VSA 3.27.16

7:05//Call to Order and Attendance

7:06//Consensus agenda

a. Speakers to Poder Latino (5300/8000)

b. Conference to Poder Latino (1000/1000)

c. Pre-Orgs to Relay for Life (0/350)

d. Speakers to Davison (0/12000)

e. Pre-Orgs to Majors (100/100)

f. Speakers to J Street U (360/360)

g. Discretionary to BSU (7500/23500)

h. Minutes from 3/6/16

7:07//Constituent Concerns

Cush: They left us to die over Spring Break. They made us pay to stay here and the Retreat was the only dining option and it was open on the weekdays from 8:30-3:00p.m. This doesn’t happen over October break. They want us to leave over Spring Break, but I can’t leave. It’s a hellish experience. Can we set up a fund or something? Maybe reimburse them for food. It’s unfair for us to have to pay for all our meals all day.

2019: Do you know how many people stayed over break?

Pres: I can find out.

Raymond: Bringing back the issue of mice. It’s gotten way more serious. There was one in the library when I was giving a tour.

2019: Strong is a nice house. But now we have mice.

Raymond: It’s almost all the houses.

Pres: They looked at the points of entry over break. I don’t know what that means.

Raymond: They were supposed to go through all of Raymond, and they did, but there was one in my room after that.

Cush: Dorm conditions are bad. There was orange water coming through and it was cold. It felt like you were left to die over break.

SoCos: You used to have to be in Noyes over Spring Break. The College is probably under the impression that students cooked because Noyes has all the kitchenettes. In past years, they’ve done less and less and less. It all sounds like Summer hours. This is a conversation with somebody, not Bob Walton, because he’s leaving. Accessibility is a problem.

Pres: Did anyone stay over winter break?

Cush: Students should not be expected to pay to stay over break. It’s not legitimate for students on financial aid to have to pay more.

7:16//A Conversation on How to Move Forward

Pres: We have a number of meetings left. Elections are in the midst of happening. We do still have a month left in our positions. This is the time of the year when everyone falls off the bandwagon. We are in a different position right now. There’s a lot of hurt. I wanted to have a conversation about anything we want to take on, any goals we have.

Cush: I was reaching out to the alums for Refugees. I found an alum who put me in contact with another alum who makes films about issues surrounding occupation. We can maybe hold screenings. This can prove that people can cooperate with each other, it doesn’t have to be fighting.

Joss: Can we think on it?

Ferry: I think it’s a really good idea. However I would suggest not doing it in the dorms.

2019: Are speaking specifically to things the council could do? Maybe we can bring in a speaker?

2018: I was thinking we should also talk about the open dialogue group that formed. I was also thinking about the training we went through before we voted. Nevermind, actually. This is a bad idea. Another idea to make the VSA better: maybe we should have an in-depth discussion about the meaning of VSA being political. We endorsed BDS. What other issues will we be taking a stance on? I really like our guidelines. Is it a good idea for the VSA to be political?

Ferry: I felt like we need to commit ourselves to making a safe space. Jewish students were crying. We did nothing. We need to focus on listening and respecting people on campus. We have to live those values here.

2019: I think that’s really important. Acknowledgement is also really important.

Ops: The guiding principles only last for this VSA. I would encourage you all to double-check the constitution and bylaws we wrote. The guiding principles are for that current VSA body for one year. We wanted to be specific about the types of oppression we wanted to address.

SoCos: Please read the mission statement in the Constitution.

Joss: I think we should be really careful because there is a clear difference between anti-discriminatory and anti-racist. It needs to be active.

Pres: I was just going to say that having seen a few different sets of guiding principles. This year we actually did things through the guiding principles.

StuLife: There may be a misunderstanding about what the guiding principles actually are. In the future, we need to make sure that we acknowledge that the guiding principles are a stance of that senate for that year. There needs to be a clarification. We need to be clear about what they are. They were used to sway us in different directions.

Cush: A lot of the issues surround the way the conversation was had. They are not responsible for the way we addressed each other and talked to each other and saw each other.

StuLife: I want to speak about political issues on Vassar’s campus in general. I’m of the thought that if we are going to be making statements that are anti-racist is a good thing. There needs to be a diversity of opinion and political thought. I think there is that here. It’s a good thing to show perspective students where we stand on things and what we believe.

Ops: Something that gets said a lot is that everyone here is liberal or has the same political thought, but I want to second Chris. There is a diversity of thought on campus. Moving forward, I would like to see the culture of Vassar changed. I’m sick of the conversation always being violent. We don’t need to be mean to one another. I would like to see the student government get involved in that culture and fight that. Say hello. Be nice.

SoCos: I want to also remind everyone that we aren’t at a state school. Money influences decisions here. A lot of people care what people outside of Vassar think. I agree with Ruby, be nice to each other. At the end of the day, we have to remember that we are not admissions officers. We don’t decide who comes to Vassar.

Ferry: I want to steer the conversation about actually moving forward. I want to talk more about the actual impacts of BDS. What can we do to help the students heal.

Pres: I’m pretty sure RSL is bringing a series of speakers.

Abby: Cappy is bringing people. People are coming.

Pres: Let’s wait a week to figure out what exactly is happening. I was recently in a meeting where they talked about how Vassar attracts activist students. When I was applying to college, I wasn’t thinking about the political stance of the student government. I was thinking about where I would feel safe in my identity as a queer person. Identity issues are important.

Joss: I don’t think by passing things, we are telling people they don’t belong here. We are shaping our school culture. That does dictate what kind of students comes here.

2019: A kid isn’t going to apply and look at the guiding principles of the VSA.

Abby: I would encourage y’all not to get so wrapped up in what to do with these articles. People don’t listen. Work on doing the best we can on our campus and hopefully that will trickle down. Thursday April 7 from 6-8, there will be anti-semitism training.

Pres: What makes this especially tricky is that this is getting so much national attention.

Ferry: In actuality, I know many Jewish students who are being pressured to not attend Vassar now. This is affecting Jewish students at Vassar, future and present.

2019: I think that’s really important. Going with what Abby said, we can’t control what people have written. A lot of these conversations center around things we can’t control.

7:52//Open Discussion

Abby: Elections are happening. Encourage people to file! Talk to them about your positions. Be honest with them. Also restructuring was designed to help out. I wanted to address the website. Filing didn’t happen in time. The website is still in flux. Can we delete the website? I’m going to be emailing out the link for the GoogleForm so you can see who is filing. I want to keep all of the information as accurate as possible.

Pres: Psychological research shows that women and people of color are more likely to run for positions if you encourage them to run. Do it.

Abby: The Debate will be next Sunday at 5. The Misc is going to moderate and there will be pizza.

2019: Will I be getting a new VP?

Abby: Yes, you will.

2017: I have feelings about the town hall we never did. We should talk to people about these positions.

Pres: I’m holding extended office hours this week. Come talk to me.

Abby: Filing goes until Wednesday until 12:20 p.m. Candidates meeting will be that night at 5, location TBD. Campaigning starts immediately thereafter until Tuesday. Voting is Tuesday at noon to Thursday at noon. Results at 9 p.m. in the Old Bookstore.

Ferry: When are we done?

Pres: April 30th.

SoCos: Is Art Rodriguez coming in?

Pres: Trying to!

2019: Class of 2019 has zero money.

Ferry: If anyone wants to learn more about Jewish repression, I have some books.