VSA Council 10.25.15

7:00//Call to Order and Attendance

Absent: Cushing, Davison,  THs, Activities

7:05//Consensus agenda

    1. Speakers to GAAP
    2. Capital to VCTV
    3. Social Consciousness to ViCE Film
    4. Collaboration to ViCE Film
    5. Speakers to ViCE Film
    6. Pre-Org to Traditional Korean Folk Music
    7. Discretionary to Strong
    8. Speakers to ASA
    9. Collaboration to Traditions Committee
    10. Discretionary to Night Owls
    11. Capital to Merely Players
    12. Social Consciousness to Poder Latin@
    13. Collaboration to Cushing
    14. Speakers to Josselyn

Finance: Most of these we don’t need to talk about. Most of them have been tabled.

Pres: We are moving the speakers to ViCE off of the agenda. Now we will talk about the new Traditions Committee fund app.

Finance: There have been conversations about this. Basically, we want to have more conversations between houses. Have house presidents met about this and talked?  Let’s vote for a closed session.

~closed session~

Finance: We decided on an allocation of $1450. Now for the speaker app for Joss. Joss wants to bring a speaker to do a talk about positivity. How do we feel about this event and what will Joss do.

Shahid: I can answer any questions.

Cushing: For context, who is this speaker?

Shahid: We are bringing Lil B here. He’s a rapper from the Bay Area. There are some great videos on YouTube online of him speaking. We think it would be an amazing event and add to dialogues on campus. He has so much to say, as a young man of color, I feel like it would be beneficial. As for ridiculing the artist, do you have contexts?

At-large: I’m a member of Finance, I was not happy about this. I think it is a misuse of $14000 dollars. All of the questions at the end were about his twitter feuds. I think the message should be worth the funds.

Shahid: I think it would be unfair to limit the speakers coming to Vassar because of questions asked at a different school. I’ve spoken with his manager and we know how to frame this conversation. We will have the purview to let the more important questions to be heard.

At-large: Is this worth $14,000 dollars, though? He’s a notorious rapper, known for starting feuds. If we are talking about controlling the way this lecture will be digested, there is only so much we can do. He’s not somebody who caters his talks to any one specific thing. I don’t know if it is worth this amount of money. He’s not the first person we would think of.

Student Life: I’m on the same line. Do we know what he is going to be talking about and who the targeted audience is? I hesitate to grant this much money if the event isn’t as planned as I would hope it to be. I would like to have a more itemized list of what is happening here.

Shahid: I think that Joss’s point is not necessarily entirely routed in an activist dialogue. It would be intensely engaging and interesting. He does not script his speeches; he speaks from the heart. It has been an intensely positive experience. I do apologize for the number we are bringing to the VSA. We have a lot of collaborators. We are also expecting a pretty large audience. We have a lot of views for publicity.

StuLife: I see a lot of opportunity for it to devolve into something…where we are laughing at this artist of color.

2017: I don’t know very much about him and his politics. One of his strongest talking points online. I don’t know if I necessarily like that as a political ideology.

Strong: I have a similar sentiment. There’s an interesting dichotomy between his songs and what he speaks about.

THs: Did you go to the contract stage without any funding? And he’s not performing. It’s a large number to bring a performer to campus to not perform.

Jewett: Same as Strong.

Cush: What impact would this have on the speakers fund?

Finance: We haven’t used a lot of speakers fund. Allocating this amount would put us a 1/4 into the fund. It wouldn’t take us off of the trajectory that we are on.

Town Students: What else can you use this amount of money for? What else has this gotten us?

2019: I wanted to know more about the content of the positivity message. I did rudimentary research. I did see merit in his speeches.

Shahid: I’m not that into listening to Lil B as an artist. He considers himself an environmentalist, fights for animal rights and human rights. It’s worth noting that he is not an academic or a scholar. He won’t give us a list of talking points. We want to bring a different event.

SoCos: It depends on a number of factors, to answer TS question. Some speakers could have ten thousand for an honorarium, others could have none. VSA is a fund for last resort. The amount you ask for is after you fund raise. What is significant here is also why they declined to help you?

Shahid: This number reflects an incredible amount of hard work. The figure was also really high. We had a lot of emails and discussions about trying to get the number down. ViCE does have a huge budget, as does Hip-Hop 101. We talked extensively with them and they just didn’t get back to us and didn’t give us good meeting times. Their budgets were already tapped out though.

SoCos: There’s complexity here too. They do preplan for their events throughout the year. We don’t know what their motives were.

Shahid: They had indicated a giant interest last year for this event. They told us that they could do it at the 30,000 budget.

2018: Why specifically have you chosen Lil B to express this positivity?

Shahid: I think the reason is that this is such a draw and he’s different than other people we bring to campus.

Emma: In his lecture at MIT, he stated some problematic things. I don’t know if that is okay.

Ferry: I appreciate the work you’ve done to bring a non-academic speaker here. What work has he done on some of these issues though?

Shahid: He’s not an activist in any way. I don’t think he has the academic qualifications to speak on anything.

Joss: I wanted to respond to the level of funding. I think what we are trying to do with this speaker is trying to challenge what is worthy of that much money. I think that’s the kind of engagement we want to bring. That money could serve other things, but I feel that it shows us trying to uphold non-academic voices.

Lily: I want to bring the point of what you said earlier about the purpose of this is about positivity. Your fund app shows a range of things he could talk about. I’m confused about how much work you did on the content of the lecture. I want to draw your attention to bring local activists to campus. I also want to talk about all of the orgs that bring people who are cheaper but also see very unattended lectures.

Kayla: We keep talking about this concern of moving out of academia. I put together a list of people who you could bring to campus, Kimberly Crenshaw….

Shahid: That’s a fantastic point. I think that is exactly the point we are trying to illuminate. And those events were all underattended.

Lily: I think the people that will attend this event will be there for the wrong reasons.

StuLife: The impression I’m getting is that a lot of the reasons you want to bring him is for he bigness of the event. I wonder how much of that weighed into your opinion to bring him.

Shahid: I think the bigness of the event absolutely weighed into our event.

Ops: I feel like now would be a good time to move into a voting discussion space.

Max: Thank you for your work. It will help the VSA put on good alternative programming that will draw crowds. I think there is a lot to say about the way your team has set this up.

2019: I just wanted to talk about reception real quick. I wonder about the reception some of his views could have.

Shahid: It’s difficult to talk about this because we don’t have a contract with him yet.

Finance: Let’s move into a vote on this. These issues did not come up in our initial conversation. I think this body is more equipped to make this decision now. Should we consent to the fund app as is or resubmit the fund app?

Pres: You’re moving to table? And a closed session? We can’t vote in a closed session.

Finance: Nevermind, let’s just bring them back in.

Pres: The motion is to table?

Noyes: What exactly are we voting for?

Pres: The options are zero or the allocation.

Finance: Wait…

Pres: Give me a moment.

Finance: If we vote to table it, it goes to Finance as a new application. Then we either vote for a full allocation or no allocation.

Ops: If we table it, then it goes to Finance.

Pres: The motion is to table to fund app. Speak in favor?

Lily: I feel like there is room for Joss to go back and make this a better event. I also don’t want it to go to council because it privatizes the power to council.

SoCos: I think we should just do the vote here. We’ve had a major discussion here. If we ask them to rethink this, then we want them to change the core of the event. There’s also more value to having more voices.

Ops: Let’s vote. Don’t abstain because you are lazy.

No: 2016, 2019, Ferry, Main, Noyes, Raymond, Strong, SoCos, TAs, THs,

Pres: We are not tabling this so we will vote now.

Ops: Now the motion is whether to allocate the full amount or not.

No: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Cush, Ferry, Jewett, Lathrop, Raymond, Strong, SoCos, TA, TH, TS, Finance, Ops

Zero fund allocation.

8:06//Constituent Concerns

THs: I want to address the emails sent by Anders. I’m going to read some of these emails….I wanted to give a lot of credit to people who sent the emails. Jud Board was also confused about how to find somebody responsible for this. It seems to have been resolved. There will not be security guards combing the area. There is no room for concern. If something does happen, then it needs to be addressed immediately because they made us a promise and they would be breaking it.

Raymond: We are wondering if we can get bins or something for those who choose to smoke off of campus.

TAs: CCL was flustering. The two women who headed the initiative….Anders is a liaison but he didn’t get it. He doesn’t understand this policy and Luis Inoa didn’t know the email was sent out. The two women didn’t even know about these concerns. I don’t know where we come in here. They kind of think that everything is fine.

Raymond: I’m very confused that this is coming from Anders. He was the one who told us something different earlier.

StuLife: I think it does show a lack of respect. I do want to give some credit to the co-chairs of the smoking initiative. They just don’t know what would happen once the ban is initiated.

Ferry: Cigarette butts are highly toxic and terrible for the environment. The school should have receptacles. It’s a hard habit to kick. There should be places where they can go off campus if they choose to smoke.

SoCos: I have strong feelings about the VSA putting money here. When this was initially voted on our Freshman year, every class rep said no. I think we need to dig into this a little more. I also have problems with non-tobacco products being banned. This has been planned for years. There needs to be a public commitment.

Main: Seeing as this is the last meeting before Halloween. It does not have to be an ugly event. People live in Main.

Pres: It’s going to go in my all-campus email about being nice to the building.

2018: Can house presidents also put it into their emails.

Joss: We were contacted by Health Ed and they asked us to have more information about consent, drinking, etc. Anders said it violated the reslife poster hanging protocol. I think this supercedes that protocol.

Davi: Luis is going to take care of it.

Finance: Having active members there to encourage people to respect the space.

2019: What’s the typical damage?

Main: Two years ago was a shitshow. There were toilets smashed, windows destroyed. There was no campaign for peace in Main. Last year there was a campaign and there was no damage. We are getting security guards to do extra rounds as well.

Ferry: Try not to be offensive as well.

Pres: Campus life is going to send an email about not being racist and offensive.

TS: Don’t bring this off campus. Don’t go to College Ave. Just don’t.

Cushing: Heating. It’s cold.

2016: My house is so hot.

2017: Can we have the house advisors send out emails about the heating control rooms.

8:26//Reports

Academics: Peer advising dinner is scheduled. Tuesday, Nov. 10. It requires you to have your name is a system for people to email. You also get a fun and free meal in the Aula. Speaking of prereg, the official launch of the syllabus archive is going out soon. Town Students is helping me with the screening thing. Be mindful of your knocking.

Lathrop: What’s going to be served?

Academics: We are continuing those discussions at meeting.

2017: I want to talk about grading. Econ sucks.

Student Life: CCL met. Finalized a list of topics for this year. I’m going to join more committees. Tell me which ones you want. I’ve met with Arlene Sabo. Let me know what you want us to talk about. Ramy has spoken about the gender neutral bathrooms initiative is in jeopardy.

Pres: At the end of last year, the next big phase we were going into was athletics. Some of the existing gender neutral bathrooms are being called into question by certain staff, including Sanders Physics, Skinner and the College Center. We are going to write a letter to reaffirm our beliefs about it.

Cushing: If you don’t sit on the committee, do students sit on them?

StuLife: yes, but I don’t know for sure who.

Cushing: What if we did nominations?

Abby: BOEA will appoint people. Chris, do you wanna come?

StuLife: yeah, let me know.

Raymond: There are mice in the deece.

Lathrop: Food contracts update?

Pres: I can say stuff. Ops has officially asked for everyone to do updates.

Activities: We are working on closet space for orgs. We are also planning the spring leadership training.

Finance: My thesis is done. Another session of treasurer training.

Ops: I was in a lot of trustee meetings. I missed restructuring, but stuff happened. We are moving forward with a survey about tasty Tuesday. We are working on the Saturday Shuttle.

Pres: I can’t say anything about the meetings. We will have a forum about dining though. We made a city committee for the once a month shuttle to the city. Foodtruck Friday will meet this week. Six orgs did not get bystander trained and they are going to be defunded until they are trained.

Davi: You need to talk to your house advisor to get the fliers up for Halloween.

Pres: Restructuring went well yesterday. We talked about StuLife and Academics. We haven’t finalized this Saturday’s meeting yet.

8:46//Letter Regarding Off-Campus Transportation

StuLife: We wrote this letter over the past few weeks. This is out of a concern that there is not enough transportation for students seeking off-campus counseling and go to off-campus pharmacies for medication. Public transportation is unreliable. This is a necessity for students on campus.

Ops: The letter came to Ops and we had quite a bit of feedback.

Pres: Counseling maintains a list of off-campus options. It can be helpful to see how far away Vassar insurance is taken.

Cush: Are we just tabling this?

Joss: This hasn’t been sent out? Would it be appropriate to send this to our constituents.

Stulife: summaries are good and then maybe tell them to come to student life.

8:50//Open Discussion

2018: Sophomore class council is thinking of doing a class project, like an art project.

Cushing: Refugee panels are happening this week. Please tell everyone about it.

Pres: Shout-out to Davi for your event. Chris and I have been meeting with Ed Pittman. This coming Friday we will have a pre-council dinner that will be a conversation around Israel-Palestine.

Abby: That’s Shabbot.

StuLife: We heard through the grapevine about something that could come up to council soon. We want to have something as soon as possible. If and when a BDS resolution come to council, we want to be as educated as possible. This was the time chosen by Ed Pittman because it was the only time free. We are still trying to figure this out. We are trying to put this together very last minute.

Ferry: Is this discussion going to involve anti-Semitism?

StuLife: We will find a different time.

SoCos: Go to the conversation dinner on Thursday to see how this is structured. It’s about class, but it can be helpful for planning.

2018: I went to one last year and it was very safe.

Main: Haunted house on Friday. 8 p.m. in Rocky.

Cushing: We are also having an alternative to Halloween party in our parlor.

TS: how scary is it going to be?

Main: Really scary.

Matt: This meeting on Friday is not happening?

StuLife: Yes, it will be rescheduled.

Pres: A BDS resolution will be coming up soon, we just don’t know when. It will not sneak up on us because it goes through Ops first.

StuLife: It is also so that we as a VSA can still function.

Raymond: We are having a session on this in Raymond.

2017: Will there be bagels?

Ops: Yes.