VSA Council | September 21, 2014

Hey, everyone! It’s that time again. The VSA council meeting will be starting shortly. This week we’re in the CCMPR, so come by!

7:03 p.m.// Call to order, attendance
Absences: Davison, Student Life, SoCos
Proxy: Noyes

7:04 p.m.//Consensus agenda

Consensus Agenda

a. Ultimate Frisbee (Discretionary) $0/$1500
b. Caribbean Students’ Alliance (CSA) (Discretionary) $2000/$2000
c. HYPE (Discretionary) $600/$600
d. Idlewild Theater Ensemble (Collaboration) $500/$800
e. College Democrats (Discretionary) $50/$75
f. Cushing House (Collaboration) $100/$500
g. VARC (Speakers) $5699/$5699
h. Islamic Society (Discretionary) $225/$225
i. UNICEF (Conference) $0/$500
j. Future Waitstaff of America (Capital) $4100/$4100
k. Minutes From 9/14/14

7:05 p.m.//ViCE forum with Maya and Casey

Maya: Last week we had our ViCE welcome back week. Last Wednesday we had an open mic night and then on Thursday we had a jazz show in the Mug which was super popular. On Friday we had a film screening and on Saturday we had the serenading concert.

Main: In the past years a lot of the well known events have been shut down by the administration, like ABC, Homohop, the Shiva Rave. How do you plan on counteracting that?

Casey: That was apparently banned by Cappy. There have been attempts to bring it back, but it’s difficult because of the history. It included not a lot of clothing and a lot of cocaine. Similar ideas with the Shiva Rave.

Maya: For the Shiva Rave they had to scale down because of the number of EMS calls.

Activities: A lot of the events have been canceled because students don’t know how to behave themselves.

Academics: Can you describe your general vision for this year?

Maya: My biggest thing is to increase our visibility. We’re trying to do that mainly through our website. We’d like to do a lot of polls, which is what I’m into, so that we can get a feel for what students are into.

2015: What is your plan for Halloween if you have any plans?

Maya: What exactly would you like from us? Like talent, or just a DJ? If you’re talking about bringing in talent, we could definitely talk about that.

7:14 p.m.//Forum with Chair of Judicial Board Gagandeep Anan

Operations: could you just talk about the process for what the judicial board does?

Gagandeep: There’s the student conduct panel which is the lower side of the violations. These are mainly unauthorized parties, fire safety violations. On the student panel there are three students and no faculty. It’s a very informal process. We sit down with the students and decide if they’re responsible or not, look at that student’s history and then determine the violations. Then it could go to the next level college regulation which is two students and a member of faculty. That’s more serious: drunk driving, selling drugs, things like that. Then there’s the academic panel. We’ve had a different training every year. We met with Rich Horowitz and Kelly Grab, we met with security, Jim Kelly from fire safety, Julian Williams from Title IX, Renee Pabst came in. We role-played cases to get us up to speed on how to do things.

Main: Can you go more in-depth about the issues with campus security?

Gagandeep: What we got out of training is that the security officers don’t really have a lot of reason to misrepresent things, but the students do have a lot of reason to do that. We have to use our own discretion and judgment. The standard of guilty or not guilty or responsible or not responsible means the chance has to be greater than 50 percent. It can be difficult to make that decision.

Gagandeep: No students will sit on anything having to do with sexual violence anymore. Other panels have different combinations of students and faculty, depending on what the students want. DB never sees anything by himself, he never makes a decision on anything. The student conduct panel is its own house administrator. They can see cases that are low-level, but Rich Horowitz gets to decide what goes to those panels versus what he gets to deal with on his own. We get more interesting cases.

2015: Would you be responsible for an event that isn’t necessarily on campus? Where’s the line?

Gagandeep: We’ve had students that have broken rules on other campuses while visiting another school and those cases have come to us. But otherwise it gets dicey, so I wouldn’t want to say either way.

Strong: What’s the confidentiality rules?

Gagandeep: You basically shut your mouth as soon as you leave the room. You’re not allowed to share anything.

7:19 p.m.//Executive Board reports

Academics: The director of the library retired, so currently there is a search going on for a new library director. I do sit on that search committee, so I’ll be involved in that process. We don’t expect to have a new director until February. Apparently the director of a library at a liberal arts college is a really hot position, so a lot of people want it. They do want student input once we have a solidified group of candidates, so there will be focus groups and things that some of you may sit on. In terms of my internal committee, we’ve decided on a theme for the news letter. The theme is vision, which is the same theme for the arts across disciplines initiative this year. We got a Mellon grant for arts across disciplines and each year they’ll have a theme based on the five senses. Vision is their theme this year, so we’re going to pair with them and get each other publicity. In terms of a timeline, it will come out this semester. We’re hoping to start soliciting submissions at the start of October. Look out for an email!

President: Things have been going well. Administrator meetings are starting this week for exec. Coming up, this past week there were a lot of meetings with Healey. There was a student forum with mediocre attendance, though the reason for that was because of the time. They met with a bunch of student groups as well as exec, so we were able to give them a lot of feedback and contact Chris Roellke with other feedback we had. They’re really interested in making substantive, easy-to-observe changes. Hopefully that will rectify the problems within security.

Ops: One thing they told us is that they will be preparing a comprehensive report that they will produce within 45 days. They said that students should keep on administration about those reports and if we don’t hear anything by October, we should be very proactive about it.

7:23 p.m.//Safety and Security Advisory Council Filling

Ops: Operations committee is recommending that this position be filled by appointment by the BoE and that the VP for Student Life sits in on the appointment process. Applications will be accepted starting at midnight and they’ll present to council this coming Sunday. They’re accepting two students of any years. I move to fill this position by appointment.

Abstentions: Cushing, Noyes, Joss
All in Favor: All except those abstaining

Finance: Would the people that abstained like to talk about why?

Cushing: I abstained because I feel like elections could benefit it more and because it’s going to be a student life-related thing, I thought elections could make it more fair. It’s not that appointments won’t be fair. But I also didn’t want to vote no because Operations made the decision and I stand behind Ops’ decision.

Joss: This is just so integral in campus climate issues. So I’m worried about how appointments are advertised, especially with the security forum that wasn’t well-attended. There wasn’t a lot of advertisement for it.

Casey Hancock: That’s something the BoE has talked about. The BoE themselves have talked about emails and postering. I definitely agree with that sentiment.

7:27 p.m.//Board of Elections proposal

Ops: Operations committee spent the last two weeks talking about the Board of Elections and Appointments. We split into groups and each group drafted a proposal for changes they wanted to see and then we came to a consensus about the changes we wanted to see. It wasn’t unanimous but we did come to a majority. We recommend that the BoE have more autonomy in making their decisions, especially since they were elected for that job. Section two makes it official that we will be doing appointments through consensus. Since this is an amendment, we’ll vote on it next week, but we can talk about it now. Basically some people felt that we needed to have a check on the BoE like if they decide one thing and council feels a different way. But the majority of the committee believed that since we elect these officials for this purpose we should trust them with this responsibility.

Finance: I think this is very good and depoliticizes the process and allows for the BoE to be more objective. I don’t think the BoE should have to consult with Operations. I think if there’s going to be a break, there should be a break and they should have total independence.

Operations: So it’s in the bylaws that I have to consult with them.

Finance: Regardless of whether or not it’s new, I don’t think it should be in there.

President: If no one else has anything to say, we’ll see this next week!

7:31 p.m.//BoE appointments

Casey: We have three appointments today. Last week we discussed the 2017 judicial board rep: Three applied, two showed up for their appointments, one didn’t and then didn’t reply after we emailed him twice. We’re recommending William Tseng. He has a good standing of fairness and a lack of bias. He knows how to approach each case as a case-by-case basis. The next position is the Strong Treasurer position. We received two applications, one app was withdrawn. We did a phone interview with the other candidate today. We’re nominating Mary Talbot. She was on house team last year, she’s a junior. She has great organizational skills. The reason she didn’t apply before is because she knew that someone else was applying, but didn’t know they could only be here for half a semester. The next position is the Town Students Treasurer; we’re nominating Amy Cao. She very convincingly and uniquely described her desire to integrate the Poughkeepsie community and campus. She knows how to fundraise from doing phone-a-thon.

2017: Just out of curiosity–I’m not personally invested in this because I don’t believe we should have these at all–but is there a reason why William’s application isn’t here?

Casey: You should have it from last week.

President: We’ll do this by consensus.

This motion passes. All appointed.

7:35 p.m.//Open Discussion

Casey: Tomorrow is the freshman debate. Everyone should go!

Finance: We received about 40 applications for the finance rep student positions. Exec is in the process of figuring out how to review the applications because there’s a lot of them and we hope to have a committee by Wednesday. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Ops: If anyone didn’t get a notepad or the document, let me know. I was recently informed that Buildings and Grounds won’t be replacing any lightbulbs in anything other than new TAs or new THs. You either have to order a light bulb through them or replace it your help. Some people will get light bulbs for free and others won’t. Which isn’t fair.

TAs: Do you know the reasoning behind it?

Ops: They don’t think it’s worth it for the older buildings. They’ll give you the light bulb, but they won’t do the labor.

Activities: Pre-org applications will be due Wednesday.

At-large: What do they mean that it’s not worth it to change a light bulb. It doesn’t take a lot of effort.

President: Motion to adjourn. All in favor?

All. This motion passes.