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.


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.