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  • bethanjohnson 12:01 am on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes—24 November 2013 

    Hey, everyone, we’re going to start in a few minutes. Today, Chris Gonzalez, next semester’s Editor-in-Chief will be liveblogging. Outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Bethan Johnson, will be assisting.

    7:01 // Call to Order…..President
    Absent: Student Life
    Proxy: Davison

    7:02 // Consent Agenda

    Attendance ……………Operations
    Consent Agenda
    Business Club – Discretionary ($400/$500)
    SEASA – Discretionary ($800/$1635)
    CHOICE – Speakers ($1000/$1000)
    Capital to NSO $30

    All Consent.

    7:03 // Wendy Freedman, Director of Counseling Services

    FREEDMAN: I’m a clinical psychologist. Wanted to give you a brief overview of the services I offer. I’m really curious to focus this conversation on what matters most to you. You probably know we’re a fairly utilized resource. 500 students a year, and about half of Vassar by the time they graduate. We offer individual short-term counseling. There are only 5 of us in the office. Some students because of their circumstance have to go off campus for long-term services.
    We have a psychiatrist who is there

    One of my favorite things to do is run therapy groups. It’s an amazing opportunity to meet with other students and the facilitator. Some of them are topical in nature—social anxiety, body image, etc.

    We want to do prevention work and outreach. We want to do some . We’re therapists but we’re also people. We’ve been doing a lot of partnering with different offices. We want to reach out to students who are from traditionally marginalized groups.

    Emergency services are a big part of what we’re doing. We have a counselor on call 24/7. The evening and weekends we have a counselor on call. The counselors on call are the professionals. TLC and sometimes CARES will refer students to us.

    Other thing I want to mention: I sit on the Student Support Network and Bias Incident Response Team as well as being the director. I’m fairly new, but I can talk about my experience in working on those teams.

    We’ve been trying to get out and be an ally for the community. We’re also building our counseling services for the fall—a post-doctoral fellow and social work interns.

    MAIN: What’s the College’s policy for students who have expressed self-harm or have those tendencies?

    FREEDMAN: Well with students with suicidal thoughts we usually come up with a safety plan. We assess to see what level of risk there is. A plan is one level but intent is another level. So if at all possible we try to manage through the counseling service. If a student expresses intent to self-harm or injure another student we haSt. Francis has a psychiatric emergency room and that’s where we stabilize them.

    Most of the time students who self-harm are not suicidal. So we try to come up with a safety plan. If someone self-injures we need to contact a medical professional. Sometimes students who think they are okay will have cuts that need further medial attention, etc.

    OPERATIONS: About the SSN, are students being discussed by the network notified about that status?

    FREEDMAN: Information will come in that a student is struggling. The team meets every Tuesday and that information will come up. We look at what the student might need and what resources they might need. We figure out who has the best relationship to that student to reach out and explain to the student why they are on that list.

    PRESIDENT: For the group therapy session, how do you pick the time for those? And is there any leeway?

    FREEDMAN: It’s something we struggle with. Some groups are set for a specific time depending on when we have counselors available and when a room is available. We try to be mindful about privacy. With the interpersonal relationship groups we try to offer them at different times. For topical groups we use a When Is Good document. We can usually accommodate most of the students. A lot of groups run Wed. between that 3-5 hour because there are no classes offered.

    PRESIDENT: One of your main initiatives is student outreach, what can we do as student leaders to help?

    FREEDMAN: One of the major issues we’re seeing. We all go through hard times, but what do we do those emotions. A lot of students are coming in, to no fault of their own, without having learned those skills. So we’re trying to think about how students can learn more of those skills to manage and tolerate really hard feelings. There are skills we can learn. The other thing, Self-care, is really important. We know when people are struggling with anxiety and depression, not sleeping and not taking care of yourself is the worse can you do. We’re trying to figure out how we can promote Self-care as a campus.

    As student leaders you’re interacting with

    2014: One of the most common critiques of Metcalf I hear, is that you don’t have enough counselors. But how do we rank in comparison to our other schools?

    FREEDMAN: Across the country, there is usually one counselor to 1800 students. But we’re being more utilized. It’s an interesting dichotomy. We are over staffed,
    Three years ago the discussion of a post-doc wasn’t on the table. But now it’s being taken seriously.

    TOWNHOUSES: Do you have any tips for students with finals coming up?

    FREEDMAN: I think the hardest thing, I think it’s really hard to say no to things. Especially you all, you wouldn’t be in these postions if you were dedicated to serving. I want to work with students to learn how to set limits and how to say no. This is the worst thing to say to college students, but sleep is very important. If there’s a way to try to get enough sleep and maintain a regular sleep schedule, but…huge in terms of functioning and managing stress.

    CUSHING: During house team orientation, my house team expressed some concern that there wasn’t a counselor on call while we were there. Is there a way we can make that happen?

    FREEDMAN: Right now we’re available while the houses open and the houses close around graduation. So we haven’t had an on-call counselor, but it’s something we need to think about.

    NOYES: In terms of psychiatrist, how do we rank with other schools?

    FREEDMAN: If you look at our sister schools, we’re significantly under. One of the things we’re talking about is moving to integrated health. We talked a bit if there is a way to be more collaborated with the health services, if we could have a psychiatric nurse available who would be cost less.

    2015: I was curious about the integrated health concept. Could you tell us where that is in terms of the discussion process and what the time line looks like?

    FREEDMAN: I wish I could tell you a time line. In a perfect world, we would have a Wellness building. There are about a thousand ways that could actually look. They’ve been talking about this for at least six or seven years. We’re talking about getting training for all three of our offices. We’re seeing if we can get more effective training for those with disordered eating—health services, nutritionist and counseling, for example.

    Operations: Last week we talked about the smoking secession… We talked about how smoking might be related to stress. Is there a way for Health Services to look into that.

    FREEDMAN: There is a certain level of abuse which is self-medicating for stress, anxiety, etc. Part of our challenge in terms of outreach, is that if we create something it’s hard to get people to come to it. We have more success if we come into preexisting groups. We’d be curious to hear any ideas around how to get this training out to a group to people.

    OPERATION: Putting on the hat of EMS, we really appreciate the help you give us in terms of training.

    FREEDMAN: I have a lot of support for EMS. And we would be happy to come into different groups and talk to them as well.

    PRESIDENT: Houses have study-breaks. Would you be willing to come and do like stress-related study-breaks?

    FREEDMAN: I did that with Strong last year, and it’s something we would love to do.

    TOWNSTUDENTS: I wanted to know about how confidentiality is handled, and about data collecting. Where does that data go?

    FREEDMAN: We do collect data for demographic and the type of concerns they came in for. We don’t give out any data related to identifying students. When we work with other offices, other offices will share information with us, but we don’t share any information out unless we have a signed release. So when we sit with the SSN, for example, we don’t reveal anything about them. We don’t reveal that we know them or that they’ve come to see us. They don’t know, now we know, because I have access to a laptop with our notes that no one has access to, that we would refer them. Within the counseling service we talk fairly openly with each other, but that says only within the counseling service.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming in and thank you for all of the work that we do.

    FREEDMAN: I really mean that we’re interested in the ideas that you have. Having student feedback is very important to us.

    7:39 // Exec Board Reports

    ACTIVITIES: There’s been some concern with activity going on in spaces. Be respectful these spaces are used by multiple people. Founder’s Day is in the works. Applications for community chair positions are due Dec. 3rd. The survey with the theme choices will be coming out. Storage space project is underway. We’re meeting with the ROC to look over the spaces for the orgs that have requested them. VSA Webmasters have helped me in creating a dashboard for preliminary orgs, where they can upload their constitution and mission statements. Next semester, the committee will be planning a second activities fair.

    MAIN: Good job.

    FINANCE: Hi everybody. I will be emailing you the blurb I typed up for exec fund levels. We’re ordering new VCash machines. They should be in service by the beginning of next semester. We’re meeting this Wednesday. We are spending money a little too quickly in the Speaker’s fund. I’m not worried.

    7:44 // Discussion

    PRESIDENT: A lot of people have been contacting me about various forms of communication on campus. For instance, the email on Tuesday on campus that Cappy sent out about the two students who were removed from campus. A lot of people were upset, and we can’t do anything about something that already happened. But I was wondering if you had any feedback about the way administration communicates with us.

    2015: Class Council met today and we discussed that information coming as an email is less effective than something else. People would prefer to be communicated with in some way other than an email. We also wanted to know about what policies govern when you decide to send out an email about the investigation. It looked pretty odd that it came out then with that information.

    RAYMOND: Our House Team had a heated discussion. People felt Cappy’s email was an odd level of vague. Too vague because it didn’t give people information they wanted to know. But vague enough to manipulate the information that students did have. I don’t know, people just felt that administration was being manipulative.

    TOWNHOUSES: I think it’s great we’re having this conversation. All of the emails all at once throughout the week was a lot for students’ stress levels. As students we have a lot going on, and I wish the administration was more concerned about how we’re going to take this. Even though it needs to be sent, maybe waiting.

    PRESIDENT: It sounds like email messaging in general, there’s kind of mixed feelings about it. Maybe, I don’t know, our professors utilize Moodle. Maybe if we had something like there where students could

    FINANCE: I felt both emails, all emails from administration, have this sense of closure and finality. There’s no follow-up. And not recognizing that there will be reactions.

    2017: I think the past emails created confusion. They didn’t clarify.

    JEWETT: I feel like the way the email was sent out was most valuable. It’s the one thing that will guarantee everyone will look at it. Administration was being real with us byt giving out as much information as they can give out.

    PRESIDENT: Good point. There’s a lot of information they legally can’t share with us.

    JOSSELYN: My only concern was that it was this low-key stab at being transparent. But it put a big distinction between students and administration.

    PRESIDENT: I think it’s a good point, the emails need to have some way for students to react.

    FINANCE: I mean at the end of the day the student leaders and House teams are the ones dealing with this. So maybe they can host something as an opportunity for students to discuss these things.

    AT LARGE: I kind of felt that something happened and they took advantage of that opportunity to say look we’re doing things, instead of trying to find a solution to these issues of hate.

    OPERATIONS: No matter what that email said about those incidents of bias, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t very real incidents of bias. I took issue with the email. I think we need to have dialogues about bias and language and about speech.

    JOSSELYN: I also felt that when Cappy said we’re handling it, it felt like a pass on the people who were hurt by those messages. It was saying if you don’t want to get hurt, don’t write this stuff.

    PRESIDENT: I know Cappy and Roellke were reaching out to the Spectrana group, the ALANA Center, but we have to recognize that students who don’t identify with those groups are also affected.

    2015: People also discussed that the attitude the administration had was linked to this incident. They were smug.

    JAMES: I was talking to Luis Inoa, about the distrust and vagueness this email came with. He said we can’t give out too much information, but the students who were responsible were removed. We talked about it in our House Team, but we don’t know what the administration is doing. Inoa asked me if the campus was lighter after this, but I think it’s the complete opposite.

    PRESIDENT: One thing that came out of BIRT was moving forward. When it comes to student demands like gender neutral bathrooms and having more safety and security, those are clear actions that administrators can support.

    SOCOS: While we understood while it was important to contact those students who were most affected, there needs to be a way for students who don’t fall into those groups can access that information.

    TOWNHOUSES: Personally, I think more dialogue needs to happen. In the past there’s been this idea that we’re talking enough about it. But this last week has showed me that there needs to be talk between students and administrators, and students and the VSA.

    RAYMOND: I want to speak to the point that demands are the best way to reach out to administrators. But these demands are made because students feel like it’s the only way for them to be heard.

    PRESIDENT: Administrators probably don’t realize they’re not doing anything wrong, but that’s why we give feedback. There’s very specific ways they listen and respond to things we bring up.

    OPERATIONS: I think something on our side we could do better is helping students on campus who have issues get to the administrators. I know people like to write out a list of demands. I would be happy to sit with any student who is interested in writing out a list of demands. So that we could make sure to get as much of the students voices, so they can say what they want to say, but so we can also mitigate it to the administrations so they would be more likely to respond.

    JEWETT: Can you ask administration what their take is on the student labor dialogue? It’s something that deals with the people who make Vassar.

    PRESIDENT: That is a good point. It sounds like you all have a very good grasp on what students are thinking or responding. It shows you are good leaders. Second, I think a lot of this is productive feedback.

    8:06 // Special Elections

    OPERATIONS: Basically we held an emergency council meeting to vote on a time line for special elections. People have raised some concerns throughout the week.

    2016: So everyone has the time line that we approved. I have a couple of concerns. One, the time line said that any student who holds a VSA postion or a judicial board postion is ineligible to run. I hope we can address some concerns that I have with how we choose to follow the by-laws. This is the election we approved, but I don’t feel the eligibility requirements meet the standards we approved. I understand there are things in the bylaws, but this is what we approved. I think the bylaws are confusing in regards to who can and cannot run given the applications to these rules.

    OPERATIONS: The bylaw in question is on page 30 of the governing documents. Section 6 of Article 10, specifically subpoint e.
    House team and class council reps are eligible to run for committee positions, whereas exec board members cannot. The bylaw here is fairly straightforward here. We are not telling people they cannot run for this position, but they would just have to resign their other position.

    AT LARGE: The Jud Board was called in for an emergency meeting to review the VSA bylaws. Within the same day, we were informed that the VSA made a decision without our help. We are just a bit confused.
    2014: There was confusion about student fellow eligibility for the position. We met with Luis Inoa to discuss the issue. The situation in specific was resolved earlier so there was no reason to have the emergency meeting.

    FINANCE: Can I look at the emergency council meeting minutes?

    AT LARGE: What is the protocol about resigning a VSA position before running?
    OPERATIONS: You cannot run for more than one council position at more than one time. The exception is in the Spring Semester. There should never be overlapping terms, so that was the problem in this special election scenario.
    PRESIDENT: Because special elections are special, the protocol is more subjectively decided. The Student Life position sits on various committees and that would impact the eligibility of individuals.

    JEWETT: Can there be something written down about our procedure so that it is made clear?

    FIANCE: My question is, does the approving of this time line trump the bylaw?
    PRESIDENT: There is no conflict. It is simply additionally true.

    2015: I think that the subsection E is very confusing and being interpreted in a variety of ways. I think that the context is not the context of how other people are thinking about it. Now it seems to mean that you can’t apply to two positions, but not run for one and holding another. It is additionally confusing given our Spring elections. So maybe we should re-write this bylaw.

    OPERATIONS: Operations Committee is currently reviewing the bylaws; we do know that they are confusing. We appoint board of elections co-chairs, so they should also be getting feedback. People should remember that we had no more preparation for this surprise resignation than anyone else. We met the same day as we found out to make this election as equitable as possible. It should be remembered we tried very hard and we did our best.

    RAYMOND: I know that some people were not thrilled with this process but I want to thank Operations, 2014, and Zach Struver for their work.

    PRESIDENT: This didn’t happen in a vacuum. There were emotions and other situations going on, so this was more complicated. Also, thank you for your feedback.

    2016: I am still confused. What the bylaws said is that all VSA Council members were not eligible. But the email from BOE said that any VSA elected member is not eligible to run, which includes members of committees.
    2014: Yes that is true and they do contradict, but that is the way we conducted this election. This information has come up too late now. I am not sure what you want.
    OPERATIONS: In terms of this document, I made a mistake. I sent out a clarification email as soon as I could.

    MAIN: At which point did we decide to choose to do a special election?
    PRESIDENT: We decided to do so at the emergency meeting.

    FINANCE: I want to look at what can we do moving forward. Can we motion this discuss this in a committee so that the bylaw can be reviewed. Maybe we could send it to the board of elections.


    2016: My problem with this isn’t the rule itself but the procedure behind this. What I felt is that we have a Council that could control what happened here. I feel like the BOE told us what was going to happen and we didn’t discuss it. We didn’t even receive an email explaining where the error was made. I apologize if I came off as agressive or making demands.

    PRESIDENT: I think it would have been great that more people knew/reviewed the bylaws. In the future, I will send the bylaws in question before the meeting.

    SOCOS: FINANCE moved to table this bylaw. I don’t understand why.
    PRESIDENT: The wording is somewhat confusing in terms of how to hold one position and run for another.

    2014: I think we will codify a set protocol for special elections. As far as I know, no special elections have taken place while we have been at Vassar.

    NOYES: I think it is worth considering changing the bylaw rather than simply amending it.
    PRESIDENT: I had a lot of concerns about committee members and their level of eligibility.

    VOTE: Table this bylaw to the Board of Elections and Operations Committee.
    Opposed: None
    Abstentions: None


    8:33 // Open Discussion

    2014: I’m just going to tell you how many days left. There are 181 days 13 hours 26 minutes and 20 seconds…until graduation.

    2016: So my class council met this past week and we talked about a bunch of different things. One thing we talked about is the blast email that gets sent out covering the bias incidents. I know we talked about this last week and about whether or not it gives power to the people doing these things. The consensus was there should still be a way for students to have access to this information. It’s naive to believe that just because an email isn’t sent out it means that students aren’t going to find out about this information.

    PRESIDENT: That’s what I was saying about the Moodle Post. When something happens on campus, how many of you check SayAnything or Facebook…that’s all gossip.

    JOHNSON: I wanted to let you know that I am going abroad next semester and Gonzalez will take over. But feel free to email questions to Gonzalez and myself.

    OPERATIONS: I move to open secretary 2016 until Monday, Dec. 2 at noon. Council will vote on the recommendations on Sunday, Dec. 8. Interview dates will be announced later.


    2015: There is a concern that juniors abroad right now can’t vote. According to the bylaws they should be able to vote.

    JOHNSON: I know you’re reviewing for those who are coming back, what about those are leaving?

    OPERATION: Because this is a decision that will affect everyone who will be here next semester, I will email CIS to make sure everyone can be eligible to vote.

    RAYMOND: We talked to Inoa about dorm damages. So, I think we’re going to end up drafting a letter to Reslife to spread out the dorm damages. That’s in the works. Also, VHP threw together ver quickly….so tomorrow there’s going to be a Feeling Session for everyone who wants to talk about how they were affected by the hate speech.

    JEWETT: I just want to say that we have our VPs and they have their own special thing they are for. So if something is already happening due to time or whatever the situation is, I feel like we should just say this is a thing, we made a mistake, it’s happening, come to this meeting if you have any concerns. I think one of the things we’re trying to do is be more efficient as a council.

    MAIN: I think OPERATIONS, THE PRESIDENT AND 2014 and AT LARGE member have done a good job.

    AT LARGE: As the only student fellow running, I wanted to show my appreciation. I also wanted to show appreciation to whoever on VSA backed me up because there was hate speech against me on SayAnything saying I was abandoning my fellow group.

    TOWNHOUSES: I sent out a smoking ban survey, out of 250 surveys I got 3 responses. I did want to address this issue that e-cigarettes are covered under the ban.

    2015: I think Renee Pabst was adamant about ecigarettes not being a thing.

    OPERATIONS: I think it said nonFDA approved ecigarettes.

    ACADEMICS: We’re trying to bring the New york Times to the campus, but I was wondering if there are other publications people wanted to come to the campus. If there are any news sources not available you would like to see on campus, please let me know.

    STRONG: Hello. I made a list of people I want to give knocks to. To Deb, you never get any knocks and you deserve them. To Zach and Connor, for putting this election together. And Ali, you get a special one because you’re the best. Stephanie, because I heard your recital was great. 2015 and 2017, way to put on a Mug Night inspired by Google. And to my House Team for putting on an event last night.

    OPERATIONS: You can’t forget to knock for the fantastic Strong.

    RAYMOND: So it’s been a stressful semester and week, so I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving. I move to adjourn.


    8:50 // Meeting adjourned.

  • bethanjohnson 12:10 am on November 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes- 17 November 2013 

    Council is meeting in a different room this week so listen
    7:04 // Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    7:05 // Attendance…OPERATIONS
    Absent: NONE
    Proxy: NONE

    7:07 // Consent Agenda
    Hunger Action – Collab…………………………………………………..($400/$400)
    MEChA – Community……………………………………………………($500/$500)
    Quidditch – Collab……………………………………………………….($800/$900)
    Poder Latino – Soc Consc…………………………………………($1100/$1300)
    vCash machines – Capital………………………………………………..($9000/$9000)
    Preorg to Generation …………………………………………………………………… $30
    Minutes from 11/10/2013

    7:07// Executive Board Reports
    We finished our data collections for the gender neutral bathroom situation. We found that even some buildings have gender neutral bathrooms located in closets or other, far off places.
    Students of high financial need are in some places not able to get home. Students in these situations work over break and even during the summer. Sometimes students who work over the summer and into the school year cannot meet their contribution.
    In regards to the bias incidents email, this time we included the language used in some of the situations.

    JEWETT: Sanders Physics is being renovated, so maybe we could use this as an experiment in favor of gender neutral bathrooms.

    Shout out to the committee for all of its hard work on the peer advising event.
    120 underclassmen showed up, and we had over 50 peer advisors.
    In the coming weeks we are working on the newsletter, which is focused on “food.” People from various departments and jobs are contributing.
    We are working on getting the textbook list earlier so that students can find less expensive options for books. We are meeting with Dean Rock and we will bring a proposal to him.
    We are working on a subscriptions for The New York Times for the campus. This subscription has been an issue for our peer institutions as well. Both the President and Dean Roellke have pledged money to the project.

    7:15 // Discussion of the Bias Incident Response Team…STUDENT LIFE
    I am the only student who sits on BIRT. One of BIRT’s main goals is transparency, which is why I am bringing .
    After an incident is reported, a meeting is called within 24 hours.
    As most incidents take place in the dorms, on occasion house presidents are called
    There are monthly meetings, and there is a meeting on Wednesday.

    JEWETT: Some of my constituents were confused as to the locations of a bias incidents. Context for where or when an incident takes place may

    TAs: Are there any discussions of having more students on BIRT?
    STUDENT LIFE: This has not been discussed, but I think it would be possible and I agree with the idea of adding more student representatives.

    DAVISON: I second JEWETT’s statement. I felt somewhat unprepared on how to address my constituencies.

    2016: I think more needs to be done in terms of reaching out the entire campus. Bias incidents don’t just affect the house
    Our public spaces are public to everyone. Also, the community needs to address these issues as a whole.

    CUSHING: I think they should consider sending an email after every time a bias incident is committed.

    STUDENT LIFE: One of the concerns with that idea was that doing so would give a lot of power and attention if they were individually reported.

    2014: What about bias incidents on SayAnything?
    STUDENT LIFE: BIRT can’t respond or react to SayAnything until a student reports it.

    2017: What happens if an incident is targeted against one individual?
    STUDENT LIFE: Typically the individual is encouraged to come to a meeting or have a representative attend in the stead. The student can then ask that an all-campus email can be sent out.

    PRESIDENT: What happens when hate-speech is targeted against a specific community?
    STUDENT LIFE: If it is targeted against a community, for instance a racial slur is used, then the Director of the ALANA Center is consulted.

    AT LARGE: Can you speak out against the pros and cons about sending an email?
    STUDENT LIFE: We do try to be transparent, which is a reason why we are sending out emails. A con we have encountered is that not everyone wants to know about every incident.

    RAYMOND: We have been trying to bring up this issue in the past, but we haven’t been able to without an email until right now. We, as student leaders, should be made aware of these things, as we can set the atmosphere in our houses.

    2015: With this question of transparency, at Student Life Committee or at council, we could acknowledge that something has happened.
    STUDENT LIFE: I would just have to negotiate how much of a BIRT meeting is confidential.

    2016: My class council has been . This is a conversation we should be having in our council meetings; people were unaware. Main’s response to an incident in their house was amazing.

    2017: How does BIRT handle accountability?
    STUDENT LIFE: Instead of focusing on an individual event, in which it is very hard to find the perpetrators, we want to behave proactively and focus on preventing these incidents in the future and how do we move forward.

    TAs: How do people address and investigate these events?
    PRESIDENT: Recently the Poughkeepsie police has been involved, and Security has been involved as well.

    MAIN: In our house we had a racial slur written on one of our sofas. We invited members of BIRT, Luis Inoa, the Director of the ALANA Center, and our House Advisors. We had a discussion about the nature of the bias incident, how it affects our house and community, and we had small group discussions.

    STRONG: We called a mandatory house meeting. We talked about the stigma of living in Strong, what gendered vandalism does to a community of students and in general.

    2017: I think that Strong’s discussion was very needed. A general sentiment among freshman, even with the Main event, is that they don’t understand how effective or how serious these incidents are.

    STRONG: We heard these complaints but we felt that it is more important to hold the event.

    MAIN: A lot of freshmen felt that way, but we believed that by holding the event we send a message that we don’t tolerate racism in our house.

    RAYMOND: Thus far, we haven’t had many, or any as far as I know, incidents this year. Are there ways that we can have proactive discussions?
    STUDENT LIFE: In Jewett they had a conversation in the past and are planning to have another in the future. The Privilege campaign is also a great means of conversations.
    CUSHING: Our response was to hold a house meeting talking about the history of bias incidents in Cushing. This was interpreted positively.

    2016: I think that it is important for us, as student leaders, to give people resources to talk with.

    FINANCE: The Social Consciousness Fund works to help communities proactively and retroactively address bias. If something happens in your dorms, please consider the fund; we helped Main, for example.

    7:41 // Smoking Ban…OPERATIONS
    The timeline for the implementation is moving forward; July 2015 the ban will be fully enforced.
    The implementation group is called the Smoke Free Tobacco Free Task Force. There are a number of student representative in this committee, as well as staff and faculty representatives. I sit on the committee, as well as representatives
    We want to make sure the student voice does remain strong in this committee.

    2015: I find the passing of this ban as a failure of shared governance. I want to make sure that this aspect of student voice is heard.

    OPERATIONS: I acknowledge that opinion and have brought this up to the committee. However, that is not really what the purpose of this discussion is.

    DAVISON: Is this an open task force?
    OPERATIONS: Basically it is closed but if you wanted to present something specific, they may invite you to speak.

    SOUTH COMMONS: I think we need to be really clear about the enforcement of this ban. I think it needs to be clear what Security’s role in enforcing this ban is. I think we should also be pointing out the resources we have to help students.

    JEWETT: What does this actually mean, in terms of enforcement?
    OPERATIONS: We mean that in the entire area of senior housing and main campus, there will be no smoking of cigarettes.

    JEWETT: how do we accommodate students who do smoke? Will there be a question on applications that asks about smoking? We are supposed to be all-inclusive.
    PRESIDENT: In terms of other schools, students are allowed to go off campus to smoke. There would not be a question on any applications.

    FINANCE: I would like to continue having cigarette butt recepticals on campus because people may not stop smoking right away.

    2016: Would it be more helpful for us to inform people about what we have done thus far.
    We have a number of phases:
    Phase 1: EDUCATION
    We are educating people of the current rules and what the end-game of the campaign is, as well as intermediary steps.
    Phase 2: RESOURCES
    We are discussion cessation options such as classes or nicotine patches. We are still deciding what to do here, so we are looking for feed-back.

    OPERATIONS: E-cigarrettes would be allowed, but not other forms of tobacco such as chewing tobacco or cigars.

    2014: I think we should be addressing why students start smoking, ie stress, is really important. I also think asking students to pay for classes when they may not want to quit smoking is not fair.

    TOWN HOUSES: I think we need to make sure there is no schism between smokers and non-smokers.

    TOWN STUDENTS: We should think about how we are dividing up Poughkeepsie would be interpreted. We don’t want it to turn Vassar into smoke-free space and then ashtrays right outside our brick walls.

    STUDENT LIFE: Have there been discussions with workers about how this we
    OPERATIONS: There is a representative from HR who is there to represent workers. Many of the people who are on the committee would be classified as staff versus administrators.

    STUDENT LIFE: If or when marijuana is made legal in New York, will students be asked to go off campus to take a medication?
    OPERATIONS: It has not been brought up in committee yet but I will bring it up in the future.

    8:02 // Amendment Regarding Motions…OPERATIONS
    Last week we voted to allow students at large should not
    Then RAYMOND noted that we also have the regulation in our bylaws so we need to amend our bylaws. I recommend that we vote on this amendment today, thus suspending a bylaw to do so for only this conversation (the bylaw that mandates an amendment must be voted on one week after they are brought before council)
    Absentions: None
    Opposed: 2015

    Abstentions: None
    Opposed: None

    8:07 // Amendment Regarding Debt…ACTIVITIES
    ACTIVITIES: Currently if a student organization is in debt, they must fundraise it back within two semesters, otherwise their recognition can be revoked.
    FINANCE: I am not thrilled with this language in general. Also I think that we should also note that the term should be changed from ‘debt’ to ‘deficit.’
    MAIN: I think that more specific language is necessary. There are some organizations are always in deficit, such as ViCE or the Vassarian.
    FINANCE: Also we have to take into account that some student organizations do take on some financial risk but are important parts of our student life.
    STRONG: We are doing this not to hurt organizations, but we are trying to avoid decertifying organization.
    2016: For future reference, could you quote it on the paper so that it is readily available.
    OPERATIONS: We can hammer out language in committee.
    (tabled to next week)

    8:14 // Amendment Regarding Preliminary Organization Event Requirements…ACTIVITIES
    NOYES: We are drafting this bylaw, which requires that preliminary organizations must hold one open-to-campus event each semester, to help grow the student involvement or interest.
    STRONG: We not expecting them to hold events of the same size, but the pre-organizations need to hold an event that is more than a general body meeting.
    JEWETT: I think the language should be cleared up with regards to ‘events of a similar nature.’
    MAIN: How are pre-organizations expected to find spaces and funds without any great assistance?
    NOYES: Activities committee has divided itself up so that every preliminary organization has a representative to help them plan events.

    8:20 // Open Discussion
    2014: December 6 will be 99 Nights in the Aula. We will announce the student gift there.

    2016: Congratulations to JEWETT
    I want to make it clear that we have the right to abstain not only for conflicts of interest but really for any reason we want to.
    I would also like to talk about Don Marsala’s email. The email made me very upset because the school should do everything in our power to keep hunters off our land. There should never be any threat of danger to students. If that is an issue, then more needs to be done to prevent this.

    STRONG: Strong’s fall event is this Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. It is called “The Blacklight Ball.” It will be held in the Aula.

    CUSHING: It was my boyfriend who caught the hunter on camera.

    2015: Classes of 2015 and 2017 are hosting our traditional Mug night this Saturday. The theme is “chrome.”

    JOSSELYN: I just want to congratulate myself this weekend for Four Pillars. Good for those who went to the event.

    OPERATIONS: Motion to adjourn.
    Opposed: MAIN
    Abstain: None

    End of the meeting!!

  • bethanjohnson 12:05 am on November 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Minute Meetings- 10 November 2013 

    Hi guys! We are all starting late tonight, so I’ll let you know when the gavel knocks.

    7:07// Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    7:07// Attendance…OPERATIONS
    Absent: CUSHING
    Proxy: NONE

    7:09// Consent Agenda
    a. Challah – Collab ($80/$115)
    b. Monkeys – Speakers ($1600/$2050)*
    c. SJIP – Preorg ($30/$30)*
    d. Limit – Speakers ($2750/$3000)
    e. Helicon – Speakers ($2000/$3625)*
    f. Capital to CSA $50
    g. Quest Scholars (Pre-org) – $50

    *denotes non-unanimous decisions

    7:10 // Executive Board Report
    PRESIDENT: I will be setting up an anonymous forum for councilmembers to discuss any concerns they have about Council. This will begin next week. There will be both a google doc and a box in the VSA office.

    Operations Committee completed 4 appointments this week. Thanks to all those who were part of the Committee, as this was very stressful.
    The Committee is also reviewing the appointment process.
    We are looking into some demographic surveys about who votes and who doesn’t for VSA Council positions.
    Last year we voted to have an audit of the Council; this is what VSARC came out of. This is an important commitment that we made.
    Dean Roellke agreed to have the administration pay for half of the audit fees. This is a really generous gift.
    This audit needs to be a collaborative process. We made this commitment, and we need to see it through.

    TAs: What is the status of VSARC now?
    OPERATIONS: That’s actually a challenging question. There are 4 or 5 consistent members. It is in transition now because it is going from simply an Operations committee to an Operations and Student Life committee. I am currently investigating which external auditor to use.

    2014: Will you send us moments of progress from VSARC can you send them to me so that I can tell my constituents?

    7:19//An Amendment Concerning the Appeals Process for Election Results…OPERATIONS

    Principal Authors: Joshua Tempro, Class of 2016 Main House Representative; Maximilien Moran, Class of 2016 President; Maggie Donolo, Class of 2016 Representative to the Operations Committee; Abigal Johnson, Class of 2017 Lathrop
    SECTION 11: Let Sub-Section F be amended to read:
    The Board of Elections Chairs shall post and publicize the names of the winners,
    and the total vote counts of each race all results within 24 hours of the end of the
    voting period. Access to the remaining voting information, including individual
    vote breakdown by candidate will be made accessible to members of the VSA
    through the Board of Elections Co-Chairs and/or VP for Operations. Individuals,
    including candidates, shall not be notified of results until such results are publicly
    SECTION 11: Let Sub-Section A be amended to read:
    A VSA member may protest any questionable action by another VSA member related to the election process to the Board of Elections Chairs. A VSA member may appeal any official decision or posting of results by the Board of Elections Chairs within 24 72 hours back to the Board of Elections Chairs, unless extenuating circumstances deem otherwise as decided by the Board of Elections Chairs.
    ENACTMENT: As is prescribed in the Article XII Section 1 of the Constitution, this amendment shall be enacted by a two-thirds majority vote of the VSA Council. The VSA Governing Documents shall be shifted accordingly to reflect these changes.

    2016: We have decided that we should not be sending out the voting breakdown, as it can be really shameful for students who did not receive many votes.

    2015: Are the results emailed out or are they posted on the website?
    OPERATIONS: They used to be emailed out, but this year we posted the election on the website. I took them down after getting a number of complaints, and this is the byproduct of these concerns.

    FINANCE: I just wanted to express my approval and say thank you to those authors of the amendment who do not sit on Council.

    TAs: What kinds of complaints did you receive?
    OPERATIONS: We get complaints about this every year. There were people who said that they would never run if they knew their results would be publicly posted. There were also people who ran who said they felt bullied from this posting.

    2017: Will the percentage of votes received by the winner be posted?
    OPERATIONS: No they will not.

    2015: How do we store the information we don’t publish?
    OPERATIONS: I think that we should pass an Operations Committee that would change how results are stored for posterity.

    This amendment will be voted on next week.

    7:29// Appointment of Davison Vice President…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: We recommend the position of Vice President Luke Kachelein. We understand that Davison will lose a junior class representative, but Davison needs a vice president more.


    Abstentions: 2015, DAVISON, 2016.
    Opposed: NONE


    7:31// Appointment of Class of 2014 Secretary…OPERATIONS
    There were 5 applicants for this position. The Operations Committee recommends Katie Adrian to the position.


    Abstentions: 2016
    Opposed: NONE


    7:34// Appointment of Noyes House Junior Representative
    There were two applicants for this position. We recommend the appointment of Dan Kilion for the spring semester. We chose not to fill the position for the fall semester, as there is only one month left.


    Abstention: 2016
    Opposed: NONE


    7:38// Appointment of South Commons Programming Director…OPERATIONS
    Hillary Frame


    Abstentions: 2016, SO COs
    Opposed: NONE


    7:40// Open Discussion

    JEWETT: Dormal Formal is this Saturday in the Rose Parlor and Villard Room starting at 10:00 p.m.

    2016: This week there was more restructuring in terms of representatives to the 2016 Class Council. We had our first
    Thank you to The Misc for the coverage; it was really well written.

    The committee met this week regarding our committee laws.
    Something that we are concerned about is Councilmembers presenting fund applications before Council.
    P-Card auditing is happening now.
    If there is something you want to take of the Consent Agenda in regards to Finance recommendations, please email me ahead of time so that we can change the agenda.

    OPERATIONS: What if we are treasures for a student organization?
    FIANCE: I would advise someone else present the application as you will be voting on the application. But this isn’t a policy set in stone yet.

    2014: Congratulations to ACADEMICS for the peer advising event.

    The meeting has adjourned.

  • bethanjohnson 12:00 am on November 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes- 2 November 2013 

    Hi everybody! We are going to start in a couple of minutes, but not everybody has arrived yet, so things will probably be slightly behind schedule. Also, today I am giving a report to council, so Palak, our lovely design editor, will take over during my section!

    7:04 // Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    PRESIDENT: Some lovely ladies from Bryn Mawr. I was worried they would be more social than me, but, in fact, all they wanted to do is play Taboo and Cards Against Humanity. They were also shockingly in love with the Decee.

    7:06 // Attendance….OPERATIONS
    Proxy: Davison, Cushing
    Absent: None

    7:07 // ViCE Concert Report…ViCE President
    AT LARGE: The concert went very well. It sold out. We received no complaints from the administration.

    7:0 // Consent Agenda
    ACCESS – Collab…………………………………………………………($600/$551.50)
    Limit – Speakers…………………………………………………………………….(tabled)
    Croquet Assoc. – Preorg…………………………………………………………($70/$145)
    GAAP – Conference……………………………………………………………($650/$900)
    Act Out – Conference……………………………………………………….($952/$1175)
    VCTV – Preorg………………………………………………………………($76/$84.37)
    Noyes – Speakers…………………………………………………………($3,250/$3500)
    CBS – Speakers……………………………………………………………($1,971/$1,971)
    Minstrels – Capital……………………………………………………………($845/$845)
    QCVC – Speakers..……………………………………………………………….($2,200)
    Speakers to Democracy Matters $200
    Collab to ProHealth $370

    2016 Abstains from the Consent Agenda
    This means everybody needs to vote.
    Absentions: 2016
    Opposed: None

    This motion passes.

    7:10 // Forum with Michael Cato, Chief Information Officer…Michael Cato
    CATO: This is my second month at Vassar College. I’ve spent 12 years in higher education IT, my latest job is from UNC. My position is new, or at least it has been revamped. We work with computing and information systems.
    One of the most important parts of my job is outreach to my constituents.
    You are by far the largest constituent group that we deal with. I know I’m not doing my job well if our technologies aren’t working well for you. I always want feedback on how things are going.
    We are going to do a simple 4 question survey now (done via computer and cellphone).
    QUESTION 1: Which technologies at Vassar do you find HELPFUL and how?
    ANSWERS included: “printers” “not moodles” “askbanner” “stalkbanner” “vcash” “almost universal wifi” “technology is subjective i’m confused.”
    QUESTION 2: Which technologies at Vassar get in the way and how?
    ANSWERS included: “printers” ; “Vspace-what is it” ; “VPrint” ; “multiple sign ins to google” “wifi” ; “no printers in academic buildings”
    QUESTIONS 3: What should Computing & Information Services STOP doing?
    ANSWERS included: “stop taking really long to answer work orders” ; “askbanner” ; “I don’t know what they do…” ; “emphasizing Facebook” ; “managing printer maintenance solely through students”
    QUESTION 4: What should Computing and Information Services START doing?
    Answers included: “bring back vcharge” ; “printers in academic buildings” ; “xbox live” ; “stop da phishing” “put add/drop forms online”
    I will consolidate everything we have done hear and then we can have more conversations with Deb and other members of council. This has been really successful in the past.

    JEWETT: The removal of computer in the dorms has been happening. I understand why some of them were taken out, but we could really use them.
    CATO: I can’t speak to that. One of the cost-saving measures was taking away dorm computers because most students have computers. I’m not defending it, but that was a decision.

    JEWETT: Who can we talk to about this?
    CATO: You should talk with me about. It’s really hard to make decisions about where computers should be without data; we are collecting this now.

    SOUTH COMMONS: Can you talk about the options for printers for us.
    CATO: We have some options:
    Inside the purchasing lobby so that students can swipe in 24/7. It would cost $8,000-12,000.
    Inside the laundry room. That would cost $3,000-$4,000. The cost would be the cost of a compressor and would prevent overheating.
    Moving into the old security building. $4,000-5,000. But this building may be repurposed.

    SOUTH COMMONS: I think that the Laundry rooms would be our best bet.

    AT LARGE: Are there places where we can have PC computers fixed? They have turned me away in the past.
    CATO: We should be able to at least give you basic support.

    RAYMOND: Can you speak to no printers in academic buildings?
    CATO: I don’t know the answers of why. I would love to know where students would like them and why would we need them.
    RAYMOND: I think that one per building would be great.

    2015: Can you speak to student network usage over the course of the years?
    CATO: I will send you the data soon. I know that our bandwidth stands as 600 megs currently. That’s 10 or 15 times more than we had 4 years ago. The rub is that we have limited capacity.

    2015: Is it very expensive to increase our bandwidth?
    CATO: I think we are paying more than we could probably have to. My goal is not to pay less, but to get more for what we pay for.

    JEWETT: What is bandwidth?
    CATO: Think about it like a pipe. The bandwidth is like a pipe and usage is like the water. Bandwidth is the size of the pipe, and the bigger the pipe the more information can get through faster.

    OPERATIONS: CIS is extremely helpful with our elections.

    JOSSELYN: Who do I go to about getting another card reader in my dorm? People want some on the west side of Joss.
    CATO: It would be us. You should send me an email about this.
    FINANCE: In the past the administration thought it was not secure to have a card swipe that close to off campus.

    2016: Would it be possible to print from their cellphones?
    CATO: Yes you will be able to do it. The upgrade will be coming soon, and that is one of the facets of the upgrade.

    2016: Who maintains the printers? There have been significant problems in Main.
    CATO: I will see what I can do to fix the problem with the Main printer.

    PRESIDENT: What things are not mobile that could be mobile? (such as time sheets using askbanner, as well as the course schedule)
    How possible would it be to combine the events calendar for campus with google calendar?
    CATO: We have been having conversations about these topics two weeks ago. We are still working on this.

    TOWN HOUSES: I just wanted to say thank you to everybody that works with you.

    OPERATIONS: I think you should also consider taking a survey of students on where they would want additional printers on campus.

    7:49// Miscellany News report with Bethan Johnson, EIC…AT LARGE
    JOHNSON: This is actually in our by-laws to come in and do a check-in with you guys. There were only two issues in September so we are putting September and October together for this check-in. The report you have in front of you has everything we have been doing for these past two months. It was really important to me to follow the by-laws; it is part of my job.

    PRESIDENT: Thanks.

    FINANCE: There are a lot of good stuff you have been doing. Do you have any plans to maybe do more concrete research as to how people are reading the paper?
    JOHNSON: One of our contributing editors this semester is planning to send out a survey to the campus about the paper. Questions include: Where do you pick up the paper? How often do you pick up the paper? Online readership vs. physical copies? We should have data on that by the end of the semester.

    FINANCE: I would encourage you to use the capital fund to purchase smaller items on your list.
    JOHNSON: We don’t want to take away capital from the beginning of the year from other student groups that may not have financial capabilities like ourselves.

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: I was doing laundry this past weekend. I saw copies in the laundry room.
    JOHNSON: That is something new that we are doing! Thanks for reading!

    OPERATIONS: I was very excited to read a semi-pro VSA editorial a couple weeks ago. I also think this report is great and really important. It’s another way that we are building a relationship.

    STRONG: Thank you for explaining why the website is being changed. How did your name get kidnapped?
    JOHNSON: It’s confusing actually. Between EICs the domain name went up for auction and it got bought right out from under us. The German company does not have any claim to the domain name. Right now we are on the gridserver, but we are trying to get our old name back. We have people working on it!

    RAYMOND: Thanks for personally delivering me a paper. And it looks really great this year. Thanks for encouraging us for writing for you as well.
    JOHNSON: It is something we have spoken about, actually. We want to encourage as many VSA pieces as possible. They can be about anything. We really encourage you to reach out to the student body and connect with the student body.

    ACADEMICS: How do people who don’t have constant interaction with you get feedback to you?
    JOHNSON: There are a couple different ways actually. Paper critique is a big one, every Sunday at 9:00 p.m. in the Rose Parlor. We also have a Misc email ([email protected]). A lot of people also directly email me. My other goal is to make my position more physically present and reach out to everybody on campus. It is important that people think they can give feedback, good and bad. Tell your constituents. I’m only going to be here this semester. I’m going abroad to Oxford next semester.

    ACTIVITIES: I appreciate all that you do.

    PRESIDENT: I can’t live without you. I appreciated your report so much. Even beyond the current issues, The Misc is such a valuable resource. Your institutional memory is wonderful.
    JOHNSON: You have access through the library to the archives. Our newspapers are archived from 1914 until last semester.

    JEWETT: How does advertising work? Like dorm events?
    JOHNSON: The processes are a little different. You can email me or Dave Rosenkranz about the ads. Because it is a student advertisement, you have free ad space within the paper. We have all types of ad types and sizes. For an article, you can contact myself or go onto the masthead and email the Features Editor for that semester and give the Editor all the information and we will cover it. If you do want an event covered, I strongly recommend you encourage people to speak to the Misc. We need at least 3 sources.

    FERRY: We like to be the center of attention are are looking forward to being in the middle of a scandal.

    2016: The database sounds amazing. I’m on the smoke-free implementation task-force and I found out that in the 30s a poll was done by the Misc that asked students if they were in favor of a smoking ban (about smoking in their rooms) and I learned that people were wildly not in favor of that.


    8:06// Executive Board Reports…Activities and Finance
    ACTIVITIES: We are purchasing more VCash machines. Activities will be organizing a committee regarding Me In Poughkeepsie. I have been in talks regarding student space. Mission statements for orgs are due tomorrow.

    JEWETT: Are the new VCash machines going to be wireless?
    ACTIVITIES: Hopefully.

    FINANCE: The VCash machines are great but people do need to know is that they cost $3,000. We just have to be looking at how gets the most benefit from using the machines.

    We have been receiving lots of fund applications. We are doing our best to improve the fund applications themselves. We are on
    Meeting with SPECTRUM leaders to discuss VSA funding. I am meeting with ALANA orgs on Friday.

    2017: When are the next round of applications regarding the Social Consciousness and Justice fund?
    STUDENT LIFE: The applications were due on November 1. Roughly 15 applications were submitted. The next round of applications will take place next semester.

    8:14 // Declaration of Open Positions
    Senior Class Secretary:
    Applications due Tuesday at noon. (this seems accelerated, but the senior class has known about the vacancy since last Tuesday)

    Other open position: South Commons Programming Director
    Applications due this Thursday.


    All in favor: all


    All in favor: all


    8:18 // Amendment…OPERATIONS


    SECTION1: Rule 5, Sub-Point 1 of the VSA Special Meeting Rules shall be struck and replaced with the following:

    All matriculated students of Vassar College have the right to make a motion. There is no need for a second.

    Enactment: Upon passage of this amendment in accordance with the VSA Bylaws and Constitution, this rule change shall be effective immediately. The Special Meeting Rules shall be updated accordingly.

    All in favor: all
    Opposed: none


    8:20 // Open Discussion

    RAYMOND: The co-chairs will be discussing dorm damage be meeting with Luis Inoa.

    NOYES: Noyes and Cushing will be hosting DDR this Friday in the Villard Room.

    TAs: Strong won the trick-or-treating challenge.

    OPERATIONS: On the topic of dorm damage, I would love to meet with BHP co-chairs and be as involved in this discussion as possible

    ACADEMICS: Come to the peer advising on Tuesday; you win Brewer Cup points.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for all your help with the Seven Sisters Conference.

    OPERATIONS: Thank you to PRESIDENT and Benedict for working on this amazing event.

    2015: I would like to vote to go into closed session.

    Opposed: Jewett, Josselym, Cushing
    In favor: the rest.

    So guys, they are having a private discussion that will last roughly 20 minutes, so if they have to vote about whatever this private matter is, The Misc will be asked to return; if not, I will end the blog then!…Here’s to waiting!

    We have been called back in! The VSA discussed a fund allocation regarding ACT OUT. The information we are getting is somewhat spotty. The VSA has discussed the topic of ‘lying.’

    PRESIDENT: Motion to recess to call these individuals to bring them in as opposed to not having this conversation.

    OPERATIONS: There are questions about whether or not this group exists or if this is a problem of interpersonal relationships.

    FERRY: They don’t have a student body and they don’t hold events. So we shouldn’t be funding their events.

    Opposed: Raymond, Finance, Academics, Activities
    Abstain: 2015
    In Favor: All others

    Approving the rest of the consent agenda voting
    Abstain: 2016
    Opposed: None


    9:16 // ACT OUT funding application…General Body
    2014: I would approve their application but I think in the future we should consider them more clearly.

    2015: In terms of the time crunch, we did not cause it. I don’t think that the timeline argument is a good one.

    JEWETT: The question is did we give money to an organization or did we give money to three individuals. I feel like they pulled one over on us.

    2014: I agree and I feel the same way. I just don’t think that there is any way to figure this out right now. I think that this should just inform our future dealings with this organization.

    They are all standing up and stretching.

    2016: I really feel strongly that there needs to be an appeals process. They need to have a chance to speak to themselves. It’s an unfair system for us to speak about their group without them talking about it with us.

    10 minute recess! (they are calling reps from ACT OUT)

    Council is reconvening soon. Representatives from ACT OUT are on their way.

    Council is passing time by complimenting one another starting with PRESIDENT.

    10:02 PM // Council reconvenes

    PRESIDENT explains why ACT OUT members were brought in. ACT OUT representatives introduce themselves to Council. PRESIDENT explains the process of hour the Speakers List works.

    FINANCE: We’re doing this again because a couple of members of council had some serious allegations regarding ACT OUT and the fund app. Allegations The timing of the fund app has come out. Out of nowhere ACT Out leadership ha requested a large fund app.

    ACT OUT members…Yanee and Abby
    Abby doesn’t know why ACT OUT’S legitimacy is being questioned in this setting as opposed to the end of the year. She questions whether this is routine as ACT OUT was approved at the end of last year and given 800 dollars for funding.

    ACTIVITIES explains that after gaining her position she tried to get in touch with all organization and hasn’t heard from ACT OUT until mid September.

    FINANCE states that this process isn’t typical when dealing with fund applications, but this is the first instance of ACT OUT being active on campus this semester.

    PRESIDENT wants to give ACT OUT members the opportunity to present their case, describe their organization, student body, how they plan to use the conference and what they will bring back to the question.

    YANEE notes that lat semester ACT OUT has fallen out. She explains that this semester they have been trying to deliberate and carry out what orientation they want ACT OUT to take in regards to identity within the LGBTQ community. They want ACT OUT to focus on theater and using that as an outlet. Part of the conference focuses on the intersection of feminism and LGBTQ, as well as issues of racism. They have been pulling friends and people who are interested, and they have a general body list. Meeting have not been frequent—about once or twice a month an email has been sent out. ACT OUT is not really established, which might explain why they are not a part of spectrum at the moment.

    2014: Aside from the conference what other events are being planned for the year?

    ABBY notes that this is her first semester involved with ACT OUT. She mentions that ACT OUT wishes to hold a “Vulva Mirror Project” on Nov. 25 to discuss issues centered around people with vulva’s and vaginas and how people treat those people. The event will involve decorating hand-held mirrors. They have partnered up with a Poughkeepsie org

    YANEE says that ROB is planning on bringing the New York forum and the Theater of the Oppressed.

    ROYAL: What do you mean by ACT OUT hasn’t been established?

    ACT OUT explains that the previous members have graduated and left the org in an unstable state.

    STUDENT LIFE thanks ACT OUT for coming in. He explains that the org could have reached out to JARVIS for help in reestablishing the organization and helping the org apply for funding. He notes that JARVIS has been contacted by freshmen who want to know about the org and when they meet. ACT OUT meetings are on the calendar but students don’t know when these meetings take place.

    YANEE states that ACT OUT is not on spectrum when they were never contacted.

    PRESIDENT explains that given the informality of the group’s meeting times and lack of presence it seems like three individuals want to attend a conference.

    JEWETT wants to know whether this org wants to go to this conference for personal gain or is it coming back to ACT OUT.

    ABBY says the idea that ACT OUT was not in a good place. She thinks that the purpose of ACT OUT fits in with Vassar’s space. She brings back the WBS protest to highlight that ACT OUT wants to focus on typically marginalized identities within the queer community. This women’s studies conference is run by a number of women of color and will help the org’s cause.

    YANEE says the conference will help with putting queer theory into practice, establishing spaces and reestablishing the organization.

    ABBY says it’s to revitalize the structure and create one that is inclusive and sustainable.

    FINANCE wants to motion to move the fund application to the discretionary fund for five hundred dollars for the underclassmen to attend this conference. Council will vote on this option, the original conference fund or for zero dollars.

    Main wants to know if individuals can apply for the discretionary fund.

    2016 says that applying to the discretionary fund in this way is unorthodox. The money in the discretionary fund is meant to be used for the entire campus and while it upsets him that some students don’t have the money to do what they want, this money is meant to be used to benefit the campus not individuals.

    ABBY says that GAP received money for a conference and notes that their history matches ACT OUT. She wants to know if Council asked them to about their history. She feels stressed that as a Vassar student who saw a need in a VSA org is being question. She said that GAP had very little structure before she helped to reestablish it.

    PRESIDENT says that while the plans of ACT OUT sound really good, none of it matches their mission statement. She wants to know that what will be learned from this conference will help future underclassmen.

    OPERATIONS wants to point out ACT OUT’s comparison to GAP. She says that the difference is GAP is no longer a struggling org and has a structure that will benefit campus, but ACT OUT is still struggling. It does not reflect on the org leaders but only on its current standing. OPERATIONS agrees with 2016 that this is not an ideal use of the discretionary fund. In order for them to apply through the discretionary fund, ACT OUT needs to explain how going to this conference will benefit the campus.

    2015 could you answer how long has Rob been as a co-facilitator of ACT OUT?
    AT LARGE: I haven’t been involved with Rob. I haven’t been asked to co-facilitate until after October Break.

    Extending this conversation for ten minutes:
    In favor: Strong, SoCos, 2015
    Opposed: the rest

    ACTIVITIES: (reading from the official ACT OUT mission statement)

    OPERATIONS: There is a different statement online that only really outlines what ACT OUT is supposed to do.

    $251 from discretionary for Yanee:


    MOTION TO ADJURN: this motion passes unanimously.

  • bethanjohnson 11:04 pm on October 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes 27 October 2013 

    7:00 // Call to Order…PRESIDENT

    7:01 // Attendance…OPERATIONS
    Absent: NONE
    Proxy: STRONG

    7:02 // Consent Agenda

    Generation – Pre-Org ($50/$35)
    VPI – Speakers/Social Consciousness ($0/$505.90)
    Phil – Capital ($2100/$2100)
    Vass Shakers – Pre-Org ($200/$200)
    GAAP – Conference ($0/$900)
    Minstrels – Collaboration ($0/$900)
    QCVC – Speakers ($1700/$3000)
    Davison – Collaboration ($500)
    ASA – Capital ($273.54)
    VARC – Collaboration ($180)
    VSA Finance (Mug System) – Capital ($1500)
    Minutes from 10/20/2013
    Phil from the Capital Fund ($300)

    STUDENT LIFE: Send QCVC back to committee and tabled to next week.


    7:04 // Forum with EMS…EMS
    One weekends we are on 24 hours of the day.
    We respond to any emergencies on campus, students or visitors.
    We can be contacted through CRC.
    Campus control can contact EMS for assistance.
    There were 11 calls for Halloweekend and 5 hospitalizations from last night.

    FINANCE: How does that compare to last year? Previous year?
    AT LARGE: Last year was 12. The year before that was 10. Founders Day is also roughly the same; Founders Day is our other high day.

    TOWN STUDENTS: Do you respond to town students?
    AT LARGE: They have to be on campus for us to respond.

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: What does training entail? What is EMS’ relationship to the local community?
    AT LARGE: You need to be CPR certified to work with EMS. In order to become a crew chief, or a decision-maker, you need to be an EMT. You can do this either through classes at Vassar or from home-towns.
    We provide training every month at our general body meetings. We also provide weekend trainings from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. for practice situations.
    For off-campus resources, we are connected with the Arlington Fire Department; they are the local EMS.
    For sexual assault we have a whole host of other resources who are not connected to Vassar.

    DAVISON: Can you talk about the decision-making for hospitalization?
    AT LARGE: We will take students who are in a life-threatening situation to the hospital. I know a lot of students are worried about going to the hospital if they are intoxicated. We make the decision based on the safety of the student.
    On other campuses people have died or been in life-threatening situation because they were left alone.

    MAIN: Is there follow-up procedure?
    AT LARGE: There is follow-up on campus. The reports written by EMS are read by Baldwin and Baldwin will send a follow-up email to the students to check on their health. If the problem is substance related, Renee Pabst will also email the student.

    NOYES: Do these reports go to DB Brown?
    AT LARGE: We are only communicating with Baldwin and these reports are confidential. Occasionally, DB Brown follows up using the incident reports collected by security.

    NOYES: Do you have dorm-by-dorm statistical analysis?
    AT LARGE: No we don’t. Only seasonal and annual reports.

    TOWN STUDENTS: How much does it cost to be taken to the hospital?
    AT LARGE: The ambulance ride is free. The hospitalization is what costs money. The bill is usually roughly $2000 without insurance.

    FINANCE: What is the percentage of calls that are substance related?
    AT LARGE: Last year, intoxication accounted for roughly 50% of all EMS calls.

    2017: Are students responsible to get themselves from the hospital back to campus?
    AT LARGE: CRC can call a taxi company.

    RAYMOND: Do you know how we compare to other schools?
    AT LARGE: I do not.

    DAVISON: What are the most common events that prompt high EMS intoxication calls?
    AT LARGE: It has traditionally been Halloween, Founders Day, and Shiva Rave.

    TERRACE APARTMENT: How many people work with EMS?
    AT LARGE: We have roughly 60 active members, so everyone works at least once a month.
    In terms of decreasing calls, it’s a lot about educating students about how to enjoy themselves without going overboard. Encourage friends to look after friends. Also educating people that calling EMS to help an intoxicated friend is really for the best, especially given the Good Samaritan policy.

    JEWETT: Do you know if parents are contacted?
    AT LARGE: For students who are not legally an adult, under the age of 18, then parents will be contacted by the hospital. Parents are also contacted if a student is in a life-threatening situation. EMS never contacts parents.

    NOYES: Can you speak to the Good Samaritan policy?
    AT LARGE: The person who calls EMS will not be written up by security if that person is intoxicated.

    NOYES: How does the incident report tie into that?
    OPERATIONS: (as a members of EMS not OPERATIONS) Incident reports are not the same thing as being written up. If you show up on an incident report, you will not be asked to go before any panels to answer to these actions.
    TERRY HANLON: Students will be documented in these reports but they won’t get in trouble for any use of banned substances. However, if other violations were committed by a person who are intoxicated that individual can still be written up for these violations.

    HANLON: If students are involved in numerous Good Samaritan incidents, the student will then be asked to speak to either DB Brown or Renee Pabst about their drinking habits. Individuals can get in trouble for a “failure to comply” charge. The individual will not be in trouble for drinking, but can be under review for continuing risky behavior.

    7:29 // Executive Reports…STUDENT LIFE
    STUDENT LIFE: I finished the info graphic regarding sexual assault statistics.

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: Can you speak about the gender-neutral bathroom project?
    STUDENT LIFE: We are in talks about what a gender neutral bathroom would look like (should there be urinals, what kind of signage should be used?)

    7:33 // Executive Board Reports…ACADEMICS
    ACADEMICS: Peer-advising is happening on the 5th.We have advisors from 27 departments.
    This past week I was working on the Dean of Studies search committee. If you know a professor who would be good, encourage them to apply.
    The deadline is November 15th.
    We are trying to re-evaluate the CEQ.
    They are called the Student Course Evaluation; it’s still far off but this is as close as any change has ever been.
    The Cognitive Science Program applied to become a Department. This decision will go to the Faculty floor in November.

    2017: I have heard that the grading policy is under review, can you speak to this?
    ACADEMICS: There are conversations around this issue, but grading itself is not changing. They are trying to figure out how to make grades more equitable. They are considering an annotated transcript.
    JEWETT: It’s probably not going into effect while we are here.

    7:39 // Certification of SEASA…ACTIVITIES
    ACTIVITIES: South East Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) has been a preliminary organization for 5 semesters.

    Absentions: TAs, MAIN
    Opposed: None


    7:41 // Appointment of Davison Vice President…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: It is the committee’s recommendation that we leave the position open for more applications. The basis for this is that due to the break, not many students knew that they could apply. Also the committee was not overwhelmingly satisfied with the single candidate, so we want more time for people to apply. Applications will be due 31 October, with the potential appointment on 3 November.

    Abstentions: Main, 2016
    Opposed: None


    7:46 // Appointment of Jewett Vice President…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: Originally we had four applications, but one was a freshman which made the candidate ineligible.
    We recommend Mya Horowitz for the position.

    Abstentions: 2016, Jewett
    Opposed: None


    7:48 // Appointment of Jewett Secretary…OPERATIONS
    Originally we had three applications, but one was a freshman which made the candidate ineligible. Another candidate withdrew their application.
    We recommend Tomas Guarnizo.

    Abstentions: Jewett, 2016.
    Opposed: None


    7:50 // Appointment of Founders Day Co-Chairs…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: Normally we only have 2 co-chairs, but we found three strong candidates so we want three co-chairs.

    Abstentions: STRONG, 2016, NOYES

    7:52 // Appointment of Founders Day Co-Chairs…OPERATIONS
    We also recommend Alix Lowe-Server.

    Abstentions: 2016
    Opposed: NONE


    7:53 // Appointment of Founders Day Co-Chairs…OPERATIONS
    The committee also recommends sophomore So Sun Park.

    Abstentions: 2016
    Opposed: None

    NOYES: Thank you to So Sun Park for coming to our meeting.

    OPERATIONS: We have received an application for the Noyes 2015 representative, so we are now putting a timeline on the application. Applications will be due on 31 October and the VSA will vote on the recommendation on 3 November.

    Abstentions: None
    Opposed: None


    7:58 // Open Discussion

    2014: Thank you to all of the help from members of Council with the organizing of the Halloween event.

    PRESIDENT: I want to encourage any constructive criticism of the Halloween event to be emailed to 2014.
    Instead of a quote on top of our agenda, we have an ‘in memory of’ Nancy Gannett ’49. In her obituary she asked that instead of flowers, she asked for donations to the VSA.
    Also, I encourage members of Council to help with the Seven Sisters Conference.

    OPERATIONS: Thank you to those people who helped with the appointment process.

    FINANCE: I will be off-campus on Thursday and Friday, so there will be no office hours for Finance on those days.

    ACTIVITIES: When you put in a request for a location for an event, please remember that this does not mean that you will necessarily be approved. Cathy Jennings must review the application and send a confirmation email.
    Org storage space applications are due November 3.
    Updated organization constitutions are due on November 18.

    JEWETT: Dormal Formal is on Novembers 16.

    2016: Damages done to dorms are divided among dorm residents at the end of the year.
    Starting now, I think we should evaluate whether this is fair. I would like to consider other ways of dividing the damage charge burden among the student body.
    1. Vassar, unlike many schools, maintains universal card access. This allows any student to go into any dorm at any time, meaning anyone can do damage to a dorm.
    2. Some dorms receive more damage than others, especially Main and Jewett, because of their location and proximity to places like the Villard Room and the Mug.

    2015: Strong and Josselyn Houses have open 2015 spring class council positions.

    2014: If you have comments on the Halloween event, please email me in the next two days.
    I do not want to receive emails about instances that took place outside of the Halloween event itself; this is not under our purview.
    Also special thanks to the House Advisors for their help with the Halloween event.


  • bethanjohnson 11:05 pm on October 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Minute Meetings- 20 October 2013 

    Hi guys! Welcome back!

    7:01 // Call to Order…PRESIDENT
    (as we wait for Operations to get ready, PRESIDENT recounts how she pierced her own ear over break)
    7:03// Attendance…OPERATIONS
    Proxy: Representative for 2016
    Absent: none
    7:06// Consent Agenda…Council
    a. Minutes from 10/6/13

    Consent Agenda approved.

    7:07// Forum with Julian Williams, Director of Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action
    WILLIAMS: I also work as the Title IX Officer.
    I have been working at Vassar for 9 years.
    I investigate issues of sexual harassment and discrimination, when the issue is not between two students. I supervise the way that the administration investigation
    I also serve a tool when the administration is looking into the recruitment of faculty in terms of people of color and women.
    We have a large amount of resource including Elizabeth Schrock and CARES.
    Both are private forms of reporting and they remain confidential. Using these services do not automatically trigger an investigation by the administration.
    We always people to reach out to law enforcement; we don’t make the decision for the student, but we encourage students to do so. I believe that currently not enough people to utilize local law enforcement.
    After an investigation is conducted regarding sexual assault or Title IX issues, a trial is conducted to determine the veracity of the claim; typically, if a member is found guilty, these issues result in suspensions or expulsion.
    We are in many ways ahead of the curve in terms of handling issues of sexual assault and discrimination.
    My office investigates discrimination or sexual harassment between a student and faculty member. We want to let students know that this is a serious issue and that the college treats these issues very seriously. I also encourage student to talk with me regarding discrimination or sexual assault.

    MAIN: We discussed issues of racial discrimination with Dean Roellke. He encouraged students to report issues. What are your feelings?
    WILLIAMS: The college could follow up without necessarily opening an investigation. If a student receives a complaint based on racial profiling from a security officer, for example, my office would investigate the situation. If, however, the report came from a student and were directed toward a student my office would not be investigating the case.
    However my office is also attempting to make sure that resources encouraging acceptance and personal development are available to students.

    AT LARGE: Can you talk about the support component more?
    WILLIAMS: I think that I must remain visible on campus and that way students will know that I can be a resource for them. Support can also come through making sure that the information regarding reporting, both to my office and other parts of the administration, is widely distributed. Also, my office is in Metcalf on the first floor.

    OPERATIONS: How common is it that students follow up with local law enforcement? How have students experiences been with local law enforcement?
    WILLIAMS: Not many people do report this to local law enforcement. Part of this is that law enforcement can appear somewhat cold. Our standard of evidence at the college is quite different from that of a local prosecutor; the college looks at the perponderance of evidence (50% or more likelihood), whereas local prosecutors only want to bring up criminal cases if the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    FINANCE: The Supreme Court is about to hear a case about affirmative action; can you tell us more about the case’s implications?
    WILLIAMS: When the Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that race could be used as part of the admissions process, many states proposed ballot initiatives challenging this ruling. Many states ruled that race should no longer be used in the admissions process. I think that they will uphold these ballot initiatives.
    This should not directly affect us because I think that these rulings will be state-specific. Moreover, Vassar has its own strong commitment to diversity.

    PRESIDENT: What does ‘investigate’ mean?
    WILLIAMS: You talk to both the accuser and the accused. You also talk with witnesses, individuals who have knowledge of these people, you read many documents (text messages and emails). The investigations take a various amount of time.
    In terms of student to student Title IX issues our target timeline is 60 days.
    For student-faculty issues, we also attempt to make a decision within 60 days.

    WILLIAMS: I look periodically with Elizabeth Schrock, Title IX investigators, and others so that we understand our goals. One of these long-term goals is to make this campus more equitable. We want to think of ways, be it changes in policy, events, etc., that will help people feel more equitable.

    PRESIDENT: What else can we do as student leaders to help?
    WILLIAMS: When we look specifically at reporting around issues of gender; most of victims are women and most of the accused are men. We have to spend more time talking to men about these issues; we talk to women quite often about ways of avoiding dangerous situations. We should spend more time engaging with men on issues of appropriate behavior, self-confidence, and empathy. For the most part our students get it, but we cannot let this stop us from thinking critically about our own role in these issues.

    7:35// Executive Board Reports
    PRESIDENT: The Board of Trustees met in the beginning of October Break and I served as the student witness to the meeting.
    They were still discussing student space; there is now a subcommittee looking into the use of the Juliet cafe space.
    The Seven Sisters conference is in two weeks (November 1-3). We have 60 people coming from the 5 remaining sisters. We have a day of activities planned on Saturday. We have not always had the best relationship with the Seven Sisters, as many don’t agree we should be part of the Seven Sisters, so this is an important step in our relationship.

    2015: Can you talk about how much the Board of Trustees is actually interested in student events?
    PRESIDENT: There are some committees that we are invited to and others that we are not. They did ask us to discuss the campus climate. They are very receptive to our notes, and said that they will be looking into ways

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: What are the themes of the Seven Sisters program?
    PRESIDENT: We are focused on collaboration and analyzing the topic in 4 steps.
    1. Inter-collegiate collaboration
    -analysis of the various student groups and their relationships
    2. Intra-collegiate collaboration
    -two colleges plan an event around one similarity
    3. Seven Sisters collaboration
    -brainstorming our shared values
    4. Analyze communities or centers on campus that student government can collaborate with more broadly.

    Open positions that we will fill in the coming week:
    Jewett Secretary and Vice President
    Davison Vice President
    Founders Day Co-chairs
    These applications closed at noon and will be reviewed by OPERATIONS committee this week.
    We are looking at having a corum for appointment-related operations committee meetings, much like Finance does. Our minimum would be 7 representatives. We think that having only a small group to discuss applications is not adequate in terms of deciding student representation.
    VSARC is moving forward will be a joint project between STUDENT LIFE and OPERATIONS committees.

    JEWETT: When are operations meetings?
    OPERATIONS: 5:00 p.m. on Mondays. But we do not interview students at this time; we send out a When-is-good to decide candidate meeting times.

    MAIN: When does VSARC meet?
    OPERATIONS: Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. in Faculty Commons. This time will change and we will publish the new time when we have made a decision.

    SOUTH COMMONS: Is this open to the student body?
    OPERATIONS: Yes all students are welcome.

    SOUTH COMMONS: Right now preliminary organizations cannot use the name “Vassar” in their titles. This is a problem because many students already do and others that would like to use Vassar in their organization’s name would need to change their name following the preliminary status period.

    Vassar Student Association Amendment 28 – __
    An Amendment Concerning the Use of “Vassar” In Preliminary Organization’s Names
    Principal Authors: South Commons, Ben Morse ‘14

    SECTION 1: Article VIII, Section 4, Subsection A of the Bylaws shall include an additional sub-point:

    4. Use “Vassar” in its official name

    SECTION 2: Article VIII, Section 4, Subsection B, Sub-Point 1 of the Bylaws shall be struck:

    B. A Preliminary Organization cannot:
    1. Use “Vassar” in its official name.

    ENACTMENT: As is prescribed in Article XI of the VSA Constitution, this amendment shall be enacted by a two-thirds vote of the VSA Council. All relevant numbers shall be changed accordingly.




    7:55// Open Discussion…Council

    2014: Halloweekend is this weekend and we will be tabling in the College Center with tickets for the dance. Tickets will also be sold at the door.

    ACADEMICS: November 5 the Peer Advising event will take place, most likely in the Aula. Brewer House cup points are at stake (100 points). Food will also be provided.

    SOUTH COMMONS: There are 3 picnic tables in South Commons now so please come visit them while there is still nice weather.

    MAIN: Halloweekend is this weekend. Please avoid damaging my house.




    One hour! That was pretty brief! I’ll write you again next week!

  • bethanjohnson 11:02 pm on October 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Minute Meeting- 4 October 2013 

    Hi guys! Last one of these before break! Sorry we are starting late, but people are still streaming in. In the mean-time, Deb is story-telling…

    7:04 // Call to Order…President
    7:05 // Attendance…Operations

    Introduction of at large members
    Council Members not in attendance:
    Proxy: Davison House (Khasi Jamieson), Jewett (Chris Brown), Josselyn (Adam Eichen)

    7:09 // Consent Agenda…Operations

    Squirm – Speakers ($3500/$4000)
    Fem Alliance – Conference ($400/$517.50)
    Ceramics – Discretionary ($1000/$2790)
    MICA – Speakers, Conference ($0, $0/$1550, $500)
    RunVassar – Community ($500/$1000)
    Britomartis – Discretionary ($400/$400)
    SEASA – Preliminary Org ($176.69/$186.69)
    CBS – Collaboration ($0/$500)
    Woodshed – Capital ($0/$3300)
    Democracy Matters – Discretionary ($55/$55)
    Poder Latino – Social Consciousness ($500/$500)
    Fem Alliance – Social Consciousness ($485/$485)
    Woodshed – Capital ($350/$350)
    Minutes from 9/29/13
    Archery – 3rd Semester
    Beauty and the Beats – 1st Semester
    Body Positive – 1st Semester
    Choir Council – 1st Semester
    Comedy Normative – 3rd Semester
    Committed – 1st Semester
    Environmental Brigade – 1st Semester
    Generation – 1st Semester
    Giving to Extremes – 1st Semester
    LiNK – 1st Semester
    Native American Students Alliance (NASA) – 1st Semester
    Quest Scholars Chapter of Vassar College – 1st Semester
    Southeast Asian Students Alliance (SEASA) – 4th Semester
    Joint Understanding Military Pathways and Support (JUMPS) – 1st Semester
    Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) – 1st Semester
    Trivia Group – 1st Semester
    Vass Shakers – 3rd Semester
    VCTV – 3rd Semester
    Vassar Croquet Association – 1st Semester
    Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) – 1st Semester


    7:11// Forum with Chris Roellke, Dean of the College…AT LARGE
    ROELLKE: I’ve been a Dean for 6 years now. We are still looking for a Dean of Studies, which we hope to fill by the end of the year; the position lasts for 5 years. Eve Dunbar is going to serve in my stead next semester.
    The Board of Trustees meet 3 times a year (October, February, and May). They have a fiduciary focus. The board has 6 new members this year. There are either 32 to 34 members. The vast majority of the board are alums.
    I work with the Student Affairs Committee.
    These are the questions I am posing to the Board:
    1. How can the Dean of the College best serve a changing student demographic?
    2. How can we increase the resources devoted to life after Vassar?
    3. How can Vassar best prepare for more Posse groups?
    5. Progress on construction on dorms given the financial constraints?
    6. What are the best investments we can make on student space.
    I serve on the Crisis Response Group. I work
    I meet with the Dean of Studies, Dean of Freshman, Associate Dean of Residential Life for Campus Activities, Associate Dean of Residential Life for Campus Life and Diversity on a weekly basis.
    Topics for the Committee on College Life:
    1. Review the Bias-Incident Report group
    2. Discussing first year preparation activities.
    3. Think about the re-orientation process in January (for freshman)
    4. Review House Fellow policies
    5. Review activities during Reading Period
    A revised mission statement for the Committee will be available online next week

    2015 REP: Among the students there are concerns about changing the Reading Period review. What kind of student input would you be gathering before making the decision?
    ROELLKE: There are actually more students on the committee than faculty. There are 7 students who sit on the committee. I envision lots of student input.

    FINANCE: How have students been involved in the Posse Program?
    ROELLKE: They have not been very involved in the program. Within 2 weeks of President Hill contacting the Posse Program,
    One of the things we are trying to negotiate is not having the Posse veterans on stage all the time and giving them some privacy. Ben Lotto is their advisor and meets with them on a weekly basis.

    ACADEMICS: What are the priorities in looking for a Dean of Studies?
    ROELLKE: We are looking for someone who can wear many hats, and are good cooperators. The person works with office like Junior Year Abroad, the Fellowship Office, and Office of Accessibility. They should be able to lead professors and be a friendly face to students. I am not on the search committee.

    NOYES: Can you talk more about re-orientation?
    ROELLKE: This is a very fledgling program that the Office of Residential Life. This would not happen this year; the discussion are happening this year.

    AT LARGE: How could you talk about the alcohol-event relationship?
    ROELLKE: It has been a little bit more quiet than it has been in the past falls. There have been fewer calls for medical services. However this is still a main concern. We had an alcohol task force a few years ago and there were events talking about binge drinking and pre-gaming. I am pleased that we have a good samaritan policy. I would like to compliment the Vassar EMS. We hope that students make decisions good decisions, but we have to continue programming for when they don’t. I have to say that drinking is against the law if you are under 21, and in Dutchess County has a fairly harsh policy about serving underage individuals.

    2016 REP: Where would we go to talk about making alterations on the College Handbook?
    ROELLKE: The Committee on College Life. I would be a good person to contact about that.

    2016 REP: Can you speak to the transfer or mid-year transfer policies?
    ROELLKE: They are assigned a student fellow and a transfer fellow. There aren’t many students and because of this they haven’t risen on the list of priorities. But we need to do more for them.

    2015 REP: There are very individuals who are feeling under-represented on the campus, where do you go if you want to change policies about their representation?
    ROELLKE: An example would be a student-trustee idea. But for all ideas, there is a committee FPPC that deal with this, and Burt Lot is the chair.

    AT LARGE: How do we hold students accountable for racial profiling? Who would we go to for’
    ROELLKE: You can file a complaint about issues like reporting students to security based on race, under the rules on discrimination. Dean of Students office will receive complaints. It is very difficult to hold students accountable but we must try.

    OPERATIONS: Some CCL representatives have problems with representing their constituency. What can be done to help them?
    ROELLKE: The CCL meetings are not confidential and they should be allowed to have access to listservs.

    7:41 // Executive Board Reports
    Congratulations to the new pre-organizations.
    Meet Me In Poughkeepsie was successfully held yesterday.
    We are working on finding storage space for more student organizations. The decisions will be made in the next few weeks.

    AT LARGE: How long would preliminary organization be preliminary?
    ACTIVITIES: For 3 semesters, with applications being submitted each semester. After that period the organization would be able to apply for full organization status.

    Two new additions to the Finance Committee: Raph and Carolina.
    We are looking on expanding the Capital Loan System.
    We are looking into more VCash machines.
    We are going to be reviewing the Proxy system within our meetings and also our structure at large.

    AT LARGE: Can you speak to denying preliminary organization applications?
    ACTIVITIES: We look at the benefit to the campus, we try to ensure that no certified organization already fulfills the mission of the preliminary organization, and we consider the student interest in the activity.

    7:51 // Davison House President Appointment…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: We had two fantastic applications for the President and both were on House Team. We recommend that Khasi take over as the president.
    We think that he had great and concrete ideas, he had lead meetings and had experience serving as a leader, the House Team were very pleased with his service thus far.
    Move to appoint Khasi as Davison House President

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: How will we fill the other positions?
    OPERATIONS: We will have applications until noon of the Sunday we run from October break. The positions will be filled the following weekend.

    2016 REP: This shows that we really need to consider how we fill these positions. But also thank you to Ali for her hard work.

    Abstentions: 2016, Davison, Noyes, Main
    Opposed: None


    7:55 // Filling Open Positions…OPERATIONS
    OPERATIONS: We had 3 interested candidates for the 2014 Judicial Board Representative. We recommend Natalia Preciato for this position. She has been trained to serve on panels about interpersonal violence.
    Motion to appoint Natalia Preciato as 2014 Judicial Board Representative
    Abstentions: Jewett Proxy
    Opposed: None


    7:59 // Declaration of Open Positions…Operations
    Open positions: Jewett Vice President, Davison Vice President, Jewett Secretary.
    Applications will close Sunday October 20 at noon.
    Motion to fill these positions by appointmentTHIS MOTION PASSES

    8:03 // Amendment Regarding Naming of Preliminary Organizations…Operations

    Vassar Student Association Amendment 28 – __
    An Amendment Concerning the Use of “Vassar” In Preliminary Organization’s Names
    Principal Authors: South Commons, Ben Morse ‘14

    SECTION 1: Article VIII, Section 4, Subsection A of the Bylaws shall be revised to read:

    A. A Preliminary Organization can:

    4. Use “Vassar” in its official name

    SECTION 2: Article VIII, Section 4, Subsection B, Clause 1 of the Bylaws shall be struck:

    B. A Preliminary Organization cannot:
    1. Use “Vassar” in its official name.

    ENACTMENT: As is prescribed in Article XI of the VSA Constitution, this amendment shall be enacted by a two-thirds vote of the VSA Council. All clause numbers shall be changed accordingly.

    This is the first reading, meaning it will be voted on next council meeting.

    8:06 // Open Discussion…

    2014 REP: Halloween is coming up and I am working on that.

    2016 REP: Welcome to Nnenia, the 2017 Class Representative.

    SOUTH COMMONS: I have received requests that the VSA Council Agenda be made available to students before the meetings.
    OPERATIONS: I will try to do this soon.

    OPERATIONS: Operations Committee did a great job with the interviewing candidates.

    ACADEMICS: Make sure students on the Academics Committee read the questions I sent.

    CUSHING: Will there be food in Decee after Dark?

    ACTIVITIES: Currently, no. But many discussions are being had about food.

    2016 REP: My class council has been reconsidering our structure. We want to make sure that people who have traditionally been under-represented have a voice on our council. Representatives from LGBTQ, VISA, ALANA, RSL, Women’s Center have been invited to come work with our council.

    Fund levels (approximation):
    Discretionary: $30,000
    Capital: $40,000
    Social Consciousness: $7,500
    Collaboration: $11,000
    Conference: $13,500
    New Organizations: $2,300
    Community: $9,500
    Speakers: $40,000

    OPERATIONS: If you are interested in making formal language to this new council policy, Operations Committee would be willing to look into this.
    Also, motion to adjourn.

    Abstentions: None.
    Opposed: FINANCE, STRONG, 2015 REP.


    BYE guys! write you in a couple of weeks!

  • bethanjohnson 11:01 pm on September 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes: 29 Sept. 2013 

    Hi! We are off to a late start tonight, so hang on while everybody settles!

    7:04 // Call to Order…President

    7:05 // Attendance…Operations
    Absent: Davison
    Proxy: 2017 (VP for the class of 2017)
    At Large Members: The Miscellany News, members of Britomartis, Director of Community Works Tom Ellman, Davison house team members, representative from the Students Class Issue Alliance.

    7:09// Consent Agenda

    Consent Agenda
    Bikes – Discretionary; Capital ($300/$1,000)
    NSO – Discretionary ($951.97/$951.97)
    HYPE – Conference ($1,600/$1,908)
    VISA – Conference ($1,500/$2,151.14)
    Devils – Conference ($0/$395)
    Fly People – Capital ($165/$165)
    Contrast – Speakers ($300/$300)
    ViCE student music – Capital ($799/799)
    Minutes from 9/22/2013

    All are approved.

    7:09 // Note from representative from Students Class Issues Alliance
    The Class action workshop was very successful yesterday. Roughly 26 people attended.
    Thursday in the Aula at 5:00 p.m. (until 6:30) to continue discussion class and class issues on campus.
    FINANCE: Thanks for applying using the Social Consciousness fund.

    7:11 // Forum with Community Works…Tom Ellman
    ELLMAN: Community Works is a philanthropic group that raises funds for local non-profit groups.
    I am inviting student participation in this campaign.
    Community Works was formed after the Boy Scouts won a court case allowing them to refuse scout masters based on sexuality. Vassar was associated with a group that was connected with the Boy Scouts, and after the decision, Vassar decided to separate itself from this group.
    Community Works funds hunger relief, domestic violence and child abuse prevention, local arts, LGBTQ issues, and others important issues.
    100% of Community Works goes to the non-profits.
    Community Works also helps educate the campus about local non-profits.
    Most of the campaign takes place in the fall; while the campaign can take the whole year, but ideally most of the money is raised by 1 January.
    I invite each house to do their own event; examples include an auction, dance, raffle, and other events.

    2015 REP: What kind of responsibilities would a representative have?
    ELLMAN: Most of it would be coordination and help communication between the committee and house teams. There would only be about 3 meetings this year.

    PRESIDENT: How do you decide where the money go each year?
    ELLMAN: Each year we solicit recommendations from the campus via email. We received between 15-20 nominations. This coming meeting on Friday, and maybe the next, we will decide which groups to support. Last year we chose 10 organizations.
    In the past we have raised between $75,000 to $100,000 each year. This means that a lot of good can be done in the local community with this money.

    JOSSELYN: When a House Team hosts an event, will the team raise money and select which agency their fundraiser would go to or is it put into a lump sum?
    ELLMAN: All of the money raised at an event is put together into one group and then is divided at the end of the campaign.

    TOWN STUDENTS: Are there any mechanisms for outreach to the larger community to ask what they would like to fund?
    ELLMAN: There isn’t really any way to do that this fall, but we could reconsider that. We don’t communicate with organizations before they have been officially selected in order to prevent them getting their hopes up.

    MAIN: Do houses need a representative on the committee to host an event?
    ELLMAN: Not all houses need a representative, but a few would be appreciated. I’m not going to turn people away.

    JEWETT: How soon do you want us to do the event? Can we do more than one?
    ELLMAN: I think that it would be best to have one big event in the fall. A good second choice is a continual form of fundraising. But building momentum towards the goal by the holiday season has worked best.

    2014 REP: When I was the Lathrop Treasurer we hosted auctions, but getting the money to the Community Works account was tricky.
    ELLMAN: We can figure that would. I am not sure what the transfer of funds is.
    FINANCE: I can do a transfer within the college, so just have your treasurers get in touch with me. Note that you cannot donate any of your annual allocation directly to Community Works.

    JEWETT: Can we use V-Cash machines within our dorms?
    OPERATIONS: I can check on that.

    ELLMAN: I would love to follow this up by communicating one or two of you.

    7:30 //Executive Board Report
    I am ironing out the language around reporting inter-personal violence events. I am working with Elizabeth Schrock and I am thinking of reaching out to Renee Pabst.
    I am working on making more gender-neutral bathrooms.
    I do need Student Life Committee members to be more committed to the committee. If you are not interested in the projects I am doing, please consider moving to another committee.

    Peer advising is going well. We have roughly 80 peer advisors. We are now looking into filling targeted groups of advising.
    The newsletter will cover food this semester. We have had enthusiastic responses from many faculty members.
    MAIN: You are doing a great job!

    7:35// Discussion on How to Fill Davison House President Position…Operations
    OPERATIONS: What are by-laws allow us to do is appoint someone or to order a special election.
    Anyone is allowed to run, except members of the Class of 2017, because they have not been on campus for more than one semester.

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: Can members of 2017 vote?

    ALEX MOULTON (at large): On behalf of Davison House team, we would ask the VSA to suspend a by-law and allow the Vice President to assume the role of President. The VP has attended house team training and meetings.

    OPERATIONS: First off, we would be suspend one by-law. This vote would require. Suspending the by-law would require a 2/3 majority vote from the VSA.
    I cannot recommend that we do that. We have 2 democratic options already instituted, so throwing them out seems problematic. And note that the special processes we have established are both expedited.

    2015 REP.: I agree with OPERATIONS, and note that the timeline will still leave Davison with leadership throughout the election /appointment process. I think

    2016: I think that the best process is special appointment. By appointing the VP now, we would be setting a precedent that VP would always take over in these situations, which is not something we would always want. I think that your VP is the most qualified candidate, but we don’t want to create the precedent.

    KATIE ELIOT: Our second choice was the special appointment; but we do think that time is a major issue here. We also have our fall event coming up soon.

    DOUG GREER: I still think that the fact that the Davison House team can visit the Operations committee, but they are not a voting members. I think that this means that they have lost some voice. Many members of the Operations Committee also do not live in Davison.

    KHASI: Thank you for all the support from my house team. We have been through a significant change since we lost our president, and we feel like we have a hole in our house team now. The general consensus among the house team, the HSA, and the VSA is that we have to be fair.

    RAYMOND: My house has been discussing this all weekend, and we think that we should listen to Davison. Suspending the by-law would make us appear less rigid and more efficient. “I’m fully in support of whatever Davison thinks we should do.”

    2014 REP: As Elections co-chair, I think that suspending the by-law would not be a valid course of action because we have two totally valid options. While Raymond has an excellent point, I think that upholding the bylaws were voted in to preserve is more important.
    The Board of Elections recommends that a special appointment is done.

    JEWETT: We seem to be doing a process more slowly than necessary. I support suspending the by-law because we can turn our focus toward finding a VP.

    FINANCE: We need to talk about the issue at hand: suspending the by-law. Either way the Davison House Team is down one member: either a President (with Khasi serving as temporary President) and or a Vice President.

    2015: I think that a special appointment is the best option.

    2016: I am really comfortable saying that Khasi is going to be appointed, and I know that people are going to be upset with me for saying that. I think that we should reconsider the by-laws existence all together if we are going to consider suspending the by-law.

    PRESIDENT: I have to take issue with you. You cannot come into the meeting knowing who you are going to vote for.

    OPERATIONS: I agree with PRESIDENT. We need to come in objectively and if you cannot be objective you must abstain from the vote.

    PRESIDENT: This is so controversial because everybody wants to do what is right for Davison and VSA.

    KATIE ELIOT: We would just love to have some way of expediting the election/appointment of the VP so that we don’t have to go through another meeting.

    STRONG: Motion to fill Davison House president by Special Election. (vote can only be special election or no)

    NOYES: Were there any other members of house team interested in running?
    KHASI: As of 3 days ago, the consensus was that 90% of people did not have time and the rest said that they would be comfortable with Khasi serving as president. None would technically want to run or put in an application.

    ACADEMICS: It seems like we are trying not to do what you want, but I want you to know that this is not the case.

    CUSHING: I feel like we are having a discussion about morals and ethics instead of what is best for Davison. I would motion to suspend the by-law.

    OPERATIONS: That cannot happen until the previous motion is defeated.

    STUDENT LIFE: I was under the impression that other people are interested in running for president. For fairness, I do also support the special election.

    2014 REP: Just wanted to remind all residential life positions that they cannot apply because it violates their contract.

    NOYES: I have also heard similar things to STUDENT LIFE so I think that it is only fair to have a special appointment.

    Abstentions: 2017
    Against: Jewett, Cushing, Raymond
    In favor: All other voting members


    PRESIDENT: I am so sorry for the drama was this. I am sorry to 2016 for snapping at you; I am sorry to Davison House team for this long process.

    OPERATIONS: I am also sorry for the lack of communication. I encourage you to continue coming to Operations meetings.

    ALEX MOULTON: I would hope that in the future there was more communication between Residential Life and VSA. We came in thinking that suspending the by-law would be a very easily passable motion.

    2015 REP: I have had experience with the lack of communication issue this has think that sometimes Residential Life presents things as options that aren’t really options in the VSA.

    2014 REP: I think that the Residential Life Office was not understanding that this was not an issue for them, but rather a VSA decision.

    8:12 // Certification of Britomartis…Activities
    We have reviewed the Britomartis application. They had a strong application, they bring a new kind of theatre to Vassar, and the group has a solid group organizations. As a pre-org they have preformed 5 shows.
    I motion to certify Britomartis.

    FINANCE: I want to stress that this does not immediately give them any funding. They would need to apply the discretionary fund.

    Unanimous passage.

    8:16 // Decertification of Wholistic…Activities
    Wholistic has been inactive for three semesters and has no leadership.
    The group used to work with Religious and Spiritual Life.
    There are no current members of the group.
    Motion to decertify Wholistic.

    Unanimous passage.

    8:18 // Open Discussion
    2014: Time line until graduation: seniors could knit 120 sweaters and a simple scarf before commencement.
    The Class of 2014 is responsible for Halloween programming.
    I would invite house presidents to talk to their house teams about their concerns for Halloween programming. The Villard Room dance will happen from 10:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m.

    Meet me in Poughkeepsie will happen next Saturday.
    Application closes on Tuesday at noon.
    Late night at the DC is tonight on the East Side of the DC at 10:00 p.m.

    TERRACE APARTMENTS: The Triple AVC (African American Alumnae/i) is hosting an event this Saturday from 3-5 p.m.

    LATHROP: Lathrop’s fall event is this Saturday and is a Trash-to-Treasures event. There will be a fashion show from 10:00 to 10:30 p.m. and then there will be a dance party until 2:00 a.m. in UpC.

    MAIN: I would like to second 2014 REP’S note about Halloween, because Main has been consistently disrespected.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you guys for our discussion earlier. Thank you to those who spoke to their constituents about this issue.
    I’m concerned about some of our actions generally. I think we need to remember that we are representatives. This includes how you behave outside of council, if you write an article in the Misc; we are representatives of the entire of school. Generally air on the side of your representative role. Typically when you are expressing an opinion that is not necessarily representative of your constituency, representatives must note that they are speaking outside of their role on VSA. We should never speak on behalf of council and be conscious that not all of the people you represent agree with your opinion.
    “We have made it through a month and are still alive and that is great.”
    Also know that being a part of committee means that you need to do more than just sit on a committee for one hour. If you don’t like the committee you serve on, please consider changing committees.
    Also, thank you for everything that you have done.

    JOSSELYN: My question to LATHROP is, how should I prepare students for the event via a study-break? And comment: I want to congratulate the class of 2017 for electing a president. I’m very happy to see more POC on this council.

    2016: Congratulations to RAYMOND for hosting their event. Over 200 people attended. I would like to note that there was an issue of hate-speech at the event. A student who was dressed up was mocked by a non-dressed up individual, who was part of group, who called the student “a queer.” I think we need to look into ways of making students speak up against hate speech.

    RAYMOND: Motion to adjourn.

    Unanimous support.
    This motion passes.

    The meeting is over! Write to you next week!

  • bethanjohnson 10:58 pm on September 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes: 22 Sept. 

    Hi guys! We are going to begin in a couple of minutes! Get excited, it’ll be a fairly long meeting!

    7:00 // Call to Order….President

    7:01 // Attendance….Operations
    Absent: 2017 Proxy (Max Moran); Davison Proxy; Josselyn Proxy; Town Houses Proxy
    At large members: representative from VC Bikes; President’s Assistants; Director of the ALANA Center

    7:07 // Announcement…President
    Davison House President has resigned. His position will be filled in the coming weeks.

    7:07 // Consent Agenda…Council
    Polo – Discretionary………………………………………………………………………..($0/$2,040)
    Soundsystem – Capital…………………………………………………………..…($1,300/$1,300)
    NSO – TBD….……………………………………………………………………………..($0/$951.97)
    Contrast – Discretionary…………………………………………………………..($3,000/$3,500)
    Bikes – Discretionary…………………………………………………………………..($100/$1,000)
    2016 (Raymond) – Collaboration………………………………….……………..…($500/$600)
    VACA – Social Consciousness………………………………………………………..($725/$725)
    Frisbee – Discretionary…………………………………………………………….…..…($0/$3,300)
    Helicon* – Conference……………………………………………………………($275.2/$275.20)
    Monkeys – Capital……………………………………………………………………($2,100/$2,100)
    Britomartis – Preorg…………………………………………………………………….……($0/$350)
    Minutes from 9/8/13

    Motion to table NSO and Polo to next week…Finance
    Abstentions: none
    Opposition: none

    Discussion of allotment for Vassar Bikes…At large member
    Motion seconded by VP for Operations

    AT LARGE: The fund allotment problems happened because the previous leader failed to fill out the proper paperwork
    The assistance we give is a service to campus. The nearest bike shop is 45 minutes away by a bike.
    We help repare bikes.
    In past years we have been allotted $600.

    FINANCE: We did not want to buy parts for students that students are not paying for.
    Repairing parts for free is not feasible.
    The $100 allotment is to cover the upkeep of the shop and tools.
    Because they failed to submit an annual budgeting application, we are making the allotment now.

    2016: I would recommend resubmitting the application because this information is different from the information we received previously.
    Moreover, the application was not itemized and it is necessary to

    Town Students: As a representative for town students, this allotment seems very measly.

    AT LARGE: We want to make sure that the bike shop has adequate tools and supplies. WE

    2015: I would vote on this application as it stands, with the understanding that they can come back to apply for more funds.


    Unanimous allotment of $100.

    7:18 // Meeting President’s Assistants
    President’s Assistants will be keeping up with the VPs and their meetings so they can inform Cappy about progress.

    TAs: What is your role as an assistant?
    AT LARGE: We work on setting up spaces to meet with Cappy, holding office hours that they can then fill the President in on. We also do office work and serve as a connection between the President and students.

    FINANCE: Where and when are your office hours?
    AT LARGE: Friday afternoons from 1-2 p.m. in a place that has yet to be determined.

    7:21 // Forum with Judy Jarvis, Director of LGBTQ Center and Women’s Center, and Luz Burgos-Lopez, Director of the ALANA Center
    JARVIS: How to be trans-ally training is coming up.
    RSL and LGBTQ will be collaborating on a film screening about God and sexual and gender identity.
    Wednesday is the autumn reception for faculty, staff, and students.
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: We are going on a retreat this weekend to Holy Cross College.
    We are beginning to write a curriculum around white-allies that will be launched in the spring.
    ALANA Center does a number of film screenings.
    There will be a faculty meet-and-greet on Monday for people of colour.
    The LGBTQ and the ALANA Centers are working on potential collaborations.
    “I’m here to challenge students, all students.”

    FINANCE: Tell us a little bit about yourself.What did you do before you came here?
    JARVIS: I graduated from Vassar in 2007 and spent 5 years trying to be a journalist. I did worked in California with non-profit organizations. I went to graduate school and then found myself back here.
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: I was very invested while I was at college, working multiple jobs and working in numerous organizations. Majored in African American Studies. After college I was a union organizer, in the health-care field, for Connecticut and Texas. I did that for a year, and then returned to graduate school while also working in higher education. At UConn I drafted a curriculum around social justice that was then adopted, and is still being used today.
    JARVIS: We also love talking about career options and paths.

    TAs: What are your goals personally and for your respective centers?
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: Personally, making myself available and well-known on campus. Instituting a lot of workshops for when students leave Vassar. I also want to prepare students for conversations and realities beyond the Vassar bubble.
    JARVIS: Personally, I want to do more investigation of my self and of my privilege. As a white female, I want to make sure that the centers that I run don’t become a white-women’s center or a white-LGBTQ center. I want Vassar wants to continue pushing ourselves and also recognize that, despite being at a seemingly progressive campus, people are not always comfortable on this campus. But I think that these conversations will also be conversations for all of the Campus Life Offices to be having.
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: Also, we should continue to think about activism on this campus. Moreover, personally, thinking about ways to ensure people are willing to engage in conversation and not merely be present in conversations.
    JARVIS: Jewett Communitea will happen in October (open to the whole campus) on a Wednesday and will discuss these issues.

    RAYMOND: How has this campus changed?
    JARVIS: I rarely had conversations about race, but I know that there were students who were having these conversations. What has stayed the same is that these conversations were being held by a particular group. I hope that the new structure of the Campus Life and Diversity Offices will improve the number of students engaging in these conversations.

    SoCos: How should interested students get involved in your centers?
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: I think that contacting me or Judy would be the easiest ways. Email either of us or come up to us. You can also get on a list-serve to update students on the events.

    TAs: What you recommend for us, as student leaders?
    JARVIS: Be intentional about where your blind-spots are. Attend an event that makes you uncomfortable and try to stretch yourselves. And let your constituents know that you are doing this
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: If you are uncomfortable, bring someone with you so that way you won’t be as nervous or uncomfortable. Also, realize that you are in positions of power and with that come privilege. Also, continue thinking about the definition of ally-hood and realize that you need to act and not merely stand as a silent ally.
    JARVIS: Also, please when you come to an event, don’t leave early. Even if you are uncomfortable, don’t shy away from those moments.
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: Also, realize that leaving early is not an option for a number of students on this campus, so recognize that there is a privilege to be able to leave.

    FINANCE: Can you explain your relationship with VSA-organizations?
    JARVIS: There are leadership council groups, the Spectrum leadership group and then also SPECTRANA group. These groups meet weekly and have planning boards.
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: We have bi-weeky meetings. We also use the list-serve and helping/serving as an advocate with funding.
    JARVIS: We get asked to co-sponsor events, which we like, but we don’t want groups to be shunted into our location and into our funding. We want these to be on display as student events. We also want to use our money for our own professional events.

    BURGOS-LOPEZ: Now I have a quiz for you.
    What does ALANA stand for? –African-American/Black, Latino/a, Asian/Asian American, Native American Center
    Who was the head of the ALANA Center? –Ed Pittman
    What was the name of the first cultural center? — Afro-American Cultural Center
    What was the original name of the ALANA Center? — The Intercultural Center
    Where was the first official center housed? —Lathrop House (on the ground floor)
    In 1990 the Intercultural Center was moved to which house? —Blegin House
    When did the ALANA Center move to its current location? — 1993
    The name was changed to the ALANA Center in what year? —1998
    When were the take-overs? — There was a 1969 where they took over the telethon demanding more professors of color and more visibility on campus, another took place in 1990 and had similar demands.
    BURGOS-LOPEZ: Know that historically the campus is not so far from happening again. And a take-over sounds harsh, but it’s really a way of presenting demands.

    8:00 // Update about a campus event…Hannah Schenck (at large member)
    Next weekend I am bringing a classism workshop to campus. The event is called “Exploring Class on Campus”
    We are having two trainers come next Saturday, from New York, to do a workshop.
    The model is interactive and discusses income inequality in the United States. Then participants are located on the class spectrum and then students of different class groups are asked to consider how they can be better activists.
    Email Hannah Schenk to register.

    8:05 // Executive Board Reports
    PRESIDENT: I am helping the Seven Sisters Conference. The event will take place on Nov. 1st-3rd.
    OPERATIONS: The Saturday shuttle is now running. Tasty Tuesday will be almost entirely compostable within 2 weeks, and the college will not be providing the compostable materials to venders after October break.
    Also we will host a General Interest Meeting for the VSA Review Board at 9 p.m. this Thursday.

    TOWN HOUSES: People are already really excited about Tasty Tuesdays.

    2016: Is it normal for most vendors not having V-Cash machines?

    OPERATIONS: This week a bunch of phone jacks were broken so we could only have 2 V-Cash machines instead of the normal 7.

    8:11 // Declaration of Open Positions
    One of the 2014 Jud reps resigned. The timeline: open for applications until next Monday at noon. Interviews will be later that week. Appointment to be made on Sunday October 6.

    PRESIDENT: We now need to discuss how to fill the Davison house president position. Motions can be made to be done via special election or by appointment.

    OPERATIONS: There are some people within Operations who do believe that special elections are the way to go. But there is a mixture of both.

    DAVISON PROXY: Having met with VP for Davison, he would like the opportunity to test out the waters and see if he could fill the position. This has also been discussed with the HA for Davison. Also, now the sophomore rep will serve as Vice President. If anything, there would be a vacancy in the Sophomore rep.

    2014: I don’t think that what Davison proxy explained is possible. Also, could you discuss the timelines of both because I have the feeling special elections takes a long time.

    OPERATIONS: We would have a condensed filing/campaigning period.

    2016: I understand the validity of having the VP serve as president because he has already been through house team training, but I’m in favor of a special election. I am a supporter of special elections. But I think that the most important thing is that Davison is happy with what is happening.

    RAYMOND: We do need to look at how we do elections and appointments. However it should be up to Davison House team.


    2015: While I agree with the validity of the training aspect, but I think that asking the group to pick seems sketchy.

    Opposed: Strong, Operations, 2015


    2015: There are major ramifications for this election. There are still questions regarding if 2017 can vote in this election or not. We also cannot treat them as an organization because the decision changes our council.

    2014: I am very uncomfortable with the idea that 2017 would not be able to elect their president. Now that they are here, they should be able to give input.

    OPERATIONS: We will be discussing this in Operations on Monday. We are seeing the need to create a sustainable way to fix this problem. (operations is an open committee meeting)

    8:37 // Discussion of the 9/18 Minutes
    RAYMOND: We name-dropped a lot of administrators and maybe we should discuss publishing these minutes.
    OPERATIONS: I don’t want to hide it. Maybe we should just be more conscious of what we say in meetings.
    RAYMOND: I was just trying to illicit that response.
    STRONG: It’s ok to critique people, but we also should not try to hide what we say.
    ACADEMIC: While I agree on what STRONG said, but we should also make sure that it’s put across in a constructive way because some of the administrators are also house advisors. Also some of the representatives here will have to face these administrators.

    MOTION TO ADJURN: turned down by the President

    ACTIVITIES: The deadlines has been extended until tomorrow at noon.

    FINANCE: There is a lot of money so organizations should apply.

    MAIN: Are pre-orgs able to apply for funds for Meet Me In Poughkeepsie?

    FINANCE: No they can’t because we are trying to limit the VSA’s financial liability so they don’t have access to these funds.



  • bethanjohnson 10:37 pm on September 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Freshman Presidential Debate 18 September 2013 

    Hi all, I’m Christopher Brown from The Miscellany News and the live blog of the Freshman Presidential Debate for the 2013 fall elections is going live in t-minus 5 minutes! Refresh the page to get live updates of everything happening at the debate.

    Introductions have begun! Connor, class of ’14 pres, and Allie, VP for Ops, have introduced Bethan Johnson, moderator and EIC of The Misc.

    Intros: Laura Wood wants to relive some of the craziness of freshman year. She claims she will listen to what people have to say. She will be a strong leader of the class of ’17 and wants the class to take the campus by storm.
    “The class of ’17 is my family.”

    Dan Fu Ruan wants to help as much as she can to help everyone. She claims to be dedicated to here responsibilities and be open to new ideas. She wants to enhance academic opportunities and campus security.
    “I really do want to meet all of you and stick with you as much as I can.”

    Jacob Devasgayam claims to have a lot of experience in government. He wants transparency and wants the board to represent the will of the people. He promises to get answers for any questions class members have.
    “I pledge I will follow the general majority will of the class.”

    Cecil Carey believes in inclusivity. He thought Vassar was a clique free environment, and believes Vassar still has work to do on that topic. He quotes Obama, saying we can be stronger if we work together. He claims to not have many skills, but will make it his sole goal to listen and synthesize the goals of the class.
    “We can be friends, we really can.”

    Drew Leventhal already has a plan to fix certain aspects of Vassar College. He says there is not time to waste in making an effective policy.
    “We need to do this now. I can do that for you guys.”

    teph Jump wants to have a positive impact on her school. She lead a charity event in her high school that raised money for world hunger. She wants to make the time here the best it can be. She wants to ask what can be changed. She promises to listen and to represent the class’ goals in the VSA.
    “I’m happiest when I’m helping others.”

    Nnennia Mazagwu identifies as an activist. She wants to have fun and promote creativity and vision. She believes in the class of 2017.
    “I hope to be a part of who we eventually become.”

    John Eubanks spent the last 8 1/2 years in the military and has worked on the Obama campaign and in the Pentagon. He focuses on social issues and organizations.
    “I have a very direct rapport with the administration and with President Hill.”

    Part one of the debate, respond and rebute.

    Having just experienced orientation, name one thing you loved and two areas that need improvement.

    Carey- The number one thing that went well was to acclimate the class to Vassar climate. Claims sexual assault meeting were important, maybe a little too long. He doesn’t believe in a flood of emails, and wants to work on communication. He also wants to make signing up for orgs easier.

    Devasgayam- He liked time in fellow groups and interacting in smaller groups. He believes orientation was little bit to stratified at times, and wants people to make more personal friendships. He believes the sooner you meet people, the better.

    Ruan- She loved the first house event, as well as I Am Vassar, and claimed that it helped people meet each other faster. She wants more organization during the activities fair, as well as there being more campus events.

    Wood- Favorite moment was meeting her student fellow and group. She believes the Arlington Amble was a little chaotic, although she loved learning about Arlington. She also believes it was a little overscheduled.

    Leventhal- He agrees with Wood about over scheduling, and there needs to be AC in the chapal.

    Jump- The fellow groups are fantastic, but wishes she got a correct map.

    Mazagwu- She liked the fact that integration happened fast. She felt very comfortable in the environment. She feels more comfortable at Vassar because of it.

    Eubanks- Agrees with Wood about fellow groups. He wants to organize clubs and orgs, and have interaction between fellow groups.

    In your first week, you’ve meet your pre major advisor. WHat do you see as the ideal advising system for freshman?

    Jump-Meeting one on one with someone is helpful. She believes more effort should be put on giving people an advisor in their field. She wants to get schedules a little earlier in the summer. She wants it to be clearly about requirements for classes.

    Mazagwu- She believes an advisor can give you an opportunity branch out and learn new things. She bonded with her pre major advisor and gained a lot of insight.

    Eubanks- He knows the system didn’t work well for everyone. He believes there needs to be more accessibility with the advisors.

    Leventhal- He agrees with the other candidates. He believes the advisors need more training. Also maybe a change in re registration in classes. He love the help of the student fellows.

    Devasgayam- the more people you know in the system, the better off you are earlier. He agrees with Leventhal the most

    Ruan- She likes he advisor, but want the first one on one meeting to be longer. She claims the system needs more direction.

    Wood- She believes it is good to meet with other department heads. She hasn’t been introduces to the peer major advisor program.

    Carey- He wants the advisors help to make a gameplan for all four years. He also wants class registration to be fixed.

    Do you believe that your job as a president is to vote with the majority or highlight the key information.

    Ruan- She wants to consult all her peers, and knows there can be dissent, but wants to take all kinds of advice. She knows some students can’t know everything about Vassar, and wants to relay information but also really believes in working the rest of her peers.

    Wood- She wants to inform the class, also realizes that she may have to go against the majority sometimes. But she would explain her actions to the class.

    Carey- He will not poll everyone when an issue comes up. He knows some people won’t care. His door is always open, and he will listen to any concerns that come up. He will try to go with the majority, and knows he has to make decisions.

    Devasgayam- It’s important to remember that the minority opinion is important as well. You’re voting for him as a person and an individual, but will move forward with the majority. He believes that the finance comity need to be closes.

    Mazagwu- It’s important to know that some people will not come to you. She wants go to more than just comities, but also orgs, and centers like LGBTQ and ALANA.

    Eubanks- He wants people to be informed about decisions. He doesn’t want a majority to oppress a minority.

    Leventhal- If you care about the subject, we should have a town hall meeting.

    Jump- It’s important to keep people informed, and wants to listen but be able to explain her own view. It’s not just about what she thinks.

    What is the primary purpose of having a class president?

    Eubanks- He doesn’t want the class to be overlooked in any way. He wants the voice to be heard and any issues and wants to put forth votes.

    Leventhal- We need to act for the will of the class and to inform people of the facts. He will act a liaison.

    Jump- Our class is very diverse. She wants people to be heard. She wants to bridge the gap.

    Mazagwu- She wants to educate herself on issues and wants to take constructive criticism. She wants to learn and grow.

    Wood- She agrees with Jump and wants to be the voice of the people.

    Ruan- She wants to be a bridge between the student body and wants to speak up with everyone.

    Devasgayam- SHe wants delegation, facilitation, and wants to make the best of what we have. He wants representation.

    Carey- He agres with Mazagwu and wants to find out what the issues are. He needs to know how to work the system.

    Next section

    If elected, what commitees are the most important to sit on, and why?

    Wood- Academics and Activities. She wants to be involved in how education is managed here. She wants to help new clubs.

    Ruan- She wants to sit on all committees. Most important: Academic and finance. She wants to know the info to make good decisions with fund allocation.

    Devasgayam- Finance because you need funding to make big ideas happen. Activities because that is how students are getting engaged.

    Carey- Finance- More money means more problems. Student Life because he is passionate about where he sleeps.

    Leventhal- Operations because there is a lot of problems with the VSA. Finance needs to work on money sustanibility.

    Jump- Student Life because she wants to know about how we live on campus. And finance because it is the only one that people cannot view.

    Mazagwu- Student Life is not just about dorms, it is about biased events, and people need to have a voice. It is about minorities as well, and everyone getting a chance to have a voice.

    Eubanks- Academics because that is the reason we are here. Recently there was a three year hiring freeze, and that is an issue.

    Carey- You want to make a clique free environment. What are concrete steps to make this happen?

    There has to be education to make this happen. It’s an abstract thing. He will make it his main goal and wants to promote it. He will work with every org that will here him.

    Jump-How do you intend on keeping your promise for people to be heard?

    She wants to listen to all the freshman. She will figure out what she needs to do to get this done.

    Devasgayam- How would you decide want the class gets to know and what not?

    Education is the foundation of democracy. He is not sure what it entails yet, but things that should be hidden are things that are very personal and things that shed bad light on things.

    Mazagwu- What kinds of changes would you envision?

    A lot of minorities need to be represented more and a lot of orgs need more funding. Minority students to not get the finance to do what they need. She has started to joining orgs that have to do with student life.

    Wood- How will you make people more comfortable at Vassar?

    She will work with the committees and want people to get involved and make sure that everyone feels at home here.

    Eubanks- How do you intend on using your experience here at Vassar?

    He served in campaigns to government orgs to the military to charities. He has a broad spectrum of leadership and an extreme amount of organizational skills. He can adapt quickly and efficiently.

    Leventhal- What changes would you make on financing?

    He can talk to people and they will listen to him because he represents the class of 2017.

    Ruan- How will you ensure the solutions proposed will be in line with majority?

    She wants to talk to people and will describe reasoning behind her decisions. She wants to work with people.

    Open Forum

    In ten words or less, why did you run for presidency?

    Ruan- She has a lot of experience.

    Carey-He cares and will get the job done

    Leventhal- He has the experience and motivation

    Mazagwu- She is authentic and self aware and wants to be socially conscious.

    Eubanks- Wants to give a voice to the class

    Wood- Wants to make change

    Devagayam- I love Vassar

    Jump- I will do good

    How will you deal with minority voices?

    Devasgayam- You must be honest, and you cannot put up a wall to the other people.

    Carey- He can’t claim to understand what other people have gone through. He will listen, he will be objective, he will be honest.

    Mazagwu- The information is available, and there are a lot of things already going on. We cannot just sit there with our leadership skills. We have to move forward.

    Jump- She is an open minded individual and is ready to know if she is wrong. Her mother is Jamaican and has some experience with minority issue.

    Leventhal- He wants to hear stories and problems. It needs to be one on one

    Ruan- She believes everyone has the ability to listen. It’s not about being a president, it’s about being a friend.

    Wood- She wants to learn where her place is, and is apathetic with everyone.

    Eubanks- He learned how to navigate the red tape and it will make things easier for him.

    How would you get info to the masses?

    Leventhal- He wants more face to face contact. He wants to go door to door.

    Carey- He will put in all the hours needed. He wants inclusivity. But there is a certain degree of apathy, and he will not force info onto people.

    Jump- She will not cram info down your throat. She will send emails and use other social media. The people who want to be informed can be.

    Mazagwu- She wants to make herself available. She wants to go to club meetings and be there for the class. She believes she is already doing those things.

    Devasgayam- Overtime, things will change. So it’s about trying new things. Anonymous methods of getting info to people.

    Ruan- She knows there are open meetings and social media is important. She wants people to talk to people, that’s when information is not trivial. Stall news.

    Wood- Face to face contact, whether that be office hours or town hall meetings. She wants to get the word out.

    Eubanks- A blog or discussion forum, and wants people to engage. He wnats the leadership to also engage.

    How will you navigate your privilege in this position?

    Carey- He will not change if he wins. He will listen, but will not be holier than thou. He sees himself as a delegate, and conform to the will of the class.

    Wood- She learned about check your privilege. She loves the phrase here at Vassar and wants to stay level headed.

    Ruan- I only have as much privilege as my peers give me.

    Leventhal- He’s just a kid who goes to class and struggles like a normal student.

    Jump- I am just one of you. She wants to bridge the gap, and get voices out there. She will check her own privilege.

    Devasgayam- She wants to stay in contact will all groups of people. He wants to stay grounded in who he is.

    Mazagwu- She wants to acknowledge the privilege and realize that it is one person sitting on the council. Everyone needs representation. People need to remember to educate themselves.

    Eubanks- He does not think this position should be about privilege. He believes in service for others and views the position as a position of honor.


    Eubanks- He wants to service the whole freshman class and makes sure that no one is ever oppressed on campus.

    Mazagwu- Leadership means that she is representing the people. She wants to represent the conflicts brought to the table. She feels she is already being a leader and will always educate herself.

    Jump- We should already be active. She wants more issues to be addressed. She is in Davi 340c and wants to help all.

    Leventhal- He wants to transition people into college smoother. There needs to be more involvement in clubs. Deece food is important. We need to meet more people. Inter dorm party.

    Carey- Quote by Jefferson, it’s too long. It’s about education and spirit. He has the tone and spirit to get the job done. he will ask the tough questions. He is like all of us. He wants to steal ideas…

    Devasgayam- He lives in Lathrop. Another quote, still too long. It was about leadership and love. He wants to be kept accountable. he wants to be available for the class.

    Ruan- She is a dedicated leader. She has known leaders who do nothing, but she promises to do what is asked of her and will be dedicated. She wants to be a friend to all.

    Wood- Your votes would be a great birthday present. Our outlook is fresh at Vassar, and she is learning along side us. We all want to make a difference, and we can figure it out together. She will fight for what you want.

    Well that’s all folks! Thank you for reading the live blog of the debate. Who will win? Who will lose? Stay tuned!!

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