VSA Council 5.10.15

7:09//Student Store Trial Resolution

SoCo: Triple J has exclusivity on vending for food. it would be strange for the VSA to compete with itself.

Pres: I know we had talked about selling things that are sold in the bookstore.

SoCo: It’s not sold on the campus. I would modify it to say goods sold simultaneously.

Ferry: Then say it doesn’t conflic with that is sold in the other vending machines.

THs: I think the company will have the problem. Free and for Sale won’t care.

Pres: Let’s vote on changing the wording of the last clause.

change passes.

Pres: Now let’s vote on the resolution.

Resolution passes.

7:14//Restructuring Resolution

Ops: We voted to have our council commit to restructuring. Essentially, the idea is to make a series of significant changes next year, with the help of the report next year. We aren’t clear what those exact changes will look like, but it will involve a lot of people. We want forums and workshops and the whole campus to be involved.

SoCos: I appreciate the changes for having a timeline.

Pres: Let’s vote.

Ops abstains.

7:17//Charter for Ad-hoc Cabinet Positions

Pres: if you looked at the report, our review called for the creation of positions in places where we are bad. As a committee, we drew up this document. Exec will appoint them at the end of this semester. It will be an appointment.

TH: Looking at the PR director and the Activism Liaison, can they not be coalesced into one position? Why are they separate?

Pres: Our PR needs to be completely made over. We wanted it separate.

SoCo: Little connected. The nature of the meetings should be expressed. Everyone should be able to attend these meetings.

Pres: Council members will be welcome.

2018: Did you talk about creating a space for the activism groups? We want them to have their own space for their work.

Pres: It’ll be a resource. We would help them, but not be activists ourselves.

SoCos: Reaching out. Workshop events.

Lathrop: This is toward the Research Director position. How much work are we trying to get out of this?

Pres: It’ll be a resource, again.

Ferry: What if the activism on campus goes against what the college and the vsa stand for?

Ops: I think the VSA should have political opinions. We should decrease sexism, racism and general hatred on campus.

TH: I don’t think neutrality is possible. To pretend so is a farce. We can’t pretend about the reasons we are doing this. We need to be much more clear on this campus about our views. This is the place to talk about them, honestly. If there are members of our houses that need to have a space to talk, this is where they go. Don’t shame it.

Ferry: So we are going to be political? We are going to pick and choose our activists groups? Are we going to hurt their voices? There could be issues associated with that.

Jon (at large): Who is council to decide that. If they don’t like the political stance, they can recall you.

Tyler: The VSA council is responsible to the students. I think that is something the VSA should take a stance on.

Abby: I think the VSA needs to define an activist group.

Ops: The question about definition. I think it is important to define. But doesn’t need to happen now. It can come up later.

2018: I think that saying we are going to be picking and choosing. More of it is to prevent hurtful activism. VSA does have a stance to fight against hurtfulness.

Ferry: There are lots of groups that have issues with each other.

Ops; It’s about having a system of support.

SoCos: The entire intention was never to advise course of action. Instead it was to give advice. It’s a liaison, not a voting member. They aren’t on council. They will have to distance themselves from their political interests. I’m going to speak to the language of this now.

Jonathon: This does specify institutional activism. It’s directly students who are advocating to making Vassar a better place.

Pres: To followup, the idea is that VSA members know about Vassar. We are not experts. We learn about things. The wording of student groups is intentional. I’m gonna make a motion to change some wording though.

THs: To clarify funding, there are other ways for groups to go about staging events at this school.

Ops: I just want to keep in mind that it is possible to create these positions.

TAs: This council would only be making available information that every student on this college would already know about. It’s making information more accessible. Not a group’s information.

Pres: A hypothetical. Let’s say a group wants more Middle Eastern students and another wants none. We would get the admissions information about it.

Activities: I’m going back to the VCLU event. They did get punished for this. I know students who wanted to attend the lecture. I don’t want the VSA to just pick a side.

TH: I don’t necessarily agree with punishing. The VSA council can write an op-ed. We don’t need to make a stance and stoke the fire through punishment. Who is directly overseeing these people?

Pres: I would directly oversee them. The bi-weekly meetings will help with collaboration.

Jonathon: I think finance can speak to this better, but the VCLU was punished for not following protocol for getting outside funding.

Ops: We are here to encourage activism. We want to help. We can talk as a body. We should be proactive, not reactionary.

SoCo: I’m gonna call to question so we can vote.

All vote in favor.

2018: When you say publishing, where are you going to publish it? And will it be in one place?

Pres: I envisioned it as a spot on the website.

Finance: Where does it say we have to be apolitical?

Pres: It doesn’t.

Joss: To clarify, are we providing a space for information only?

Pres: Yes.

Public Relations: All in favor.

Training Director: Ops abstains.

Research Director: All in favor.

Activism Liaison: 2017 abstains. Finance and Lathrop oppose. Passes.

7:43//Constituent Concerns

TH: Chris and I want to know why there aren’t dog office hours. I’m going to talk to Diane about this. Creating an animal network.

2018: There is no official way for students to get to and from the hospital without the ambulance.

Tyler: I don’t know too much about this but Vassar has a contract with Alpha Taxi to bring students to and from the hospital. It’s supposedly free?

Kiran: You get charged to your student account.

StuLife: The pet office hours was put in motion with Diane and Elizabeth Schrock. It fell a part after Elizabeth left. If we follow through, it can be put together really quickly. The dogs are also certified service dogs.

SoCos: First, the dogs. There are legal reasons for service animals. Let’s tread that careful line. With the shuttle, we used to have one, before the recession. We should look into that when we get back. The bus doesn’t go all day. We should collab with other exec offices on campus. What else can the college do?

TH: Written consent will be needed. We have an issue with access. Why is the Vassar Homepage the homepage? Let’s make the VSA website the homepage for all of the computers. Let’s reinvigorate the website. It’s really simple.

7:50//Executive Board Reports

President: We are going to have a spring council retreat. It will be May 18 at 7 p.m. We will have food. Location TBD. I will send out the dates for Fall training shortly. We are looking into our VSA advisor situation. One of our advisors will be Terri Quinn.

7:52//Open Discussion

Ops: We want to make our meeting procedures more efficient. Less terrifying. What about this experience can be improved.

Raymond: What are the expectations and responsibilities of those on council?

Pres: We will talk about that in Spring Training. You have to sit on two committees. We will talk about specifics later.

SoCos: Let’s be careful about alternative spaces.

Tyler: I just want people should know that the Committee on College Life has not met since March. They cancelled all of our meetings. They were once a month, but still. We need to be more assertive with the administration.

SoCos: To speak to that, often, they would schedule time for meetings during class. We are students. Speaking of CCL, they are pushing through the smoke-free campus. I’m interested in the feedback here. I think Student Life should work on getting feedback. It is also about enforcement. They aren’t being clear on the punishments.

Pres: Gathering student feedback will be with our new Student Research Director.

Ferry: Can we publish everything? All of the cancellations?

StuLife: I personally find it really disconcerting to hear that many meetings were cancelled. It’s a good idea to publish the cancellations. We need to make sure that…we are very open and direct about our uncomfortability. We are the student government We need to make it clear that we aren’t happy about this. It’s important for them to know that they are greatly effected the process on this campus. They need to make time for us.

Tyler: I think it is something that has historically been done and the VSA needs to plan for this. The cancellation of a meeting will not stall progress.

SoCos: This happens all of the time. For those who are new to this council, I want to see how many people are serious about this. Let’s propose a letter right now. We can draft that letter to all of the joint committees. We are aware and concerned. I’m going to motion that now. Ops committee can meet once to draft this.

Academics opposes. Motion passes.

Academics: The faculty proposes changes to a committee. We discuss it. We draft formal changes and I bring it to council. I take all of the responses and send it to Dean Chenette. They will meet again on May 13.

Pres: The ALANA center candidates will be on campus. I’m going to let you know when those meetings will be. You should go!

Tyler: We will find out who the new house advisors are soon.

SoCos: I was on the committee. David Borus took care of that. We had one of the most selective pools for ED. There’s a lot of complexity about ED and RD. Art wants our admit rate to be lower for ED.

2018: The elitist remark? Who made that remark?

Lathrop: That’s from somewhere.

2018: More students should want to apply, so an admissions rate should go down. They are bettering schools.

SoCos: They want a more competitive pool.

Pres: In the past our ED admit rate was really high, almost half the people who applied ED were getting in. He was taking fewer people ED. For 2019, there were fewer applicants by about 200. Our rate went up because of that. A lot of it just comes down to how many people apply.

Ops: I’m wondering about the relevance of this conversation. What can we do?

TH: I think when we talk about elitism, I would like for it to be the VSA’s to develop a politic. We have to establish a political line. Most people are disappointed. The VSA needs to take more responsibility.

Maddy: Please speak louder and slower.

SoCo: We have reps to the CoAFA. tell your people stuff.

Lathrop: Motion to adjourn.

All in favor.