VSA Council Meeting—2 Feb 2014

Happy Super Bowl, everyone! We’re off to a late start, but we should get going shortly.

7:05 // Call to Order
Attendance ……………Operations
Proxies: Jewett, Davison

7:09 // Consent Agenda
SJP (Pre Org).…………………………………………………………………………….($25/$25)
VARC (Speakers)………………………………………………………………($495/$595)
Quizbowl (Pre Org)..………………………………………………………………($90/$90)
YDS (Pre Org)..……………………………………………………………..($200/$199.63)
Poder Latino (Discretionary)…………………………………………………($3000/$5000)
Wordsmiths (Speakers) ($3060/$3208)
Ski Team (Discretionary) ($1500/$2000)
NSO (Speakers) tabled
VHP (Collaboration) ($93.75)

SOCOS takes Poder Latino off the list. Council will come back to this later. Rest of Consent passes.

7:10 // POSSE Forum…Jon Wood

WOOD: If you don’t know who POSSE is, you probably know by now. It’s a big deal, it’s 25 years old. The President donated his Noble Peace Prize money. I’m here to discuss the PossePlus Retreat. Last year it was around gender and sexuality, and over 39 universities across the US participated in this. This is a big deal, this is a tool Vassar hasn’t had before. I’m hoping the leaders of the VSA can promote this and possibly attend. This year’s topic is “Revolt, Rethink, Reform.” This could not possible get more broad. Basically, we’re going to start real broad and then we’re going to move to subjects regarding Vassar College specifically. We’re hoping to translate this retreat into something done on campus to create an immediate benefit. Since a lot of these retreats are social and political movements, I think this is the heart and soul of Vassar and I hope we can contribute to it. A side benefit for Vassar: Since we are the first Veteran Posse, we’ll probably be getting a lot of media attention.You Leave friday come back Sunday march 28-30, trying to lower costs, register through members of POSSE program, first come first serve, Cappy and faculty coming, chance to discuss issues with them and peers

ACTIVITIES: How many people can attend?

WOODS: 100 maximum, transportation available.

OPERATIONS: Do we need to email you?

WOODS: You don’t need to email us, there’s a link. But you can talk to other Posse representatives.

PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming in.

7:17 // Poder Latino:

SOCOS: I’m concerned about details of the conference, $3000 seems like a lot, some students already fully funded, usually funding brings back info to greater community, this much money is a lot, and I’m worried about the precedent it sets for sending so many people.

AT LARGE GARZA ’14: There are 2 people on research grant who aren’t listed on the funding. The rest of the group is applying for funding, research grant is for seniors. I also want to clarify and say this is not a conference. In Cuba there is national campaign against homophobia that goes on throughout entire country and they’re visiting all the cities listed.

MAIN: What funds are secured for this?

GARZA: 2000 from Dean of College, money from Alumnae/i, rest will come from students attending

JOSS: Can you give me a list of ways explaining how you will be funding?

GARZA: We’ll be selling moon cups in the College Center, and we’re hoping for good turnout. We also have an online funding campaign, we’re applying for grant from national organization LGBTQ and looking at NYC organizations.

FINANCE: This was not a unanimous decision from Finance Committee. It came from speaker last year, who arranged opportunity and the Finance Committee was to sponsor underclassmen who want to go. This supports mission of Poder Latino, and their app outlined how it will benefit the campus.

GARZA: Collab orgs will help out and will receive benefits from members who go, dance groups and health and science groups.

OPERATIONS: The average allocation is 1840 so why is it 3000?

FINANCE: The amount was a thought exercise and from it we realized that participation would be possible. The amount of 3000 reached after the decision to support, the cost per student is 2700. They’re not looking at funding just one person; the idea was for underclassmen to attend and money will be divided internally.

SOCO: I guess I’m wondering why that many people need to go and would it be feasible to do with fewer people? Are that many people needed to bring back this rich information to campus?

GARZA: This opportunity came from speaker who recommended a Vassar delegation; it’s rare opportunity to travel with daughter of current president—Mariel Castro—and her social organizers. We thought a lot about what was feasible since 90 percent of funding comes from groups effort. More is not feasible, but we want to bring as many people as possible—each member is involved with different VSA org, not just coming to one org but to many.

PRESIDENT: We’re at time.

OPERATIONS: Motion to extend time to 10 minutes with 1 minute of speaking.


OPERATIONS: Does the amount change if we change the number of people?

FINANCE: How the orgs allocate money is up to them. We try to give flexibility and the money doesn’t change no matter how many are invited.

2015: The Finance committee debated for a while to reach decision. It’s a little unnecessary to scrutinize the decision, in the past it’s been bad, 3000 decision came from vote. We had conversations before and after, and after hearing about refundable deposit came to 3000 number. Talk to finance if you doubt the decisions we make.

PRESIDENT: We shouldn’t discourage people from voicing their concerns.

2016: It would be less confusing if we had fund app agenda—original was 45000. I was uncomfortable because it was a big amount, PL came in to give good speech, we should because we are contributing tiny portion, lots of other funding involved. I shared initial concern about numbers but it is more clear that we are funding small portion of it, and we’re happy we had the chance to talk about it in Council. There’s no reason not to discuss it.

SOCO: I didn’t want to doubt finance, but we have consent agenda because we have checks and balances, and there’s this fear of taking things off consent agenda which isn’t good.

Strong: If you want more info you should be able to express that, shouldn’t just let it go because you don’t feel comfortable.

2015: We had long conversation with PL and they had to come here, too.

GARZA: It would have been difficult to come here if hadn’t been in the area anyway, would be good to have reps here and let them know so they can figure out if they can be here for these discussions.

PRESIDENT: Motion to approve 3000 allocation, can propose alternative.


7:33 // Executive Board reports…President

PRESIDENT: Today we had conversation about shared governances and what info students don’t know and how to communicate it, create a Students Bill of Rights to send to Administration. Shared governance is ongoing, and there’s recognition that info isn’t available—looking into less available resources like financial aid and making that available to constituents. The Bill: Cushing offered to create task force open to students at large to create a document that could affirm that all students have rights and responsibilities on campus such as safety.

STUDENT LIFE: I want to make sure there will be advertisement on campus for this.

CUSHING: We can email out constituencies and members of council.

7:34 // Executive Board reports….OPERATIONS

OPERATIONS: Elections timeline—voting today and hopefully passing it. This Tuesday coming up is Tasty Tuesday. People have been issues with the Saturday shuttle: there’s been a communication issue with getting it started this semester. I called them and will again so it should be running this weekend and should be every Saturday when there are classes. The schedule online is out of date, but will be updated shortly. We’re working on a time for Student Life and Operations meeting to discuss audit. We will publicize to entire campus, next week or week after. Projects:continuing proposal to divide elections and appointments from regular OP stuff so it can be given a larger amount of time; under consideration to make 7th Exec Board position. We recognize positions are time consuming and a lot isn’t getting done, so spreading out workload would be good way to get stuff done. We hope to get a proposal and amendment passed by end of the year. The position could be elected next spring.

TA: Last semester resolution on publishing results didn’t pass.

OPERATIONS: We’re going to talk about this next meeting and discuss. We’re uncertain whether we wanted to move forward with it, results of special elections will be put up on line almost immediately.

2016: Subcomittee that wrote it has written another resolution that will be passed along.

7:42 // Letter Concerning Vassar Counseling Staff…South Commons

SOCOS: wE did research about questions for Metcalf. And we’re looking for OP committee to draft letter. There’s a 27 percent increase of crisis calls, 375 percent increase of off-hours calls. We will send this to the Dean of finance and the Dean of the College. We request a post-doctoral fellow to help out.

PRESIDENT: At the End of last semester, the goal was to make resources at Metcalf more accessible, this is wonderful.

FINANCE: What’s the difference between post doc and regular?

SOCO: They’re only hired for a year so it’s not as much of a financial commitment for the College.

OPERATIONS: Make sure we have good follow up after it’s sent. We need to decide how to follow up after letter.

PRESIDENT: All docs go on website and we can send to student body.


7: 46 // Spring Elections…OPERATIONS

OPERATIONS: Spring elections timeline to be passed, 10 days for filing and 10 for campaigning, 2 for voting. Between filing campaign there is a candidates meeting to give rules for campaigning. Last year elections moved up to Monday after spring break, it’s now Wednesday after spring break. Give time for people to figure out their standing before applying.

NOYES: If we adopt it what changes and if we don’t what happens?

OPERATIONS: Can’t not adopt timeline and need to start planning, we need to get it to computer services, if we wait it won’t make a difference.

FINANCE: First day on timeline is correct?

OPERATIONS: March 2 is an interest meeting so people know what positions are and can decide to run, there will be food.

President: Filing should be 11 days.

OPERATIONS: I move to suspend bylaws that filing must be 11, have filing end later so that it is 10.5 days.
Pres: Sorry, everyone, the wording is poor. Motion to suspend bylaw.



7:47 // Annual Budgeting Timeline…FINANCE

FINANCE: Annual budgeting timeline now corresponds with elections timeline. We need new execs to go to the meeting. The key thing is that you must submit annual budget to get money, send to houses, 48 hour appeal window.

Saturday March 17 Application Available online
Sunday April 6 Application Due
April 7 – April 15 Finance Committee reviews applications and meets with orgs
Wednesday April 16 Exec Reviews preliminary budget, preliminary budget made available
Thursday April 17 -Friday April 18 48 HOUR APPEAL PERIOD
Saturday April 19 Appeal Committee meets with orgs
Sunday April 20 Final Budget Presented to Council

OPERATIONS: Add Sunday, April 18 to elections timeline so people running for exec know.

RAYMOND: To clarify—appeal process happens after elections, so do orgs know they should have new exec boards?

FINANCE: It’s the outgoing exec that does the annual budgeting, but they should be in communication. This has been given to orgs, this is something to plan for next year.



OPERATION: 2 open positions—2016 Secretary and Jewett VP (2nd time this year). Declare both positions open with timeline—all apps due Thursday at noon and appointment for this Sunday. Reason being is the Secretary position has been open a while, reason for Jewett is their all-campus party is really soon and they need VP.

2016: Point of info, freshman can run?


NOYES: 2016 positions have people applied already so is it unfair to those that have applied.

OPERATIONS: Didn’t bring it up in ops as issue, shouldn’t affect anything.

2016: Request to extend it because the position opened up suddenly, and because of finals, not many people may have applied.

2015: Position of Joss 2015 spring rep has been open for a while and we would like more people on class council.

PRESIDENT: Motion to vote on appoitment.



2014: 111 days to graduation, not long. In 2 weeks is 100 nights at the Alumnae/i house, the cocktail party is 8-10. Rest of school can go to the party in the Villard Room from 11-2. New thing: playing on Vassar’s 150th class, we compiled 150 item bucket list for seniors and we sent it to students. If they tweet a pic of them doing an item on the list, they’ll get prize. Probably a DVD.

STUDENT LIFE: Shout out to ACTIVITIES for the Spring Leadership conference.

ACTIVITIES: Thank you everybody who did come. It was larger turnout than expected, had to order more food, info will be sent out to those that couldn’t make it. Founder’s Day interest: get in contact with me or STRONG.

FINANCE: I want to applaud SOCOs for opportunity to talk about what we do as a council.

MAIN: Did Activities committee decide to enforce fee for orgs who didn’t send reps?

ACTIVITIES: We will present the list on Tuesday and go from there.

2017: All College Day is Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 17-20.

JOSS: Battle of Bands, Shiva at 9 p.m. on the 7th.

2016: Event on divestment, public debate to give everyone the facts to get the chance to figure out position. Twisted Soul will be offered. To give council more info on Finance, include fund apps in email so people can look at it, everyone should feel comfortable with vote.

STUDENT LIFE: Gender-neutral bathrooms forum from 5-6:30, Feb. 19, Rocky 200.

TAs: Working on project with Stephanie George as liaison to Senior Class council to look at options to subsidize costs for commencement housing, esp with first class of transitions students. We’re also looking to lower travel costs for students.