VSA 11.8.15

7:05//Call to Order and Attendance

Absent:  2017 (proxy), Ferry, Lathrop (proxy)

7:07//Consensus agenda

    1. Collaboration to NoViCE (0/800)
    2. Capital to NoViCE (Tabled/1378.04)
    3. Speakers to LiNK (100/300)
    4. Capital to Quiz Bowl (130/130)
    5. Speakers to ViCE Comedy (Tabled/10000)
    6. Social Consciousness to MBSA (2750/2600)
    7. Social Consciousness to VJU (Tabled/2000)
    8. Frozen Budgets:
      i. Young Democratic Socialists
      ii. Episcopal Church of VC
      iii. No Such Organization
      iv. Multiracial-Biracial Students Alliance
      v. Vassar Bikes
      vi. The Limit
      vii. Feminist Alliance
    9. Certification of Chabad Jewish Community
    10. Middle Eastern Students Collective to Level 2
    11. Minutes from 11/8/15

Finance: NoViCE came in for a collab with Idlewild.

Activities: We only leveled up two orgs this week.

TA: BOEA appointed Elizabeth Garrity for Noyes Spring Rep.

7:09//Forum with Judy Jarvis, Director of LGBTQ and Womens Centers

Judy Jarvis: I’m the Director of the LGBTQ and Women’s Centers. I’m an alum. My forum is about the gender neutral bathroom initiative. I want to update everyone on the initiative and talk about what the students can do. The initiative has been an on and off thing for years. The dorms have been co-ed since the mid-80s. That was a factor of having been a women’s college. It was a voting process by the dorms to choose to have ‘co-ed’ dorms. When I started here, there were about 13-15 academic buildings with zero gender neutral bathroom facilities. To have to weigh whether you want to use a restroom means you are not at your best in the classroom. It’s an additional stressor that not everyone has to deal with. It also goes with our non-discrimination factor. With this info, we had a wonderful working group that started in the Spring of 2013 to push this initiative. Now we have nine of those 13 buildings that have at least one gender neutral bathroom. We also did eight different sessions for education to talk about how gender neutral bathrooms are just one form of trans-allyship. We are at a point where people think the initiative has been successful. That’s not true. We still have four-ish buildings that don’t have gender neutral bathrooms. I’ve had complaints from professors or staff members from three different buildings on campus. There has been vandalism on signs in Main and another sign was completely ripped down in Davison. What I need your help with is that we need to work to maintain these bathrooms on campus. Admin and students don’t stay here as long as faculty members and staff members. The main drivers here are the people who turn over the fastest. It doesn’t work to just tell people they are idiots. They are coming from a different perspective. They are from different generations or class backgrounds. It is also their facilities. I have to make sure I’m not being superior to people who may not fully understand it. I’m wondering about what VSA can do for this. We talked about it in BIRT, maybe sending an all-campus email affirming gender neutral bathrooms. Also, looking back at what the VSA has done in the past. We just want to make sure there is still energy around gender neutral bathrooms.

Noyes: How much weight do complaints from faculty impact new gender neutral bathrooms?

Jarvis: It’s hard to tell. The initiative has three senior officers on it. I don’t think professor dissent will undo this work. My fear is that if a lot of negative information is around, then nobody will consider it for the future. I’m not concerned that any of the current gender neutral bathrooms will get changed. I want people to understand why this is important.

SoCos: Is the rhetoric still around fire code? One argument was that the bathroom would be hidden away.

Jarvis: The thing I know a lot about is building code. We have some buildings where we are under occupancy. If you touch the building, you will get fined. There are some buildings that Vassar just won’t touch. That being said, we still were able to work pretty well. We were able to get folks on board to allow multistall bathrooms be gender neutral. Any single occupancy bathroom is really easy. The Chapel has no gender neutral bathrooms. Sanders Physics has two womens and two mens bathrooms. We are going to change two of those to gender neutral. We aren’t trying to change every single bathroom to be gender neutral bathroom. Mostly the resistance is coming from misinformation. Athletics is harder to work with. But we can work around code.

Pres: I co-wrote with Danny the initial statement that the VSA passed. I would be happy to draft a note to the student body. One thing I want to ask is about future renovations. Do they plan for gender neutral bathrooms in those renovations?

Jarvis: I can’t say. I wasn’t at some of the Master Planning meetings. I’m keeping in touch with Marianne Begemann about this. I think it is an area that students should be aware of it.

Jon: I heard that the buildings on campus are grandfathered into the ADA.

Jarvis: That’s true. It’s not that they don’t want to become ADA accessible, but they are old buildings so we have to plot out how that works.

Jewett: Of the concerns raised, were they all about discomfort or were their practical reasons?

Jarvis: In Sanders Physics, there were some shoddy workmanship. A lot of the complaints were about discomfort or not knowing what was happening. Often it was dispelling misinformation.

2018: I wanted to ask how much weight us writing a letter would be? What else could we do?

Jarvis: I welcome all of your creativity. An important part of my job was the info sessions. I just need help with this stuff. Letters can be great, but only for short-term. I’ve been doing passive education, but there could be more. If we could get huge posters in the College Center? Where can we reaffirm this?

TS: This is because I live with this person, but zines could be cool.

Jarvis: As many different efforts, the better. My number one is implementation. Number two is education.

StuLife: Is there something that we do yearly in first-year orientation that is about gender neutral bathrooms? Or should we do something?

Jarvis: That’s interesting. It might be an informal conversation already. In my experience, it hasn’t really been students with the issues. They get acclimated pretty well. It’s not to say that the students are all on board. Bias incidents say otherwise.

SoCos: Was there ever a policy about after-hours usage?

Jarvis: I think that is just a student practice. I think students should just keep using whatever bathrooms you want.

Lathrop: Is SLD still active?

Jarvis: I don’t know if it is active.

7:50// Frozen Budgets

Pres: Now we will talk about the frozen budgets. There were six training sessions and multiple emails sent. These seven orgs did not attend.

SoCos: I want to talk about some concerns about going ahead and freezing these budgets. Ideally, we didn’t want to freeze budgets. I got feedback about the timeline and communication from some of these orgs. These orgs are basically not real now. If you don’t have a budget, you can’t add to your budget by fundraising. I’m not sure if the best solution right now is to freeze their budget. I think there needs to be a timeline.

Ops: I think it is important to clarify some misinformation. All orgs were contacted. They knew. Their immediate programming will continue.

Pres: The rationale behind that was that some groups already have contracts. Somebody needs to pay.

Activities: The listserv I gave Ramy included Presidents and Treasurers.

Jon: How does it work to defund and fund an org in the same meeting?

Ops: It’s an extraordinary circumstance. If we did not allow their programming to go through, their student accounts would get charged.

Activities: I think it is also about the content of programming. I’m fine with cognitive dissonance here.

Pres: SAVP interns put on the training. They are going to do one more. Spring Leadership Conference will also have training.I move to freeze these seven budgets.

Jon: I move to separate YDS from this list.

Pres: We can do that.

Yes: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Cush, Davi, Jewett, Joss, Lathrop, Main, Noyes, Ray, Strong, SoCos, TA, TH, Town Students, Ops, StuLife, Academics.

Pres: It passes. Onto YDS. I make the same motion.

2016: I think it is unfair to freeze their budget without any contact.

Strong: Can we table this discussion for Activities?

Jon: I’m having an issue with treating a basically non-existent org more leniently than more apologetic orgs.

Pres: From a practical standpoint, they aren’t doing anything.

Yes: 2018, Cush, Davi, Jewett, Joss, Lathrop, Main, Ray, Strong, SoCos, TA, TH, TS, Academics, Activities, Stulife, Ops


President: Bystander training again. Our City Committee is getting quotes for buses. We went to the Seven Sisters conference. 

Operations: No restructuring this past Saturday, but we will continue this conversation this Saturday. Still working on the Saturday Shuttle Report. Tasty Tuesday survey went out. 

StuLife: No major updates.

Academics: Peer advising dinner on Tuesday. 5-7 in the Aula. Give and receive advice. Burritos.

Activities: Finally met with orgs about closet space. Orgs will be sharing.

Pres: Seven sisters update. There were a lot of workshops. There was one about divestment. Barnard is having a winter housing crisis. It’s fucked up.

8:19//Constituent Concerns

Noyes: The SARC has been not functioning to it’s maximum potential. How can it be streamlined a little bit?

2018: Can I have a list of the orgs that are having trouble?

Matt: I think it would be great to have Hollis in for a discussion.

2018: Vending machines in dorms for essentials?

Ops: Funding is not there yet.

SoCos: If we care enough about this, they will put tampons in the dorms.

THs: In the bathroom option.

Joss: Barnard has free tampons. If we have free condoms, why not tampons?

8:27//Resolution Concerning Disposable Water Containers at Commencement

Noyes: We launched a campaign with Vassar Greens to ban disposable water bottles from campus. We got rid of them. Disposable water bottle containers are still distributed at large events, like Commencement.

Jon: It might be good to reaffirm the need to recycle and reuse bottles.

Ops: Our understanding is that campus activities just wants a reaffirmation that we still care about this. A letter might be better.

Noyes: The Greens is already in talks about alternatives.

TAs; I think I need more info before I can vote.

Noyes: let’s just table it.

8:33//Open Discussion

Raymond: I was wondering if we can do anything about the ladybugs on the ceiling.

2016: They are a permanent staple of this room.

Cush: We created a googleform for the refugee thing. There’s a six-week course being offered in the spring.

Pres: Thursday at 7 there is a talk being offered by Cappy’s office relating to Israel/Palestine.

Main: Do your job.