should talk with me about. It’s really hard to make decisions about where computers should be without data; we are collecting this now.

    SOUTH COMMONS: Can you talk about the options for printers for us.
    CATO: We have some options:
    Inside the purchasing lobby so that students can swipe in 24/7. It would cost $8,000-12,000.
    Inside the laundry room. That would cost $3,000-$4,000. The cost would be the cost of a compressor and would prevent overheating.
    Moving into the old security building. $4,000-5,000. But this building may be repurposed.

    SOUTH COMMONS: I think that the Laundry rooms would be our best bet.

    AT LARGE: Are there places where we can have PC computers fixed? They have turned me away in the past.
    CATO: We should be able to at least give you basic support.

    RAYMOND: Can you speak to no printers in academic buildings?
    CATO: I don’t know the answers of why. I would love to know where students would like them and why would we need them.
    RAYMOND: I think that one per building would be great.

    2015: Can you speak to student network usage over the course of the years?
    CATO: I will send you the data soon. I know that our bandwidth stands as 600 megs currently. That’s 10 or 15 times more than we had 4 years ago. The rub is that we have limited capacity.

    2015: Is it very expensive to increase our bandwidth?
    CATO: I think we are paying more than we could probably have to. My goal is not to pay less, but to get more for what we pay for.

    JEWETT: What is bandwidth?
    CATO: Think about it like a pipe. The bandwidth is like a pipe and usage is like the water. Bandwidth is the size of the pipe, and the bigger the pipe the more information can get through faster.

    OPERATIONS: CIS is extremely helpful with our elections.

    JOSSELYN: Who do I go to about getting another card reader in my dorm? People want some on the west side of Joss.
    CATO: It would be us. You should send me an email about this.
    FINANCE: In the past the administration thought it was not secure to have a card swipe that close to off campus.

    2016: Would it be possible to print from their cellphones?
    CATO: Yes you will be able to do it. The upgrade will be coming soon, and that is one of the facets of the upgrade.

    2016: Who maintains the printers? There have been significant problems in Main.
    CATO: I will see what I can do to fix the problem with the Main printer.

    PRESIDENT: What things are not mobile that could be mobile? (such as time sheets using askbanner, as well as the course schedule)
    How possible would it be to combine the events calendar for campus with google calendar?
    CATO: We have been having conversations about these topics two weeks ago. We are still working on this.

    TOWN HOUSES: I just wanted to say thank you to everybody that works with you.

    OPERATIONS: I think you should also consider taking a survey of students on where they would want additional printers on campus.

    7:49// Miscellany News report with Bethan Johnson, EIC…AT LARGE
    JOHNSON: This is actually in our by-laws to come in and do a check-in with you guys. There were only two issues in September so we are putting September and October together for this check-in. The report you have in front of you has everything we have been doing for these past two months. It was really important to me to follow the by-laws; it is part of my job.

    PRESIDENT: Thanks.

    FINANCE: There are a lot of good stuff you have been doing. Do you have any plans to maybe do more concrete research as to how people are reading the paper?
    JOHNSON: One of our contributing editors this semester is planning to send out a survey to the campus about the paper. Questions include: Where do you pick up the paper? How often do you pick up the paper? Online readership vs. physical copies? We should have data on that by the end of the semester.

    FINANCE: I would encourage you to use the capital fund to purchase smaller items on your list.
    JOHNSON: We don’t want to take away capital from the beginning of the year from other student groups that may not have financial capabilities like ourselves.

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: I was doing laundry this past weekend. I saw copies in the laundry room.
    JOHNSON: That is something new that we are doing! Thanks for reading!

    OPERATIONS: I was very excited to read a semi-pro VSA editorial a couple weeks ago. I also think this report is great and really important. It’s another way that we are building a relationship.

    STRONG: Thank you for explaining why the website is being changed. How did your name get kidnapped?
    JOHNSON: It’s confusing actually. Between EICs the domain name went up for auction and it got bought right out from under us. The German company does not have any claim to the domain name. Right now we are on the gridserver, but we are trying to get our old name back. We have people working on it!

    RAYMOND: Thanks for personally delivering me a paper. And it looks really great this year. Thanks for encouraging us for writing for you as well.
    JOHNSON: It is something we have spoken about, actually. We want to encourage as many VSA pieces as possible. They can be about anything. We really encourage you to reach out to the student body and connect with the student body.

    ACADEMICS: How do people who don’t have constant interaction with you get feedback to you?
    JOHNSON: There are a couple different ways actually. Paper critique is a big one, every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. in the Rose Parlor. We also have a Misc email ([email protected]). A lot of people also directly email me. My other goal is to make my position more physically present and reach out to everybody on campus. It is important that people think they can give feedback, good and bad. Tell your constituents. I’m only going to be here this semester. I’m going abroad to Oxford next semester.

    ACTIVITIES: I appreciate all that you do.

    PRESIDENT: I can’t live without you. I appreciated your report so much. Even beyond the current issues, The Misc is such a valuable resource. Your institutional memory is wonderful.
    JOHNSON: You have access through the library to the archives. Our newspapers are archived from 1914 until last semester.

    JEWETT: How does advertising work? Like dorm events?
    JOHNSON: The processes are a little different. You can email me or Dave Rosenkranz about the ads. Because it is a student advertisement, you have free ad space within the paper. We have all types of ad types and sizes. For an article, you can contact myself or go onto the masthead and email the Features Editor for that semester and give the Editor all the information and we will cover it. If you do want an event covered, I strongly recommend you encourage people to speak to the Misc. We need at least 3 sources.

    FERRY: We like to be the center of attention are are looking forward to being in the middle of a scandal.

    2016: The database sounds amazing. I’m on the smoke-free implementation task-force and I found out that in the 30s a poll was done by the Misc that asked students if they were in favor of a smoking ban (about smoking in their rooms) and I learned that people were wildly not in favor of that.


    8:06// Executive Board Reports…Activities and Finance
    ACTIVITIES: We are purchasing more VCash machines. Activities will be organizing a committee regarding Me In Poughkeepsie. I have been in talks regarding student space. Mission statements for orgs are due tomorrow.

    JEWETT: Are the new VCash machines going to be wireless?
    ACTIVITIES: Hopefully.

    FINANCE: The VCash machines are great but people do need to know is that they cost $3,000. We just have to be looking at how gets the most benefit from using the machines.

    We have been receiving lots of fund applications. We are doing our best to improve the fund applications themselves. We are on
    Meeting with SPECTRUM leaders to discuss VSA funding. I am meeting with ALANA orgs on Friday.

    2017: When are the next round of applications regarding the Social Consciousness and Justice fund?
    STUDENT LIFE: The applications were due on November 1. Roughly 15 applications were submitted. The next round of applications will take place next semester.

    8:14 // Declaration of Open Positions
    Senior Class Secretary:
    Applications due Tuesday at noon. (this seems accelerated, but the senior class has known about the vacancy since last Tuesday)

    Other open position: South Commons Programming Director
    Applications due this Thursday.


    All in favor: all


    All in favor: all


    8:18 // Amendment…OPERATIONS


    SECTION1: Rule 5, Sub-Point 1 of the VSA Special Meeting Rules shall be struck and replaced with the following:

    All matriculated students of Vassar College have the right to make a motion. There is no need for a second.

    Enactment: Upon passage of this amendment in accordance with the VSA Bylaws and Constitution, this rule change shall be effective immediately. The Special Meeting Rules shall be updated accordingly.

    All in favor: all
    Opposed: none


    8:20 // Open Discussion

    RAYMOND: The co-chairs will be discussing dorm damage be meeting with Luis Inoa.

    NOYES: Noyes and Cushing will be hosting DDR this Friday in the Villard Room.

    TAs: Strong won the trick-or-treating challenge.

    OPERATIONS: On the topic of dorm damage, I would love to meet with BHP co-chairs and be as involved in this discussion as possible

    ACADEMICS: Come to the peer advising on Tuesday; you win Brewer Cup points.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for all your help with the Seven Sisters Conference.

    OPERATIONS: Thank you to PRESIDENT and Benedict for working on this amazing event.

    2015: I would like to vote to go into closed session.

    Opposed: Jewett, Josselym, Cushing
    In favor: the rest.

    So guys, they are having a private discussion that will last roughly 20 minutes, so if they have to vote about whatever this private matter is, The Misc will be asked to return; if not, I will end the blog then!…Here’s to waiting!

    We have been called back in! The VSA discussed a fund allocation regarding ACT OUT. The information we are getting is somewhat spotty. The VSA has discussed the topic of ‘lying.’

    PRESIDENT: Motion to recess to call these individuals to bring them in as opposed to not having this conversation.

    OPERATIONS: There are questions about whether or not this group exists or if this is a problem of interpersonal relationships.

    FERRY: They don’t have a student body and they don’t hold events. So we shouldn’t be funding their events.

    Opposed: Raymond, Finance, Academics, Activities
    Abstain: 2015
    In Favor: All others

    Approving the rest of the consent agenda voting
    Abstain: 2016
    Opposed: None


    9:16 // ACT OUT funding application…General Body
    2014: I would approve their application but I think in the future we should consider them more clearly.

    2015: In terms of the time crunch, we did not cause it. I don’t think that the timeline argument is a good one.

    JEWETT: The question is did we give money to an organization or did we give money to three individuals. I feel like they pulled one over on us.

    2014: I agree and I feel the same way. I just don’t think that there is any way to figure this out right now. I think that this should just inform our future dealings with this organization.

    They are all standing up and stretching.

    2016: I really feel strongly that there needs to be an appeals process. They need to have a chance to speak to themselves. It’s an unfair system for us to speak about their group without them talking about it with us.

    10 minute recess! (they are calling reps from ACT OUT)

    Council is reconvening soon. Representatives from ACT OUT are on their way.

    Council is passing time by complimenting one another starting with PRESIDENT.

    10:02 PM // Council reconvenes

    PRESIDENT explains why ACT OUT members were brought in. ACT OUT representatives introduce themselves to Council. PRESIDENT explains the process of hour the Speakers List works.

    FINANCE: We’re doing this again because a couple of members of council had some serious allegations regarding ACT OUT and the fund app. Allegations The timing of the fund app has come out. Out of nowhere ACT Out leadership ha requested a large fund app.

    ACT OUT members…Yanee and Abby
    Abby doesn’t know why ACT OUT’S legitimacy is being questioned in this setting as opposed to the end of the year. She questions whether this is routine as ACT OUT was approved at the end of last year and given 800 dollars for funding.

    ACTIVITIES explains that after gaining her position she tried to get in touch with all organization and hasn’t heard from ACT OUT until mid September.

    FINANCE states that this process isn’t typical when dealing with fund applications, but this is the first instance of ACT OUT being active on campus this semester.

    PRESIDENT wants to give ACT OUT members the opportunity to present their case, describe their organization, student body, how they plan to use the conference and what they will bring back to the question.

    YANEE notes that lat semester ACT OUT has fallen out. She explains that this semester they have been trying to deliberate and carry out what orientation they want ACT OUT to take in regards to identity within the LGBTQ community. They want ACT OUT to focus on theater and using that as an outlet. Part of the conference focuses on the intersection of feminism and LGBTQ, as well as issues of racism. They have been pulling friends and people who are interested, and they have a general body list. Meeting have not been frequent—about once or twice a month an email has been sent out. ACT OUT is not really established, which might explain why they are not a part of spectrum at the moment.

    2014: Aside from the conference what other events are being planned for the year?

    ABBY notes that this is her first semester involved with ACT OUT. She mentions that ACT OUT wishes to hold a “Vulva Mirror Project” on Nov. 25 to discuss issues centered around people with vulva’s and vaginas and how people treat those people. The event will involve decorating hand-held mirrors. They have partnered up with a Poughkeepsie org

    YANEE says that ROB is planning on bringing the New York forum and the Theater of the Oppressed.

    ROYAL: What do you mean by ACT OUT hasn’t been established?

    ACT OUT explains that the previous members have graduated and left the org in an unstable state.

    STUDENT LIFE thanks ACT OUT for coming in. He explains that the org could have reached out to JARVIS for help in reestablishing the organization and helping the org apply for funding. He notes that JARVIS has been contacted by freshmen who want to know about the org and when they meet. ACT OUT meetings are on the calendar but students don’t know when these meetings take place.

    YANEE states that ACT OUT is not on spectrum when they were never contacted.

    PRESIDENT explains that given the informality of the group’s meeting times and lack of presence it seems like three individuals want to attend a conference.

    JEWETT wants to know whether this org wants to go to this conference for personal gain or is it coming back to ACT OUT.

    ABBY says the idea that ACT OUT was not in a good place. She thinks that the purpose of ACT OUT fits in with Vassar’s space. She brings back the WBS protest to highlight that ACT OUT wants to focus on typically marginalized identities within the queer community. This women’s studies conference is run by a number of women of color and will help the org’s cause.

    YANEE says the conference will help with putting queer theory into practice, establishing spaces and reestablishing the organization.

    ABBY says it’s to revitalize the structure and create one that is inclusive and sustainable.

    FINANCE wants to motion to move the fund application to the discretionary fund for five hundred dollars for the underclassmen to attend this conference. Council will vote on this option, the original conference fund or for zero dollars.

    Main wants to know if individuals can apply for the discretionary fund.

    2016 says that applying to the discretionary fund in this way is unorthodox. The money in the discretionary fund is meant to be used for the entire campus and while it upsets him that some students don’t have the money to do what they want, this money is meant to be used to benefit the campus not individuals.

    ABBY says that GAP received money for a conference and notes that their history matches ACT OUT. She wants to know if Council asked them to about their history. She feels stressed that as a Vassar student who saw a need in a VSA org is being question. She said that GAP had very little structure before she helped to reestablish it.

    PRESIDENT says that while the plans of ACT OUT sound really good, none of it matches their mission statement. She wants to know that what will be learned from this conference will help future underclassmen.

    OPERATIONS wants to point out ACT OUT’s comparison to GAP. She says that the difference is GAP is no longer a struggling org and has a structure that will benefit campus, but ACT OUT is still struggling. It does not reflect on the org leaders but only on its current standing. OPERATIONS agrees with 2016 that this is not an ideal use of the discretionary fund. In order for them to apply through the discretionary fund, ACT OUT needs to explain how going to this conference will benefit the campus.

    2015 could you answer how long has Rob been as a co-facilitator of ACT OUT?
    AT LARGE: I haven’t been involved with Rob. I haven’t been asked to co-facilitate until after October Break.

    Extending this conversation for ten minutes:
    In favor: Strong, SoCos, 2015
    Opposed: the rest

    ACTIVITIES: (reading from the official ACT OUT mission statement)

    OPERATIONS: There is a different statement online that only really outlines what ACT OUT is supposed to do.

    $251 from discretionary for Yanee:


    MOTION TO ADJURN: this motion passes unanimously.

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