VSA Council Meeting—April 6, 2014

Hey everyone, hope you’ve all enjoyed your Saturday nights. We should be getting started shortly.

7:02 // Attendance ….OPERATIONS
Proxies: 2017, JOSS, TAs, THs,
Absent: MAIN, FERRY.

7:05 // Consent Agenda

a. Outing Club

b. Poder Latino (Collab)…………….……………….……….………………..($1500/

c. Minutes from 3/30/14

Agenda Consented to.

7:05 // Forum with Elizabeth Schrock

SCHROCK: Who can tell me what month it is for a prize?

2014: Sexual Assault Awareness month.

SCHROCK: During the the month of April we’re doing cool things I’m excited about. Next Tuesday we’re screening a documentary, ‘Very Young Girls.’ It’s empowering and mentoring services for victims of trafficking who have been exploited through sexual assault. The founder now runs foundation in NYC; it looks at commercial subculture through the eyes of pimps and victims—personal vignettes that show their every day lives. It’s a really triggering documentary but talks about something important we don’t talk about in the US that’s important for this month. Three staff members will give a panel after the screening, which is from 6-8:30 p.m. in Rocky 300.

JEWETT: Is there an event mention for it?

SCHROCK: It’s on the Facebook page and there’s a blurb on the events page. The next thing is that throughout April we’re doing a “self care series” for all of you who are activists, and since you all are on VSA, you’re very active students—self care is important, we already did meditation and we’re doing empowering self defense on Tuesday, April 22 in the Aula. There will be a discussion before and after of how it can be used for empowering and how it can be talked about in victim blaming way; there’s also “Yoga for Empowerment” on Tuesday, April 29 from 1-2 p.m. The keynote speaker is Sonya, a spoken word poet, and her performance uses media examples and poetry to talk about body terrorism on Monday, April 21, 7-8 p.m., Rocky 300. Break the Silence is making a zine this month contributing stories of survivors for Break the Silence. The dates are on the website: April, 6, today, 9-10 p.m. in the LGBTQ Center. MVP was a 4 week course.

PRESIDENT: It ended up being 5 weeks due to snow. Two people from Family Partnership Center who do victim assistance for domestic violence taught it; it was bystander training. I liked that we made our own role plays and we ended up making some that were relevant and that happen to us and friends; we talked about how to respond to it, we made up a nice community, and we graduated last week.

SCHROCK: It was a great intro; we all use bystander intervention, it’s integrated in orientation, but we haven’t made Vassar’s own program until now, which was born of MVP and realizing strengths and weaknesses. We’re starting a peer bystander group, which meets May 4, Sunday, from 9-5 p.m. We’re bringing in people from University of New Hampshire to train us to be trainers of bystander courses. Over the summer we’re adapting that curriculum to be better suited for Vassar: maybe we need more levels. I’m really excited about this training, and I would love VSA members to go through it; it’s training for next year so more for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. It’s called “Bringing in the Bystander,” and there’s an application process; there will be a group of us who help to gather students and adapt curriculum. If you know an administrator who would be a great advisor let me know, I’d love to have more people. That’s the summary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, does anyone have questions about resources?

PRESIDENT: Can you go over which resources are confidential?

SCHROCK: [passes around pamphlets] We have 3 levels of confidentiality: some people have to disclose the information and some don’t. Confidential: Baldwin Health, Counseling and CARES, and anyone off campus such as hospitals. Private is me; I don’t disclose private info but I do disclose statistics to report to the College; others include student leaders and professors who aren’t in leadership positions. The SART team and their 24 hour hotline. Mandated Resources: any professor in leadership positions such as deans and coaches and administrators, house advisors—if you disclose to them it’s hard, because I want people to feel comfortable and not ashamed for what’s not their fault at the same time good practice is to ask ahead of time who someone has to tell before disclosing.

TOWN HOUSE PROXY: Is there a way for students to get involved outside of CARES? I know that CARES selects students, so is there any other way students can get involved if they’re not picked for CARES?

SCHROCK: CARES is the only student group who deals with issues relating to student violation, if a student is interested in these issues joining the bystander group would be a good way. You can volunteer at a rape center off campus, there’s a core people from Vassar every year.

STUDENT LIFE: There’s a discrepancy with student fellows, there was a miscommunication during training, some student fellows were told to fill out incident form but no name, is that correct?

SCHROCK: Privacy is called anonymous report. You don’t put any identifying information and you fill out as much as you’re comfortable with; it’s sent to me and you can tell me if you want to be contacted, and it goes in my filing cabinet and the number is given to the College at the end of the year.

SOCOs: I’ve gotten complaints about professors not giving trigger warnings because they don’t feel it’s necessary, how can we encourage that?

SCHROCK: I’ve had the same complaint, it’s a hard debate, recently people were going at each other. Oberlin has an interesting policy, it’s included in the student handbook with what’s recommended but not required; it might be a direction that would be useful, we though about having a forum about trigger warning to find some kind of consensus about where students are coming from in wanting these as well as professors. On an individual level I think talking to professors is useful. If you wanted myself to come in and talk with you and a professor, I’d be more than happy. I can’t guarantee they’ll put trigger warnings on anything, but I don’t want someone to feel discouraged.


STUDENT LIFE: This has been a heavy week but one good thing is that gender neutral signs went up. I don’t know how widespread the dialogue is, but to give background we put it through because we wanted to increase the number of gender neutral bathrooms and also make existing signs clearer. The previous signs had male and female icons to indicate gender neutral, and clearly there’s problems with that. The new signs are just words and the new icon is the up-to-date version of what we should have. Most dorms that have accessible restrooms have them, there’s a discrepancy, it’s been a long time coming so I’m glad to see them, it’s a powerful indication of work done this year. If you helped out, thanks, we’re going forward with Judy and rest of team on how to move forward and get into academic buildings with no gender neutral bathrooms such as renovation of Sanders Physics where that wasn’t included in the plans. We’re figuring out how to integrate that with plans, which is similar with the bridge building and all future projects we’ve gotten a promise but not in writing that gender neutral bathrooms will be there. The work study letter we went over last week—the letter was great, there was a lot of feedback given, we met with Cappy and she kind of did a 180 and it turns out this is more of Dean Roellke’s project and agree to pushing for paid exec positions because she would “step on his toes” since he’s on sabbatical and can’t make decisions right now. I’m planning on working with my sucessor and pushing it through in the fall. It’s important and it’s such a small thing to make a big deal of, the precedent that’s been set with other orgs asking for work eligibility, it’s an inconvenient setback, ask me any questions. The SAVP student subcommittee has been working on a video that will give students who might not be comfortable talking to someone the info about offices with title IX and other protocols. I have gotten contact from students with experience with SAVP hearing and such and it does seem like there’s student interest; I’m meeting with a student about it. It may be a project for other students, I don’t have much info yet; there’s good and bad with system we have, it would be productive conversation.

NOYES: I’m curious about future gender neutral progress, how is this being discussed with the future bookstore?

STUDENT LIFE: We talked to bob and he said that code is the real issue, it’s not an unwillingness. With Sanders we’re too far along, with the Juliet space we have to put in women and mens’ room but we can label them as we want. Bob said we can do whatever.


ACADEMICS: Student seminars are happening. I only hear if they’re not going well so I assume they’re going fine. The majors fair happened, largely went well. The CEQ new version—I’m meeting Thursday for official meeting. Probably a new one by fall that will be online on moodle; the creative arts grant we have will have student input. I met with CIS and I talked about resources on campus; it turns out CIS has classes you can sign up for like Excel and other programs, but no one ever uses them. And there’s a continued effort on the social consciousness requirement; we’ll create document of why students want it, that will be next few weeks.


2015: We would really like a “froyo” at the new bookstore.

SOCos: Complaints about shuttle running, we appreciate the email about when it’s not running and would appreciate more.

STUDENT LIFE: There’s still problems with the Raymond card swipe.

OPERATIONS: They’re checking on card swipes at least once a semester, it would be helpful to send report to CIS. I was sent a resolution passed by freshman class council that they want a Chipotle in the new space.

2017: We would like it noted that this was passed on April 1, but if we inadvertently bring this about that would be good.

7:35 // Eligibility Amendment….. OPERATIONS

OPERATIONS: This is slightly different than the amendment sent with agenda; we want to make it more in line with the ResLife policy. I thought it was passed next week but this was a miscommunication and it was tabled to my committee. We should pass this amendment to make our policies in line with ResLife. Those in residential positions can’t run for VSA council positions.

PRESIDENT: This was unclear before and we decided not to just accept what ResLife had said, we talked to relevant constituents.

NOYES: Positions that are hired or all of house team?

PRESIDENT: Exec positions can’t do anything else.

RAYMOND: Right now section f contradicts another amendment.

OPERATIONS: Yes that was a typo; we can vote to change that amendment, it should say any student holding selected or elected house position, should really say house team.

2015: If they’re already elected they couldn’t hold that position right? if you’re holding ResLife position, this is confusing.

RAYMOND: Instead of dealing with typo can we make this a separate point.

OPERATIONS: It wouldn’t be a problem because there are no ResLife elected positions.

RAYMOND: This replaces the point that says house officers can’t be on council.

SOCOs: We talked about this only applied to VSA council.

OPERATIONS: Doesn’t it say you can’t hold two positions on council?

PRESIDENT: I’m going to make a motion to table this to operations, because there are still issues.

2014: I’m wondering whether or not we should proceed with current bylaws.

2015: I move to vote on the amendment that was shown to council, that’s in bylaws that were presented to people in elections so that it can be done.

OPERATIONS: That amendment makes no sense.

STUDENT LIFE: Wouldn’t the other stop a student fellow from being a floor fellow?

RAYMOND: No, because we’re not controlling ResLife stuff.

PRESIDENT: It’s going to be tabled to ops committee.


7:43 // Open Discussion

2014: You should know there are 48 days until May 2014 Commencement. A shout out to students at 50 Nights who left the bus without making a mess, and those who punched security, they should do something to themselves that I’m not going to say.

FINANCE: In 4 hours and 15 minutes Annual Budgeting is due. Houses need to apply for a budget but no constitution is necessary. Class Councils also need a budget.

NOYES: Do we need to put on community action?

2015: It might be helpful to the future of the house.

FINANCE: Right after this can we meet briefly, be nice to members of finance committee this week, we have a lot of budgets to look over.

TOWN HOUSE PROXY: Student faculty basketball game happened and we won and it was pretty well attended so we made money for student gift.

RAYMOND: Roaring Twentis is this coming Friday, food jazz and gambling from 10-2.

DAVISON: We’re having Sock Hop this Saturday, live it up with Raymond on Friday then come to ours, we will have milkshakes and apparently an inflatable juke box.

JEWETT: Can I motion to adjourn?

7: 47 // Council Adjourns.