VSA Council | September 14, 2014

Hey, everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend. VSA binders are being distributed and people are petering in Rocky 210. We’ll be getting started shortly.

7:01 p.m.// Call to order.
Attendance: Ops
All present.

7:05 p.m.//Executive reports

Ops: Operation committee had our first real meeting last week. We’ll be in CC240 starting this week. We’re going over the board of Elections and Appointments and seeing if we want to make any changes or add policies for any reason. We’re bringing proposals for this week. The Saturday shuttle has started running. It leaves Vassar every hour, on the hour on Saturdays. Operations committee is discussing the possibility of doing an audit for VSA. It’s still in the beginning stages. That’s it for me.

Activities: I’ve heard some people talking about the shuttle being operational on Sundays. Is that true?

Ops: No.

Joss: What’s an audit?

Ops: Basically two years ago students called for an external audit, which meant an outside group would come examine what we’re doing right, what we’re doing wrong, that kind of thing. All departments do it every few years.

Student Life: Major updates in the area of student life: The Bias Incident Response Team is now meeting weekly. It’s taking a more active approach, rather than just responding. Campus climate issues survey. We are legally obliged to conduct it and report rates of sexual assault, etc. We’re working with Renee Pabst to report rates of interpersonal violence, sexual assault and stalking on campus. There’s also a large campus climate conference at Wesleyan that I may or may not be attending. That’s what’s going on in student life.

Main: Has there been any progress on the issues with the Deece?

Student Life: We talked about that in committee. The Campus Dining Review Committee met in 2012 and they did a full review of campus dining, collected all of this data. Nothing really came of that. Right now my committee will be going through the data, see what they actually found. One of the biggest push points will have with these changes is that this year Bob Walton and Chris Roellke will be doing an analysis of campus spaces. We’ll be looking at the data that we have and see what we can do. That’ll be one of the major initiatives of my committee.

7:11 p.m.//Special Meeting Rules with VP Ops

Ops: The special meeting rules are just the rules for how special meetings operate. Operations committee talked about them; the only change we made–last week an at-large member brought up the issue of the consent agenda being called the consent agenda. Basically, we consent to the consent agenda without affirmative consent or without saying anything. We’ve changed the name of the consent agenda to the consensus agenda.

Activities: What does this change?

Ops: It doesn’t change anything procedurally, it just changes the name.

Cushing: I think this is very important just because of every issue that’s related to consent. An absence of a no, which would mean that the consent agenda would pass, is not what consent is.

All in favor of Special Meeting Rules: All.
None opposed, no abstentions. This motion passes.

7:13 p.m.//Assorted Appointments and Related Business

Casey Hancock: As it turns out, there were a number of appointments we were trying to make today. With the closing deadline of 12 p.m. yesterday, there was a very small time to schedule interviews and most people didn’t schedule one. Outside of Vassar life, I’m working with this company and I just got back from the city 10 minutes ago. However, I do have the positions that were unopposed to discuss now. The rest of them we can do later. Actually–I have it all now. Do we want to list this out as a consensus agenda? We could have done this better ahead of time if I were on campus. There were two candidates for the 2017 Treasurer. We’re nominating Kentaro Kaneki. For 2017 Judicial Board–we’re pushing that one off. TH Treasurer, we’re nominating Michelle Foreman, partially because she has interest in the role and experience. She has initially in the position. The unopposed positions include Town Students President; we’re nominating Cara Hunt. She lost by a few votes last time. For Town Students Programming Director, we’re nominating Taylor Pratt. He expressed a lot of enthusiasm about uniting Vassar with the Poughkeepsie community, mostly because he is from the Poughkeepsie community and he finds the separation very jarring. For Raymond Junior Rep Fall, we nominate Jonathan Stark. Strong Treasurer, Rachel Messbauer.

Activities: Strong, how do you feel having a treasurer for only half a year?

Strong: It’s been difficult running without it already. I’ve been doing almost all of it; the Pcard is in my name. We’ve really split the delegations so far without a PCard. I understand why they made this decision because it’s better to have one for half a year without one for the whole year. But I wonder if people who are here only wanted her because she’s here right now and she has house team experience.

Ops: Would it be feasible to leave it open for another week and keep accepting applications?

Hancock: Yes.

Strong: Personally, I would like it.

Hancock: The one thing is that it’s probably better to fill positions sooner, but I don’t see a problem leaving it open at all, especially since you’ve been managing well so far. I guess we can take that one off of the consensus agenda.

President: So we will now vote on this consensus agenda with the first six positions. Then we’ll vote separately on Strong Treasurer. Does anyone object to the first six people on this list. No? Yay. All of those people are in. So now for Strong treasurer: You can abstain, you can table for a week, you can vote yes, or you can vote no to Rachel Messbauer.

Strong, 2017, Cushing, Joss
Tabling for a week: Raymond, Main, Lathrop, Davison, THs, Finance, Activities, Academics, TAs, Ferry, Noyes, Jewett, Ferry, South Commons
In favor: Student Life
No: 2016

President: We’re tabling to next week.

Hancock: Recently I’ve had way too much on my plate, so I’ll be resigning. Just wanted to let you all know. Also, Abby Johnson is one of the best people ever.

7:22 p.m.//Consent Agenda Amendment
2017: Basically this just says what we changed to the Special Meeting Rules. I move to suspend the bylaws that would make us wait a week so we can adopt this now.

President: First we have to vote to suspend the bylaws.

Ops: Normally we have an amendment that we present it one week, and then vote on it the following week.

President: This means we can vote on it tonight. All in favor of suspending the bylaws?

All in favor: All, but Finance who votes no.

Main: I move to vote on this amendment.

President: Now you can vote on this amendment–yes to change the language to consensus agenda or no for it to remain the consent agenda.

All in favor. This motion passes.

7:25 p.m.//Open Discussion

Cushing: I was wondering when we’re going to discuss BoEA and how they’re going to present themselves in council and their role, when are we going to discuss that?

Ops: This Tuesday!

Finance: we have a little bit of an issue. Exec made the decision this year to be a little more flexible about who can sit on what committee, because it didn’t work well last year to make people sit on committees they didn’t want to be on. But due to a mixture of what the committee discusses and when the committee meets, there are very few people who sit on Finance. This is a problem because a very small group of people controls $800,000. What we decided is that we were going to open up Finance committee to appointment positions because we thought it was important to give people the opportunity to decide how this money is spent who aren’t sitting in this room. I would encourage anyone on council who is free on Wednesdays to join the committee. We spend a lot of time talking about ourselves, and sometimes that’s important. But the people you represent care a lot about how this money is spent. I feel it’s particularly important because I’m the VP for Finance, but I know other people feel strongly about this too.

2015: Thanks everyone who helped with serenading. Especially since it was pouring.

Student Life: I just wanted to talk about how many council members are on Finance. Sometimes Finance makes controversial decisions: They choose to allot money or not to allot money in ways people don’t agree with. It creates an icky dynamic in council if we don’t agree with how the decision is made and if we can’t speak to it at all. It creates a weird divide between the things we’re approving in council and the decisions Finance is making.

Cushing: Because of prior commitments, I can’t make it to the meeting. But is it possible to send a proxy from someone on house team?

Finance: We’re going to have enough people with the appointed positions. I feel like the distribution of our money is very equitable. A certain kind of person sits on VSA and as different as we all are, the people we represent are more diverse. So I think a lot of the problems come from that. So I think this will be a good thing. One of the biggest grievance we have is that we’re not approving people’s funding requests. If people in this room aren’t sitting on the committee, it’s leaving it all up to me. But I have a very different mindset about funding than all of you, so this is not something I want to do by myself. But thank you for your offer.

President: Props to Strong for serenading! But I want to reiterate the issue isn’t that there aren’t enough people on Finance committee, but that Max can’t be the only voice to speak to funding on council floor. If you’re free on Wednesday afternoons and you can make it, check it out. That’s when I really became committed and invested in the VSA.

Ops: I want to thank everyone for being patient with this rooming situation. Next week we will be back in the CC MPR.

-Motion to adjourn-
All in favor. This motions passes.

See you all next week!