VSA Council 9.20.15

7:35//Call to Order and Attendance

Absent: 2016 (proxy)

7:39//Consensus agenda

  • a. Capital Fund to Barefoot Monkeys ($526.05/$862.80)
  • b. Discretionary to Raymond House ($400/$1000)
  • c. Capital Fund to Miscellany News ($19.99/$19.99)
  • d. Collaboration to HYPE ($600/$600)
  • e. Speakers to GAAP ($1950/$2100)
  • f. Collaboration to Main House ($1650/$3000)
  • g. Appointment of Ellen Jones to 2016 BOEA Rep
  • h. Appointment of Nora Eigenbrodt to 2018 BOEA Rep
  • i. Minutes from 9/13/15

Finance: Barefoot Monkeys came in for new supplies, Raymond for their fall event, Misc for supplies, Main for their fall event.

Ops: We appointed two people to BOEA. Ellen Jones and Nora. We are now missing two junior reps for BOEA.

7:40//Forum with Marianne Begemann, Dean of Strategic Planning/Academic Resource

Begemann: I hope you all had fun at Serenading. I went to In Light Of, and it was amazing. It was moving and powerful. It made me really proud to be a part of the Vassar community. I had nothing to do with it. When Ramy asked me to come, he asked me to talk about the college center renovation. I did want to talk about a couple things that relate to the library as well. Let me start with the renovation in the college center. We got a little delayed with the plans. What we are planning down there is to turn that space into a student space. Really simple with a variety of different kind of furniture. There will be a projector down there. There will be a performance area as well. It’s simple and not too expensive. That will begin during Oct. Break and it will finish in the Spring. We will also be renovating the SARC space. What we will do over Winter is improve the lighting and improve the circulation through there. It will be the same function, though. My question for all of you is related to food. A suggestion was made to move UpC into that space. We have room down there. The idea would be to serve the same stuff, little bit reduced menu. We are trying to get the pricing for it as well. An alternative suggestion was made to keep the Kiosk open for late night hours and not have food. That would be an alternate plan. The idea was to close the Kiosk and have a cafe in the bridge building. Which do you prefer?

Lathrop: One concern is that the kiosk has a central location. The idea of closing the kiosk in main building is sad.

Begemann: But there is coffee in the retreat.

Lathrop: We want starbucks.

Cushing: Definitely not closing the Kiosk. Even just serving better coffee in the retreat, that won’t solve the problem. In terms of moving UpC to main, I’m against it. It’s a good location right now. Keeping the Kiosk open longer in the night as well as having UpC open is better overall. This campus doesn’t need fewer dining options. Transferring one location to another is not the answer.

Jesse: There is an extent to which the location is part of the appeal.

Strong: Would they accept meal swipes at the Kiosk?

Begemann: That would be a food service question. We originally were going to close the Kiosk down for the cafe in the bridge building. It would be a duplicate. We are looking at a different issue. What we kept hearing last year was that UpC didn’t work. People didn’t stay. UpC is a place to go and get your smoothie and leave. We want a place where you can stay.

Ferry: I think that UpC is a place where people go to hang out. So many people go there to study. It’s so big, too. There’s so much overcrowding in Main already. I’d be concerned with how you were going to fit everyone in UpC. It’s not a huge space downstairs.

Begemann: It would go from the front of the stairs to where the hallway starts. It’s probably about 50 or 75 seats with tables as well as soft seats. It’s different than what we heard from students last year.

Ferry: What will happen to the old UpC space?

Begemann: The idea right now is just to move the cafe function and leave the rest as it is. It just wouldn’t have food.

Noyes: It’s a nice thing to have something closer to us. There’s no plan to put something else in UpC?

Begemann: For right now, there is no plan. Give us your input on the Campus Master Planning website. Encourage others to do the same. Right now this space doesn’t do what it could and should.

Noyes: Is it at all a possibility to have a new cafe?

Begemann: We can start thinking of it. It comes down to money.

At-Large: Is there any plans for any additions? I don’t see what the benefit would be to have a more inconvenient location?

Begemann: What’s convenient and not convenient is hard to know. Main is the hub of campus during the day. It’s all a question of where you are.

At Large: Are there any planned additions or things to improve UpC?

Begemann: No. We will have to wait and see. It should be nicer downstairs.

Student Life: I personally like the idea. There’s already a lot of foot-traffic to the Kiosk. It’s not a convenient space right now. If we had more dining options, that would be ideal. It’s inconvenient to walk through Main during the day.

Main: I want to talk about having that space downstairs open during the day. I like the idea of having it open during the day and at night. Just having the Deece as a one-story entity is weird. We need more food options. I want to keep it cohesive. Food should stay with food. Main is this huge food thing that will be amazing and yummy.

Begemann: We are going to see additional changes in the future. Hopefully some good ideas will come on the table. The kiosk was supposed to go away in January. I don’t know anymore. To keep the Kiosk open at all is going to cost additional dollars. I totally understand that we need multiple food places and options.

Ferry: You said there would be a reduced menu for UpC if it moves?

Begemann: We just can’t do everything downstairs.

Jonathon: I know this might be hard to answer…but you keep on saying that it would cost additional money. Do the cafes pay for themselves? Is the college losing money on them?

Begemann: I really don’t know. We just contract through Aramark. I don’t think the college makes a profit, but they certainly do.

SoCos: I have a lot of info to clarify. What is the nature of the bridge cafe? What will it serve? What will it look like?

Begemann: It’s essentially like the Kiosk.

SoCos: UpC doesn’t have a kitchen either. Everything is brought in from somewhere else. Nobody is talking about the Bean. It’s a student-run coffee place. If we care about the Kiosk, we can fund it in different ways. To clarify why this is a different sense of voice for UpC is that people don’t see all late night spaces in different ways. Students leave UpC because it’s a big space but it’s not set up properly.

Begemann: Stuff hasn’t been set in stone yet. What’s better for the college though? If we did move UpC, they would accept dining bucks similar to what it’s like now. I also wanted to get your input about something else. We are bringing in an exhibit into the Library in October for five weeks. There will be several lectures on Ulysses as well.

Lathrop: That’s great. We think library programming is great. I wanted to bring up CIS. They haven’t upgraded the wireless connectivity.

Begemann: Any specific spaces?

THs: It doesn’t work most places. Senior housing particularly. But these conversations get talked to death with no actual goals. We need a vision. We need to stop having these huge discussions. We need to have a focused group. Stop experimenting. These are important issues. I support things in the library though. Utilize the spaces that are there. We need to create action committees.

Begemann: We haven’t given up on the full renovation. It’s a long term goal with millions of dollars on the line.

THs: We don’t need band-aids though.

Begemann: This is what the campus master planning is about.

Cushing: We don’t have food on this campus that people like and want to eat. If the problem is staffing, create work-study jobs. Just move stuff around. These are simple changes.

Begemann: I really appreciate this.

SoCos: I motion for a five-minute extension about alternative discussion.

Pres: It’s a tie, I have to vote. I’m saying no.

8:31//Indictment of BOEA Chair

Pres: Adam resigned.

Jesse: Was there a reason given for his resignation?

Pres: There were several, but none are appropriate.

Abby: I can help with whatever you need.

Joss: If we could get those dates immediately, that would be great.

Ops: This will be as transparent as possible.

Pres: Everything but the debate is set in stone.

TA: The meeting is not set in stone.

Ops: We are now accepting applications for the BOEA chair.

StuLife: I would like to say thanks to Ruby.


Operations : We had a meeting on Saturday and nobody came. It was me and Demaris. We got stuff done. We will advertise that in the future though. Can  HP send that out to their constituents. There will be food in the future.

President: As I mentioned at FLC and stuff. Bystander intervention needs to happen, legally. An email will go out soon. There will be six dates. Each org will be required to send one person to be trained. Any org that doesn’t attend will have their budget frozen. The Seven Sisters conference is in November. If you’re interested, let us know.

Lathrop: House teams included?

Pres: No, you were already trained.

Cush: When is the first admin meeting?

Pres: We talked with Cappy already. Roellke isn’t fully back yet.

Jesse: Is the specific content of the training mandated by the state?

Pres: The state just mandates that it has to happen. We will use our own content through SAVP.

Jesse: Very little information has been given about the reporting process. Nobody knows how to do this.

StuLife: In terms of reporting, we are currently working with the stats from Hannah’s survey last semester. Bystander intervention is different than reporting.

2016: If you are in charge of multiple ogs, do you need to send someone else?

Pres: I’ll find out.

Joss: Thanks Jesse. Individual houses are working on setting up study breaks to learn about this stuff.

Jesse: I think a lot of the culture is centered around reporting. Sexual assault is difficult to prove. There is still a stigma to reporting.

Joss: I just have to disagree. That places the onus on the survivors, and that’s not where the onus is.

Strong: I understand why you are talking about this, but I think you need to be a little more sensitive about how you speak about these issues.

Noyes: If a person has already been trained, do they have to go again?

Pres: I’ll find out.

8:47//Constituent Concerns

Cushing: We’ve sponsored a resolution. It’s a concern. We don’t live in safe housing, which we pay for.

Ferry: We have bees too. Anders has yet to come to a meeting with us.

THs: We have critter issues. If you see something, say something. Please do not feed the animals.

SoCos: We have mice. We need to document this.

Abby: I would encourage those with bee problems to find out about bee allergies. Talk to your house advisors.

Joss: Keep talking to your house advisors. They have all of the info if you keep talking to them. HSA Luke said that we got money for halloween night. We want to do that again.

Ferry: Is there a way to get a time-stamp on googledocs?

SoCos: I’ll make a googleform.

Jewett: Regarding minor issues, but it might be worth getting in touch with the building managers.

8:53//Traditions Committee Amendment

SoCos: This is part of a greater discussion. Senior class council has been talking about ensuring better communication with Traditions Committee. We can clear up the language. The core idea is to have them meet with us every two weeks. It was different last year because we had all of the money. Now they have their own money. Traditions committee is a partnership.

2016: Did they talk to you about serenading, Kevin?

Activities: No.

Jesse: Why not VSA in general?

SoCos: Because they already do that after said events. Senior class council used to do these events. They are supposed to collab with certain people. We just want a smaller scale and they have a large relation with seniors. Institutional memory.

Pres: The senior class has never had anything to do with MMiP and Founders Day.

Noyes: If there could be something added about Serenading. They should meet with BHP.

SoCos: It came out of the thought of Serenading. It sounds like it’s just going to be Serenading and Halloweekend for Senior Class Council. And also BHP for Serenading.

8:58//Open Discussion

Joss: I think there is some bitterness and misinformation about Serenading. I want to clarify the three houses that chose to withdraw. Not everyone will agree with the hazing definition. I don’t think we can ignore the feedback of this event. A lot of people were concerned with the power dynamic. I respect that we tried to move away from the power-dynamic. Thank you for the work that was done though. There are opinions out there that are calling our decision making process autocratic, lazy, deceitful…it’s hurtful and untrue though. We need to speak our peace. We extended a great deal of energy to ensure we were representing our constituents. People came to me with concerns. I had to hear these things and respond. We opened those conversations. I presented to individual fellow groups. I gave them the chance to make their own decisions. Receiving the feedback afterward has been very helpful. People have thanked us. As long as our representatives are happy, I would hate to feel that we have done something terribly wrong. We wanted to support quality programming. Everything we’ve done has come from a place of deep respect. We didn’t make these decisions on our own or light-heartedly.

Jesse: I respect the three houses that decided to withdraw. I understand that there is a power dynamic. I’m not saying get rid of the tradition. But maybe a discussion needs to be had about how to make this a fun tradition for everyone.

Lathrop: As a member of CARES, all HPs should of received an email about a CARES/TLC study break. Please do it. These groups are important.

Pres: Congrats to Ashley Hoyle and Aiden Lewy on their wedding. More seriously, part of what we did with Traditions Committee is that we made the chair a two year position. Audrey will stay in that position next year. We will make a future of serenading working group.

Davison: We just want to ask everyone here who just heard Joss to please spread that message. People are disrespectful and hurtful.

THs: Not serenading. Marianne did offer to come back. I think we have issues to discuss.

SoCos: Briefly, we should think ahead of time of how to frame forum discussion.

2018: I appreciate what you said Maya. I went to a lot of meetings about Master Planning. It’s the same conversation all the time. A student committee is a good idea, but why are we just talking?

2017: I don’t know why she came, honestly. She didn’t come here with an open mind. Maybe I’m judging her. Her body language wasn’t open.

Ferry: Can Joss write an article for the Misc about their point of view?

StuLife: I don’t think it’s fair to say she came wanting to be unproductive. I think that although what they do can be muddled, it’s unfair to say they don’t have the student’s best interests at heart or in mind. Yes, there should be some sort of vision, at the same time, they need student input. Honestly, she may have been taken aback by the way we talked towards her. I think it was very aggressive. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

TAs: There are student reps to the master planning committee. Student committee members haven’t been contacted though. They need to meet.

Jesse: I was looking through last year’s campaign statements and people don’t always take their jobs as seriously as they should.

Abby: I find it offensive that you blame the board of elections for that.

Jesse: I think we can all just do better. I don’t want to blame the board of elections.

SoCos: We get it. It’s hard for elections to work. Admins are pushing us around, but we need to hone how this is all structured.

Finance: Dashboard is working! If you have questions, we can get in touch with the web manager. Fill out pcard policy.

2016: Back on Serenading. I was talking to TQ and she asked about it. She was happy that it was something that was being talked about. Reach out to her.

Raymond: I wanted to talk about that was sent. Be purposeful of your words. Be careful about the language.

Town Students: When we voted a few weeks ago about the VCLU, abstaining is  no? Can we change that?

Pres: Roberts Rules is very specific. Ruby and I talked about this. We had so many abstentions that only 15 people voted and that means we didn’t have quorum, which is 16.

Lathrop: Does the new webmaster has full access to the website?

Ops: We are working on that.

SoCos: Have you talked to CIS?

Ops: No.

Joss: Thanks to Sherm for taking our pics. When emails are sent to house presidents, they go to the old presidents, not the new ones.

Activities: That’s me. I’ll do that.