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  • Palak 11:08 pm on March 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 3.29.2015 

    7:02//Call to Order, Attendance

    Absent: Strong, SoCos (proxy)

    7:03//Consensus Agenda

    1. Catholic Community (Discretionary) $0/$200
    2. Committed (Discretionary) $150/$750
    3. Poder Latino (Discretionary) $800/$800
    4. VARC (Speakers) $815/$840
    5. VARC (Speakers) $450/$550
    6. SEASA (Speakers) $4160 (minus additional contributions)/$3400
    7. ComedyNormative (Collaboration) $1800/$1800
    8. SJP (PreOrg) $165/$346
    9. Amnesty International (Collaboration) $500 (+$250 (Discretionary))/$3000
    10. French Club (Social Consciousness) $1220/$1220
    11. Crafts Not Bombs (Conference) $0/$1200
    12. VPI (Social Consciousness) $2060/$3000
    13. SEDS (PreOrg) $150/$150
    14. Vassar Devils (Conference) $325.40/$325.40
    15. CSA (Discretionary) $1225/$1425
    16. Act Out (Collaboration) $1500/$1500
    17. Minutes From 3/8/15

    Finance: Catholic Community applied for money for conversation hours. Other languages already do that, so we didn’t think it would be appropriate to have the VSA fund that. Committed requested money for a master class and to see a show. Poder Latino wanted money for a carnival. VARC wanted to host two different lectures. SEASA applied for funding for another lecture. ComNom applied to bring somebody to do stand-up. SJP applied for money to build a wall, but they need to know the rules for installations first. Amnesty wanted to put on a refugee benefit, it sounds great but it wasn’t well-planned so we didn’t give them all of the money. French Club applied for a lecturer. Crafts not Bombs applied to go to a conference, they are a pre-org though so they can’t have money from that fund. VPI applied for money for Green Haven. SEDS applied for funding to bring in a recent alum who now works in space. Vassar Devils won a competition and have moved on to the next round. They applied for funding to go to the next round. CSA is putting on an event. Act Out applied for funding to bring in a speaker on prison abolition.

    7:09//Forum With Terry Quinn

    TQ: Thanks for having me here. I really wanted to say my heartfelt thanks to all of you in this room. As student leaders, you are the people who create this incredible community here. So thanks and welcome back! I’m Terry Quinn, my title is Assistant Dean of the College. I oversee campus activities, campus dining, summer programs and offices. I work with some really amazing people. I work with Michelle and Domi. Kathy Bush helps with campus activities. Maureen King is the face of campus dining. My office oversees every event you see on the calender. Everything that happens on campus goes through my office in some form. We run Commencement. It’s two months away! I’m also the advisor to the senior class. I wanted to mention I’m the director of the Palmer Gallery as well. My background is in the arts, actually. I also oversee the Shiva Theater with Bill Miller. I wanted to mention Monica Church. I mention these people because nobody gets things done on their own. I have a family, three kids. I live in the area. I came here right when I graduated from college. I’m really involved with the local community. I’m on the board of Mill Street Loft. I was a house fellow in the late 1980s. My first child was born there, in Main. I’ve seen a lot happen here. One of the reasons I have stayed so long is because of the students. You guys have a lot of passion here. I really value the opportunity to work with you.We have a very unique model here. It can be challenging at times. I also want to say that I think relationships are really important. Listening to you is really important. Small change matters. A couple things are going on. We’ve been spending a lot of time talking about space and dining. You can’t talk about one without the other. The other committee that I’m on is the College Planning Committee. Marianne Begemann is on that. There are plans that are going on in the lower level. The bio dept is moving out this summer, so we are going to change that space out soon. The dining review that is happening now is moving into April. We are accepting proposals from different vendors. Those are coming in mid-month. Our option to go in-house is still open. No decisions have been made as of yet. Sustainability is obviously still important. We are going to open up a lot of space on the main floor. The campus calender. Has anyone looked recently? It’s packed. There are still some opportunities for smaller programs during the week. Founders Day is May 9. We struggle with scheduling. We are always trying to find a better way to schedule activities. Last thing: the campus activities office has had some personnel changes. Two of our administrative assistants took the retirement plan. It’s wonderful for them, but bittersweet for us. We’ve hired some people, but they are new to campus. Please be patient with us and help us acclimate them to campus. With the restoration of the house advisor positions, we have to shuffle some things around. We are looking into a post-bacc position.

    Josh: How did the dialogue for the lower-level college center shift? It was originally a VSA-focused dialogue. What conversations has Bob had with people?

    TQ: Jason Rubin was the President when those conversations started. Marianne Begemann is the chairperson for the committee. When we started those discussions, we wanted it to be a student-centered space. Bob hired an architect from the art dept. The plans right now are very ambitious. It’s still a work in progress. It will be shared with the community. It is modular. If it moves downstairs, it can still be shifted and moved as needed.

    Josh: Do you have dining updates?

    TQ: We haven’t received any proposals yet. Bon Appetit has visited. Sodexo has also visited. They are all planning on submitting a proposal. Last time, Aramark has the best proposal, and they had a plan for a ACDC renovation, but that never happened. I know Maureen is very involved in the food committee. I think she has really tried with her staff, given the resources available. We, as a College, haven’t given them as much as they should have. There has to be a renovation in the deece and the retreat.

    Maddy: You mentioned Senior Week is 9 days long. Are underclassman able to sign in still?

    2015: That decision hasn’t been made yet.

    StuLife: Are there any plans to change the way that events are advertised by the campus activities office?

    TQ: I think that would be phenomenal to come up with a better system of communication. We know what’s going on. It is overwhelming and that is something we really struggle with. Within the system we have, our job is to put all of our information accurately into the system and other folks pull that info. I know there has to be a better way. We can do that through SARC. What would be a productive way to communicate with you?

    2017: Shifting gears a bit. In your opinion, what can Vassar do to be better members of the community?

    TQ: We are much better now than in the past, in my opinion. I think the best thing you can do is just venture out into the community. You may have to find it, but many organizations would love to see Vassar students show up. If transportation is an issue, we can help with that.

    Ops: You’ve been here for a long time. Have you noticed any trends or changes in student orgs and what people do?

    TQ: There are certainly a lot more orgs now. Some things are new, but some things really stay the same. The passion is the same. Vassar students are remarkable at being activists and getting things done. The one thing I would also say is we used to do a lot of leadership training, like more formal and structure. That is something that is always on our list. You all have this vision to get something done.

    7:36//Constituent Concerns

    Pres: Any concerns?

    Finance: Black ice.

    2018: Our class had a t-shirt contest for the design. Nobody submitted anything. What are some ideas?

    Ops: Soup cans.

    2017: Last year, we just brainstormed it ourselves.

    2016: We had that problem this year. I was ready to go online.

    Finance: Bryce Daniel does design stuff here. You can use your budget to hire somebody to do this stuff.

    StuLife: I definitely feel like the first year t-shirt is important. But after that, I don’t think it’s important. I think there are cooler things to spend our money on.

    7:41//Executive Board Reports

    Finance: I don’t have the fund levels for you. I will email everyone the fund levels. Annual budgeting timeline is next week! We are going to push it back this year. Three years ago we found out that something like 60% of org budgets are spent in March and April. In committee, we’ve discussed changes to annual budgeting. What would be great would be for you to send us ideas. We are doing audits to see how people spend money. The ability to take out cash advances will stop April 3.

    StuLife: Is April 3 the date they will start charging people?

    Finance: No, they need a month.

    President: I don’t have much. The one thing I want to remind people is that elections are happening. Encourage people to run. We will have an info meeting soon.

    7:50//Class Gifts Co-Chairs Amendment

    Operations: It’s back. The text is exactly the same. I met with Natalia, who is the post-bacc with Alumnae/i Affairs. This positions used to be elected until about six years ago. The concern about gift chair control, Natalia told me that alumnae/i affairs won’t do anything, but they have power.

    Finance: I was a class gift co-chair. I think this is important. If people want for it to be elected, that’s fine. Its function is different than any other elected positions, though. I don’t think it should be under this body or for it to be an elected position.

    Elected position passes.

    7:54//Referendum Amendment

    Operations: I had a meeting with Abby and Deep. Last time a referendum happened was Spring 2011. It was initially an amendment, failed in the VSA, passed by referendum, turned over in Jud Board. The problem is with abstentions. The instruction will be added this election. We won’t vote on this this week. This will be in Spring Elections.

    7:56//Open Discussion

    Academics: I emailed you all. Please forward info to your constituents. Student seminar signups open tonight. They will close on Friday. This Wednesday from 5-6 about thesis prep. Majors fair is next Wednesday at 3:30 in the Villard Room.

    2018: External review?

    Ops: I talked to Butch. The results are coming. We already paid him. At first he told me March 20th. That came and went. At the latest, the second week of April. I wrote a strongly worded email asking for it for the end of this week.

    SoCos: We talked before Spring Break about the house advisor positions. The candidates are great. The salaries are really good too. There will be on-campus interviews in about two weeks. These are not confirmed yet. There should be a student interview portion. Unrelated to this is that CARES, Break the Silence and SAVP is doing Sexual Assault Awareness Weeks. Starting two weeks from tomorrow for two weeks.

    Raymond: This Friday is Roaring Twenties. 8-12! Gambling! Raffles! Nutella Cake! In Main!

    Ops: Interest meeting on Wednesday April 8 5:30-7. For the debate, it will be April 19 at 5:30-7.

    Finance: In this position, I have done some exploring as to how other schools spend their money. We do it differently. Hamilton has a huge speakers fund. We could decide to not have a Spring concert and bring in double the speakers. We can adjust the budgets. Ask your constituents what they like and what they want more of.

    Pres: The student-faculty basketball game is this week. Exec will start coming into study breaks to talk about the referendum.

     
  • Palak 10:58 pm on March 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 3.8.15 

    With two forums tonight as well as the new amendment, this meeting is sure to be long. Everyone ready?

    7:04//Call to Order and Attendance

    absent: SoCos, Town Students

    7:05//Consensus Agenda

    1. Hip Hop 101 (Discretionary) $0/$6000
    2. ViCE Jazz (Discretionary) $700/$1500
    3. Christian Fellowship (Capital) $249.99/$249.99
    4. Wordsmiths (Speakers) $1500/$2684
    5. The Pianists (Discretionary) $25 or $50/$25
    6. CHOICE (Discretionary) $0/$100
    7. CHOICE (Discretionary) $0/$50
    8. EMS (Capital) $369/$369
    9. On Tap (Conference) $1100/$1200
    10. Aikido Club (Conference) $120/$120
    11. Knights of Commuknity (Capital) $53.42/$53.42
    12. Crafts Not Bombs (PreOrg) $200/$200
    13. Minutes From 3/1/15

    Finance: We had a long week at finance committee. HipHop 101 came in to discuss the possibility of extra funding for Throwback Jam. For the past five years HipHop 101 has gone into debt because of Throwback Jam. ViceJazz received a $700. They overbudgeted and only planned for events until Spring Break. Christian Fellowship request money for a drum kit. Wordsmiths are bringing a speaker. CHOICE brought two fund apps, that they wanted to nominally support two events. Both events were this weekend and they missed the three week deadline. EMS needed EMS stuff. On Tap wants to attend a conference in DC. Aikido Club is going to some kind of Aikido related conference. Knights of Commuknity wants bags for their needles. We suggested they also sell their wares on campus. Crafts not Bombs wanted their ops budget to build terrariums.

    7:09//Forum With Julian Williams

    Julian Williams: I’m the director of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Acts and I’m also the college’s Title IX officer. My office investigates complaints about harassments and sexual assault. I also deal with appointments in the faculty. I help them get a diverse applicant pool. I also serve as the College’s ADA504 officer. I help to make sure the campus remains accessible for both students and employees. I’ve been at Vassar for 2 1/2 years. I have a background as an attorney. I was an attorney working for the teachers union in Michigan before I came here.

    Student Life: I have a few questions. I was wondering if you could speak to the potential for change in panel structures.

    Williams: The potential for that change is high. Essentially what we have is a volunteer base of faculty members and administrators. By the time the investigation is finished, we need to know who is going to make the final decision. When you run our of volunteers, you have to make hard decisions. They are all volunteers. They don’t get paid. They went through training to do this. We are looking at better ways to ajudicate these cases. We want to try to find people who are more qualified for these panels. It’s tough to look at these panels and see professors or administrators they know already. They have to wonder about their relationship after going through these difficult details. This can be alleviated by bringing in somebody who is less connected to the day-to-day life of the college. We are essentially running out of volunteers. What we have to do is look for better ways to do this. We are looking at utilizing students in these roles. We want to find people who have the requisite training and knowledge. They would still be operating under the college’s rules. The way I look at it, you can train and train and train. But if I was an attorney going after an institution, the first thing I would look at is the hearing board. What makes those people qualified? Then on the Know Your IX events. What we plan on doing is walking the attendees through the process. We will essentially be trying to explain what the reporting process looks like. We will also have the opportunity for questions from students.

    2015: I believe there has been some discussion about which cases you give out to the board?

    Williams: Sexual assault cases are different than anything else that comes up. We have to treat them differently than any other things that come up. The other track, the college regulations panel, is for everything else not under sexual assault. We want to treat them correctly. The question I always get is why the institution is even investigating these cases in the first place. Why not just call the police? My response is that we have to. It’s our legal obligation but also our moral obligation.

    2015: I think the AAVC meeting had a presentation about this. They talked about the amount of severity with it. Can you explain that.

    Williams: The threshold there is that you want to delineate the stakes. What we have to figure out is what likely you are looking at is utilizing the outside adjudication process. We will be more likely to go to the outside process for these more serious cases. As we discuss and research this more, that will more likely be the process we take. If the student is facing suspension or expulsion, we want to have that case adjudicated with a high degree of skill.

    Ops: I’ve heard there is going to be a full-time Title IX investigator starting next year.

    Williams: Yes. We were planning on announcing it later in the year. One of the things about how to investigate and adjudicate these cases. We have a split process now. What we see is that people have two jobs right now. These cases take a long time. The Title IX investigator role takes over everything. There is a real serious need to devote somebody full-time to this role. You will also have to pay a person enough to not live in residence halls. They can’t live with the people they are investigating. They need to be somewhere else and function as a full-time administrator. Kelly Grab will be taking this position. She will no longer be a House Advisor. That person will not have that primary function anymore, but they will be trained accordingly. We can devote more time and resources for this position.

    Pres: Can you speak about the faculty training?

    Williams: It covers about two days. It’s how to be a panelist. What is Title IX. What questions to ask. Look at hypotheticals, but also look at evidence and how to weigh that evidence. What deference to give the report and how to read that report correctly. The big one is which questions to ask. I study how these cases are addressed at other places. The biggest thing is the questions. They don’t reinvestigate the piece. It’s not their job to be Matlock or Perry Mason. It never happens in court, it’s not gonna happen here. You are deconstructing all of these assumptions that are there. You are also studying whether people can actually do this. You might not be able to use everyone who steps up. The problem is that this is never enough. We can have a weeklong training, but it’s not enough. It’s just not their day job. They didn’t sign up at Vassar to do this. But they have taken out a really important service here. This is where we can help with an external model. One of the cons with this external process is whether it is legalizing the process. It’s hard to separate when we bring in a former judge or something. It adds another level of legalization. I think that’s where this is going everywhere though.

    Pres: How are the faculty selected?

    Williams: It’s purely voluntary and then we screen them. It depends on what area they are working. It also depends on how involved they could be in the larger process. There are some people that will step up and after going through the process, you just can’t use. It’s good because my office is the repository of complaints. You may have an employee or faculty member step up, but I will look at their files to see previous interactions on campus. We are taking a really strong look at moving away from this volunteer-based model.

    Tyler: There was a lot of talk about the consent policy. Is there work being done to edit the policy and to make the difference more transparent to the college?

    Williams: That’s a lot of work. We are working on it though. SAVP and my office are two different things. SAVP is looking for a slogan. They chose one that is similar to our policy, but less nuanced than ours. We need to look at the policy definition says and put it on the progressive policy spectrum. Every policy should be a working document. We aren’t looking at just the consent policy, but also the incapacitation policy. More than who, what, when, where and why. We are optimistic about some of the changes we are doing. We are doing more on the prevention and education side of things. What we are trying to do is tweak everything from a definitional point of view. I get at least one phone call a month from a different school to talk about this stuff.

    Pres: How do other schools do this?

    Williams: Every school has a different way of handling these case. We still have the panel model. Other schools use the outside model. I think the external model will be used the most but it’s different on every campus. We are looking at what will work best for us.

    7:42//Forum With Jessica Bernier

    Jessica Bernier: I am the director of student financial services. My background is solely in financial aid. I fell into this job early and stayed here. I’ve worked at a few different schools. I’ve worked here for about 6 1/2 years, which is the longest I’ve ever been at a place. As far as my office is concerned, we have been financial aid for a while. We took on Student Employment in 2010. Over the winter break, we added student accounts. Our goal is to be the one-stop office for student financial concerns. Our biggest goal is to figure out how all of our processes overlap and looking into communication things. We have three different offices. We don’t want to bombard you with info, but if we are contacting you about something, we need you for something. When you  come in and have a financial question, we can answer that for you.

    Finance: I have a question about textbooks. What is your offices ability there?

    Bernier: I’m gonna do a mini-walk through. What we do is we figure out how much it is going to cost for you to attend Vassar. Tuition and Fees, Meal Plan, etc. We also know you have other expenses. We also know you have to get here and get home. We are billing that cost of attendance. Then we figure out what you and your family are going to pay. For all students, we expect you to work over the summer. Students always have to contribute. The difference between the cost of attendance and family contribution is your financial aid. We want to make sure there are funds available to our students. We usually get questions about apartment living. If we look at the cost of attendance, you don’t have a meal plan, but you do have to buy food. We adjust it accordingly.

    Cushing: I want to ask about…so a lot of people have different travel expenses. It’s a big difference. Plus currency exchange. Is there any way to ask for more money to travel home?

    Bernier: For domestic students, the amount of travel is based on estimates for two round trips. It doesn’t cover mid-semester breaks. The amounts change. We see some students who plan ahead and can get more trips in. International students. Unfortunately we don’t cover the cost of round-trip. Very similar to our peers. It’s hard for us to factor in how much it is going to cost. But, the parent contribution is a little less than at other schools. Hidden in that algorithm is the travel. The other but is that at any other schools, if you work over breaks they will adjust cost. We don’t do that. We know we aren’t covering travel. We have tried to find other ways to help our international students.

    Ops: As you know, the VSA is working on a compensation amendment. Can you talk about the history of that.

    Bernier: We have many jobs on campus. Almost every department hires students. As a part of the student employment process, we look at a couple different factors. All requests for student employment jobs come through us. We have a set wage rate. We do have managerial positions that make more. We’ve been working on getting VSA positions paid. I met with our director of student employment. We are trying to get away from stipend jobs on campus. We need to make sure our workers are getting paid at least minimum wage. Our suggestion back was that these positions be paid an hourly wage. Some parts you work more or less 10 hours a week.

    Student Life: Related. Can you give us background about NY State law.

    Bernier: It’s actually a federal law. Students cannot get paid to do the job of a volunteer. If one person is getting paid, everyone gets paid.

    Finance: Unrelated. I know we aren’t need-blind for international students, how does that affect our international student diversity?

    Bernier: I don’t know if I can answer all of that. I work in the admissions office regarding who they are interested in. What I do is figure out the amount of financial aid they get. Admissions makes the final decision. The piece that is hard to check is that we can accept them, but they might not matriculate. There has been a shift to admitting more students that don’t need as much aid.

    Finance: Have there been discussions regarding a move toward need-blind for international students?

    Bernier: I don’t know. That’s higher than me. Few schools are need-blind for international students. Every dollar going to Vassar’s aid comes from Vassar.

    Finance: I understand the technical complications. In your opinion, do you think it would be more equitable to have a need-blind policy for international students.

    Bernier: It’s hard for me to comment on that. I don’t see who is in the applicant pool.

    Strong: I’m mostly looking for clarification. Work study students get paid $9 an hour. Some people do more than others.

    Bernier: It came about in two different ways. Minimum wage increased. We understand that some students do more than others. Some find more enriching and fulfilling positions. You aren’t here to work. You are here to be a student.

    Josh: Where do funding sources come from?

    Bernier: Almost every job on campus is paid for through student employment. Few exceptions include research assistants because they have grants. Most jobs are through student employment.

    Finance: My question was forgotten.

    SoCos: If there is a job that requires more work than others, how do you deal with that?

    Bernier: We look at how many students they have. Are they fully utilizing the students they have right now. Say the students are not fulfilling the work. How many hours need to be filled? We try not to make judgement calls. We just look at why things changed.

    Finance: I remembered. Regarding student contribution, how does that interact with unpaid internships.

    Bernier: We still have that expectation. We have been talking about getting more funds. We want to see the internship grant fund get larger.

    TAs: The way that your office justifies saying whether you will fund a work study job or not is based on the department’s ability to pay as well as it’s need. Because the VSA budget is funded entirely by the student activities fee, which is meant for events on campus and for students, how do you justify saying there is no way to pay?

    Bernier: That’s for the VSA to decide. Funding positions comes out of somewhere other than the VSA funding.

    Student Life: At the beginning of last semester, Finance was looking at student assistant funding. There were a bunch of hoops to jump through.

    Finance: After we met, it became up to Finance to distribute the funding equitably.

    8:19//Constituent Concerns

    Finance: I’d like to move the Compensation Amendment now.

    8:20//VSA Executive Board Compensation Amendment

    Ops: Thanks to everyone who came. To give some history, I defer to Josh.

    Josh: Couple years in the making. It was a collab with myself and Alyssa to bring work study compensation to the VSA. This is incorporating administrative tasks. This is a very different amendment though. This has evolved into something different. Basically, it’s a job now. It’s paid out through the VSA, but funneled through Student Financial Aid.

    Ops: The text has changed. We cannot say stipend. We have more info on the back. Before discussion, I’d like to take questions.

    Finance: I remember a similar amendment. Do you remember if the previous iterations were passed?

    Pres: Something twice on this topic has passed but nothing has happened.

    Phil Chen: Have these things been publicized?

    Finance: It falls on the individual council members to publicize it.

    Ali Ehrlich: I would like to see this debated at least. This is not an OK proposal. The money students pay to go here, and taking that money to pay six people, I don’t see that happening. You said you were going to enforce special meeting rules. Moving things on the agenda right now isn’t fair. This is a council voting to pay themselves. Four out of six people were on council last year. This is a conflict of interest for many of you. To notice that an issue I believe people are going to care about came about so late is not enough time.

    Phil: I suggest you table the amendment for after spring break so students can get information and change it to make it into a public referendum.

    Abby: I do believe this is last minute, but elections are right after Spring Break. That would be my issue with pushing it back.

    Josh Tempro: This came up two days ago. It’s so late. I don’t know the history behind this. Why isn’t it a referendum?

    2015: Specifics of how this went down aside, I think it is important to talk about. I sent an email out to the senior class and the responses that I got back were pretty split equally both for and against. One concern was that voting on this in the VSA may not be the best way to go about this. I don’t know about specifics. Is there any way that the student body can vote on it?

    Ops: Special meeting rules. The reason I wanted to do questions first, when we are actually debating the topic, you are only allowed to speak twice. I wouldn’t say the debate has started yet. You can direct respond, but most of the time you wait your turn. A referendum. We have a very specific referendum process first. Whether it passes or fails, a referendum can be brought via student petition.

    Ali: If people think a referendum is better, why don’t just vote to suspend those bylaws and do it that way?

    Ops: Yeah, that’s the alternative.

    Josh Tempro: What does it mean that we are going to be having a debate?

    Ops: What I mean is that at this point, I want to make sure we are all clear on what we are voting on first.

    Phil: Just a response about the timing issue, if we push it to after Spring Break, it will coincide with elections. If it is passed today, it is very unlikely to be abolished later.

    Finance: Thanks Ramy. Can you explain the history of this legislation within our current session? The way we do publicity is that we expect council members to do it themselves.

    Ops: First time we talked about this was ops committee before winter break. When we have an amendment, we have to bring it in for a reading in council. We brought it up two or three weeks ago. There were a lot of procedural issues that were clarified. I looked at the referendum thing. If the VSA approves the amendment, 5% of the student body has to sign a petition , if the VSA is against it then 15% of the student body has to sign a petition.

    SoCos: Questions don’t count, but direct responses do?

    Ops: Questions don’t count, but direct responses do.

    TAs: if we were going to try to move to a referendum, is it impossible to table it first but still start that process? Or do you vote on it either way?

    Ops: According to our procedures, we have to vote on it for it to first go to referendum. Then it is the percent of the student body to vote.

    TAs: How do you clarify?

    Ops: I guess we have a few options. A) the VSA approves this amendment, 5% of the student body has to sign in objection to go to referendum. B) If we don’t approve, 15% has to sign the petition. C) Suspend the bylaws and do a referendum.

    Pres: If we suspend it, what would it look like?

    Abby: It is literally impossible to do that.

    Ali: Would it make more sense to do it during the election time any way?

    Abby: The problem is that people cannot run this year with a guarantee with this money.

    Pres: Now we enter the debate period.

    Finance: I’ve put a lot of thought into what I want to say. I hope that people will listen. I think I can approach this from a unique perspective. I think that the crux of this argument is why are these positions different? Why should the Exec Board be above everyone else. I’m sorry about the publicity issue, I think if people feel that way, we should wait to vote. In my capacity as VP for Finance, I work about 14 hours. These are not like a typical student job. We are committed to bringing you the most representative student government as possible.

    Pres: I do think that one perspective that gets lost in this discussion. EMS deserves to get paid, CARES deserves to get paid. Tons of people work their asses off here. The only thing is that I sit in Trustee meetings. At the end of the day is that I am a white woman. I don’t represent everyone. I also don’t have a work study position. This is about accessibility.

    Ben: I think the issues of accessibility on VSA are really important. I question whether this will solve them in a meaningful way. I think there are some detrimental effects here. People aren’t going to know when they will be compensated. Are people going to run with the compensation in mind? I wonder what we would be sacrificing by paying Exec. I think the main questions are what the precedence is at peer institutions, the other question being what experiences we have that lead us to believe by offering this will make a difference. I’ve heard three different Finance people say the funds are for student programming. I think this decision should not be made here.

    Josh: I’m an at-large member of Ops. The current state of this bill has changed dramatically. This creates an issue of civil service. To be on council, ought it be civil service? Has there been enough discussion about the definition of civil service? Frankly, it’s not anymore if everyone is getting paid. The surplus. One thing that is a big unknown is how this is being paid for. What do we lost if we fund $16,000? Transparency has not been discussed. One discussion was whether or not to pass this first and then figure out the details later. We have not talked about what the students know here. We should be thinking about finer points here. Publicity. This has been tabled for so long. If this doesn’t pass today, it is impossible to have a referendum and publicize it at the time of elections. How do we tell the students? There are a lot of things that are not known. I’m not sure there has been enough discussion on the finer points. If we are not 100% ready, it should wait til next year.

    Josh Tempro: If you do not have everything you need together to present an application, you need to have your shit together first. That’s what I’m going to say now. What was this not sent out over winter break? Why haven’t we been having these discussions earlier? Another point, a word thrown around is accessibility. I wonder about throwing money at the problem. Are there other ways to deal with this?

    Finance: I just want to answer Josh’s question. Last year we ran a 60 thousand dollar surplus. It has no impact on programming. All of this information is still in the process of being compiled for The Misc.

    Phil: I want to draw your attention to the logic behind this bill. This bill will create more applicants for these roles. While this is likely, it remains to be established. We need some proof. I wonder if there are other solutions to this problem. I’m aware there are paid assistants. Can there be more paid assistants to alleviate your work? I think that is worth considering. If you are going to vote today, I think you should suspend the bylaw and go directly to a popular referendum.

    Ali: If we have a huge budget surplus, why aren’t we talking about lowering the student activities fee? I’m pretty sure we have pretty clearly established that we have a major PR problem. If orgs knew this money was available.

    Finance: Point of order, I think it is inappropriate to characterize this issue like this.

    Ali: The budgeting process. Is it a five year or three year budgeting process?

    Finance: Yes.

    Ali: I think there is reasonable argument to be said that the best time to vote for this is during elections. The voting turnout rate for spring elections is higher than other elections. I think you should do it in this election cycle.

    Phil: I think Max has done everything in his capacity to publicize this issue. I think this is a more structural problem. Not all treasurers pass on the information.

    Activities: When Max brought up the stats in our council meeting, I had no idea we had all of these funds. I sent out an email about it.

    Tyler: I want to go back to accessibility. If compensation is added, yes it might change who is running for the positions. But this is a predominantly white institution. Two years ago it was mostly white men. It is an ingrained aspect of this institution. I don’t believe that increasing the accessibility will actually help.

    Bethan: I think it is really important to talk about publicity. For everyone not on exec board, your job is to let them know. Most of the burden falls on The Misc. It’s not The Misc’s job to be your publicity. You aren’t talking to your constituents so you don’t know what they want. If you are even vaguely thinking of running for an exec position, you probably should not vote here. I also just support the referendum. I think Vassar students are smart enough. If you literally give the people the vote, they can tell you what they want.

    Finance: Please raise your placard if you sent out an email to your constituents?

    *two people raise placards*

    Finance: Yeah, so we are unqualified to vote on this.

    Bethan: You can’t expect people with less than 24 hours to change their plans.

    Ben: I just want to respond. I think the real question is about accessibility. I respect the work you do. But I don’t think the time you put in here should matter. I don’t think that’s a question here. Aside from that, I want to echo that I don’t know that this, throwing money at this, will solve it. In terms of publicity, I heard about this from my class rep, Zoe, but I think if you are having problems, you need to take collective responsibility. You’re the people that we elect. If you aren’t doing a good job of communicating, then you all need to step up on that.

    Ali: Can I make a motion to suspend VSA bylaw article 8, section 1. Can I move to bring this amendment with supplementary information to the Spring Elections.

    Finance: I don’t feel comfortable sending this to a referendum. There are too many questions left over. I think it is unrealistic to try to get this in on Spring Elections. I believe very strongly in Exec board compensation. I’m disheartened by the lack of publicity that we have been providing. I think there needs to be a conversation about your job here. This needs to be tabled or postponed.

    Josh: The information is technical. This needs to go back to the drawing board.

    Abby: I appreciate what has been said about fixing accessibility. This is a step forward. It’s a long process. I find it disheartening that there was talk about doing a vote for this today but now you don’t think the general population cannot vote in four weeks. You’re going to table it and vote after? The general consensus is that a referendum needs to happen.

    Ali: That was the point of the motion. Stop speaking. Josh’s point is good. Can I amend my motion? I’m going to make a motion to say a referendum should be brought concerning the issue of exec compensation with language to be brought.

    Ops: I move to postpone the vote on Ali’s motion.

    Pres: Let’s talk about accessibility. I think we need to stop sitting around and actually have a real conversation. Historically, it’s been a lot of white dudes. We need to start taking some tangible steps.

    Cushing: I have a few things to say. I’m not going to run for an Exec position, ever. It was mentioned that CARES, EMS, etc should get paid. As a CARES member, I’m a volunteer. I signed up for it as a volunteer. That’s what everyone has thought about before signing up. It takes almost as much time and commitment to be both of my positions. To address accessibility, it’s a huge thing. We have to address a lot of things about the student body, not just VSA. People in places of privilege have more voices than any other positions. It doesn’t matter if we pass the amendment or not. People will get more appreciation because they are white and privileged. They have more confidence. If we move to take this to a referendum during spring elections, does that means it will apply to the next year. This has been a thing going on for two years. I never sent an email to my constituents. I’m sorry about that. I know a lot of people here don’t send emails, but not everyone here did that.

    Josh: Point of information. The reason why this was taken so far up to here was that dialogues have been going on back and forth between senior administrators.

    Maddy: If we vote in Spring Elections. That’s one year in the balance. If it is enacted, it won’t go away. Yes, in the short term, you will have an uneven council. I agree there’s a total conflict of interest. You have to look further into the future.

    Raymond: I want to talk about the voting idea of this. I don’t think this isn’t going to get voted on. Feel the vibe. As far as a conflict of interest. I know the VSA makes characterizations about the student body and vice-versa. I cannot run for Exec next year because I’m going abroad. But if I were to do that, I would abstain.

    TA: I think being seniors, we have a small snapshot into a much longer struggle in the VSA. I personally don’t see the idea of throwing money at the problem as a long-term solution to this problem. Given time and given more spaces to speak to this issue, I think this could be changed to be one small step toward improving access. One option for TA residents, is the idea of fieldwork or class credit. I would argue that this is a practice of public service. That standard of service has fallen greatly. That could be a strong argument to the student body at the very least. If the VSA is committed to talking about access, I think it is very important to think of us as a bargaining body. The College is unwilling to support the VSA in making us more accessible.

    Finance: A lot of the people on this council don’t like me. Two weeks ago, people got annoyed that we weren’t talking about anything. One of the first times, we are talking about something important. Now that we have the opportunity to talk about something important, I feel uncomfortable because we don’t have adequate representation. We have not done our job as a student council. We should have anticipated everything Ali and Phil said. I know that’s not the fault of the people working on this amendment. The issue then becomes that when we bring something to the council floor, it is important for you to see that as important. Especially when it is an amendment to our constitution. There are a lot of people who don’t have the privilege to do this work. What do you guys do every week?

    2018: Direct respond to Max. Most of council is also on House Team. There’s a divide between council and exec. Most of the council has to deal with house team and reslife. It’s hard to point fingers here. To touch on everything else. Ben mentioned earlier about the incentive. I just don’t think it’s going to change. What Ali said earlier, she did the math. The exec board helps the school run. If they decided to not do their jobs for a week, the school would not run. I also do think this should be a student body decision.

    Josh Tempro: First, point of order, it’s $7 out of the student activities fee. What this conversation says to me is that we should be having a real conversation about the structure of council and the roles of house presidents. We have this spread sheet about the structure of different governments. They seem to be running fine. I think it’s weird that we have this set-up. Yes, you do too much. I think instead of saying let’s pay you, we should be having conversations about how can we restructure. How can we have more people involved. This is an easy fix. I think we are afraid of going toward a complete rehaul. But a complete rehaul would be more beneficial in the long-run.

    StuLife: I think the points about accessibility and work loads are really important. We have this external review coming. I think looking at how we operate is really good. Splitting up the work doesn’t work. We are experts at what we do. We have identified a particular place where we need help. It’s not empty rhetoric. Money literally solves the problem. In terms of collective bargaining, paid exec positions might help with collective bargaining. It’s also about how we spend our time. If these are paid positions, there are greater incentives to put in more hours. We all feel like we are doing a lot. But if an extra hour is $8 in my pocket, that’s a meaningful incentive. Referendum. I think we do lose the potential of putting this up next year, I would be a bad representative if I didn’t listen to the students. We lose out on the potential of a year. Conflict of interest. I think this is interesting. I think it is a very real thing to vote on something in your own self-interest.

    Phil: Financial incentives.

    StuLife: I quit my job to do this position. I could quit my job. I chose to run for this position after knowing I would have a summer income.

    Phil: I see more of a structural problem. You’re holding these perspectives. But you’re voting at the same time.

    Arshy: Hannah, you talk about how your job is specialized. It seems that if you say your job is so specialized, it is contradictory to what you’re saying about accessibility. This is a structural issue. What do you think makes you so specialized over everyone else.

    StuLife: None of us moved into this position knowing everything. Danny Dones told me a bunch of things. I’m not inherently good at this job. It was a learning process. I think that is the same for every student who has ever held a position. It is possible for multiple people to do my job.

    Finance: I think that maybe my position is a little more outlines. These are all different offices, not just positions. My position cannot be split up into two positions. More paid assistants might work.

    TA: I think that what was said kind of moves away from the point. What we are talking about is more about access than improving the work involved. Overwhelmingly, this should be about access, not work.

    Ops: Few things. First, I support the referendum. I wished we lived in a world where the VSA could be representative. There is not possible way to change our structure before this election. On a personal level, I did not quit my work study job because I need my money. A good portion of my work study check goes towards keeping me sane. I’m very personally invested in this. I want to recognize everyone in this room. It’s nearly impossible to put in nearly as much council stuff as House stuff.

    Josh: To tie in with people being upset and representation issues. There’s a reslife task force going on right now to look at this. In the long run, this is about the referendum voting. But there’re a lot of problems right now. There are tons of things up in the air.

    2015: Can you restructure the VSA as the VSA?

    Ali: Yes, they did it years ago.

    2015: I think we all know there are problems. You guys can deal with that.

    2016: I do want to apologize because I didn’t email my constituents. I brought it up to my council. Some of the things from that discussion was the idea of prioritizing these positions over other org heads. I just wonder if this were to pass, what would happen in the future? The surplus, but how sustainable is that for the future? The last thing is going back to fieldwork or academic credit. Max said it’s not relevant to your field of study, but that’s why we are at a liberal arts school.

    Academics: In terms of field work credit, you would have to inject some sort of academics into it. The feasability of that is very low. They are trying to rehaul fieldwork. They don’t want to be as lax. They would ask about the pedagogical underpinnings and I don’t have an answer.

    Antony: Lathrop freshman rep. I sent out an email. I’m coming from the perspective of a transition student, although I am a white male. I have two issues, one of them was brought up by 2016. There are other orgs on this campus. A lot of this is down to hours. The argument that Hannah made about specialization, I think these positions can be split apart. For example, Max and Hannah are the co-presidents of Vassar Debate. I think you can delegate. My second point, I was talking to the board of Presidents and Strong made a point about people enjoying their jobs. I don’t want to give up my job because I would have to work for the VSA. If the number of hours were reduced, I would like to keep my job and do Exec. I just think in general, a restructuring would be more suitable.

    Activities: I want to thank at-large people And the 2017 proxy. I think something that can be done with the emails, send out the minutes.

    2018: Maybe you would have to adjust the minutes. Maybe just send out an outline? But also attach the minutes.

    Ops: We are going to have a VSA update column in The Misc.

    Ali: The motion on the table is to put up the referendum on the Spring Election with the exact language to be determined. A lot of the conversation that happened today is really important. A lot of it did stray. I think it is important that you should address this issue now and talk about restructuring later on. This should be decided upon by the student body.

    Pres: The motion is on the table. You can abstain.

    No abstentions. All voted in favor for a referendum.

    Pieter: My question is for the Exec board payment, is it saying that every single member will be paid?

    Pres: Financial aid basically said you can’t pay some people and not others.

    10:18//Executive Board Reports

    Activities: reviewing orgs. Planning stuff.

    Finance: should we send out notes?

    10:19//Council Updates

    Lathrop: Last year, our event was the art market. It will be on April 25, the same day as the Spring Concert. We will have more info later on.

    Town Students: gone

    Joss: Already had our event. We want to do it again. We have been trying to restructure the event to be less competitive. April, date TBA, we will have a JYA fair with the JYA office.

    10:20//Open Discussion

    StuLife: wanted to let everyone know about the initiative. There has been conversation about the minimum deposit amount. That $10 minimum also applies to cash at the cashier’s office. We want to make it go away.

    Joss: It’s just really shitty. It seemed reasonable at first. Hopefully in the next week we will have a meeting with CIS. Updates to come.

    Jewett: Publicity. I’m pretty sure I asked this last semester. Could we get the schedule of forums now? For the rest of the semester, that would be great.

    Ops: Elections came up a lot. Email your position descriptions to me. Remind your people to fill it out.

    Josh S: Speaking of forms. You have a CAFA rep. Speak to them. They don’t give a shit about us.

    Tyler: As Julian Williams mentioned earlier. There’re some openings for House Advisors next year. I’m going to do some interviews. Send me an email about stuff [email protected]. We are looking for replacements for Kelly and Mariyah.

    Academics: This Wednesday there are a few things going on. We will have the first readings of some changes in academics on campus.

    Ops: ResLife task force meeting Wed. at 8 pm, location TBD.

    Main: Motion to adjourn.

     
  • Palak 11:59 pm on March 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 3.2.15 

    Welcome to tonight’s VSA meeting! It’s sure to be a fun ride!

    7:03//Call to Order, Attendance

    Absent: 2018 (proxy), Noyes, Town Students, Finance

    7:04//Consensus Agenda

    1. BAM (Discretionary) $85.15/$85.15
    2. Habitat For Humanity (Discretionary) $2020/$3330
    3. WVKR (Capital) $1429/$1429
    4. WVKR (Conference) $500/$2000
    5. Founder’s Day (Discretionary) $6000/$8000
    6. Business Club (Speakers) $100/$100
    7. ProHealth (Speakers) $1000/$1000
    8. SJP (Speakers) $720/$820
    9. VC Soundsystem (Capital) $250/$250
    10. ViCE NoViCE (Discretionary) $850/$1500
    11. PUNX (Collaboration) $0/$1200
    12. Run Vassar (Discretionary) $787.50/$787.50
    13. Minutes From 2/15/15
    14. New PreOrgs:
    1. VC Skate Ratz
    2. VC CoOPERAtive
    3. Indecent Magazine
    4. Students Language Exchange Program
    5. Vassar College Triathlon
    6. Middle Eastern Students Collective
    7. Vassar Card Sharks
    8. Primary Care Progress, Vassar College Chapter
    9. Ace Space

    SoCos: BAM is getting a subscription for a music-writing software. Habitat for Humanity wants money to build houses, we gave them transport. WVKR asked for a new computer. They applied to go to South by Southwest again. They came back with very good arguments so we decided to give them very standard money. Founder’s Day asked for more money from last year. Business Club is asking a professor to speak. Pro-Health is also bringing in a speaker. SJP is bringing in a speaker. VC Soundsystem came in asking for a new amp. The old one was a donation. ViCE NoViCE came in to ask for more money for shows. PUNX didn’t get any money. RunVassar and NSO are doing laser tag.

    Activities: We finished pre-org stuff four weeks earlier than last semester. Out of 25, we approved nine orgs.

    //Forum With Bob Walton, College VP for Finance

    Bob: My name is Bob Walton. I’m the Vice President for Finance and Administration. I manage a number of areas around the College, including the Treasurer’s office and the Endowment. I manage Human Resources over in Baldwin, which includes payroll, student accounts and what we now call Student Financial Services. We do Buildings and Grounds. We also manage all of the legal affairs of the college, the budget office and risk management. We also work with several board committees. Three of the Board of Trustees committees are with me. Also, other projects, as assigned. In one case, I’m partnering with Marianne Begemann on the Campus Master Plan. I’m working with Chris Roellke on the review of our board and food plan.

    2017: How informed are you and your office regarding reslife and staff cuts? How much is your office able to communicate to students? And how high of a priority in your office is quality of student life?

    Bob: The first part. First of all, any time a student group or individual student wants to meet with me, I can do that. I have an open door policy. I’ve met with SLD and the Divestment students. There’s a whole team of students who are more qualified about ResLife than me. I communicate frequently with Dean Roellke about these issues. How do we judge priorities when it comes to student needs? I think that is something that all of the senior officers share. When you have my role about choosing winners and losers for who gets funding. I try to provide a form of fairness for all groups to get funding without me imposing my personal impressions. I think the senior officers as a group have a lot of debate about resource management. We do have a net-sum game here. We don’t have an unlimited amount of money. I welcome people to contact my office at any time. Let’s talk about the reengineering, which was another name for the early retirement program. When the financial crisis hit seven or eight years ago, at that time I was at the Claremont Colleges on the west coast. It’s interesting that those colleges reacted differently than Vassar had. Vassar had moved into the commitment to meet full-need for college. Two of the colleges in Claremont too different approaches. We had a termination over there. Vassar chose not to do that. Vassar chose to do a supplemental draw out of the endowment to get through the bad period. It was courageous of them to do that. The problem with that is that it isn’t sustainable. The Board, a few years ago, made a policy to wean us off of that supplemental endowment. When I got here, there was an announcement about laying off 35 people on campus. Then we would recoup that money and bring down that spending. I’m not in favor of that. President Hill was not in favor of that. So one of my first jobs here was to figure out a better way to do that. I looked at how we spend our money and how other schools spend their money. What we found is that we have a lot more employees in service areas than our peer institutions. We came up with this voluntary early retirement program. We put together a package for people who have been here a long time and give them an incentive to leave. It would give us the ability to eliminate positions that were vacant. We could reorganize certain areas. We could also promote people who were already here. We had hope that about 60 of our employees would take the package, and 72 did take it. That melted back to 68 in the end when people changed their mind. We were able to combine some units. We had to look at doing fewer things. After we had these individuals go, we will restack, but we will still be a little higher than our peers. One area where we don’t have enough staff is in dining. A couple areas where we are too high is in Buildings and Grounds. It doesn’t really affect the academics. We will go through a tough year now to try to make everything work.

    Student Life: The question is about the board and food initiative. What do you personally see the chance of our going independent here?

    Bob: I’m going to sort of answer you. I don’t think we have very good food here. It’s not because of staffing. It’s a worn out, tired system. One of the perks of working at the Claremont Colleges is that you can see five different systems. What we are trying to do here is figure out how we can actually fix the problem. One problem might be that we have the wrong supplier, Aramark. They have met with me and told me all of the great things they could do. I asked them why they aren’t doing it. I think it’s about change right now. In order to change, we need to see who are the suppliers we can go to. I have run two independent food programs. You can have your program audited. What we are going to do this year is entertain some proposals. One of the things you have to recognize is that you have to reconstruct the kitchens and redo the dining halls. It’s very easy to have a kosher option, you need to redesign the entire system. Same with vegan and vegetarian options. It’s a comprehensive type of deal. Another problem is the meal plan itself. I’ve never seen a college that had a guest program like we have. It’s not a guest program, it’s seniors eat for free program. We have to really attack that. I think we need to reconsider the concept of swiping. I’m not saying that any of this will be easy to solve, but we have to look at all of it. We have to be realistic and have everybody participate. The timeline is that we will study this over the spring and we are meeting with vendors. It’s very likely that we will have to reconstruct the ACDC. I can guarantee you that I’m gonna fix this somehow. It’s not that hard, there has just been a hesitancy about getting it done. We have to fix it, even if it ticks off some people.

    Student Life: The comment really quickly. The specific buildings and grounds needs for buildings, like the Noyes door. The condition of Raymond House in general. Just so you know, these are issues that come up every week.

    Bob: One of the things I would like to send around is a one-page summary that Carolina saw at the board meeting. This is opportunity for students. If you would be interested, I would be more than happy to share the data collected by this company later on. We are moving into the Spring of 2015. We are going to be organizing a bunch of meetings in March and April for faculty, staff, admin and students to see some of this information. We also want you to voice the things that you would like to see. What do you want to see in 2025? What is the future of Main? If you rebuild Main to be something totally different, what is there? During the summer while you’re away, we are going to create some scenarios to present to you next year. We have to recognize that we don’t have unlimited funds, but we do have some funds. The question is how do we use it strategically. My plan still has to go through the Master Planning committee. My goal is to have at least 15 meetings and just talk about this process and talk about it all.

    Josh: Can you tell me about the status of long-term debt at this college? This leads into a lot of concerns that students have is how long things take to get done here. I want to know about that in the context of short-term goals.

    Bob: First let’s just have some facts. We have about $200 million in debt. That has occurred through a couple of decades. A lot of that debt is from the past. The good news is that because interests rates have been so low, we have actually refinanced our debt. We have really low interest rates. We really have reached a level of debt capacity that we should stop. I was at a speaking engagement at the Pyramid Society, who are ex-board members of the college. They were on the opposite side of you. There is a lot of philosophical discussion around this. We should borrow more or less. My view is that $200 million is pretty normal. We have a very good credit rating. We are actually going to see our credit rating improve. Your real question is what about now. I think we are trying to find the balance of how to keep the college moving forward. The cost of the science project, if we include Sanders and New England, was right at about $100 million. Much of that project was also funded with gifts. On Thursday we had the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting. I took them a proposal about projects to be done next year. In the past we have done this stuff, built roofs and steam pipes. There has to be a balance, though. I think the balance has to be with strategic infrastructure and perceived change on campus. Let’s focus on the smaller things. The board has tentatively approved for me to do a two-phase redesign of the college center. We will move out the science labs in the College Center. We are going to do a study to try to find out how to create more of a student space down there. Phase two will be in the summer and completely rebuild the Retreat. We need to open up that first floor and make it more programmable. That would be paid for out of the operating budget. We know the College Center has to improve.

    Josh: I feel like projects have been delayed because of our current debt.

    Bob: That’s the problem with debt. You have to pay it back. Some people think we can handle more, but I don’t agree.

    SoCos: You said we are spending 7% of our endowment.

    Bob: We were. We are lower now. We are about to hit the 5% draw. The endowment is growing. As the economy gets better, the endowment gets larger. Now we actually have new money that goes in. It’s really important to understand that the financial crisis is basically over. We are about to hit our goal. Soon we will have money to spend.

    2017: This goes back to the dining hall. When you were talking about the guest policy. The problem I have is that those meals have been paid for. For the deece to be viable, does that mean we can’t use all of our meal swipes?

    Bob: The college is paying for most of these meals. Look at our financial aid policy. I understand the logic to your question. What I’m saying is that I’m not aware of a single college out there that does what we are doing. It’s disingenuous. It’s not a guest, you’re feeding your buddy. It’s feeding somebody else who is here. It has two consequences. It creates conflicts for people who have to come into the deece and can’t go in there because they don’t have a meal plan. Secondly, it means we have no ability to plan for a certain number of participants. The swipes are intended to be used one at a time. It’s just not a very sensible plan. I think we can have a scaling system. The alternative is to go to a more flat-rate system. We do have a lot of students on campus who are on financial aid. It cuts off those students from leaving campus to eat. I think we have to go for a more blended result.

    Student Life: I was wondering if you could speak to anything that was discussed on Friday with the Board regarding the employment status. SLD organized a protest for a dinner that happened where they distributed information about a security officer who was fired.

    Bob: One of the things, when you have an executive session, you can’t say what happens in it. What I can tell you is what the Board formally talked about before the session. First, I think the overwhelming reaction of the whole board was that they were very impressed with the protest. It was respective and well-intentioned. Many members were moved by the speeches that were made. It was the best of what Vassar does. It is my observation that there was some concern about the idea of demands. It’s an interesting idea to go and demand something and not raise questions. I think that the Board has taken this very seriously. They are going to respond. I have not seen the response, but we did discuss it. I will say that I went because I have responsibility to manage the HR offices here. I went and pulled all of the records. I didn’t find out about it until Thursday night. I didn’t know anything about it before. I went and read all of the personnel records. I read the records and I felt that the board should consider the records as the basis. They should also look at this and investigate every thing. The investigation found there was no racial discrimination. We all know this is a very political charged time. I think, in the end, the Board saw it as a good example of Vassar values. I don’t think the Board is going to agree with students, but we will see what the Board says. It was what we are here to do.

    8:03//Trustee Updates

    Pres: I’m not allowed to go into specifics, but a number of exec board members would like to talk about their experiences. A lot of the meetings focused on campus climate issues as well as master planning, the budget and divestment. I also updated them on our stuff. They are excited about the programming on campus. They were in favor of gender neutral bathrooms.

    Student Life: By small-group meetings, Carolina is talking about small sessions all of Thursday. We walk in for the LGBTQ session. I think at every session, somebody in the group handed the Trustees a statement from the security officer who was fired. We talked about gender neutral bathrooms. We also asked that queer students of color be able to have some money. We had issues with the way these sessions were structured. Part of the reason this was handled by this may have had something to do with spectacle. Large groups tend to just turn into yelling. The small groups were with four members of the Board. The issue they heard most often was understaffing at Metcalf. Hopefully that means serious investigation will occur. They approve funding on a macro level.

    Pres: Somebody asked me a few days ago was how much money they approved for Metcalf. They approved billions of dollars, but it’s a wide-scale, multiple year plan.

    Tyler: I think you got a lot of it down. A lot of our conversation, I was with SAVP and CARES, did surround Metcalf. They offered some outlandish ideas. My perception was that it just happened.

    Pres: It was a lot of discussion around Metcalf. There was a lot of discussion about throwing money at the problem and not actually changing anything. I think it’s good they recognized it.

    2017: One impression I did get from the meeting was the same impression that I have gotten from the administration. They want a detailed plan to fix it. I do recognize that they have jobs to do and cannot immediately drop everything, but there’s a reason they are college administrators. There is some level to which they need to say there is a problem and we need to solve it.

    Josh: Through the forum that just took place, they want to look externally. There’s not balance. What used to exist and doesn’t anymore.

    Pres: There was a lot of discussion about not just getting info and not doing anything.

    8:13//AAVC Updates

    Ops: The Alumni Association of Vassar College. Zoe and I had a fun-filled Saturday. They don’t actually have a decision making power here. It’s like their equivalent of the VSA, but alums. They asked about campus climate. I tried to convey the lack of trust students have with the administration. What we see as empty trust, they see as an action plan. They feel like these promises are actually good thing. We tried to convey that we don’t feel that way. Some of them get it and some of them don’t. History just repeats itself.

    2015: We talked about campus climate and issues surrounding it. They were interested in finding out what was actually happening. The alums as a whole are very concerned and have a different perception of what is happening. They don’t fully know what is happening. The things they are concerned with are far more long-term. I think they are coming from a different place in that way. They are working toward long-term solutions.

    Ops: The AAVC board is very enthusiastic about working with students. A lot of them are more connected to Vassar than the Trustees.

    8:17//Constituent Concerns

    2016: Mine again involved ResLife. It also involved the Noyes door thing. The door has been broken since freshman year. Luis said he didn’t know about it. I think ResLife needs to be reexamined. The Noyes door is a safety concern. Also with those two people, they were also found in Strong and Joss as well. I just don’t think that’s okay, especially if they are going into people’s rooms without permission.

    Student Life: To directly respond to that, yeah, I don’t think ResLife has handled these things well. I think the issues with security, especially non-Vassar students on campus, we toe a thin line there. Realistically, we are more likely to hurt ourselves than an outsider hurting us. This also has profound racial implications. I think we need to be very careful, especially the two young boys found in Noyes, we need to be careful not to reinstate those racial implications.

    Strong: I agree with everything just said, but my problem with the situation is that they have physically assaulted some of my residents.

    2016: I agree that we do need to be aware of the racial implications. I made sure to get more details before I made any idea to bring it up in council.

    8:22//Executive Board Reports

    Operations: This will be quick. Ops committee is working on a few projects, the first is Food-Truck Friday. We have a social media project. We will be raffeling off a pillow pet. The third project is making a detailed job description for each VSA position. The project that I’m working on is the student leadership award. We are meeting with Alumae/i House tomorrow for the venue. The VSA is going to be having update columns in The Misc starting this week. The external review will be a thing soon.

    2017: With the report, is it going to be a physical copy or electronic?

    Ops: It’ll be electronic, I think. And we will talk about how to get it out there.

    8:24//Council Updates

    Strong: It’s really short. We are having Roaring Twenties with Raymond, from 8-12 on April 3. More to come as it gets closer.

    2015: 100 Nights was last night. Now we are planning 50 Nights and Senior Weeks. I’m graduating soon.

    Student Life: 50 Nights rumors?

    2015: After a bunch of meetings and extensively searching the town of Poughkeepsie, we emailed the Chance. It turns out if you offer them money, they will have you back. It will be a different event this year. The senior class pays for it. It’s probably going to be limited to seniors and guests.

    Ops: It might be too early, do you have any idea about Senior Week logistics?

    2015: We just started planning. Senior Week is nine days long this year. Currently we are trying to figure out how to use a four day budget for eight days. Luis Inoa is concerned about having people be signed in this year because it is nine days.

    THs: TH life is good life. All of our public space is currently covered in snow. We are beginning to plan events. I’ll have more to report at the end of March.

    2016: I have a whole new council because of JYA. I’m going to have everyone on Council sit on at least one committee. We want to work on smaller and easier programming. I want to bring back the puppy study break. As for a big event, we didn’t throw anything last semester. This semester we have some ideas in motion, but we still need to consult. We want to do a DJ competition.

    8:32//Open Discussion

    Ops: I met with Student Financial services. I’m bringing it to Ops. We will probably be voting next week.

    Joss: Props to Jewett for Seven Deadly.

    Ops: Apartment Draw tomorrow! Motion to Adjourn.

     
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