Happy Sunday, everyone! Let’s get started.
7:04 // Attendance… OPERATIONS
PROXIES: 2017; Absences: Town Students
7:06 // Consent Agenda… PRESIDENT
a. Founder’s Day(Disc).……………………….………………………………….($2500/$2500)
b. HEL (Collab)(Collab)..…………………….……………………………….………………($0/
c. Amnesty (Disc)…………..………………………….……….………………….($600/$700)
d. Vassar Shakers(Disc)..……………..…………….………….….……….………($200/$200)
e. P.E.A.C.E. (Disc)………………………………………………………….………($850/$850)
f. Minutes from 3/23/14
PRESIDENT: Item B is removed from the Consent Agenda.
Everything else is consented to.
7:07 // Forum with Marianne Begemann and Bob Walton
BEGEMANN: I’m the dean of strategic planning and academic resources, and I’m here to tell you about a permanent home for multi-disciplinary programs when they moved out of New England. I can give you an update on the science building as well. Let me start at the beginning from when decision was made to renovate New England a few years ago, we engaged with a local architect to design it, met with administration and students to assess and accomodate needs of multi-disciplinary programs. At the end of that process programming study was complete, Old Laundry Building would be a good temp fit for multi-disciplinary programs, was it a good fit shape wise? Would it be a good academic building for years to come? With Bob we entered an architectural competition, we sent out invoices to 5 architect firms, those firms will provide conceptual design for multi-disciplinary building and how they could be accommodated on the new building. We have a programming committee and subset of directors, by the fall our work should be completely wrapped up.
RAYMOND: Thanks for coming, can you talk about the science facilities?
BEGEMANN: We are on track right now, as you know: Sanders Physics and Mudd are undergoing reservation and cog sci and comp sci will move in over the summer. Olmsted will be a complete construction site this summer, so people can’t occupy it while that is going on, it’s offline, not available for URSI or other research programs. In the fall that work will be completed, the classroom side will still be under renovation until January 2015; we’re creating new spaces for psych and neuroscience. The bridge building will be completed Fall 2015, chem and others will move in during that semester and will be ready for use in January 2016.
MAIN: Can you tell us about conversations about the new student space in terms of the bookstore moving and what the former bookstore will be?
BEGEMANN: It’s a little early to tell what that space will be. Jason Rubin ’13 undertook a survey and focus groups last year to get a sense of what kind of student space students were looking for, now we’re building on that study and also looking more holistically to see what the College Center means for faculty, administration and students to get a sense of how the space can serve their many needs; the students are key to that programming. By the end of the semester we should have a better idea of what we will need.
OPERATIONS: The classrooms on the left side of Olmsted are directly above animal facilities so what does that mean for research that’s going on and the animals?
BEGEMANN: Early on we worked with Julie Williams, Director of Animal Facilities, her opinion was that moving animals was more harmful than leaving them; we decided to keep the animals in Olmsted and we have contingency plans to move them to Blodgett if they are under stress. Some of the birds have been relocated to Blodgett.
STRONG: Could you talk about if we’re on track with the project overall?
BEGEMANN: Our original plan was to open in Fall 2015, because some of the early work involving excavation was delayed and we got behind and rather than doing double shifts to spend more money we decided it made more sense to open a semester later; there’s a chance even with accelerating we would have opened later.
FINANCE: I have a question for Bob. Could you talk about the Juliet expansion?
WALTON: The project started after I got here. When I looked at the bookstore I thought it wasn’t a great space overall, our contract with Barnes and Noble had expired and we talked about whether to stay the same or do something different. We looked at a 5-year extension with Barnes and Noble, they gave a disappointing proposal so I said that and at that point we decided to go another way. We joined national association of college stores—NAC is based in Ohio and it’s 3,000 different stores that work as cooperative so that you have purchasing power of a large chain; we also wanted to look at another location, so we decided that we should take advantage of the property of Juliet that we own. The problem of doing a Barnes and Noble bookstore there would have been expensive, with the cooperative it would be cheaper. Also Burger FI, they are a new style of food purveyor, 3 locations in Dutchess County, we will each have our own store and dividers in between them, they provide food and we provide everything else. We won’t sell trade books because the Three Arts is a few doors down, we’re going to focus on textbooks and other things you would find in a store; also we will sell NY items and Hudson Valley or regional items that would be of interest to the community. We hired a local architectural firm as well as construction company who have already begun. On August 1 we will start designing the interior, it will have all things stores have and also in the spirit of Juliet as a theater, it will have some bling in it. it will be very much not Barnes and Noble,a small performance space, bookable platform with audio-visual sound mixing and ability to hold Vassar a capella or speaker. The hours will be longer than current bookstore, into the evening, when students are actually awake. And we will use unionized staff and move them off campus.
STUDENT LIFE: Could you update Council on where we are in terms of gender neutral bathrooms?
WALTON: I think the signs are here, all of the bathrooms that are single-use that we have identified we have designated as gender neutral bathrooms. The biggest hurdle we have is code requirements, which requires certain amount for men and women; the plan is to always have at least one gender neutral bathroom. For example, in the Juliet building we have to have one men’s room and one women’s room, but once the building is in our possession, what we put on those signs is up to us.
2015: I was discussing the new bookstore space and my class council was interested in having a chain style frozen yogurt, so is there a way we could include that?
WALTON: You should check the website for Burger FI, they do sell Italian creams and shakes and smoothies.
AT LARGE_JOSHUA SHERMAN ’16: How is the management orientation going to be with the new space? Will there be integration with work study? There are students interested in entrepreneurship, is there potential there?
WALTON: There is some flexibility with being an independent bookstore, we can do whatever we want within union codes, a store manager will work for Vassar, that person will report to the director of budget and enterprise services so we will have control over what goes on in the store.
NOYES: Currently the bookstore is located in a centralized location that gets a lot of traffic, how will moving it change that? Also, with the location being close to MyMarket, how will that affect the relationship and revenue with MyMarket?
WALTON: It won’t be a central location, that’s one of the questions answered through experience, for Admissions tours, we will set up small kiosk to do basic Vassar things. I think that if we can make the store more than what we have downstairs and if it can be combined with food and services it will be more of a destination and social location than just a functional location. Now to answer your question about MyMarket, one thing we’re doing is not to sell things other stores do, so we won’t sell toothbrushes because MyMarket does, the more competition among stores the better success for the stores, they will get more business by us being there. And, yes, you will all have to walk farther but it will also break up the monotony of not having many places to go, especially if it’s a cool store as opposed to a boring one.
NOYES: What about parking?
WALTON: Well I can tell you that they have more parking than we have here. We’re also going to start seeing more traffic from the community. One thing you could do is Google the store of Davison College; it’s in a similar location, at the edge of campus, and has been pretty successful.
SoCos: Has there been discussion of having a dining bucks option with Burger FI?
WALTON: I’m not avoiding your question, I’m trying to figure out how to answer. All the businesses over there will be on a VCard system, whether there’s going to be a food option will be discussed with Dean Roellke along with the dining plan in general. It might not start that way, but how can we change the dining plan? Maybe have flex dollars to be spent with other providers. Burger FI is interested as is Julie’s Cafe, but we can’t undermine the financial plan we have at ACDC.
RAYMOND: What is happening to Mudd Chemistry? Are there plans for other academic building updates?
BEGEMANN: Mudd will be deconstructed after chem moves out in spring of 2016. For other long-term projects, there is a building audit being undertaken that will enable us to have a sweep of data about buildings on campus to assess needs of those buildings. It’s hard to promise which one comes next—I imagine Blodgett will be at the top of the list, there will be some empty space there. There are some issues with Chicago Hall and having some languages in Sanders Classroom, we have to get a strategic plan on the table.
TAs: Thank you both for coming. Can you explain the overall plan for trees on campus?
WALTON: There were some early two incidents that created questions about trees: a lot of brush clearing and changes in Noyes Circle which was the result of too much enthusiasm on the part of Grounds under new management. We’ve turned back dials on that to talk to the Campus Master Plan; the other was taking several trees down to create the science building. We talked to environmental science and interested faculty and realized we need to do long-term planning for the campus landscape. Right now the plan is to go through the Campus Master Plan committee before taking away or adding trees. Then we have proposals such as yours. We have new capital project to be a little more inclusive to let other constituencies know what’s coming up.
BEGEMANN: Vassar has applied for through sustainability committee and Alistair Hall has been accepted for Tree Campus USA. It’s a nice publicity thing and enables us to get connections with Arbor Day commission; we went through the Town to get a site plan, counted how many trees were put in. We’re putting in more than we’re taking out. Trees we’re taking out are an invasive maple species not native to this area, so we’re putting in native species that will have longevity, by the President’s House there are many removed, but that was not a mistake. We are putting in more than we’re taking out. It takes time but we will get there.
JOSS: When you said the new store would be economically friendly, but “not cheap”—what does that mean?
WALTON: The store has to pay for itself, so to fund this project we borrowed money like a business would and we will repay that through the earnings of the stores. You as students have concerns about textbook prices, Barnes and Noble as such want to have continuity across the country. It’s all controlled by their computer systems. What we’re going to do through NAC we recognize that you want to buy textbooks online, we’re going to have textbooks in store closer to online prices, so if we see you can buy a chem book online for $70 we can sell it in the store at about that price and you won’t have to pay for shipping; we’re going to try to offer more books as rentals and be flexible with prices, we’re not going to gouge people on other items like Chapstick—you can buy Chapstick for cheaper at MyMarket. The goal is to run the store but be sensitive to price and be flexible. It’s one of the advantages of being an independent store. We also want to have cooler stuff: I went to an exhibit in Dallas and there’s a lot of cool stuff that stores sell and we don’t carry. For example a messenger bag made out of recycled bottles—we want to have more interesting things on this campus.
ACADEMICS: How is the new store coming to follow up on stuff the old store has?
WALTON: The advantage of being an independent store is that you can pick your partners. We’re partnering with firm in Utah to create a book rental system, we can use the same buyback program Barnes and Noble does. During this transition, Barnes and Noble will still have control over buyback, and it will likely be harsher this spring. We want to encourage faculty to adopt books earlier in the year, you shouldn’t see a big change because we can use same providers Barnes and Noble does.
SHERMAN: It sounds like you’re trying to do something more cooperative, how will that work with local businesses. For example, English students don’t need textbooks and you mention price gouging, but local stores price gouge, too. You mention Chapstick, but I’ve gone into MyMarket, and sometimes I can’t buy anything on a work-study job.
WALTON: The primary goal of the store is to provide goods and services at a reasonable price, probably more expensive than a discount store. One of the things I’ve talked to the Board of Trustees about is that if the store in unviable and doesn’t break even then we would not run the store and would look at textbook services.
SHERMAN: What are you doing to be more aware about prices to make sure that tenants are sensitive of students on a work-study budget?
WALTON: We’re going to try to be sensitive, and with that said it’s a fair question that deserves a fair answer. The businesses in the area are swimming against the current. To make money, you own a small store with lots of purchasing power; we’re going to find the balance between a variety of services you need but also be financially viable. It won’t be as cheap as discounter but not like it was downstairs.
SHERMAN: So I’m asking for something more specifically, like are you going to walk into MyMarket and take note of the prices in comparison to a student’s budget?
WALTON: No, we’re not.
PRESIDENT: Actually, we’re going to have to move on, because another group is coming. But hopefully you can continue this discussion in the future.
7:52 // Hip Hop 101 Fund Application Appeal
HIPHOP101 PRESIDENT: We’re here to talk about 101 to get extra funds. Hip Hop 101 was founded 11 years ago as a means of merging Vassar and the Poughkeepsie community; we host two annual concerts—4 pillars and throwback jam are always successful. Currently we have about 11,000 in budget but would have had 13,000 if not for the previous administration. We want to have best event possible and also ensure that Hip-Hop 101 won’t go into the red zone. In the past we’re consistently been in the red for the past 2 years and have had already 2,500 to 6,000 each year. Hip Hop 101 budget isn’t meant to finance everything, it relies on extra funds. Hip Hop 101 is not in a position to have this money on hand. The biggest problem was doing annual budgeting, withdrew from the process was that hop Hop 101 received 2,000 grant with the understanding that we wouldn’t have to reapply for this funding. One of the acts of 4 pillars was overpaid and the artist didn’t perform for the allotted time, we were left in less than prime position for Throwback. This administration for HipHop 101 is new; previously, they acted on a secretive basis with little precipitation from members. We had to learn this on our own and we desire to change the infrastructure by being more open and reaching out to artist. With more notoriety so more people could enjoy it and have more involved campus. We believe it could change the perceptions of exec board. This is the first time that an artist quit his set prematurely, and the negotiations and conditions were not honored. By not understanding where our funds went we have put ourselves in less than favorable position. Unfortunately no artist that would fit this bill of speaking to the community would accept our offers, there will always be people breakdancing, always be people wearing cool outfits—it’s Hip Hop. Upon realizing that we didn’t have the money we thought we did, because of mistakes that we’ve made we’ve learned and desire to outdo previous administrations and we want to create a proper budgeting outline; we’re working on the assumption we have 23,000 we have, would only spend 5,000 on headliner, and the total cost of event would be 8000 and Throwback would be less than 15,000. We would end on the green. We’ve faced the reality that artists don’t always follow the rules, so we won’t give them any compensation. You’re thinking this org has come here many times and they have thrown it away, so having this fund is crucial. You all know TC, Deece chef guy, he has connections that lets us get at these artists for a lower price. If we suddenly dropped out of these negotiations, it would reflect badly on us. We understand there’s a max amount of funds and we will make sure to work within these limits, but we need 3,000 limit to spend for the event. And this would allow us to always end in the green, and never in the red.
PRESIDENT: This is wonderful. I’m going to call on people to speak now.
FINANCE: Thank you for coming in. When Finance met in December we talked about the fall event spending was increased without consequence to the spring event. We recognized that 2,000 deficit from last year was not their fault, so that covered that prior deficit. Hip Hop 101 allocation was increased from year before, so there was more money to begin with. After break we met again and the committee decided to discuss changes, this past week the sticking point was the idea that we set guideline in December and there wasn’t an attempt to stick with it,
HIP HOP 101: We were suposed to give VICE 2000, they were to give us 2000, in the end it didn’t make sense.
FINANCE: The committee decided not unanimously to stick with our decision and we don’t want to reward an org for mismanaging funds. I’ve been working with Nick to discuss the future of Hipe Hop 101, I still stand by recommendation.
STUDENT LIFE: I understand THE significance of this event and I admire your passion, my concern is the precedent it sets for large organization to come in with deficit expecting special treatment, and it’s different than it is for smaller orgs.
HIP HOP 101: This isn’t a way to set precedents so that we won’t end in the red in the future so this doesn’t happen again. I’ve spent a long time to make sure that same mistakes won’t be made again so that HIP HOP 101 won’t have to point out all the mistakes we made.
STUDENT LIFE: I respect that but I’m hung up on old administration not training you, but that happens almost every year. I’m going to support this but I hope that that is carried through in the future.
HIP HOP 101: Because previous administration were very involved seniors they let other things slip so HIP HOP 101 suffered. Most of my free time goes to this, I put in a lot of manpower.
STUDENT LIFE: How can you ensure that dedication in the future?
HIP HOP 101: We are dealing with management every year and if previous leaders don’t prepare us for that we will make mistakes. We did make some mistakes, we almost signed with a company that siad they signed Ja Rule but it turned out to be scam. Thanks to Domi, we didn’t go through with that.
FINANCE: This is the first year of Hip Hop 101 has a SARC office.
STUDENT LIFE: Is there no way to get a cheaper artist to address the lack of funds this year?
HIP HOP 101: There is but there is no way to get someone who can address issues of this community, especially NY issues, since artists have already made bookings for this time.
2016: TO address some of the concerns, it was less a problem that your budget was in the red because you can’t be held accountable for that, that’s a problem within the VSA with holding future students accountable for mistakes of past. It’s more of a problem that you spent more for 4 Pillars, if the org wants to expand their funding they must apply for a fund app. We lost 4000 that went to 4 Pillars. The new budget for next year is great but problem is that this was submitted last year and it wasn’t stuck to; what needs to happen is that 5 years down the line how do you make sure that happens and budget is stuck to?
HIPHOP101: That all comes down to training future officers, so that we work closely with them for day one.
2016: I support this allocation and also the consequences for not sticking to this budget. i don’t think that since you didn’t have a SARC rep, that needs to be taken into consideration.
HIPHOP101: Year after year, Hip Hop 101 never has the funds to do what we want, so we always come to the VSA.
2016: That’s the problem with every org, we ened to establish guidelines for all orgs with greater budgets.
TA: Who makes up the general body and how can people get involved, and what do you do to fundraise?
HIP HOP 101 MEMBER: I got interested in freshman year with activities fair and went to 4 pillars and Throwback and was so impressed that I wanted to be an active member, that’s how it was advertised to me by attending this event.
OTHER MEMBER: I found out over summer before freshman year and googled Vassar hip hop.
PRESIDENT: Can any of you speak to fundraising?
HH101 PRESIDENT: fundraising wise we’ve tried several things, but we’ve been cutting it to close to do it. We threw concert for martial arts place a while ago, and we tried to get involved last year but they had everything taken care of, it’s been 2 years since we did that.
PRESIDENT: No, how does your org raise money for itself?
HH101 PRESIDENT: When we have an excess of money we make t shirts; we sell wristbands and mix tapes to make extra funds, we used to do rap-a-grams, but I wasn’t here for that.
2015: There is no limit to filing for 5000 funds, applying for event: by expanding one you get put in position that makes it more difficult for spring event, my recommendation is to see checks next year like talking to us, talking to SARC and talking to Activities committee, to vote I think we should vote on 0 or 5000.
PRESIDENT: Just out of respect for this group’s time, we don’t have to talk about the checks thing. We should be talking about it, but not right now.
OPERATIONS: My understanding is that when ViCE went into debt they were censured and paid back over time, they took a small sacrifice for a while. I would recommend doing the same thing, not a 5000 allocation but a 5000 loan to put on event and figure out over next 3 years how you will program to pay off 5000 that allows for flexibility and also taking in the consequences.
HH101 PRESIDENT: Because 101 doesn’t have the resources ViCE has it feels like we are compensating for what we don’t have.
OPERATIONS: Financial reality, there is a limited amount of money. Your program is amazing but we have rules about deficits. I think that as an org you should have institutional memory so that this doesn’t happen again, this should be a fair punishment.
HH101: We just want to have the best outcome possible. I understand where your idea about punishment comes from even if I don’t agree with it. But I would accept the punishment.
STRONG: Have you looked at some precautions to ensure this won’t happen again?
HH101: We would have to settle for a headliner that wouldn’t fit the bill, it would have to be a new artist and one who isn’t very popular who people wouldn’t recognize. It’s such a huge draw usually.
STRONG: Has there been any talk about fundraising?
HH101: We’ve spent all our time making the best possible event.
JEWETT: I motion to give Hip Hop 101 5000 to vote.
SOCOS: Is that 5000 additional?
JEWETT: I motion to pass what Hip Hop 101 needs?
HIPHOP101: If we have loans that’s fine.
NOYES: Can we motion to vote on 5000, 3000 or 0?
OPERATIONS: If we’re talking about an allocation now when do we talk about censure if that will happen?
PRESIDENT: I recommend that we talk about this with ACTIVITIES.
FINANCE: I don’t think it’s appropriate to vote on 5000, they’ve presented a way to work on this wit 3000.
2015: I don’t like the censure issue because it was more serious with ViCE.
PRESIDENT: Motion to vote on 5000, 3000, 0.
Abstentions: 2017, JOSS, DAVISON.
Favor 5000: Jewett Ta 20167 2015 TH’s
Favor 3000: Cushing, RAYMOND, MAIN, SOCO, ACTIVITIES, OPERATIONS, STUDENT LIFE, ACADEMICS, NOYES, 2014, LATHROP
STRONG, FINANCE: 0
8:32 // 10 minute meeting for Finance to meet with HEL.
8:51// VSA commences after break
Finance: I would like to allocate $800 for HEL. They are planning the first comedy collaboration for groups across the country.
This motion is unanimously passed.
OPERATIONS: Elections are happening. As people in positions people will come to you with questions. You should tell them the truth. Try to get people to run, especially people you think would do well, and especially women and minorities who often don’t run unless asked. Many of you will be running, so this is what’s appropriate: don’t discourage other people from running against you. We want to have fair elections. Extra important: Be healthy. Be safe. For everyone running for positions…don;t let it destroy your life. This is just student government. It’ll be okay.
CONSITUENT CONCERNS 8:53
TA’S: I want to say great job on Saturday, and it was a great event.
2015: Please mention frozen yogurt in future reports.
NOYES: In ACDC there were signs saying UpC would be open every day of the week after spring break. Deece workers confirmed this, though it was closed on Monday and Tuesday. Why close it on days in the beginning of the week when students have the most work?
RAYMOND: It’s closed Sunday and Monday because there aren’t enough student workers to help them.
2016: People keep coming to me asking about UpC. Is there anyone we can go to to advocate for student wages? Some students work until 3am and are still getting paid minimum wage.
PRESIDENT: That’s an issue to take up with Student Employment.
2016: Someone emailed me and said they really like the new couches in the Villard Room. Thank you to the person who made that possible.
DAVISON: Davisonians want to know what’s going on with Late Night at the Deece?
PRESIDENT: I submitted a page-long summary of the comments I’ve received that will be incorporated into the Aramark contract. [Late Night] won’t happen again this semester because it was just a trial. Look out for it next semester. Student workers will be better prepared next time.
RAYMOND: Raymond has been added to the list of dorms with broken card swipes. On the Chicago side of Raymond people swipe and it just doesn’t read cards.
8:59//STUDENT BILL OF RIGHTS
OPERATIONS: Cushing rep and other students at-large have been working on the Student Bill of Rights. For this conversation, rather than going through line-by-line, we want to talk about what we can see happen with this. If anybody wants, I’ve spent four hours researching student bills of rights across the country and in Europe and I have some information. Some of the discussion we had in Ops is whether these were rights we could guarantee people or if they were kind of mostly things we would have to ask administration for and advocate for that we couldn’t guarantee. We can’t have a bill of rights if we have no recourse for upholding these rights. Another part of the discussion was maybe calling them about priorities rights–how are these different from our guiding principles? The idea is that this would be adopted as its own governing document. We can’t be in violation of our governing documents and we would have to rename this to something else and add a preamble. Other than that I support this document and find it important.
TA’S: Can you speak to the tone a little? It reads more as student demands. Ambiguity can be both powerful and problematic.
OPERATIONS: One of the things that was discussed in terms of it coming off as demands-if we went to an administrator and saId, ‘this is whaT we believe student rights should be,’ there was a concern that we should keep our demands reasonable or else they might laugh at us. In terms of the vagueness, we talked about making it entirely more vague. It wouldn’t have much efficacy if it were vague though it would be general and could be used a lot. Another idea was to get rid of the ambiguity and call them what they are–demands.
JEWETT: ‘The right to control personal information…’ Is that saying that I can keep to myself what I want or if there’s a certain kind of investigation going on…what is it speaking to? Who is the judge mentioned in 8B.
CUSHING: First of all, 6B, the student who wrote that was thinking that the privacy would be in regards to health information, though we already have that choice. 8B was a student who emailed me and was concerned about having a proceeding with an administrator as a judge and then having an appeal with the same judge.
2016: I appreciate all of the hard work from the people who created this. When I look at this I see two very different things: A set of ideals and a set of ideas. I think we need to separate the document. I think a bunch of the stuff in this is a lot of great ideas we should be advocating to the administration. If people feel passionately about these ideas ans should become their own separate thing-a letter, a conversation with an administrator. If we’re going to integrate a bill of rights in our governing documents it needs to be stuff we can guarantee. If people feel they aren’t being heard, we need to reconsider our structure and why they feel that way. There’s a lot of stuff in here that we cant self-enforce. We can advocate for it, but a lot of these things don’t belong in our specific government, but we can still make our voices heard about problems when they are an issue.
STUDENT LIFE: Thank you for your patience with this. I’m just a little uncomfortable with 8A and B. In terms of disciplinary proceedings, it’s open ended to a point where it could be a problem for personal violence hearing. You have certain choices available to you already about student panels, the wording here needs to be specified.
SOCO’S: We had a similar discussion unfolding. I am seconding a lot of what 2016 said. A lot of the things in here are a lot of great priorities but since we can’t enforce this document I don’t think it can be called the Bill of Rights. It goes back to when we were talking about finding new ways to change our system. It would be a better use of time to talk about the things that made people put these things on the list and address them here.
CUSHING: What was the idea in mind in starting to write this?
OPERATIONS: There’s a ton of American legislation in which we’re guaranteed a lot of rights that the College doesn’t necessarily enforce unless they’re forced to, via Supreme Court cases, etc. North Carolina just passed a law that said students have a right to an attorney in all student conduct proceedings. If that was the case in New York, a state with more lenient laws regarding this, they would uphold that statute.
PRESIDENT: Pres: It was similar to this idea of priorities. These are things we think all students should have. In having it as a list, it makes people realize that the VSA will listen to me if I go to them with one of these problems because I have this right. We want to help people secure these rights if they feel like they don’t have them.
OPERATIONS: I had imagined we would say, ‘all students have the right to come to council and express their opinions and be respected and heard.’ That’s what the discussion sounded like at the time. I was kind of thinking that there are rights we have as students, priorities we have as student leaders, and the rights we as student leaders actually provide.
STRONG: I think I’m agreeing with 2016 and other people who have voiced about making this more of a priority than a bill of rights. There are things that even Vassar cannot guarantee. There are times when Vassar must legally share information when certain things occur, for example. Making false guarantees makes people feel like we don’t have their backs. I think this should be more of a guiding ideal of what we hope to achieve.
TA’S: I would like to clarify that these are rights insofar as they don’t infringe on other people’s rights. I’m also curious about the respect part in number five. I’m under the belief that respect is something that is granted not earned.
STUDENT LIFE: It looks like that’s more a call for respect as not disrespecting me for being Puerto Rican, for example. It’s more about the respect among people for who they are as individuals.
2015: I don’t get the hang-up on the idea of what we can guarantee or not guarantee. It seems like an unnecessary restriction. The goal was to codify things that we want to think about on the regular. The idea is that we have a list of things that every single year we want to be thought about and continue to work on. We can call it “Expected Rights” or “Expectations.” Whatever you want to call it, I definitely think that in term of respect of the work Ruby and this group of people have done, we need to recognize that it’s something that we haven’t yet done. We have five weeks left.
PRESIDENT: I think the hang-up was that we want to be held accountable for things we believe students should have and we didn’t know how to phrase that.
OPERATIONS: I think guarantee is the wrong word. We can never guarantee any right. Though I have the right to life, they can’t guarantee no one will murder me.
JEWETT: There are things here that we’re asking of faculty and administration that should go in its own separate document. We can’t guarantee that professors are going to give us accurate course information.
ROYAL: If we wanted to have one list of things we couldn’t guarantee but could endorse. The conversation was basically that the things we really care about is kind of what we’ve been fighting for all year, like getting the syllabi posted and the textbooks list put up earlier. We could have given up what we really wanted to get it approved but that would have missed the point.
DAVISON: is this a conversation about what we’re going to call this or where we’re going to put it? It’s already been brought up that this is drafted by students who express that this is something they want and need so we should probably decide about what this conversation is about.
OPERATIONS: It’s a conversation about both. We want to be supportive of this document. In doing that we have to decide what our abilities are to publicize this and accept it.
I am going to make a motion that we table this to Operations Committee with the intention of changing the name potentially to express that they are expectations, or something of that nature, and then bring it back next week for a vote.
JOSS: I think that we’re getting in a big fuss about the name being Student Bill of Rights. I’m agreeing with the fact that it should be aimed toward faculty and administration. It was written by students, and yes, we are the student association and we are supposed to represent the students, but it should definitely be an issue for the administration and not what we can and cannot govern. I don’t think this is an issue of what we as VSA can promise.
SOCOS: There was a very low turnout. Though there were students involved, it was a group of three to five students who participated [in the drafting of this document], though I don’t want to minimize those voices who were there.
OPERATIONS: You should all show this to your constituencies, and let them see it to make sure that it is what the students want.
CUSHING: I also had some emails. 16 people reached out and five from the VSA.
PRESIDENT: Tabling is the right solution; however, I think that people are leaning toward that it’s about our priorities but also about sending it to administration and faculty. We might want to think about how to reframe it.
2016: I think that what is here is something that Ruby and Co. did was something that we wanted to be doing all year: talking to people and seeing what they want. Now we have a list of what they want. To think that we can just pass this list and just magically get what we want. Cappy could tell us tomorrow that they aren;t going to do anything on this list. It’s what we’re supposed to be doing, this is our job. And Ruby did it. Passing it might be another semantical thing to do that only we read. If we recognize that these things are important we need to advocate for them ourselves. Make meetings with administrators, do research. I think that there’s more to be done and this is the first step. It sucks that we have five weeks left, but if this stuff is important to you, do something about it.
PRESIDENT: So this should be an internal policies document that guides us.
2016: Maybe this is something that if any of the people who get on VSA next year, bring this to council. Start immediately and [incorporate it into the guiding principles].
RAYMOND: If people are so concerned about whether students really want this, they have an election coming up; we can do a referendum and see if students want this.
PRESIDENT: Go to Ops if you want to be a part of this conversation. It could be something we put into our guiding principles for next year. It sounds like sending this to people who we are advocating to is a way to advocate for these things. It’s an incredible list and there are so many things on this list that have guided me over the years and I’m glad it’s all here.
9:28//Work Study Exec Positions Letter Student Life
STUDENT LIFE: If there’s anything in the letter that you think should not be there, if you think there’s something that should be there, let’s have a conversation about that. I met with Eve Dunbar before break and we were talking about what should or shouldn’t go in the letter and she said that since the student activity fee takes away membership from students who rely on work study, they have an institutional right to participate in student government. We don’t want to open up a can of worms where every single position on campus becomes eligible for work study. It’s not the end-all for opening up the executive board to students, but it is specific for our VSA executive board.
NOYES: I think fundamentally it’s a good idea. I’ve spoken to people for Noyes House Team who are work study and are concerned about having enough time to run for a position on House Team. I’m concerned about paying people for a job that other people are doing as well. If one person is spending 11 hours doing something and another person is also spending 11 hours doing something but not getting paid for it, I don’t think that’s a good thing.
STUDENT LIFE: This is not making work positions jobs, it’s minimizing the conflict between work study and running for exec positions. If someone not on work study has a problem with someone getting paid for a job they’re doing, that’s their specific concern.
RAYMOND: I think this is a really great letter. Great job, Student Life and Josh.
STUDENT LIFE: We have a meeting with Cappy on Tuesday and would like to get her signature on it then.
2016: I think that maybe I’m not understanding this properly. For work study positions on campus, were there not enough work study students to fill the work study positions, non-work study students could then apply for those positions and get paid for them. I think this is a good first step, but I think it makes the assumption that only students who are on work study need their campus jobs in order to support themselves which we know isn’t true, given the amount of middle-class families who can’t apply for financial aid. We need to take a look at all of these positions and why certain students are running for them and see if financial obligation is one of them-who this helps and who still needs to be helped.
STRONG: HSAs are paid through student employment but the rest of House Team is not, and this has not affected our relationship. Being in these positions is a privilege that is not currently accessible to all.
JOSS: I just wanted to quickly remind that if you all want to make this more inclusive to minorities and women, then opening this work study opportunity up would be a real plus. As a poor student on this campus and being house president and balancing a work study job and academics it’s very hard to do. The VSA has been historically white and rich.
2016: I wasn’t trying to say that I don’t think this is important. I just wanted to make sure that if we do pass this our accessibility issues on VSA aren’t over. It makes it more accessible, but not completely accessible.
STUDENT LIFE: At the end of the day, it’s still Vassar.
9:40// New Board of Elections Amendment
2015: I added an amendment about a board of elections appointment. We accidentally made it so that the VP for Operations is never allowed to run for anything ever again. It was definitely not the intent at the time, so this amendment seeks to rectify that and clear up what the role of VP for Operations is supposed to do in regards to elections. I’m going to move to suspend the bylaw that says we must wait for two weeks so that we can vote on this now.
9:42//Motion to suspend bylaw is unanimously passed.
9:43//Vote for new amendment is unanimously passed.
PRESIDENT: If you didn’t take the bill of rights to your constituents, now would be a good time to do so. Try to get some feedback.
2014: I woke up this morning and got brunch at the Big Tomato. It took about 57 minutes. If I were to keep having the same meal at the Big Tomato until graduation, I could have 1,402 brunches with an extra .1 brunch.
50 Nights is coming up on Saturday, April 5 at The Chance.
There is a candidates’ meeting which is mandatory for all who are considering running this year. It is in Sander’s Classroom on April 5, at 8 pm.
2014: Your ticket to the student-faculty basketball game is your contribution to the student gift. It’s usually $3.
LATHROP: Latrhop’s art market i this Saturday at 12pm. There are 25 to 30 vendors at this point.
NOYES: Noyes is having Noyes Circle Soirée with free food and a place to eat the food. Rossi’s, Twisted Soul and Bacio’s will be there. There will be plenty of food for all who come. The rain location will be in the Aula from 4 to 6 p.m.
ACADEMICS: The majors’ fair is Sunday 1 to 3pm. CDO, CIS, the JYA center will be there–all of the academic offices of our campus.
SOCO’S: We are encouraging organizations to clean out their closet April 12, from 1-4 location TBD, we will be selling old merch. If you are an org leader we will be contacting you.
JEWETT: VCTV is having their premiere on Friday at 7. It will be the first premiere of the Hype music video.
STUDENT LIFE: Congrats to the class of 2018. Focus weekend will be in two weeks. Email me with any corrections about the amendment, or if you want to have a conversation, let me know.
ACADEMICS: If any of you have friends who want to take the new CEQs. We are looking for a certain type of student to take these CEQs.
9 Programming Amendment Activities & Raymond (10 min)