Updates from Chris Gonzalez Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Chris Gonzalez 11:00 pm on April 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—April 13, 2014 

    Hey, everyone! We should be getting started soon. First, I wanted to make a note. This will be the last time that I will liveblog the council meetings as Editor-in-Chief. Let’s get started.

    7:00 // Attendance…. President
    PROXIES: Town Students, 2014, Cushing, Davison
    ABSENT: 2016, 2017, Town Houses, Finance, Operations

    7:03 // Consent Agenda

    a. Gabe Ross(Disc).………………………….……………………………………………..(0/1500)
    b. SJP (Pre-org)..…………………….……………………………………………….(175/175)
    c. Phil Majors (Disc)……………………………….……….…………….………..…(550/600)
    d. WVKR (Collab)……………………………….……….…………….………(2000/2000
    e. CHOICE (Speakers)……………….…………….……….………………….…(1200/2500)

    Council consents to the agenda.

    7:04 // Forum with Ben Lotto

    LOTTO: Deb asked me to come and talk to you guys; I’m starting as Dean of Studies July 1st, I’m replacing Joanne Long, it’s a position I’m excited about. I worked as the Dean of Freshmen for 4 years, and have been on lots of committees; it’s a vital office for students. To remind you, the Dean of Studies Office consists of the Main Office with class advisors and transfer credits, domestic programs; it oversees 4 offices: Study Away, Fellowships, Accessibility, and oversees many committees—student records. I’ll be chair of the academic panel, I’m on a bunch of other things, most important is the curricular committee. I watch lots of students going through the curriculum. It’s always been a well-functioning office that was visible from the moment I walked on campus, and I’m honored to take on this role. I’m here to talk about what I’m interested in doing. I also want to hear what you guys are interested in, and I’ll make it open to anyone who has concerns about the office or committees.

    TAs: What sorts of problems have you heard of that the Dean of Studies has had, how can that be changed?

    LOTT: It seems to me that the volume of students that come through the Career Development Office and JYA and Accessibility, those offices seem to have gotten busier in my time, so I want to take a look at those offices, I want to hear from them how thy’re doing and what kind of solutions I can bring, it’s the main thing. Within the office itself, I’m walking into an office with a great reputation, it’s a privileged position, and I want to continue to nurture that relationship and be as open and transparent as possible, the conversations we’ve had when applying a rule need to be more transparent. The student might not walk away happy but will understand.

    2015: Often there can be rumors about offices; I’ve heard the office has been intimidating or insensitive, for me that’s important, do you have plans for student feedback?

    LOTTO: My door is open to anyone who wants to talk about any concerns, if there is this perception that the office is not fair or is being inconsistent I want to know about them, this goes back to the transparency issue: students don’t always come away happy, they often ask for an exception and often we say no. The language I always use is that we weigh the needs of one against the needs of many—if I say yes to everything I’m being unfair to everyone, and there are cases where there is an exception. I make sure the student is heard and that either the advisor meets with us once a week. We get back to the student with whatever the decision, we want them to feel heard, even when I make the decision in favor of the student I say I’m doing this but it was a close call. That’s how I address someone who comes to me with those complaints.

    PRESIDENT: I want to follow up on that. I think generally it’s what you’re staying that students may feel heard but they don’t feel listened to, if that difference means anything, especially those who have had a triggering experience with films they’ve watched or panic attacks in class. It’s frustrating for them. My interpretation of it is that the policies in place are great for dealing with death in family, but with regard to trigger warnings and such the Dean of Studies is behind. There’s a request for more interaction with counseling services; TLC has training every week, maybe there’s a disconnect between Administration and students.

    LOTTO: The Dean of Studies sits on the Student Support Network. I know it has a mixed review but it’s a point of contact, if there is an issue with a student or someone has heard something, every week I and others sit in room with director of counseling. When I was the Dean of Freshmen the counselors knew me better than maybe they wanted—it’s a funny relationship with privacy, it’s an unequal relationship for the generic student, and I can tell counselors about student or review them. The counselors can’t tell me if a conversation with a student has happened. I tell the student if I’m going to talk to counselor, and I’ve gone through many trainings with different people. One helpful group has been the consultant about Title IX training, those are the contacts we’ve had. When I go back to my room I keep a bullet point list; so I’ll put these concerns on there, what conversations might we have not about specific students but about the impact of mental health issues, it came up in my years so there aren’t maybe best practices out there.

    PRESIDENT: Well our country doesn’t have the best grasp. On another note, I’ve worked with the dean of studies, how can you better acknowledge the good things your office does like fellowships so that it’s less intimidating?

    LOTTO: I don’t have a handle on all of these resources. July 1st I’ll learn more. I do think Lisa Cooperman in the Fellowships Office does a great job at identifying them and promoting them. It’s overwhelming at this point. I was on the fellowship committee 15 years ago, and the amount they handle is probably double; she works to make sure students know about them and helps with applications so they can go through process. The Dean of Studies has funds, like the academic enrichment fund to support an academic project. “Navigating Vassar” was a publication meant to provide a list of all resources, but there are so many that it is overwhelming.

    PRESIDENT: May I make a suggestion? I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Our generation likes Buzzfeed quizzes so maybe something set up like that, they’re bunched up together so it’s hard to read.

    LOTTO: Dean of Studies just went through a website overall that’s better but not there yet, so making that better could be good. The IGF is well publicized, so there are some resources everyone knows about and some nobody knows about, and everything in between; it’s been true of many things for a long time.

    AT LARGE—JOSHUA SHERMAN ’15: I recently went through the academic enrichment fund, and in that process I learned that it’s through the dean of studies. Some others are similar like transfer credits like AP’s and coursework taken in high school—these are all things floating under the dean of studies office, but is not well publicized. My professors didn’t know about grants that existed.

    LOTTO: The academic enrichment fund has a funny history: it used to be under the President’s Office then moved. I don’t understand the history but I’m going to learn so I’ll take a look at that; we all know each other, Fellowship knows all the funds.

    SHERMAN: The grants are very vague because they’ve been pushed around.

    LOTTO: I think two or three others I don’t know much about because I haven’t interacted with them personally, so I’ll take a look at that and why these funds are administered directly. I should get some more concrete examples on there. Transfer policy is written down explicitly in catalogue, which no one reads, and there is a point person in the Dean of Studies Office; it would be great if you told me how to smooth that process. I’m more familiar with that from being the Dean of Freshmen; I’d love to hear what you’ve struggled with.

    SHERMAN: It’s more about the publicity of it all.

    ACADEMICS: Generally I’ve heard there could be more sexual assault sensitivity, how can offices deal with more diverse student body, and what sort of training do you see to better foresee that?

    LOTTO: We receive regular training on sexual assault. I strongly encourage and require certain people to get that training regularly; having Lisa Cooperman as an in-house resource is good. I feel like we have good training. There’s been a lot of legal issues and that’s a shifting landscape too, and it’s my job to keep on top of that, as things evolve we need to adapt our rules. We want to be ahead of the curve
    with regard to shifting demographics. Our challenge is the entire faculty and administration—it’s our job to meet students where they come from. I don’t know what specific training would cover it. I think listening carefully, hearing, understanding other factors at play, and hitting the pause button to consult with expertise and be very deliberate so that any student who comes no matter their background feels like we gave them a fair decision. We want to communicate that in a sensitive way.

    SoCos: One of the things when people have complaints, some people don’t have the follow up they thought they should have, someone was told to make an appointment, they didn’t and they had no follow up. At a small school it would be good to follow up to make sure things are OK if a student hasn’t gotten back. We talked about “Navigating Vassar” as being a great resource, but we’re here 4 years only, so it would be a great project for the Offices to work on if they had the time.

    LOTTO: The idea of the publication was to be a student-to-student thing. There is a lot of truth that information is not uniformly available and accessible to every student. It’s on my mind all the time, so figuring exactly how to do this comes to uneven information, its vital. I know I’m manic about follow up and details to figure out how to loop back to student with balance. I reach out to a student who’s not going to class, I reach out and I don’t hear back, and I reach out to the student fellow if it’s freshman. Navigating that with emerging adults is a hard balance to find.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming in. Thee criticisms aren’t all addressed to you since you haven’t started yet.

    LOTTO: That’s the beauty of coming here. The interactions we have are high stakes; it’s important to get the feedback especially when it’s vague so it’s on my mind and so I can pass it on and make sure other offices know that this is the reputation that’s out there so they can be more inclusive and accessible. Feel free to come to talk to me anytime.

    7:34 // Activities Reports

    ACTIVITIES: The storage space project is complete; we’re still looking at spaces especially for free market, we’re trying to find them a permanent location, VSA org yard sale was a success yesterday. Founder’s Day is approaching—those committees are in good standing. Merch has arrived—merch like hats and sweaters will be sold starting soon in College Center. VCash will be accepted. Pre-org apps are open until 4/20. The Activities Committee and I have talked about getting a drum set for org usage. The one in the Mug is not useful. We’re looking at the idea of a recording studio.

    7:36 // Finance Reports

    2015: Activities and finance committee have access to see everything that’s been done with annual budgeting.

    7:37 // Constituent Concerns

    PRESIDENT: I will start with YOU *points to 2015* There is a new fro yo place across from Barnes and Noble on Route 9, all you can eat for $3.50 on Mondays.

    2015: There was a bathroom sign hung on the LGBTQ center over the sign, we should say something about that.

    STUDENT LIFE: The Joss laundry room is still not fixed. It sucks.

    7:38 // Campaign Funds Amendment

    SoCos: When we had candidates speeches, we were supposed to say we could help funding for campaigning. I wrote this amendment so that you contact the chair of board of elections for that to avoid conflict of interests.

    7:40 // Decertifications

    ACTIVITIES: 3 orgs that we recommend to be decertified. The Nordic Team has been inactive for 3 semesters, Vassar public art and polo team has mismanaged funds for several semesters.

    JEWETT: Some have been inactive, does polo know about this?

    ACTIVITIES: They do, some orgs have tried to get it going, polo team has told me that they are done.

    Nordic Team: All in favor.
    Polo Team: Noyes abstains. All in favor.
    Vassar Public Art: All in favor.

    7:42 // Open Discussions

    JEWETT: 4/19—spring concert, please come on time and show support.

    STUDENT LIFE: Student Life committee is doing an all-campus study break on 4/21 for “Munchie Study Break” unofficially. We’re baking chocolate chip cookies and cupcakes, and crepes. Hopefully it will be held in the Rose Parlor at 9 p.m. We’re planning a forum to open dialogue on the Title IX process, and the training IVP’s go through. People feel like the process has not represented them well enough. On 4/24 we’re working out room reservations.

    SoCos: Elections are this week so if you’re campaigning, posters must be down on noon, April 15, Tuesday. Voting begins that day and ends April 17. Seniors can vote in exec positions. Elections results are Thursday, midnight in the Retreat.

    JEWETT: Why are seniors are allowed to vote?

    PRESIDENT: They’re proxies for freshmen.

    SoCos: We kind of get to choose who we want as we leave.

    RAYMOND: Mr. Vassar on Thursday, 8 p.m. in UpC.

    TAs: This is in response to the quasi-cyber bullying that happened during exec debates. I respect those putting themselves out there in running for exec position.

    7:48 // Council Adjourns.

  • Chris Gonzalez 10:59 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—April 6, 2014 

    Hey everyone, hope you’ve all enjoyed your Saturday nights. We should be getting started shortly.

    7:02 // Attendance ….OPERATIONS
    Proxies: 2017, JOSS, TAs, THs,
    Absent: MAIN, FERRY.

    7:05 // Consent Agenda

    a. Outing Club

    b. Poder Latino (Collab)…………….……………….……….………………..($1500/

    c. Minutes from 3/30/14

    Agenda Consented to.

    7:05 // Forum with Elizabeth Schrock

    SCHROCK: Who can tell me what month it is for a prize?

    2014: Sexual Assault Awareness month.

    SCHROCK: During the the month of April we’re doing cool things I’m excited about. Next Tuesday we’re screening a documentary, ‘Very Young Girls.’ It’s empowering and mentoring services for victims of trafficking who have been exploited through sexual assault. The founder now runs foundation in NYC; it looks at commercial subculture through the eyes of pimps and victims—personal vignettes that show their every day lives. It’s a really triggering documentary but talks about something important we don’t talk about in the US that’s important for this month. Three staff members will give a panel after the screening, which is from 6-8:30 p.m. in Rocky 300.

    JEWETT: Is there an event mention for it?

    SCHROCK: It’s on the Facebook page and there’s a blurb on the events page. The next thing is that throughout April we’re doing a “self care series” for all of you who are activists, and since you all are on VSA, you’re very active students—self care is important, we already did meditation and we’re doing empowering self defense on Tuesday, April 22 in the Aula. There will be a discussion before and after of how it can be used for empowering and how it can be talked about in victim blaming way; there’s also “Yoga for Empowerment” on Tuesday, April 29 from 1-2 p.m. The keynote speaker is Sonya, a spoken word poet, and her performance uses media examples and poetry to talk about body terrorism on Monday, April 21, 7-8 p.m., Rocky 300. Break the Silence is making a zine this month contributing stories of survivors for Break the Silence. The dates are on the website: April, 6, today, 9-10 p.m. in the LGBTQ Center. MVP was a 4 week course.

    PRESIDENT: It ended up being 5 weeks due to snow. Two people from Family Partnership Center who do victim assistance for domestic violence taught it; it was bystander training. I liked that we made our own role plays and we ended up making some that were relevant and that happen to us and friends; we talked about how to respond to it, we made up a nice community, and we graduated last week.

    SCHROCK: It was a great intro; we all use bystander intervention, it’s integrated in orientation, but we haven’t made Vassar’s own program until now, which was born of MVP and realizing strengths and weaknesses. We’re starting a peer bystander group, which meets May 4, Sunday, from 9-5 p.m. We’re bringing in people from University of New Hampshire to train us to be trainers of bystander courses. Over the summer we’re adapting that curriculum to be better suited for Vassar: maybe we need more levels. I’m really excited about this training, and I would love VSA members to go through it; it’s training for next year so more for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. It’s called “Bringing in the Bystander,” and there’s an application process; there will be a group of us who help to gather students and adapt curriculum. If you know an administrator who would be a great advisor let me know, I’d love to have more people. That’s the summary of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, does anyone have questions about resources?

    PRESIDENT: Can you go over which resources are confidential?

    SCHROCK: [passes around pamphlets] We have 3 levels of confidentiality: some people have to disclose the information and some don’t. Confidential: Baldwin Health, Counseling and CARES, and anyone off campus such as hospitals. Private is me; I don’t disclose private info but I do disclose statistics to report to the College; others include student leaders and professors who aren’t in leadership positions. The SART team and their 24 hour hotline. Mandated Resources: any professor in leadership positions such as deans and coaches and administrators, house advisors—if you disclose to them it’s hard, because I want people to feel comfortable and not ashamed for what’s not their fault at the same time good practice is to ask ahead of time who someone has to tell before disclosing.

    TOWN HOUSE PROXY: Is there a way for students to get involved outside of CARES? I know that CARES selects students, so is there any other way students can get involved if they’re not picked for CARES?

    SCHROCK: CARES is the only student group who deals with issues relating to student violation, if a student is interested in these issues joining the bystander group would be a good way. You can volunteer at a rape center off campus, there’s a core people from Vassar every year.

    STUDENT LIFE: There’s a discrepancy with student fellows, there was a miscommunication during training, some student fellows were told to fill out incident form but no name, is that correct?

    SCHROCK: Privacy is called anonymous report. You don’t put any identifying information and you fill out as much as you’re comfortable with; it’s sent to me and you can tell me if you want to be contacted, and it goes in my filing cabinet and the number is given to the College at the end of the year.

    SOCOs: I’ve gotten complaints about professors not giving trigger warnings because they don’t feel it’s necessary, how can we encourage that?

    SCHROCK: I’ve had the same complaint, it’s a hard debate, recently people were going at each other. Oberlin has an interesting policy, it’s included in the student handbook with what’s recommended but not required; it might be a direction that would be useful, we though about having a forum about trigger warning to find some kind of consensus about where students are coming from in wanting these as well as professors. On an individual level I think talking to professors is useful. If you wanted myself to come in and talk with you and a professor, I’d be more than happy. I can’t guarantee they’ll put trigger warnings on anything, but I don’t want someone to feel discouraged.


    STUDENT LIFE: This has been a heavy week but one good thing is that gender neutral signs went up. I don’t know how widespread the dialogue is, but to give background we put it through because we wanted to increase the number of gender neutral bathrooms and also make existing signs clearer. The previous signs had male and female icons to indicate gender neutral, and clearly there’s problems with that. The new signs are just words and the new icon is the up-to-date version of what we should have. Most dorms that have accessible restrooms have them, there’s a discrepancy, it’s been a long time coming so I’m glad to see them, it’s a powerful indication of work done this year. If you helped out, thanks, we’re going forward with Judy and rest of team on how to move forward and get into academic buildings with no gender neutral bathrooms such as renovation of Sanders Physics where that wasn’t included in the plans. We’re figuring out how to integrate that with plans, which is similar with the bridge building and all future projects we’ve gotten a promise but not in writing that gender neutral bathrooms will be there. The work study letter we went over last week—the letter was great, there was a lot of feedback given, we met with Cappy and she kind of did a 180 and it turns out this is more of Dean Roellke’s project and agree to pushing for paid exec positions because she would “step on his toes” since he’s on sabbatical and can’t make decisions right now. I’m planning on working with my sucessor and pushing it through in the fall. It’s important and it’s such a small thing to make a big deal of, the precedent that’s been set with other orgs asking for work eligibility, it’s an inconvenient setback, ask me any questions. The SAVP student subcommittee has been working on a video that will give students who might not be comfortable talking to someone the info about offices with title IX and other protocols. I have gotten contact from students with experience with SAVP hearing and such and it does seem like there’s student interest; I’m meeting with a student about it. It may be a project for other students, I don’t have much info yet; there’s good and bad with system we have, it would be productive conversation.

    NOYES: I’m curious about future gender neutral progress, how is this being discussed with the future bookstore?

    STUDENT LIFE: We talked to bob and he said that code is the real issue, it’s not an unwillingness. With Sanders we’re too far along, with the Juliet space we have to put in women and mens’ room but we can label them as we want. Bob said we can do whatever.


    ACADEMICS: Student seminars are happening. I only hear if they’re not going well so I assume they’re going fine. The majors fair happened, largely went well. The CEQ new version—I’m meeting Thursday for official meeting. Probably a new one by fall that will be online on moodle; the creative arts grant we have will have student input. I met with CIS and I talked about resources on campus; it turns out CIS has classes you can sign up for like Excel and other programs, but no one ever uses them. And there’s a continued effort on the social consciousness requirement; we’ll create document of why students want it, that will be next few weeks.


    2015: We would really like a “froyo” at the new bookstore.

    SOCos: Complaints about shuttle running, we appreciate the email about when it’s not running and would appreciate more.

    STUDENT LIFE: There’s still problems with the Raymond card swipe.

    OPERATIONS: They’re checking on card swipes at least once a semester, it would be helpful to send report to CIS. I was sent a resolution passed by freshman class council that they want a Chipotle in the new space.

    2017: We would like it noted that this was passed on April 1, but if we inadvertently bring this about that would be good.

    7:35 // Eligibility Amendment….. OPERATIONS

    OPERATIONS: This is slightly different than the amendment sent with agenda; we want to make it more in line with the ResLife policy. I thought it was passed next week but this was a miscommunication and it was tabled to my committee. We should pass this amendment to make our policies in line with ResLife. Those in residential positions can’t run for VSA council positions.

    PRESIDENT: This was unclear before and we decided not to just accept what ResLife had said, we talked to relevant constituents.

    NOYES: Positions that are hired or all of house team?

    PRESIDENT: Exec positions can’t do anything else.

    RAYMOND: Right now section f contradicts another amendment.

    OPERATIONS: Yes that was a typo; we can vote to change that amendment, it should say any student holding selected or elected house position, should really say house team.

    2015: If they’re already elected they couldn’t hold that position right? if you’re holding ResLife position, this is confusing.

    RAYMOND: Instead of dealing with typo can we make this a separate point.

    OPERATIONS: It wouldn’t be a problem because there are no ResLife elected positions.

    RAYMOND: This replaces the point that says house officers can’t be on council.

    SOCOs: We talked about this only applied to VSA council.

    OPERATIONS: Doesn’t it say you can’t hold two positions on council?

    PRESIDENT: I’m going to make a motion to table this to operations, because there are still issues.

    2014: I’m wondering whether or not we should proceed with current bylaws.

    2015: I move to vote on the amendment that was shown to council, that’s in bylaws that were presented to people in elections so that it can be done.

    OPERATIONS: That amendment makes no sense.

    STUDENT LIFE: Wouldn’t the other stop a student fellow from being a floor fellow?

    RAYMOND: No, because we’re not controlling ResLife stuff.

    PRESIDENT: It’s going to be tabled to ops committee.


    7:43 // Open Discussion

    2014: You should know there are 48 days until May 2014 Commencement. A shout out to students at 50 Nights who left the bus without making a mess, and those who punched security, they should do something to themselves that I’m not going to say.

    FINANCE: In 4 hours and 15 minutes Annual Budgeting is due. Houses need to apply for a budget but no constitution is necessary. Class Councils also need a budget.

    NOYES: Do we need to put on community action?

    2015: It might be helpful to the future of the house.

    FINANCE: Right after this can we meet briefly, be nice to members of finance committee this week, we have a lot of budgets to look over.

    TOWN HOUSE PROXY: Student faculty basketball game happened and we won and it was pretty well attended so we made money for student gift.

    RAYMOND: Roaring Twentis is this coming Friday, food jazz and gambling from 10-2.

    DAVISON: We’re having Sock Hop this Saturday, live it up with Raymond on Friday then come to ours, we will have milkshakes and apparently an inflatable juke box.

    JEWETT: Can I motion to adjourn?

    7: 47 // Council Adjourns.

  • Chris Gonzalez 11:07 pm on March 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—March 30, 2014 

    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

    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.


    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.


    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.

    9:43//Open discussion

    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.

    9:50//Council adjourns

    9 Programming Amendment Activities & Raymond (10 min)

  • Chris Gonzalez 11:06 pm on March 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—23 March 2014 

    Hey everyone, welcome back from break! Let’s get started.

    7:04 // Call to Order
    Attendance ……………PRESIDENT

    Absences: Cushing, Joss, Operations.

    7:05 // Consent Agenda
    MBSA (Social Conciousness)$2000/$2300
    WOCA (Pre-Org)$100/$100
    Fernando Braga (Discretionary)$0/$350
    CSA (Conference)$800/$2300
    Run Vassar (Discretionary)$0/$1100
    Pro Health (Conference)$980/$980
    Savor (Pre-Org)$100/$100
    Vastards (A Capella Recording)$750/$750
    Christian Fellowship (Conference)$800/$800
    VARC (Conference)$600/$1090
    Archery (Discretionary)$300/$300
    Night Owls (Discretionary)$350/$350
    CSA (Discretionary)$5000/$5200

    Consent Agenda Passes.

    7:06 // Forum with Luis Inoa

    PRESIDENT: Three weeks ago we brought up a lot of concerns about Reslife, so Luis is here to talk about those things.

    INOA: I’m the Director of ResLife and Assistant Dean of Students, and I’ve been here for nine years. I’m trying to approach this summer as if I’m coming in new, trying to think through the Department and our relationship with students. House Team: Contextually, and historically, the term ‘house team’ hasn’t always been a part of Vassar vernacular. Training: student fellows and advisors were trained first and then presidents later. Training, I think, developed through the lens of what is it that a student fellow/advisor needs. And what are the transferable skills. Talking about next year is important because we havent figured out what to do with officers. I’ve encouraged the VSA not to think about house team in the same way they think about other orgs. I think each year we haven’t done the kind of work around office training that we needed to; I think we do good things about the global issues—fire safety, identity, etc. And with QPR, if you’re seen as a leader in your house there’s a chance a student in your house will come to you.

    2016: Hi, thank you for coming. I’m just curious about our specific structure for student fellows as compared to other schools. I know other schools, their student fellows are more punitive positions or they’re seniors or upperclassmen? Can you speak to why we have this system and what are it’s benefits?

    INOA: When the RA system developed around the country, Vassar didn’t follow. I’m not sure if that was due to the all-women structure, not sure about the rational, I haven’t encouraged this because we don’t want one person responsible for the students. We want the community to be responsible. We recently adopted language around responsibility and consciousness: House Team members need to develop a sense of ‘little a’ authority. For a student smoking in their room, if nobody approaches, students assume that it’s okay to behave this way; we’re struggling because we need Vassar students to start stepping up and say this is why we don’t have RA system, all our students should be empowered to act when students don’t behave this way; RA system makes the officer system redundant. I like that we have this Venn diagram community development with HFI and social development. The Floor Fellow program has also been worth it for students who have reached out. We’re working on some things.

    MAIN: Hi, can you talk a little bit about the selection process for student fellows and student advisors?

    INOA: They just wrapped up interviews; I feel like I should have a more ready response. The first word that comes to mind when thinking about student fellows is snowflakes. Yes, we need some extroverts. Yes, we need some introverts. Yes, we need students involved with a variety of things. Student fellows: I’m looking for someone who likes Vassar with the capacity to love Vassar, that can be critical. When I got here house advisors had to be student fellows first. Now we incorporate house officers, the same things apply, you have to like working because they put in so many hours—it’s an individual that can be an effective role model. In nine years I haven’t had a student advisor documented so they don’t bring that kind of drama and I appreciate it.

    STRONG: I wanted to ask about the relationships between house officers and the rest of house team. Sometimes it can become a little like West Side Story.

    INOA: I think that house teams that are successful are the ones that continue to check in with each other about those expectations. A few years ago student fellows were concerned about the amount of work they were putting into programming. It should not be an expectation—that’s where the friction is coming from.

    STRONG: Can we clarify what those expectations are?

    INOA: Yes, maybe sitting down with the board of house presidents and start being very clear with student fellows.

    STRONG: Houses expect different stuff with student fellows so they might be seeing their friends in other houses doing other stuff.

    INOA: It’s tough because some houses just operate year to year on what Student Fellows do. They need to have those conversations about do you agree to this kind of commitment. This would be helpful; we need to be mindful of house traditions and house culture. Maybe the board of house presidents with student advisors and HFI’s. The class reps were formed after the VSA decided they could be a resource for upperclassmen.

    STRONG: Great, I have some ideas.

    INOA: Yea, we can work something out.

    STRONG: We’ll call you.

    STUDENT LIFE: Since RAs at other schools are paid, can you explain why a student fellow position is not paid?

    INOA: To think about the scope of RAs, they are doing personal social development and security, though that is not to provide a reason for why student fellows aren’t being compensated. This question came up a few years ago and I surveyed current and past SF’s and they weren’t comfortable getting paid because they were worried there might be higher expectations, like they would do more authoritative things. When the student fellow program started in the ’70s, it started with student fellows getting $250 a semester. It was about half of room and board. It’s something the College could look at. Five years ago student fellows said $1000 would be most because the positions feels closer to being volunteer than not. It’s worth another look 5 years later especially in light of the school going need bind.

    STUDENT LIFE: I saw some things about rooms changes happening and people getting roommates they weren’t told about—how does communication with students through Res life?

    INOA: We were trying to work before room freeze over break; we allowed decisions but not having students move during midterms, because the move wasn’t happening. They heard they got approved before they were supposed to and where they were going; we have to think about that for next year. Right now, in general communication we’re working on a new website. I would encourage anyone here to sit down and see what would be useful. There’s a lot of info but it’s not easy to navigate it. We’ve switched systems to Residence, which has been a bit of a headache. The transition has meant that we haven’t quite known how things are going to be played out until later, so communication between us and students hasn’t been that great.

    2015: I’ve known in past that house advisors think they should tell house president how to vote. I think it should be more about advice, but the president should have autonomy. Also, relating to 4- and 5- person draw, 15-min time slots for each group but have no draw numbers, how will this actually work?

    INOA: This is part of that new system because it produces its own numbers. We use what system gave us for example first person who draws is 43, we could look at the entire list—can we look at that.

    2015: That would be nice to have an idea of where we are in the time slot.

    INOA: The idea is to look at where the time slot is and figure out where you would fit.

    RAYMOND: I wanted to say that I really like having a floor fellow—do you think the program will be expanding and what changes could be made to other house teams?

    INOA: This will be the third year, and with the way the budget gets approved I would need to look at budget needed by this November. We’re currently based on the Haverford model: they have “customs people” like student fellows and the team freshmen introduced to are a collection of people, such as multicultural educator. If we implement this we would have key conversations around identity. We’re not sure if this should be the floor fellow to encourage upperclassmen to join in and share perspective; we’re thinking about a multicultural awareness ambassador to lead conversations we seem to avoid in residential spaces. I’m looking at restorative justice circles and conferences as a way of dealing with microagressions on campus. We have failed in some of those cases, we have failed some of our students who have come to us and said they were hurt by the language used on campus. We don’t have a system in place to say where our role is; we would like to implement that as a resource next year. We’re definitely thinking about some things.

    TAs: I remember during winter break we were given a survey about our student fellows. Who sees that and what actions come from it?

    INOA: It goes to the house advisor who should bring it up to house team during winter training. It provides perspectives on alcohol policy and such are shared. Student fellows also get feedback: how they are available to students, and every year feedback is positive. House teams get a chance to give feedback on house advisors. I work to encourage them to do the things they’re doing and also areas where students have concerns.

    STRONG: The topic of roommate and housemate training came up. And I remember being thrown into this situation in the early stages. Stuff gets written down and people aren’t always comfortable with it. We do a lot of emergency and important kinds of training, but there isn’t a focus on the realistic small issues that then become big issues that lead to room changes.

    INOA: What would encourage a roommate to revisit a conversation that they had earlier? Is it about this first roommate conversations or is about a series of roommate conversations that are needed to develop a working, living relationship. Culturally our students don’t revisit those until they become problematic. If we could do this early they might be better when they’re seniors, when cleanliness is not just limited to the room but the bathroom and kitchen. We’ve had more apartment changes than room changes. We sent out things to think about when picking housemates; I think of apartment spaces as cooperative spaces and the students would be more receptive to that if they did it, too. We need to be better beyond roommate-to-roommate scenarios. How do we move beyond that so students are ready when they move into the apartment areas?

    MAIN: Last week before spring break it was Eating Diorder Awareness week and the Health Office had awareness programming, and only one student fellow showed up. Could there be more encouragement by Res Life to attend these events. The week of training is condensed and not refreshed upon.

    INOA: The position right now is to talk about leadership curriculum that is more sustained. That’s for house team and professionals. It’s about taking advantage of opportunities the College has, and I’m working with Rene Pabst about better incorporating peer educators with house team.

    MAIN: Going back to the student fellow/office divide. I think we could talk with Finance and Student Life and Activities, as House Team priority should be on house itself. Some conversations could be had to even things out.

    ACTIVITIES: It’s not mandatory, it’s more about traditions passing down. Houses are run differently than orgs, it’s not mandatory.

    PRESIDENT: We could talk about setting better standards for houses to focus on different things each year.

    SoCos: One of the residents of SoCOs was concerned about protocol for B&G entering houses—would it be possible to email when everyone is doing that, let people know that ahead of time?

    INOA: Sometimes students read emails and sometimes they don’t, but we could be upfront about that. We are a liaison for B&G to communicate to students so if they don’t give us the information there will be an issue. We are communicating that we have to know so that students can know. We will take issues back to B&G; sometimes we don’t spell it out for students to understand such as over spring break.

    NOYES: Is there a reason why students who live in housing have to leave at 9 a.m. the day after classes end?

    INOA: I think every now and then we think we can extend it; if we say 12, they will leave at 5. So we say 9 to allow some extra time for stragglers. For a campus who prides itself on students who make making good decisions. Extending the time might be bad: what would a weekend look like without having to worry about Monday classes? That’s the reason we shut down on Saturdays. There is a concern that in staying open we become the spring break destination. We can work on adding a few more hours.

    PRESIDENT: I know some students’ parents have to drive 5 or 6 hours overnight to pick up their student and they have to leave in the middle of the night, so a few more hours would be helpful.

    NOYES: Regarding demographic of student fellows has there been research into students accepted? Would that be worthwhile?

    INOA: I don’t have a strong sense of it; I think these things balance themselves out. There are probably more white females who make up student fellows. The committee on inclusion and excellence looked to see if students of color weren’t taking up these responsibilities: they might be taking on other responsibilities. It feels like we could do better on the student fellow end. We’ve never gone to the Centers to talk about the house team experience.

    2016: Do you feel certain students don’t apply to be student fellows because they might not be able to handle the position along with a work-study position?

    INOA: I don’t know. If I had to make an assumption, probably. I will tell you this: The reason we have a bit more access now with the student advisors, is because they are paid positions. There’s concern a little bit about burnout now, but six years ago they were ready to revolt. I know that’s part of the experience of house presidents, and I imagine that’s part of the experience with student fellows. Really the crux of that position is that one-on-one relationship with freshmen.

    2016: If you could just explain under what conditions will someone enter your room?

    INOA: You fill out a work request, you’re giving someone permission to enter your room. During a fire alarm, when the houses close. One of the things happening, we have a growing number of students who won’t tolerate folks who are trying to be Scarface, you know a drug dealer on campus. We get word that someone is stealing drugs, someone is entering your room. If there’s a reason to believe that a safety or health violation happening behind closed doors, someone can enter. If it sounds like there’s a party, someone will knock on your door?

    2016: Is there a protocol for that? Are they supposed to knock or can they just enter?

    INOA: I believe it’s in the handbook, but that would be a common courtesy. It’s also expected the student open the door at some point. There’s a room entry policy in the handbook.

    8:02 // Activities Report

    ACTIVITIES: All preorgs are in good standing: pre orgs reps update us every week, activities committee has been talking to orgs we had questions for, we will have end of semester pre org review in coming weeks. We’ve been collecting constitutions. We hope to have them before annual budgeting, so April 1. The storage space project is good and almost done; we cleaned out the Vassarion office. Orgs who would be sharing spaces have been contacted; we’ve been working with the ROC to do coordinating. We still have yearbooks if you want any, orders are on Wednesday, 6:30-9:30 p.m. House presidents, let me know if you have books in your houses. The Leadership Conference Committee will be starting, we hope to have more org leaders. Traditions Committee is still being figured out. Terry Quinn and I had been talking about expectations for houses and programming. That blurb will be sent out.

    JEWETT: How much are the yearbooks?

    ACTIVITIES: Last year is 15, 2009-2010 are 10, and everything else is 5.

    DAVISON: Some people have asked when is next time for students to apply to be student orgs?

    ACTIVITIES: That would be next round.

    2017: Helicon and Squirm share a space, how regulated are the spaces with org leadership notified?

    ACTIVITIES: Anything that has to do with houses go to the ROC, otherwise talk to campus activities. We notified orgs that had spaces. Almost all of them knew where spaces were, I get notifications about fire and safety.

    TAs: Are wireless VCash machines still a thing?

    FINANCE: I can look into it. I heard they did the system update needed over break.

    2016: I heard they did not. Also, the money we make from selling these yearbooks goes where?

    ACTIVITIES: It goes to the budget.

    8:10 // Finance Report

    FINANCE: Annual budgeting applications are out, tell your friends?

    TOWN HOUSES: For annual budgeting do you need to meet with people?

    FINANCE: You will be approached and a conversation will happen. We’re making an offer to some orgs.

    8:11 // Constituent Concerns

    2016: Lots of administrators say they feel this works. When an student is EMS’d students have to pay for ambulance and this may be a disincentive. Healthcare should pay for it, and the ambulance not covered by Vassar insurance. We need to change this, students may not ever call EMS if this is the case. When the life of a student is in danger this in unacceptable; students should not feel as though they are putting financial strain on themselves.

    PRESIDENT: I’ll reach out and see what we can do about it.

    DAVISON: At the last meeting I mentioned Davison’s backdoor is having issues, and it hasn’t been addressed.

    ACTIVITIES: If any other houses have concerns with faulty locks they should see me. I can email Annabelle. I send out lots of emails so we have a relationship built.

    TAs: Can you explain the structure of the preorgs because it’s very confusing.

    ACTIVITIES: There are different levels based on semester they started.

    2015: A lot of orgs that get accepted at first level fizzle out before they reach the next step; the number of orgs we used to have has decreased. The preorgs cycle out and so the total will be manageable.

    SOCOs: It’s important to keep in mind that at other schools all you need is a signed petition, we have a strict policy already so it would only be more discouraging to make it stricter.

    TOWN HOUSE PROXY: Usually when orgs fizzle out they’re not taking anything from us, so we can’t necessarily add another org, we aren’t gaining money back.

    PRESIDENT: This is the trial period for preorgs, so there isn’t an assumption that you’ll automatically become an org. This is to provide you with resources to see if it will work out, it’s much more about spaces and organizing and getting VSA support.

    2015: The conversations Activities has about these orgs is very detailed because we think about this a lot.

    8:18 // Student Life Amendment


    8:19 // Open Discussion

    2014: 62 days, 13 hours, 39 minutes, and 15 seconds. And there isn’t a speaker yet. In approximately 12 days until 50 nights. There will be emails, there will be advertisements. Seniors please check your email and do that survey. I know it’s annoying, but the more people that do the survey, the more money the senior class gets, which is cool.

    PRESIDENT: I’ve been at Trustee meetings where they actually use that data to make decisions.

    STRONG: Do you know when we will have a speaker?

    2014: No one has told me anything. I’m sure the Misc finds out before anyone else.

    RAYMOND: Student bill of rights is a thing; Cushing will bring it to council next week.

    LATHROP: An art/ student products weekend, anyone interested in selling goods email [email protected]. It’s on April 5.

    STUDENT LIFE: So we talked a little before break about updates on the paid VSA thing. Then I realized the last time it didn’t pass is because it was sent out before break. If anyone would like to see that letter, I’m sending it to all your emails anyway.

    ACADEMICS: I need one friend from each of you for the CEQs.

    2017: Freshmen 15 is April 30. Just tell your constituents.

    2015: What’s the free item?

    2017: We haven’t figured that out year. Oh, wait, free shirts.

    DAVISON: Main’s event is on Friday.

    MAIN: Classy Hollywood is Friday in the Villard Room.

    2016: Thank you Student Life for writing the letter, and I just want us to make sure we’re thinking about positions and whether they are equitable.

    PRESIDENT: Elections filing starts this week, BOE will send email, April 27 will be the last meeting. About the discussion about Palestine/Israel, Cappy and Cheanette are open to having another meeting. They do not want to close it off. Motion to adjourn.

    8:30 // Meeting Adjourns.

  • Chris Gonzalez 12:00 am on March 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—2 March 2014 

    All right, everyone, get pumped for the final VSA Council meeting. Sports Editor tried playing “Timber” by Ke$ha to get the crowd riled up.

    7:00 //
    1 Call to Order
    2 Attendance ……………PRESIDENT

    OPERATIONS is running late. Proxies: Raymond, 2017, THs; Absences: 2016, Cushing, Ferry, Town Students.

    7:03 // Consent Agenda
    a. Chess Club (Pre Org).…………….………………………………..($98.29/$98.29)
    b. ViCE/SoundSystem (Capital)..………………………($1260/$1260;$240/$240)
    c. Fem Alliance (Discretionary)…………..………………………….…………($1200/$1800)
    d. Improv (Speakers)……………………………………….……………($400/$4000)
    e. Slow Food (Conference)………………………………………………….….…($495/$495)
    f. Britomartis (Discretionary)……………………………………………………………….$520
    g. Minutes from 2/23/14

    FINANCE: Adds 1500 to Vassar Prison Initiative.


    7:04 // Forum with Eve Dunbar, Acting Dean of the College

    DUNBAR: I’m here because I was asked by the VSA exec board. This charts process notes from last December’s group dialogue, this was a dialogue chaired by Counseling Services and VSA was part of planning. It came on the heels of a campus climate meltdown—that’s probably the best way to describe it—students were feeling confused and concerned about safety on campus, processing bias and hate speech. We decided to hold the forum to process feelings; the document came at the end (about 70-80 students, administration and faculty), everybody was given the option to put down on a card some concerns we had and we broke those into categories and bulleted point of each concern. I’ve taken this to Dean of College area to go over it, I’ve asked Deans and directors to go over it to see if they’ve addressed these and see if they can address some in a low or no cost way, which ones need long term strategic attention.

    PRESIDENT: We wanted to address this here so that we could voice their concerns and if they want to take action on these things, if you see anything important please add if it’s missing you can bring it to an administrator.

    DUNBAR: I went through and highlighted what’s important—change resources: gender neutral bathrooms is in progress, restorative adjustment model to address bias incident response, small intermittent conversations with administration and Campus Life and Diversity office used to hold dinner. Ed Pittman plans to bring those back and encourage thinking about how we can “construct ourselves from within bounds of law.” CIE is addressing this.

    MAIN: Under section “etc” it says change Vassar culture, what does that mean?

    DUNBAR: I didn’t write it so it came from someone that reflects desire among many to change campus culture.

    PRESIDENT: I noticed changing Metcalf funding, I was wondering if you could speak to where it is.

    DUNBAR: In terms of progress made this year we were able to secure permanent lines in counseling services so there will be 5 permanent starting in fall. I have put in request for a post doc position, but I don’t know how that will fare. I think there is some progress being made.

    TA’s: What are your goals for this semester?

    DUNBAR: To keep the wheels on the bus. I am interested in supporting the bystander intervention training, working with SAVP—working with Elizabeth Shrock—to bring the bystander training; hopefully that will happen late April/ early May. I’m really hoping to solidify that on campus. I am invested in campus-climate issues and creating spaces for dialogue—this Friday I will be holding small focus group luncheon, and in April I will have general call to student body to have another lunch meeting with me to see what people are thinking about Vassar.

    2015: In the past you’ve worked in the Dean of Faculty office and in coming to the Dean of College position do you have anything you see that might be interested or advice for us? Now that you’re overseeing so many people?

    DUNBAR: In the six to eight weeks that I’ve been in this position something that was a revelation for me—after being in the house fellow position, I know that student lives are richer than the classroom. I see that they have lives in the dorm. Going to Dean of College I saw a wide range of experiences students have, from interpersonal to institutional is clear now, relationships to one another—difficulties and greatness.

    ACADEMICS: I have a question about the social justice requirement, what would you like to see what do you think it will look like?

    DUNBAR: It depends on when you ask me, when I was co-chair of CIE, 3 years ago we were given a proposal that entailed specific courses all students would take called “social justice” and that did not seem like the right model. I don’t think a single course taught by one or two faculty would be effective. If one were to imagine social justice requirement I would want it to be diverse so that students have choice of classes to take; they would all be different that would allow students to pick and choose. The data from the Registrar suggests 90 percent of students take something that would fill social justice requirement. I’m not sure we aren’t addressing that, what we need is a new way to talk about what work students are doing, a different way to acknowledge that great majority of students at Vassar are invested in this. My ideal is that we develop a discourse—this might mean something from people looking in to talk about it; it would have to go through faculty, requirement isn’t up to the students, again because vast majority are meeting it we need to think in ways that aren’t based in the curriculum, more social.

    SoCos: I wanted to talk about the Metcalf funding. I’m hesitant to hire more counselors when data was what we had at the current moment, I’ve had strangers tell me that Metcalf needs more resources, and people are upset that we didn’t act. I’ve seen few things VSA has done that all students can get behind, how can we make it a priority?

    DUNBAR: I think the VSA has made it clear that it supports this, I think that you can keep being vocal about it and I will keep trying to push this, I’m going to say that this is something I’m invested in, there are a variety of priorities the institution is invested in.

    PRESIDENT: I do want to thank you for the work you’ve been doing. I know that to get something new, we have to give something else up.

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: I’m curious to know if there are any conversations between Metcalf and administration in context of communication with student body. From the Reslife perspective the way student leaders are trained Metcalf becomes the last advice given. This serves as catchall that feels like a beuqacratic channel rather than long term resources; my biggest concern is how do you understand the role of Metcalf? It seems like what Vassar is as a space is the main question, and how does it relate to the College.

    DUNBAR: I think that question is a little leading, so why don’t you tell me where you’re leading me, so that I can answer it.

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: Where do you see Metcalf as a space?

    DUNBAR: Wendy could answer better than I: from what I can tell the way counseling services work as a resource for students in distress, on campus to get the care they need at that moment, that’s probably the primary use. I’m not sure it is meant to be sole site of counseling for any individual. One might need to find long term counseling if they have the resources. I see it as a site where you can process when you’re most distressed with the hope of moving to a person who can give you weekly or more frequent care. We’re not a full-service counseling center—not sure if many institutions have that.

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: What then is the goal of funding resources into Metcalf?

    PRESIDENT: From my experience I find that it is an initial attempt to get through a rough patch, sometimes you need long-term counseling, other times you need to figure out what resources are available, in recognizing it is a short-term solution many students are unable to get appointment for 2 weeks. Over 50 percent of students use Metclaf; if student has to wait and it is an emergency this is not doing the function it should.

    JEWETT: Where it mentions students reporting to other students how they feel, what does that mean?

    DUNBAR: This was all anonymous, this was one I highlighted, it seems like this restorative justice model for dealing with microagressions. It sounds like SSN, can’t tell if people want to report their peers if they feel there has been a microagression and want to report it anonymously, the vagueness of it.

    JEWETT: It seems like it would be another form of SayAnything.

    DUNBAR: My sense is that I hope it’s not like an official SayAnything and that it does address microagressions in a more systematic way. I may be wrong because I wasn’t the writer.

    STUDENT LIFE: Seems like a SayAnything that requires a sort of accountability, the site doesn’t do enough.

    2017 PROXY: There’s an entire column for orientation. I just wanted to know what the administration feels like would be a good orientation considering many people think there needs to be more and balanced with the fact that it is optional.

    DUNBAR: The two categories that confound me: orientation and mandatory; there’s a lot of desire in this group to make things mandatory yet there’s a desire in this institution to not have mandatory things. Orientation in susceptible to change. I don’t know that you can ever get orientation right, I think the First-Year Program group is open to feedback; you need people who are flexible to assess what worked from year to year. A lot of it comes from Campus Life and Diversity. Hearing what the students want and need is spring orientation, hearing that and responding to it. I don’t know how you create a mandatory orientation without saying it is mandatory; I don’t know how you penalize people who don’t do it. I’m interested in what students think about making students come to these things what is a suitable penalties.

    2015: Penalty wise it is supposed to be a community so maybe you should have a lower draw number so you have less of a choice if you engage less in house issues.

    AT LARGE: Is there a penalty in place for not completing Alcohol Edu? Maybe make it the same penalty if it exists, giving people another option in case people want to stay at home over the break.

    PRESIDENT: Motivations for doing something is a friendlier way to look at it, having more fun parts would be effective. I just watched an episode of Parks and Rec, you laugh but I learn a lot from that show…I think bringing youth together might be cool—getting freshman together would be helpful, like a focus group. I’m a proponent of chocolate fountains wherever someone is at any given time, but I understand that’s not feasible.

    STUDENT LIFE: Orientation Committee has one last meeting, only thing changed was giving more time for lunch. I would encourage more than just reps there to push it a little; they are more likely to listen if it’s coming from more people, it would help earlier in the year, they have asked VSA to plan fun events. so it could be a good way to introduce more social component when only times to be social are when people are falling asleep.

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: After going through orientation thrice, it seems like the only thing that drives orientation is the novelty of space, because you don’t know anyone, so you try to find something. My main concern is to rethink the ResLife model and house team section on this chart—have there been conversations about any proposed changes, do you have a sense of current ResLife situation?

    DUNBAR: I would love to know which parts—what it is that’s broken—that students are displeased with?

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: I think there’s a strong relation between physical appearance with the space and what happens in interior, the relation to students’ understanding of space relates to underfunding of B&G and their ability to respond to damages, if there’s already broken things you don’t have to respect the interior. The physical space initiates your understanding of your relationship to the house and your relationship to the students. Each house has its own culture and some of those ideas begin with space, though that’s not necessarily problematic.

    AT LARGE: It would be interesting to have a discussion of how to share personal space with someone. As someone who switched roommates, it was hard to talk to someone when my roommate didn’t want to. More realistically what does compromise look like. Some things don’t come up until they come up especially when you come from different backgrounds.

    DUNBAR: So training of student fellows or new students?

    AT LARGE: Perhaps more involved with the roommate contract.

    PRESIDENT: Lots of issues come up with senior housing, so some sort of that repeated before senior housing, like a panel of other students presenting successful ways they have navigated delegating chores and having house meetings. Something that shows good examples of people before you. Some popele talk to friends others, don’t know what to expect.

    JOSS: In terms of ResLife, it would be beneficial if ResLife was more responsive and respective of people’s genders in terms of who people can room with.

    AT LARGE—JOSHUA SHERMAN ’15: There’s no system of mutual communication, it’s one way communication. If I have concerns and I want to talk to ResLife and it’s put into structure. There’s no ticket system where I’m responded to in an orderly fashion, there’s no way for me to track my issues, no sense of me talking to human beings, whether it’s personal or housing. I also have some issues of honesty with ResLife—this hasn’t been clear, if there was more honesty in terms of resources or budgets it would be better. Honestly about why certain things aren’t done.

    2015: After this semester, where is you future?

    DUNBAR:The future lies in my past, I’m going back to Associate Dean of Faculty. I love teaching and my own research, so I always tell people that the worst thing that could happen to me as a tenured professor is that I have to go back to the English Department and teach the classes I love, read the books I love and write about it. And I’m happy with that.

    FINANCE: There’s been pressure from Campus Activities to have house teams do programming, house team does double duties. I think the strong part of Vassar is that programming is student led. We don’t need to rely on house teams.

    PRESIDENT: Student orgs have missions to do these events and houses might not want to do that, so in some ways it’s like houses are taking away their agency.

    FINANCE: There is value in letting house team focus on the dorm.

    7:53 // Regular Reports and Constituent Concerns

    SCIA: We’re hoping to foster dialogue around class issues to accommodate diversity of socioeconomic backgrounds. We’re hoping to make textbooks and course materials more accessible, our proposed solutions surround getting course material to students earlier and we’re hoping that faculty can develop an internal policy so that students can find cheaper options, the info isn’t as public as it could be, and this puts students in a bind, so that they feel an obligation to buy course materials, whether materials are required or optional, if you’ll actually need the textbooks, if you need the edition listed, we saw progress in our meetings with the Acting Dean of Faculty.

    ACADEMICS: The point of the letter is just to say that the student body supports this, not just for small selection of students, sense of accountability with faculty.

    PRESIDENT: We meet with all these people on a regular basis and have talked about it, but seeing it in writing will have benefits, we haven’t been ignoring this.

    FINANCE: Can I motion to approve this letter.


    7:57 // Student Life Reports

    STUDENT LIFE: The Gender Neutral Bathroom Forum was on Wednesday. The turnout was acceptable but would have been nice to see faculty and staff; students gave helpful feedback, and we’re going to be regrouping to talk about student input. Tomorrow as a small group we’re working on getting student exec positions paid. The proposal was pushed before but then died over the summer. It’s now circulating as widely as possible. Cappy requested to write the letter, what makes it different from heads of other orgs.

    TAs: What are the barriers keeping us from implementing gender neutral bathrooms?

    STUDENT LIFE: There are issues with putting it in every building—some needed to be renovated. There are issues over whether you have to take out urinals, under building codes. Students aren’t worried about using a urinal, but we have to keep in mind that this pushback is coming from staff and faculty who aren’t used to this, because of a lack of education, which we’re working on. So we’re explaining why it’s a basic need and why we need to have option for everybody. We’re not taking gender bathrooms away.

    JEWETT: Is there going to be a decision made before this year in regard to exec positions getting paid?

    STUDENT LIFE: I’m trying to push it through this week, ideally it would be pushed through before filing but we can’t help that.

    NOYES: Does this apply only to student on work-study jobs?

    STUDENT LIFE: The intent is not to make exec positions paid, but to make students who would otherwise be spending hours working. It’s not a conflict of interest because I can’t do my job when I have commitment elsewhere; making it work-study eligible so that people working have the choice to be paid, and it will be a choice.

    PRESIDENT: And some people may choose to keep their work-study jobs. For example, I would keep working at the art museum, it’s my happy place.

    STUDENT LIFE: I sit on SAVP committee, student committee is video project to make reporting process more transparent. The filming/production phase gives people the chance to see more about what they would enter into in reporting process, there is room on subcommittee. 2016 reached out to me on a budget project, and a security investigation project. We’re trying to address racial profiling incidents and figure out what the issues are. We encourage students to go on security website to report problems. Lastly, I’ve been talking to centers about better representing them.

    8:08 // Academics Reports

    ACADEMICS: We’re done with most interviews for student seminars, people are teaching interesting things. CEQ’s course evaluations are new, there’s a new design/pilot. We’re looking for a focus groups to take SCE, a new way to evaluate courses and professors. Finally we have a timeline for the 24-hour room. It will be open always after spring break, and a newsletter will happen.

    8:10 // Constituents Reports (as a concept)

    PRESIDENT: I got emails from feedback for Late Night at the Deece. It’s been overwhelmingly positive. There have been some concerns from student employers about being understaffed, and hopefully that will be remedied in future. This weekend was the Board of Trustees weekend: I stressed that we want more Metcalf counselors and we talked about bookstore moving; they approved the budget and will be moving bookstore into juliet. They’re breaking ground monday. We talked about how we assess learning and online learning in the future.

    JEWETT: I saw something about B&G clearing paths, is there a way to talk to someone about that? Workers are going out of their way, why are they being penalized?

    PRESIDENT: There are some Union issues with regard to what they can and cannot do. I can bring in Bob Walton to adress these issues in the future.

    DAVISON: Last week during the blackout, Davison was vandalized. Somebody was writing their name, or alias, on the Quad-side entrance. We reported it to security. It’s still there, nothing’s changed. Also, early this semester, one of my student fellows was followed into Davision by two men she said were not from Vassar. There’s an issue with our back door, it doesn’t lock properly. We reported it again, and nothing changed at all. I don’t know if it’s an issue with B&G or the ROC, but this has been the second time this year where my house doesn’t feel comfortable. We have tried to get in contact with so many people.

    STUDENT LIFE: I’m sensing this more overwhelming sentiment. I’m a little troubled by the fact that the College doesn’t see students as a priority. With the snow: nothing for pathways, and things like that.

    PRESIDENT: I think it sounds like a ROC issue. Typically the secretary is supposed to be the liaison between the ROC and the House. Perhaps you can put pressure on the team or the advisor to contact the Roc.

    AT LARGE: There are multiple things in my room that are’t functioning like they should. I put the ticket through. Generally there are a lot of things the ROC is not getting to.

    MAIN: Something that my house wants to know about more—what’s going on with the student space. Small side at the Deece is now Late Night, and we’re confused about what the purpose of Late Night at the Deece?

    PRESIDENT: The purpose was a response to the student space reports. Students wanted a space they could go that wasn’t just a dance party space, but somewhere they could hang out and have food option. There’s a committee meeting to address these concerns. I think there’s a whole team of people looking at what are student needs, and how we can delegate them around campus.

    SoCos: There have been 5 candidates for the 2 new Metcalf permanent positions.

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: B&G is understaffed, so I do want us to be careful about expressing these concerns while being aware of this problem. For example, there are only 2 painters that are required to cover the entire campus.

    STUDENT LIFE: I’m talking about from an administration level. I’m not demonizing B&G.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for sharing, if there are additional things, feel free to email me.

    8:24 // Joint Committee Reps Amendment

    2014: This amendment tightens up how many people we need on those committees in respect to ours, and builds a little more oversight on those joint committees.

    PRESIDENT: Just, I think one of my concerns is that I think even though the reporting changes. That doesn’t necessarily make it a priority for the VPs. I think there needs to be more language in our policies for each of our committees to address the problems within the committees. For instance, a couple of these are going to relate to the Student Life committee, so maybe Student Life should create policies. Another concern was if there are too many people sitting on the committee, maybe it would be beneficial to say “serve as” instead of “sit on.”

    OPERATIONS: It’s talk about at the discretion primarily for the purpose of it’s more than a policy. It’s part of their job description, and people should be aware of that.

    PRESIDENT: I’m worried about the VP perspective.

    OPERATION: I agree. This has to be followed up with policy changes. It fixes a different problem.


    8:30 // Board of Elections and Appointments Amendment

    OPERATIONS: There’s a disconnect between the people who should be in charge of elections and appointments and the process going on in Operations. This remedies that by taking the Board of Elections and making it more independent. It would have elected members which would be a good way of keeping a distance between having VSA people picking our own. The biggest concern brought up last week was the idea of rank ordering candidates. That language has been rewritten. The policy will be that the BoE presents their recommendations at the Council meeting. It will be a Consent Agenda item, but not on the finance consent agenda. BoE will provide an explanation for why. Copies of the application will still be made available with the Council Agenda; this will be at the discretion for the VP of Operations. The follow-up process: if the VSA Council consents, we decided.

    TAs: Can you explain who serves on this Council, and can you explain the role of VP of operations?

    OPERATIONS: The VP serves a supervisory role. A second Co -hair elected member at large will be responsible for this committee, and 2 members from each class will sit on it. 2 members of VSA Council will sit and rotate based on type of appointment.

    2015: The reason it was supposed to be a senior on Council, because a senior can’t run for another position. But typically VP of Operations runs for another position. I think that needs to be revisited before we can vote on it.

    OPERATIONS: That has been addressed. It is typically written that if you have a conflict of interest, you will not be allowed to run in that election. It will be a fairly large committee, and policies will be laid out.

    2015: It will also diminish the number of people responding to candidate statements online.

    PRESIDENT: I like that this is consented to rather than voting. Our official documents don’t say that Finance agenda is on the consent agenda, those are on our special meeting rules.

    OPERATIONS: I think we would still have a clear enough policy. So, I motion to amend the amendment concerning the BoE appointments, to strike section 14, subpoint B, subsections 1-50.

    PRESIDENT: It wouldn’t get rid of it, it would just be moving it to special meeting rules.

    2015: Can we table it until after Spring break?

    OPERATIONS: Because it involved electing 7 new people, publicity is a major problem. I would like to see us do it earlier rather than later. If there are small changes we can amend on the floor, I don’t see why we can’t get this done now.


    8:40 // Vacancies Amendment

    2017 PROXY: Basically it’s laying out the procedure we already fallow but technically weren’t allowed to.

    STRONG: I move to call this to question.


    8:41 // STUDENT LIFE Amendment

    STUDENT LIFE: This amendment seeks to making the position less vague by including an obligation to represent Campus Life and Diversity and all related centers, and all issues of campus climate.

    FINANCE: I wanted to suspend the bylaws.

    OPERATION: I don’t want to set the precedent of suspending bylaws.

    TOWN HOUSES PROXY: My question refers to section 2, part b, could you speak to how it typically acts as a resource?

    STUDENT LIFE: We have to battle house advisors for attention, not a common part of job description but not something that would add or take anything away.


    PRESIDENT: FINANCE requested that we suspend the bylaw saying we wait a week.

    DAVISON: We talked about restructuring the representation issue. I don’t know how much of an issue that could be, or is, or would be, that’s just something.

    STUDENT LIFE: I agree. We can’t stop anybody from getting the position. I agree that there are certain people who can represent these Centers better than people.

    PRESIDENT: I think we’re going to have to trust that somebody running for this position is committed to these issues. And when we say represent we don’t mean somebody who is physically diverse and special.

    STUDENT LIFE: I just want to make it clear that if you aren’t socially conscious, you shouldn’t be running for this job.

    SOCOS: Purpose is to make people aware if we don’t vote now will it be before filing ends?

    OPERATIONS: It would happen before filing begins.

    NOYES: This should be better advertised.

    OPERATIONS: This is the job of the position, so when we publicize the position it will be there.

    PRESIDENT: Motion on table is to suspend the bylaw so we can vote on it today.



    2014: Three weeks to prior to filing, we have to release a publicity plan. President will send out blurbs and all campus emails in dorm campaigning events to tell people about positions debate among exec board email at beginning and middle of voting period Wednesday April 9 UpC.

    STUDENT LIFE: The set up is good, but the space isn’t working well.

    2017 proxy: We could make the presenter more comfortable letting them sit at tables.

    ROYAL: It wouldn’t be the best idea to have a meeting in a dorm, students might not want to have VSA there on a Sunday night.

    STRONG: If you have comments take them to your committees. A subcommittee of activities met to talk about incident several weeks ago, we want to encourage SJP to continue as a pre-org.

    2015: Vassar has really bad rumor issues.

    TH PROXY: With respect to larger discussion about Metcalf we should have conversations with Reslife to talk to student leaders about how students are being deferred. This depends on the nature of the issue and how the space is contextualized.

    9:00//meeting adjourned

  • Chris Gonzalez 12:04 am on February 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—23 February 2014 

    Hey, everyone, we’re off to a late start today, but things should get going shortly. In the meantime, hope everyone’s Sunday is going well and that the Blackout didn’t ruin your Saturdays.

    7:05 // Call to Order
    Attendance ……………Operations
    Proxies: Davison, Jewett.

    7:07 //
    Consent Agenda

    a. Business Club (Disc).………………..;………………………………………….($90/

    b. Slow Foods

    c. Misc (Capital)…………..…………………………………………..($114.3/$114.3)

    d. Operation Donation (Collab)..……………..…………….….…………($650/

    e. VCTV (Disc; Capital)………………………………($600/$600; $3359.04/

    f. VARC (Speakers)

    g. Minutes from 2/16/14


    7:08 // Forum on IME ….Professor Rebecca Edwards

    EDWARDS: I’m the chair of the committee, which is a sub committee of the committee on curricular policy. We’re exploring the possibility of introducing a requirement for an intensive mentored exploration. This would be in effect for the Class of 2019 or 2020. We can’t surprise current students. We would be thinking about this for a while; students might see more opportunities for intensive mentored work. And right now we’re looking for student feedback about pros and cons of such work, what challenges would we face. You might have heard of this before as a capstone initiative, and that means lots of things. At a big research university this would be something much different, so the word doesn’t fit what we’re thinking of; we’re looking at national studies and different practices and benefits. This would lead to an increased self confidence, skills in research and time management, enhanced capacity to think creatively and critically, improve oral skills—all these have been reported from studies, something to talk about with employers, something seniors have done becomes a centerpiece for their job search, and shows what they can do.

    (Issues with the powerpoint presentation arise)

    There are certain aspects that seem to contribute to these results: sustained contact with faculty, carving out your own topic in some fields, also increased engagement and intellectually capacity to demonstrate knowledge; aspects that support these results are structured revisions, engagement with diverse perspectives, frequent feedback, opportunities for real-world application and public presentation. The percentage of the Class of 2013 who pursue independent projects vary among ethnicities, 75% white students choose to do a senior project, there is a much smaller pool of African American, Asian American and Hispanic students—is this work getting to all the students? More men than women choose to do a project, too. We’re not seeking to add more to your full academic year but rather to reorient the senior year so everyone gets the opportunity. This would be 1 unit throughout senior year, and advising could take place between several departments though most would be through the major or .5 unit plus—such as JYA plus to reflect on cross-cultural experience, URSI plus using URSI project as jumping off point. There are more possibilities than we have currently. There is 4-5 year implementation period, now we’re try to develop and regularize IME offerings. We want to set up a campus-wide advisee assignment system so that by the end of junior year students would indicate areas in which they want to work so that multi-disciplinary departments would be on equal field. Faculty would begin banking faculty workload points which would contribute to teaching load so that it is recognized and assessed as part of teaching load. We want to plan for impact and identity funds and resources to support initiative-address impact on curriculum. This needs to be a collective development; we talked with the VSA academic affairs, and we’re planning on reaching out to majors committee. We would like to do questions and answers and also work in small groups so that we can hear from everyone. I brought sheets to give feedback and put in ideas, we’re trying to envision thinking more broadly about what kinds of intensive mentored work can be done such as field work with an added academic aspect. What needs to be done to make it work well? You’re in a good position to tell us how Vassar is or isn’t ready to implement this. What do we have? What don’t we have?

    PRESIDENT: You mentioned you need fundraising. I’m concerned because if there are already courses that are hard to get into, would the money go to getting more faculty?

    EDWARDS: One of the needs but not the only, we have a long list—staffing would have to be a piece of it, we’ve been soliciting input from departments and where it’s the most crunched, that’s where we’re looking at resources that could be put, some departments are receptive to the idea but are too crunched to do it.

    AT LARGE—MICHAEL NORTON ’14: My thought is that the methodology seems preemptive, does this consider barriers to academic areas that exist already? Inaccessibility is already established, but it seems a little late to consider this. I would like to see statistics across socio-economic divisions.

    EDWARDS: We want it too but we don’t have it. We want to adopt this as scaffolding, how does one prepare from the moment you arrive at Vassar? That’s why we’re looking at distribution requirements and the freshman writing seminar; this is an opening point because we as faculty haven’t had this discussion in a while, we don’t have any requirements beyond freshman year and the language and quantitative requirements, so this is coming at things from a different angle to help us think about how to go on from there.

    AT LARGE—JOSHUA SHERMAN ‘116: I have a question about accessibility, how is this concerning resources for grants that already exist and students who aren’t looking ahead?

    EDWARDS: Ideally students ought to be having mentored experiences sooner, like if you do work in biology there are things you should be doing early so we want to do this as well.

    2017: Are these classes geared to specific research or are they independent projects?

    EDWARDS: We don’t envision this as a classroom experience, but there are borderlines such as seminars that involve not meeting weekly but to work on paper and then do mini conference,so something like that we might want to strengthen it, some are more collaborative and some are more free-standing. Some involve summer research, but it depends on departments and programs and the major.

    2017: On average how many students would be assigned to faculty?

    EDWARDS: We would cap it at 6 points worth, there would be few exceptions, there may be lab contraints.

    RONSHEIM: We don’t know how diverse this would be, so we’re trying to get ideas of what you want, can’t do staffing until we get student perspectives; this is the beginning of a long conversation.

    7:31 // Council and At Large break up into smaller groups to discuss

    7:36 // Discussions end.

    PRESIDENT: Let’s go around, and everyone can say one thing they came up with in any one of the categories.

    FERRY: How does this affect Admissions?

    JEWETT: How would they be graded?

    TAs: Can we ask you how you grade thesis?

    EDWARDS: As you would expect, practices vary around campus. Sometimes they are graded, and sometimes not. Admissions feels it’s a positive thing.

    SOCOs: We were concerned how it would affect course availability. In some departments it’s already a struggle, so if faculty were hired we’d want to make sure departments that were understaffed would also be staffed.

    THs: If this increased accessibility, for low socioeconomic groups might be a good trade off for less classes.

    CUSHING: We were thinking of creative forms this could take—poetry or musical performances.

    EDWARDS: We’re talking about senior recitals for credit.

    FINANCE: We’re not all academics, and this is isolating and would further isolate those not interested.

    ACTIVITIES: Conforms to competitive ideals of thesis.

    PRESIDENT: Could you work in extra curricular activities like the Misc, i’m also concerned with data on different genders and races: does that break down by majors?

    EDWARDS: It’s hard to get at, but it varies a lot. I think 9 majors require it, some allow it for honors, which would not be our intent. It would need to be available for everyone.

    OPERATIONS: This could be a benefit. Students have another opportunity to form strong bonds with faculty and have a mentoring relationship for academics and professional stuff.

    STUDENT LIFE: Media is another form, curricular development for high schools and middle schools. Also, the curriculum at Vassar is very theory based, an this would be a great way to teach how to apply theory that you learn. It could affect job offers later, so this could be applying liberal arts education to the real world.

    ACADEMICS: I’ve talked to some majors committees, people wondered how it works to do it outside their major area, if departments offer it as way to get honors would they have to do something new to get honors.

    EDWARDS: Doing a senior project could no longer be criteria for honors, and it can be done to change but requires a lot of thinking.

    MAIN: Because this seems constructed between student and faculty how could things outside research be translated to IME.

    TOWN STUDENTS: On the one hand this is a great opportunity for collaboration, but I’m worried that it might be suffocating academic freedom.

    EDWARDS: There are colleges with intensive capstone and we didn’t want to go that way, this would most liley be cumulative work done senior year. It’s great to last as long as possible but also able to change throughout student’s career.

    NORTON: Do you have data on student body who have done ford or creative projects or other stuff that would be classified as IME, are we not just naming something that already happens and thus putting a drain on faculty? It seems weird to tax faculty and tax students.

    EDWARDS: Write us if more ideas come up, ideas would be extremely helpful,

    RONSHEIM: Any and all ideas are welcome.

    7:47 // Forum on Student Gift …..Student Gift Chairs (Michael Renner and Jessica Tarantine)

    RENNER: What the gift is: it’s a one time gift to student body that does not require funds from operating budget. The point is to be student led philanthropy, giving back to student body itself, and it’s much more about participation rather than physical gain. The goal is to get as much participation as possible rather than a certain amount of money; the gift is important because even students paying full are subsidized. Money is always taken from past and current gifts. It’s important for students to understand the process, important for alums to get behind student gift, and it can change what is happening on campus. We hope to show what students are interested in.

    TARANTINE: This year the gift is the internship grant fund that provides financial assistance to students in low- or un-paid internships. It helps to leverage the liberal arts degree so they can get employment after Vassar. This keeps with Vassar’s goals of accessibility. Normally each year $20-40,000 is given each year by CDO but half of students who apply get money. And this year it will be open to graduating seniors, so they can apply for internships, too.

    RENNER: We’re hoping that you see a gift that’s different from years past; we think the gift needs an overhaul in terms of advertising and branding—usually they send an appeals letter which is flat, so in the next few weeks expect postcards which will be fun thing to stick on the wall. We’re moving to a crowd funding site to keep track of gifts given, and we can connect to social media. We’re hoping for renewed social media presence. The more students see the gift they’ll be more inspired to give. We’re still doing the student-faculty basketball game in late march. There are surprises ahead, we’ll going door to door, and we hope giving will be much easier. Students can input credit card info on ipads, and we’re not accepting change this year because it’s hard to deal with these gifts on the backend. We’re asking for $1 min in bill form which we hope will not be a deterrent.

    TARANTINE: We would like you to be good student ambassadors for it, since it’s given by entire student body so please give. It doesn’t matter how much. Post on the Facebook wall after you give. This year we have new challenges—normally there is an alum donation, and this year we have 4, one 10,000, one 2500, one 1000, one 5000. The class that has highest participation, 10,000 will be credited to the class. Now it’s an all student gift so we can tabulate how much is given at each year, we have dorm challenges, we would love if you let constituencies that we’ll be coming door to door, let people know about it, we think it’s an important cause.

    OPERATIONS: I want to thank Renner for feeding Valerie (the VSA fish) over Thanksgiving break. She did not die.

    MAIN: How much did you fundraise in the past?

    RENNER: We’re not setting a monetary goal—senior year will traditionally give most, participation for each class will be different, sophomores will give less. Alumnae/i donations are concrete and it’s more of an embarrassment if you don’t reach the goal. We have to speak at commencement and it reflects poorly on the student body when they don’t give.

    TARANTINE: They usually give about $10,000 a year.

    RAYMOND: Do you have study breaks?

    TARANTINE: Yes, we do.

    RENNER: We’re open to any orgs who want us to explain the gift to students and provide food; we gave blurb for indecent exposure, we’re doing the limit show, we’re trying to integrate into everything that happens on campus.

    2015: It might be worth noting that not everyone can give, so keep that in mind.

    RENNER: That’s why our goals are not monetary because we know some students can’t give much, or at all, and that is understandable. Maybe some students can give small amount. Instead of buying a coke that day, give to the gift.

    2015: I need my caffeine.

    JEWETT: Maybe there can be a student gift dinner or talent show where students perform and students can give right after.

    RENNER: That’s what the student faculty game has been because ticket sales go right to contribution. We’re exploring new ideas. We are working with the Development Office to get a better gift moving forward.

    SHERMAN: The goal is participation, so have you looked into ways that people can give time or 5k’s?

    TARANTINE: In terms of volunteering, we would welcome going door to door or tabling.

    RENNER: We appreciate ideas but the unfortunate reality is that a gift to the college is almost always monetary, which is going to follow you after you graduate. The student gift is preparing students to being a part of that philanthropy. We want to educate students to be critical of why they’re giving.

    PRESIDENT: Nobody will hold you accountable if you are unable to give to the student gift. You can still post on Facebook, call it ‘slacktivism’ if you want, but it does make a difference.

    RENNER: If you haven’t received money from IGF you probably know someone who has, it’s important that the gift can be bigger to help people.

    SoCos: Be aware of crowdfunding because some display how much you give, and considering the discussion of sensitivity make sure there’s no pressure.

    RENNER: Our pages show how much you give but that will be taken down probably.

    MAIN: Is it inappropriate for orgs to contribute?

    FINANCE: Yes.

    TAs: Can you explain how financial aid is factored into the Internship Grant Fund?

    RENNER: When you apply to the IGF, you release financial aid records. The fund is need based, and once that need is fulfilled they will continue funding students who don’t demonstrate need. Rules with endowment in terms of percentage given each year.

    8:10 // Executive Board Reports …..PRESIDENT

    PRESIDENT: Late Night at the Deece has been a thing; it’s in its 3rd weekend. Please send feedback, the only complaint is that people want to use meal swipes which we can institute when it’s not in trial period. I’m on the Committee for Search Admissions and Financial Aid, and that just started up. I’ve gotten concerns about how slippery it is—I’m on it—we’ve talked to Bob (Walton) and there is a limit on unions. We’re looking at getting shovels to students and making sidewalks a priority. Cappy and Bob have responded to student labor dialogue; we’re trying to make open dialogue a continual thing. The goal is to have the bookstore moved out over the summer and moved into Juliet’s with the Apple Store and a burger place—it’s a public space to have meeting, bookstore will be run by independent co-op. It might make for cheaper textbooks. We’re looking at better utilizing the College Center—student space is a priority. The board meeting this weekend, next Sunday Eve Dunbar will come in to talk about campus climate. The Campaign—the school asks alumnae/i for money in conjunction with Mind the Gap Day; it’s a 30-hour challenge to get 500 people to participate, we got 1200 and raised $150,000, want us to encourage us to do small participation throughout the year.

    I had a really great dialogue with Stacy from the CDO. Anytime you meet an alum, ask if they’re hiring because sometimes they are.

    2015: If we could go to the bathroom on the first floor, so much more convenient because three flights of stairs isn’t worth it.

    AT LARGE: Could you expand on how the textbooks would be cheaper?

    PRESIDENT: Barnes and Noble can do stuff as a company and the plan is to get rid of Barnes and Noble.

    2016: Did you find out if the two people hired for Metcalf are new or are they replacing two people?

    PRESIDENT: They are essentially replacing two people.

    2016: So nothing’s changing.

    PRESIDENT: Not yet, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.

    FINANCE: They are looking into what is the role of the Bookstore. Make it about what students need.

    SOCOS: One concern is that if we lose Barnes and Noble we will lose the online function where you can find all your textbooks.

    ACADEMICS: The bookstore would be more like a place to find cheaper books, and it might be able to keep that technology since it’s on Vassar’s server.

    RAYMOND: Will the bookstore take Vcash?

    PRESIDENT: Probably.

    DAVISON: Will they reinstate using student accounts to pay for books?

    PRESIDENT: It wasn’t mentioned, but I will bring it up.

    8:22 // Executive Board reports…. OPERATIONS

    OPERATIONS: The amendment about restructuring has been source of conversation; last week we talked in various committees (Board of Elections, Activities, Operations), talk to Activities, Raymond, and Cushing and Student Life. We’ve reached a Tasty Tuesday solution. Hills and Marks that provides compostable containers will offer bulk at 10% discount to all Tasty Tuesday vendors. Some are more optimistic than others, and it will be written into the contract next year. Once we do this we can set up compost bins around College Center to eliminate contamination. We’re making bulletin boards downstairs more useful with all contact info for contact info and advertisements/posters. We’re talking about the information campaign—co-opt another area to put up folders with info, and ideas about resources that should be made accessible should be mentioned with a sheet of facts and numbers. Also, Facebook and Twitter should become more active in the future.

    AT LARGE: Will there be more vegan vendors?

    OPERATIONS: There’s a woman from a vegan restaurant who’s interested, and if she gets her paper work in she should be there next Tuesday.

    8:26 // Motion to take 5 minute break


    8:34 // Council Reconvenes

    OPERATIONS: I’ve been working with Evan Seltzer ’14 to change the definition of academic misconduct and plagiarism; there is reason to what is a little wrong from what is very wrong, and the judicial board can’t punish people for something that is small. This will be voted on next week then passed on to Joanne Long. Example: People working together on homework when they shouldn’t is not considered plagiarism, but they did something that is academically dishonest, so they should be punished.

    AT LARGE—CHRIS BROWN ’16: Speaking as a Jud. Board rep, the definition is broad and there is chronological list of punishments, we were trying to come up with more fluid form of punishment to be more fair.

    2015: It has something to do with derogatory marks on transcripts, why does DB oppose it?

    JEWETT: Isn’t doing group work still cheating?

    ACADEMICS: What is the faculty viewpoint on this?

    OPERATIONS: At this point it’s Jud. Board proposed, and supported by their advisor, Kelly Grab and DB Brown.

    8:39 // Preliminary Org Budget Amendment ….Activities

    ACTIVITIES: Currently, no preorgs should have budget numbers, some preorgs that need numbers to put money into account or have money from an outside source; amendment says it’s at the discretion of Finance.

    JEWETT: So they get a budget number?

    PRESIDENT: It’s at the discretion of finance to decide rather than assuming they cannot.

    FINANCE: Some orgs revolve around raising money so we might as well put it with VSA, doesn’t change how much they get.


    8:42 // Board of Elections and Appointments Amendment ….Operations

    PRESIDENT: Operations is gone, would anyone like to speak to the Board of Elections and Appointments Amendment?

    CUSHING: We spend a lot of time doing appointments and it’s a drain on energy and time. It would be reasonable for the Board of Elections to do it, it gives the responsibility to them.

    2016: Restructure board to include more reps from at large student body and members of council, similar to judicial board. Oustide people appoint vacant positions, if position that’s vacant is member of house team is not great rep the two people will be house president. If the person is class rep it will be class rep and president, if other like VP, secretary other House Team stuff it will be two House Team presidents.

    TA’s: The problem with ranking positions by important—it’s publicly ostracizing, like an amendment that didn’t pass.

    PRESIDENT: We can change that part in Operations committee.

    FINANCE: Did Ops discuss using consent agenda to approve appointments so as not to vote on every single appointment?

    2016: We talked bout how it would be approved, some opposed to consent agenda because people would not be treated as points, I advocated for it not to come to council at all, it should be separate, not a consensus in the committee.

    AT LARGE: We went back and forth between whether it should be interviews or coming to council at all.

    2014: Now that we’re expanding Board of Elections possibly, members who served could not in future elections.

    NOYES: How does this work for TAs?

    OPERATIONS: Two senior housing presidents.

    RAYMOND: We talked about how council has appeal for who is or isn’t appointed, gives more of a say to Ops.

    PRESIDENT: Ops will review and we can vote next week.

    8:48 // Vacant Positions Amendment ….Operations

    NICHOLS: Purpose is due to a strict reading of constitution because we don’t have the power to replace people who have resigned or left, it only deals with positions that were never filled. This expands on circumstances in which vacancies actually occur, must be declared and publicized as vacant, if the Board appointment does not agree on a candidate and House Team or Class council is fine. The Board can close the position until next election, VP executes position but only the duties until appointment.

    FINANCE: If we can’t fill position should we talk about why it exists?

    OPERATIONS: We say that positions can be not filled if we’re having trouble, but there aren’t many positions that don’t get filled ever, if there are positions consistently unfilled that’s a problem.

    PRESIDENT: We will vote next week.

    8:53 // Joint Committees Amendment …..Operations

    RAYMOND: Not finished, haven’t talked in Ops, but the purpose is to make joint-committee reps more accountable, stipulate that joint-committee reps will sit on appropriate standing VSA committees to give us better understanding of what they do.

    OPERATIONS: CLRG is open to all students.

    2016: Sort of did this is class council, ask each grade rep to sit on class council.

    STUDENT LIFE: I fear too much influence of VP.

    PRESIDENT: Better that it’s vague, allows for more delegation.

    OPERATIONS: Grading reps is a good idea, would be good to work it in and make it official.

    TAs: Do all these members hinder its efficiency?

    OPERATIONS: Makes it more open for members, can come when they want to.

    PRESIDENT: They could sit on a sub-committee.

    RAYMOND: All of joint-committees fall under ops so this spreads them out.

    PRESIDENT: We’ll vote on it next week.

    8:58 // Resolution on VSA Restructuring ….Operations

    OPERATIONS: This would be a good time to revisit the conversation, I can give logistical answers.

    TA’s: Which committees are you supposed to sit on, does there need to be complete revision?

    FINANCE: I can send proxy to SARC

    Activities: Campus Activities and SARC

    PRESIDENT: Student rep to Board of Trustees, finance and planning.

    OPERATIONS: Alum Directors, finance and planning.

    STUDENT LIFE: CCL, DEC (drug education), SAVP (sexual assault prevention), CIE (inclusion and excellence), BIRT, Orientation; also ALANA Center and LGBTQ.

    PRESIDENT: A lot is just that we have VSA reps, just has to be a student to make sure someone does,

    ACADEMICS: Curricular policy, capstone committee, library com, CCP, grade inflation.

    PRESIDENT: We have admin reps to talk and also talk as an exec board, don’t have to be done we just can’t delegate.

    2015: I’m not sure it’s possible to get this through before elections, what’s still on the table.

    OPERATIONS: A referendum before spring elections isn’t possible, because we need signed petition with 330 signatures of language that will be voted on, then submitted to BoE, that goes to CIS who would like a 2 week window to set up elections. This would put pressure on them. We wouldn’t be able to do a referendum until spring break and we wouldn’t have results until elections. The alternative is that we could support as council and vote on it as amendment, voted on at any time; there have been suggestions about how it can be adopted, there is period of both old and new council with joint meeting to pass annual budgeting; we can also vote on changes then which would allow new council to vote at that time rather than us giving it to them;new positions for fall or spring elections, fall exclude freshmen, job description changed very late.

    CUSHING: We’ve had lots of conversations and the consensus is that it’s not possible to do referendum, it is an internal change which affects VSA, student forums we got some feedback, most are in favor, if no referendum there are other ways to gauge student interest—more forums, do through houses, send survey, would like to consider this feasible, could make things a lot easier.

    RAYMOND: Are people confortable with a poll for constituencies? We talked in Student Life about calling it college resources not just campus, might be hard for college resources to find its identity, make it a committee with two chairs, which could meet jointly at discretion of VPs, changed wording for VP so as to not exclude straight white males, to quote 2015.

    JEWETT: When are elections over?

    PRESIDENT: April 16 will be the end

    JEWETT: What does CIS have to do?

    Ops: CIS puts in names of candidates and determine which elections are occuring and making constiuencies able to vote so that everyone has access to correct elections

    PRESIDENT: We have all the positions available before spring break.

    OPERATIONS: We have to pass this amendment this week. We intend to vote tomorrow night.

    JEWETT: Can I call it into question to vote on it tonight?

    PRESIDENT: Yes you can.

    CUSHING: We want to vote next week is that ok?

    PRESIDENT: yes especially with proxies.

    OPERATIONS: We could vote next week.

    2016: I would like to commend efforts of those who worked on it. I think our VSA structure is top heavy and work is not done by y=us. We are supposed to do work on our own that we are not a part of especially with student governance. For example Danny’s workload seems absurd, as does Stephanie’s. But by making 2 more VP’s we’re splitting work among VP’s rather than bringing the work to us. Consider using a senate structure before moving forward. It is really an internal change and we are most knowledgable about it, but this needs to be brought to the students. I feel strongly that we need a referendum. If 15% VSA objects, which is 120 people, it has to go to referendum. I feel more students would want to be involved with making structural changes. It’s outside of our authority to make these changes. If students won’t respond to a referendum we are failing in our positions. i admire hard work and the urgency of it. It needs to be done in the appropriate way. There are over 2000 students at this school and we need to give them the chance.

    AT LARGE: Who is this for? It seems to be motivated by internal desire rather than external motivator. Uses rather vague language that privileges people worth access to these positions. Given the last of institutional memory in VSA at large and diluting spaces in which these discussions occur I feel as an outsider that this seems ti be reating more beuracracy.

    PRESIDENT: Motion to extend 20 minutes.

    Jewett, Ferry, Finance 2017 oppose, motion passes.

    PRESIDENT: I usually don’t take an opinion, I apologize if I offend anyone. I’m glad you’ve reached out to some people, but I don’t think this is universally supported. I looked through Misc archives to see that since 1979 we have discussed restructuring. Current structure is 7 years old, Student Life position was added at that time. Problem with institutional memory is that nobody does the research to see what has been done before, but we as a council should be delegating more. These committees can be effective when we try. We could support those groups rather than doing the same thing differently. People are listening to us, based on the amendments we have made, such as NY Times and gender neutral bathrooms. This takes time, nothing is immediate. We have to step up; adding new positions will create more of a divide between those who want to make changes and those who haven’t voiced their opinions. You can write your own letter. Brainstorm other committees. Adding new positions will not make this better on its own. Ask each committee to reflect at the end of the year. VSA is inaccessible because we are not reaching out. If you’re upset put the blame on me and this group. We have wasted 30 years when we could have been working on tougher issues. Reflect on your own actions before adding new positions.

    NOYES: Can we vote for parts of this separately?

    OPERATIONS: You would have to make 2 separate amendments.

    TOWN HOUSES: As much as we want student opinions, students don’t care.

    AT LARGE: As someone who doesn’t care, the VSA seems inaccessible because of issues of transparency which cannot be solved by creating new positions with jargon and vague language. I don’t have the answers but from outsider perspective all you do is talk about yourselves. It feels like you don’t care about what students want. It comes from introspection, the internal and external dialogues need to happen. This isn’t what I need to access you.

    CUSHING: Thank you for your input, this is the conversation I’ve wanted to have since training. Finally something I said has been heard even if this legislation is just an idea. I want to continue to talk about this.

    STUDENT LIFE: Glad to be having this conversation. I’m glad you’re here as an at large member because I understand the lack of student caring, which should be conveyed. SO few students have voiced this, because we hear ourselves talk all the time. My position is to serve as diversity why have so few white men served in my position? I’m concerned about this in the future. I feel uncomfortable for the future.

    2017: Looking forward what steps are we taking to fix the workload if we’re not going with this?

    PRESIDENT: There are certain committees that make sense to have VP’s sit on, as long as you’re reporting back it doesn’t have to be the VP. Each committee should talk about what they do because an amendment doesn’t make the successor do it.

    2015: VP’s don’t have to do all the work, they should give the work to others. I call this into question.

    PRESIDENT: We are voting to vote on the amendment.

    2015 jewett Main 2017 TH Ferry vote to vote on it. Motion fails.

    OPERATIONS: We need to stop writing documents, we need to reach out to constituents. Student government isn’t supposed to just talk to itself, we’ve lost sight of what it is that we do. It’s something that we can all do because we talk to people on a daily basis.

    2016: Move to table this amendment.

    NOYES: Can we divide this before?

    PRESIDENT: Operations can divide this in their meeting.

    2015 and Noyes oppose, the motion passes.

    9:39//Resolution on restructuring

    RAYMOND: I motion to move this to next week to work on it more.

    2015: We should have voted on the amendment and talked about the resolution more.

    OPERATIONS: At no point does tabling mean we have to vote on it. We just seem to have killed it. This resolution is us talking about ourselves but then not.

    FINANCE: I just never want to see it again.

    Motion to table: 2015 opposes, the motion passes.

    9:41//Open discussion

    2014: It took me 17 minutes to eat a pizza I could have 7766 pizzas before graduation.

    ACADEMICS: Thanks to TA’s for being a great rep on IME committee. Please encourage people to apply for student seminars.

    JEWETT: Last week we talked about moving our location, what happened?

    PRESIDENT: We’re doing it in UpC next week.

    FINANCE: We are missing Mac chargers.

    2017: All College Day went well.

    2016: Sorry Jewett that your event didin’t happen, it should be paid for by VSA in the future. We spent too much time looking in ourselves but I still commend the people who have tried to restructure because if the system is broken we need to look how to be more efficient. I would triple the staff at Metcalf if I were President of Vassar for a day. I’m meeting with Cappy to press that issue. We don’t need to just sit in this council, we can talk to administrators.

    TOWNHOUSES: The dialogue from the outside needs to keep happening.

    OPERATIONS: A lot of external stuff is for every VP, please come to Operations because this is our responsibility.

  • Chris Gonzalez 12:01 am on February 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—16 February 2014 

    Happy Sunday, everyone. We should be starting in a bit. The Council members are still getting situated.

    7:02// Call to Order
    Attendance ……………PRESIDENT


    7:06 // Consent Agenda

    1. ASA – Discretionary….. $400
    2. Minutes from 2/9/14


    7:09 // Forum with Ed Pittman, Director of Campus Life and Diversity

    PITTMAN: First I’d like to say thank you for inviting me tonight, and thank you for co=sponsoring Janet Mock for All College Day. I coordinate with the Vassar first-year program. I try to bring sense of community and bring diverse perspectives. I also help with spring orientation, work with other offices to do the first-year program, collaborative initiative. The office I oversee is the ALANA center and international services and LGBTQ and Women’s center, Religious and Spiritual Life: these four areas encompass a range of diversity and inclusion that affects all students on campus, not just those communities but what we do to bring others to see that community and be part of discussion, encourage discussion to have a more inclusive campus. Our work is never done because new students are coming each year and we want to have a campus where every student feels affirmed and like they have a say. A lot of the work comes from crises and our responses. I am coordinator of the crisis response team; VP of Student Life sits on that group when meeting is required—only when seen as a threat to individual or campus. Example: All College Day as sustained initiative that came from students after racial incident in 2000 using n-word at comedy sketch. Students wanted to sustain conversation not just respond to events of January 2001 with committee to bring together campus not solely when incident happens. We plan 4-5 conversation dinners each year around topic generated by students and faculty. All College Day has history, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It’s not reactionary, throughout the year we plan dialogues. Alejandro McGee ’16 is out intern and works to include students voices; student energy is so crucial to that dialogue and we want to build that more, and we hope All College Day gives us the impetus to do that. Sessions beginning at 1 and closing dialogue in College Center, how does that dialogue touch upon all students at Vassar? Sometimes people think that when you’re white and straight diversity doesn’t fit into that discussion, and our goal is to make sure everyone on campus sees it and talks about it. We talk a lot about intersectionality, not just working on one community but seeing where they intersect.

    STUDENT LIFE: The last event of All College Day is the informational Gender Neutral Bathroom forum in Rocky 300 at 5:30 p.m. I just want to say that I’m not an expert on trans politics, but I’m here to get info out and represent the VSA. I just wanted to acknowledge my privilege on speaking about this as a cisgender male.

    TAs: Are there talks about having a Students’ Class Issue Center?

    PITTMAN: I’m not aware of any specific ideas. The Students’ Class Alliance has talked to some admins. Transitions works with race but I’m not aware of any specific proposal.

    PRESIDENT: I was wondering if you could speak to the other successful things you’ve seen students do in response to bias incidents? Anything we can do better?

    PITTMAN: I think the active student voice ready to take ownership on campus climate is good—any time students come together with one voice and collaborate with administration is good; challenge each other not just from students, because biases can happen from off campus. But the voice of students is critical in how we respond, students rep is good; we talk a lot about education on campus, but it has to be intentional, either through organizations or houses or classes that contribute to dialogue.

    PRESIDENT: Can you give us an update on the status of the Privilege Campaign started last semester?

    PITTMAN: We are going to do lots of planning this semester and launch it in the fall. We talked to Luis Inoa and wanted to take time to plan it and connect it to other projects like the new student orientation, social justice dialogues and spring orientation; we want to look at connected pieces.

    SOCOs: Is this the first year that BIRT has been around in the form that it’s in?

    PITTMAN: No, this year we wanted to make it visible. It has been there for 5 years, and we’re looking at how it functions. Visibility is important, and we want to look at how to make the website interactive.

    RAYMOND: Is the Dialogue Center out of your office?

    PITTMAN: No, it’s out of the Education Office/Department, like pedagogy of difference classes, comes out of that: we have the social justice inclusion fund thanks to the Westboro event, funded dialogue center to get space in Jewett, it’s one more vehicle through which dialogue takes place. Now there are multiple venues which is great, it needs to happen in more spaces. Hope you all come to All College Day.

    7:24 // Activities Report

    ACTIVITIES: We had the activities fair yesterday and it was successful: 100 orgs were there. Two weeks ago the leadership conference was fairly successful. 400 orgs there including preorgs, overall this semester 12 preliminary orgs approved. Founder’s day co-chairs have been selected. If you are interested please contact us. TGIV (Thank Goodness It’s Vassar) is coming up, if you or your org would be interested email me your org concerns and statements ahead of time.

    2017: I went to ALANA center leadership conference and some orgs said they weren’t invited.

    ACTIVITIES: Not true. Any org under the ALANA center has a contact, and they were sent an email.

    7:27 // Finance Reports

    FINANCE: We’ve busy this week, next week will suck. We’re working on annual budgeting timeline, plant the seed in people’s minds; working on structure, now working on language. It’s similar to last year’s, come to me with questions; fund levels are more or less the same as ast time we talked about them, but the bylaws tell us what to do with etra funds and now we have $3500 extra. Bring your applications to us: Finance Committee is DTF (Down to Fund).

    7:28 // Approval of Pre-Organizations….. Activities

    ACTIVITIES: 2 preliminary orgs; students for space and escalating registers, feel comfortable with 2.

    FINANCE: Preliminaries must apply for $100 first semester and $300 second semester.


    7:30 // Amendements

    PRESIDENT: look at 28-8 amendment it was presented last week.

    STUDENT LIFE: The wording just moves from house officers can’t and now it’s Res Life positions, so only officers can’t run.

    RAYMOND: We talked to Luis Inoa and he is good with it.

    MAIN: You can’t be on class council and run?

    2015: To clarify, it’s more that you can’t be a student fellow and hold an elected position.

    STRONG: How does this affect people running while holding a ResLife position?

    STUDENT LIFE: I was able to hold position until elected, but this means that I would have had to resign before I could have run which is an incentive not to run.

    2016: Did they discuss this amongst res life people, because student fellows are on class council, was that brought up?

    RAYMOND: I talked to my house advisor and she was in favor but I don’t know if it has been brought up to others

    2014: From an elections perspective: we can decide who’s eligible and if Luis Inoa says it’s fine, I’m satisfied. What happens now currently?

    Ray: we can’t retroactively do anything, we could edit it to be before spring elections.

    Strong: Can you elaborate on why you’re bringing up this amendment now?

    RAYMOND: The special elections policies weren’t clear.

    PRESIDENT: In the case where they are committed, is there a concern?

    RAYMOND: We just don’t want the same people being elected to positions.

    FINANCE: If someone is appointed to class council, that’s OK?

    RAYMOND: Specifically VSA positions, no, should be OK.

    FINANCE: Is appointed the same as elected?

    PRESIDENT: It’s still an elected position?

    2016: I don’t think we should vote on this because we need more discussion, because we shouldn’t be limiting who should run for what if there’s no conflict of interest; we shouldn’t say people can’t, it’s unfair to do that in student government. This doesn’t apply to other orgs where students can hold multiple presidencies in orgs. I would like to talk to students, like my VP and others because there is a big change and we need more student discourse.

    STUDENT LIFE: I believe Res life wants this because it’s similar to what has been put through in the past. I think that’s a good point: there’s a time management concern but class council positions and student fellow isn’t really conflict of interest, it’s an arbitrary thing. Focus on time management because that’s the reason I resigned.

    2014: One of the most important things is impairing a person’s ability to do one or more jobs. We can’t regulate who is president of organizations, one person who is president shouldn’t be a student fellow.

    RAYMOND: This was an attempt to clarify policies. I move to table it to board of elections and Operations.


    PRESIDENT: Now for the amendment on budget restrictions.

    2015: There was problem that pre-orgs don’t have budget, some have them and we should manage out of VSA not on their own. This makes sense to make language consistent to manage preorgs; we want preorgs to be preorgs with budget numbers because Activities works with them and still want that relationship, but with ability to manage resources effectively.

    PRESIDENT: This will come up next week. Any thoughts?

    FINANCE: We talked to Activities and it’s a good plan, but exceptions should be made. Preorgs should not be expecting this, it only applies to preorgs with funds.

    2015: One main caveat for no funds for preorgs because changing budget numbers is really confusing.

    PRESIDENT: This will be tabled until next week. Consult your constituents. Now we will discuss the amendment concerning Exec Board distribution.

    CUSHING: Before we start it, it would be good to lay out what’s happening and why, this is not set in stone. We have been throwing this around, the discussion not necessarily happening, we looked at list of things VSA is in charge of and the distribution is weird. We took a list of everything and made new categories, and we ended up with splitting Student Life and Activities: we had to change names, but VP for Student Life is Student Life and Diversity and VP for Campus Resources. Activities is split between VP for Programming and VP for Orgs, so that way one person focuses on orgs and the other on Founder’s Day and the shuttle and Tasty Tuesday (which shouldn’t be under Operations). It’s pretty self-explanatory.

    PRESIDENT: Instead of making changes on floor we’ll have a discussion and make a list, will be discussed in Student Life, Operations and Activities, if changes made we’ll give it another week to reach out to people, earliest voting will be in two weeks.

    MAIN: This is for which election cycle?

    PRESIDENT: This one coming up in a month.

    2015: In terms of redistribution, with big changes we need to talk to lots of people. Best to have students vote on it. Certain sections focused on Centers or Res Life, should be more like a scaffolding. The language restricts the positions: a big issue is VP of Student Life and Diversity wording would mean they are not allowed to represent straight white males. The focus should be on something but don’t vote them out. I could be wrong, but this should not be for this election cycle. It seems to be moving fast on something that needs thought.

    2016: I want to commend the writers because we’ve talked a lot on restructuring; there’s lots of good stuff. I’m a big fan of redistribution as a socialist, so that’s good. I have issues with how to move forward. I think we shouldn’t set sights on this election cycle—I don’t want to rush major changes that need more time. I’m in favor of a referendum, because it might look like we’re trying to create positions for ourselves right before an election. Perhaps best way is with forum shouldn’t focus on proposal specifically but focus on issues and see if students have ideas. Like, maybe a Senate system like proposed in 2011. I talked to the student reps at Williams about getting invited to a conference to look at other schools.

    PRESIDENT: In creating 2 new committees you need people to sit on them. That should fit in with maybe which positions should be committee vs. liaison, like a co-chair. 2 Student Life’s equivalent are doing different things but could co-chair Student Life’s committee. I don’t want to make everyone sit on 3 committees. I like the idea of splitting up stuff, I like making sure students have voices. We talked about having a poll associated with election which means couldn’t do it now, could get widespread student feedback, change from within is not always effective.

    AT LARGE—JOSHUA SHERMAN ’16: I want to remind VSA the review committee happened last year and it sputtered out. The goal was to talk to orgs and students, and it has been put in backseat. There is more to talk about but it’s important that VSA talk about ideas like VSARC. Remind Council that it feels rushed now but it’s been discussed since last May, push for progress.

    SOCOs: I expressed concern about committees. We should combine Student Life, but I don’t know what campus resources does. If we don’t combine, we need to figure out responsibilities. I had the same concern as 2015; might be able to reword to ‘pay particular attention to students who have been traditionally disadvantage.’

    2014: This is awesome. Thanks for your work. As someone on Board of Election, I would love to have this enacted by this cycle but to have referendum which I would recommend, we would have to go through CIS and that timeline is uncertain. We would have to advertise it, and it’s a time crunch and we would have to decide, like, now for referendum; under section 2, Operations you struck things about appointments and where did they go?

    CUSHING: We’re working with board of elections and Operations to put all appointments in board of elections, they got put there.

    2014: Even if this doesn’t pass this elections cycle, something we’ve been concerned about is working with specific committees so if it doesn’t pass, those two committees should still exist, use them next year.

    CUSHING: Part of the reason to put in action sooner rather than later was that in our experience things that get brought up sometimes disappear, so putting impetus under this amendment would make it happen. I’ve hadconcerns about publicity and student input, meeting in Rose Parlor 3pm Friday. I made posters and I’ve paid for them with my own money, so I just want to take credit for that for a moment. I want your help in advertising this, it’s important, we were thinking that we could get more at large members at committees so we’re not filling in our own committees.

    2016: I started last year to solidify restructuring class council. The house reps sit on a committees and and freshmen already do.

    DAVISON: I love this, I feel like it’s an effort to streamline what we want to achieve but can’t because Vice Presidents do lots of things at once. It would be effective to have a forum but don’t just define rules, we have to analyze how positions could achieve what we put out.

    2015: in terms of committees, we talked about people who sit on joint committees like CCL could have more importance and transparency augmented. Juniors don’t have time to sit on committees according to their calendars. Work-study for Exec positions might be jeopardized. I also suggest that the two new positions could be elected in the fall, so we can jumpstart it, but we have time this year to figure it out.

    Student Life: Work study thing—we’re trying to get a promise that if there is a change in exec positions, work study can still happen, but realistically not every exec position might be on work study.; there’s lots to be logistically worked out but this is great way to respond to concerns I hear from staff and admins, like the alcohol task force assembled several years ago but then nothing happened because the new VP didn’t want to handle it. Things can keep moving forward and not stop for years at a time, this is a great way to split stuff. I don’t see harm in doing a trial and error thing, it’s not bad to say we tried and then make adjustments, sometimes we get afraid of things becoming permanent.

    FINANCE: One of the most interesting parts of this, is what do two extra votes mean on exec? That’s something I don’t see addressed in this, but can be. What is the role of exec in admin meetings, which might not be realistic. Do they need to go?

    2017: If you need help distributing posters, I can help. A lot of students don’t know about the existing structures.

    2014: A few years ago we had a referendum with lots of turnout, but it didn’t pass because people didn’t know what it meant.

    STUDENT LIFE: A lot of the meeting on Friday will be explaining what positions do specifically for those people who don’t know. Some people don’t care. It could be iffy because part of VSARC committee was made to address why students aren’t interacting, will they interact for a referendum? Should we count on their lack of interest and would that change if it went through, the council that students may not be crazy about in terms of structure may not reflect opinions of students next time.

    RAYMOND: We considered getting rid of exec board voting power, it’s like that at other schools, but that’s for later. We’re looking at changes, they look big but to vast majority it wouldn’t be so drastic, most people don’t know what the VSA is doing. This could solve internal issues. I understand the concerns with the timeline, but I have to say that we always do so much talking and we need to pursue something, I encourage us to vote on this in 2 weeks.

    PRESIDENT: like trial and error idea but I’m concerned that getting rid of positions by trial would eliminate people who get elected, writing as we go could clarify what those positions do. I’m concerned with programming committee, like what it’s doing—Tasty Tuesday and the Shuttle. I don’t think those people necessarily need to be in this room, it could be a group of people who love programming. For the forum, I like bringing up this proposal but first question could be what do you want VSA to do; start from the bottom as opposed to telling them directly; I like idea of specifying who sits on these committees and making class council do it, we need to say who is going to, I’m worried a committee won’t be filled, make elected reps as reps for these committees rather than making more people here do it.

    DAVISON: I believe if something can be done in a minute, you should do it in a minute. My girlfriend doesn’t like that. My view on trial and error: shouldn’t just be a try it thing, making it a really well-defined idea; some of these positions don’t need a VP but they could be a separate entity.

    TAs: Why did you choose to switch success of powers with VP of Student life? How would financing work with the programming board, considering Finance funds events? And are these standing ad hoc committees or do you expect them to continuing doing their thing the entire year? Why are they not open to others interested?

    ACTIVITIES: I currently approve requests with ARC twice a week, would be a new position’s job. There’s nothing new. These committees would be open to everyone. The traditions committee I brought up a few weeks ago is kind of like that, a subcommittee of a programming committee.

    RAYMOND: The shift in succession: We’re thinking that the VP of Operations is literally the VP of the Student Government, so it made sense that they would fill in as a temporary leader.

    SOCOs: I think the athletics would be more for campus resources. It should be one rep from hour or house team, either elected people or constituency. I think we could have fall elections for freshmen reps on all committees. How would the committee work as an individual committee?

    ACTIVITIES: I’ve discussed this with all of Campus Activities, the fact that there’s too much programming on the Campus Calendar, and too many people trying to do the same programming. Instead of going through SARC they could go through this committee for approval.

    2016: A referendum is pivotal importance, structure shouldn’t be changed by the government itself. We don’t have a referendum process, we make changes without constitutional rules. I appreciate the discussion of timeline but this is not a simple change and I don’t want to be done by next election cycle. It will come up that we are trying to create new positions that are discussed by and in our Council. There are a lot of liberal arts colleges we can look at. We are the only liberal arts college that is based on residential life. We would have the largest exec board with these changes. We should not make these changes ourselves. We need student input.

    2015: Can Exec Board ask Administrators what their thoughts are? And we can dancing around the audit question. Personally, I think Council needs to do this; there needs to be a strong commitment to finding someone from the outside to look at how we run things.

    2014: I think having a bare-bones committee structure to plan these events would be interesting. But if Serenading and Halloween are taken out of the hands of Senior Council, this changes funding. Ticket prices would increase. Just from personal experience, having a budget for Halloween by the first day of classes is unreasonable. It’s a good idea to keep fall elections as a backdoor, approve what we can now and then do it later, lots of amendment can be effected now. On the forum, it is essential but we need to have series of forums to accomodate more people than Rose Parlor if not referendum nothing suggests that student interested now would not be interested later. The referendum could have biased data.

    STUDENT LIFE: Just remember that no one in this room is better than anyone just because of the privilege of the postions they carry.

    FINANCE: Finance things are being left out of the conversation. I think what 2014 was saying was great. Serenading is written in but we always complain, do we want to create a scaffold where certain things have to be done.

    ACTIVITIES: It’s at the discretion of the committee and VP.

    FINANCE: By putting it in the constitution, we’re giving precedence to these events.

    2014: There will be a time when we can’t do Halloween and serenading in their current forms. I think we should have a barebones structure, might be helpful to have standing committee structure to apply to VP programming, not stuck with one thing but with what students what.

    RAYMOND: We’re going to have forum at 3 in UpC, Saturday, if you’re not on Student Life or Activities contact us because we will be talking about it.

    PRESIDENT: Thanks for doing this, people have lots of ideas, I look forward to seeing where it goes. It will be discussed in forums—Operations, Activities, Finance and Student Life.


    2014: Shout out to the Daisies and Violets for helping out with 100 Nights and the VC sound system. 50 Nights will take place on April 5th. We’re still working on senior week planning. I sent an email to org leaders with application for events during senior week, need to know exactly how many non-seniors would stay; we’re hosting an art show for seniors not just in the Art Department in Palmer Gallery during Senior Week, and start thinking about submitting.

    ACADEMICS: I sent you the application for student seminars, changes in student seminar due soon.

    STUDENT LIFE: Thank you for all you do. If you represent a house, do you have your SAVP posters? If we could have those posted in common areas. The last thing is a note about the office as a shared space: we had these posters on our desk, but there were a lot of posters, they were printed by Elizabeth Shrock in SAVP, and we found a lot of them covered in coffee. They were not ours, they were supposed to go back to her. Now they are unusable. Just be mindful of the space.

    DAVISON: This is my plug for Jewett: Seven Deadly Sins, Saturday at 10 p.m. I’m Djing, come by and enjoy yourself.

    PRESIDENT: I got an email from Wendy Freedman, they are in the process of hiring 2 new counselors. It was unclear whether they are additions. We were invited to those interviews for those positions, please respond if interested next week. We got a lot of positive response for our letter. Eve Dunbar responded that she submitted an official proposal to get a Post-Doc fellow. I’ll keep you guys posted.

    STRONG: I just wanted to thank Cushing and Raymond for all that you do, and especially Activities. To all the rest of you who never get shout outs.

    RAYMOND: So I’m going to send out a blurb to everyone with a constituency, because we want students to come to the student forum.

    2015: The class council sold 63 orange crushes.

    8:38 // PRESIDENT: Motion to adjourn.


  • Chris Gonzalez 12:01 am on February 10, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—9 Feb. 2014 

    Hey, everyone, we should be starting in a few minutes. Sit back and enjoy the live blog.

    7:04 // Call to order…. President

    Attendance….. Operations

    Proxies: 2016, TAs.
    Absences: Noyes.

    Consent Agenda

    a.Generation (Pre Org).………………………………………………………………..($200/$30)
    b. NSO (Community)……….…………………………………………………..($4500/$5650)
    c. Habitat (Discretionary)………………………………………………..($1855.32/$1855.32)
    d. Miscellany (Discretionary)..……………………….……………………………($0/$2000)
    e. Fly People (Discretionary)…………………………………………………….($451/$811)
    f. Conference to MEChA ……………………………………………………………….$350
    g. Collaboration to Islamic Society ……………………………………………………..$125
    h. Christian Fellowship (Capital)..…………………………………………………….…$499
    i. All College Day (Discretionary)…………………………………..$2000

    All consent to the Consent Agenda.

    7:06 // Forum with Stacy Bingham, Director of the Career Development Office

    BINGHAM: I am the director of the CDO since last may. I’ve held a variety of positions before that. This is a hot time for CDOs at liberal arts campuses: peer institutions are grappling with similar problems, some are further ahead or behind, and Vassar is in the middle in terms of issues. The director search took 2 years, which is unusual, due to Chris Roellke and others wanting to think about life after Vassar and what that means for CDO. We had an external review a year ago, my charge is thinking about their suggestions and what’s best for Vassar and strategic planning.

    PRESIDENT: Could you tell us about more of your resources?

    BINGHAM: There are the traditional resources you’d expect—the bread and butter is one-on-one meetings with students, both scheduled (30 or 60 min) or drop in with counselor or post bac. We try to get to the heart of what’s on the student’s mind. It’s hard with a limited staff and lots of students; we try to create an event for many students at once like ob search panels, internships; we try to have employer info sessions, on and off campus recruiting. We pair up with the Development Office of Alumnae/i Affairs. One priority is increased collaboration with the alum office to bring opportunities for students to connect; we’re not specialists in the CDO but knowing Vassar there is someone before you who has done something similar who could help you, so we want to try to make those connections easier to make. We administer funded internship programs, most awards come from the IGF to pursue low and unpaid internships, and there’s the Tannenbaum and other smaller awards. We asked to delegate more funds to students, but one of the challenges lies in staffing. Limited funds take away from other opportunities, and we feel the effects of lack of staff. I was pleased that student gift contributed to IGF.

    TOWN STUDENTS: Could you explain the things that external audit advocated for? What are targets?

    BINGHAM: We looked at the physical space—our office looked similar to 20 years ago until last year. Students had to enter into environment that didn’t portray an environment you wanted, didn’t show what it means to be professional and it was not a great space for employers, it was shabby, doesn’t lend itself to a physical layout that’s conducive for other stuff. It’s now bisected by major thoroughfare; we have offices that deal with similar things in similar locations like field work; wanted emphasis on additional staffing, responded with post bac position; We wanted a new website—Im really happy to report that the website is going well. We should have a new one in a year; overall nothing surprising but there is value in someone outside saying what we needed, now we decide what pieces are relevant.

    FINANCE: Could you speak about on-campus recruiting at liberal arts college campuses? Some think it doesn’t happen.

    BINGHAM: Over the past few years an average 20 employers recruiting on campus. This is low and we would like to improve but the environment is changing. Employers prefer skyping and interviews especially with non-profit because it’s a smaller budget for travel; We gave a survey to seniors: What employers would you like to see? What grad schools? We want to know who students want to see on campus, talking with alumnae/i to ramp things up. Schools like Vassar, like Smith, have even smaller student populations but have larger on campus recruiting opportunities. We want to find a way to get Vassar students more exposure by collaborating with some liberal arts colleges in hub locations like DC of San Francisco.

    PRESIDENT: Any plans with collaborating with the fellowship office and field work?

    BINGHAM: There’s some opportunities to collaborate because we report to the Dean of Studies. Things have been improving since moving to dean of studies office 3 years ago, that relationship has strengthened. It’s more challenging with Field Work because they report to Dean of Faculty—it’s harder to think about ways to intersect, but we’re happy to collaborate more; it’s a matter of having regular interaction.

    PRESIDENT: I’m interested in learning about resources on campus for resources for low-income students.

    BINGHAM: We are thinking about it too, evaluating programs and thinking about different pockets of students. The IGF is important for an increasingly diverse student body. We want to see the playing field leveled for summer internships, it’s not enough. Smith offers every opportunity and that would be amazing to offer, talking about it with colleagues in Financial Aid. We take care of financial aid during financial year but earning money over the summer is difficult; there used to be Class Issues alliance, I talked to them about resources, pockets of funding could be helpful, like the small discretionary fund to buy clothes for interviews. We would love to have another to pay for internship travel or get waivers for grad admissions tests. Having more money at our disposal would be helpful; students need just a little bit more, there are other ways, for past 2 years we the have done program with TRANSITIONS students. They get early face time on their orientation schedule, some positive feedback. Putting faces with names is crucial. Students aren’t coming with family connections, we need to reach out to students in an empowering way for students who don’t have parent in career they’re considering is helpful.

    2014: You mentioned programs for seniors, but could you give overview?

    BINGHAM: Based on results of senior surveys we created Senior Week at CDO-week of programming tailored to seniors. There’s a lunch and they can learn on planning for grad school, thinking about location that’s not New York City to live. Vassar alum will give budgeting workshop, how to rent an apartment in NYC. One will host the “lunch and learns” walk-in for seniors all week, we’ll Linked in photo booth, capped with student-alumnae/i event.

    JEWETT: How many recruitment companies are science/engineering based?

    BINGHAM: Very few though many like science and engineering students, that could change as sciences grow here, we could look to expand it. The NYC consortium day had high amounts of finance and education and environment and non profit; engineering is harder because we have small handful of students; many other liberal arts schools with larger engineer programs can feed Vassar students there through liberal arts Career Network.

    STRONG: You talked about financial aid students, have you thought about getting the word out to them?

    BINGHAM: It used to be a small amount of money which is why we haven’t advertised as broadly because we couldn’t meet demand, we’re identifying donor priorities, if we can have more discretionary funds we can promote more widely.

    STRONG: Now it’s a referral system?

    BINGHAM: Yes.

    STUDENT LIFE: When class issues alliance published their navigating Vassar pamphlet did you see a rise?

    BINGHAM: We did not.

    STUDENT LIFE: You mentioned resources, does that include discretionary fund for students to travel to interview.

    BINGHAM: Not currently, other schools have it. It’s on my wish list.

    OPERATIONS: There are lots of students who never go to CDO because they don’t see what they’ll get out of it, what is office doing to reach out to students not engaging?

    BINGHAM: Through residential programming, doing lots of different programs with Res Life and campus groups, faculty initiated and student initiated, good year this year with different programs, great example of how post bac can help with time as a student and time in office. It’s not permanent funding, we got $100,000 for grant. We can use some to extend the position and look at meeting students that way. The Tannenbaum allows you to plant ambassadors for office. Students are friends with CDO because they’re there often. First point of contact is usually the website so if we can make it appealing and updated we will help change perception of the office. It takes time to change attitudes and perceptions, but word of mouth is best.

    AT LARGE: Two questions—ow has social media liked LinkedIn helped and was VC Squared part of the office?

    BINGHAM: LinkedIn is becoming huge place for career networking. We promote it because it’s great for alumnae/i research and cross-referencing it with our alumnnae/i directory. That had potential to be great resource for alumnae/i connecting, about 50% seniors have LinkedIn accounts. We encourage students to use free version and have an account, put resume on it, get good headshot form programming. There’s a new feature that allows you to look at alums—break down alumnae/i at Vassar based on industry and company and who they are; VC Squared was initiative from 2 alums who were entrepreneurs to enable future students to teach basics, but it fizzled because alums fizzled and got sidetracked with other projects. It’s on back burner now but we see other alumni groups forming—VCBC alums in NYC, industry through Vassar Club NY, next step is how to draw students into it, these group have events that are appropriate other times more for other alums.

    SOCOs: I read about recent grad alumnae/i resources, what are they?

    BINGHAM: The motto is “Vassar for a lifetime.” We will always help you, we work with alums, 15% make up people we help, most work for them is phone, skype or email, anything from career counseling for those who didn’t have a job set up beforehand, those thinking abou grad or law school, all the same students for current students are for alums.

    JEWETT: Is the LinkedIn photo shoot just for seniors?

    BINGHAM: No, everything for senior week is available for all students, everyone can take advantage of it.

    7:40 //Exec Board Reports… Student Life

    STUDENT LIFE: Gender neutral bathrooms—we have had meetings and almost gotten through phase 1 (identity existing bathrooms that are gendered and getting neutral signs to be consistent). Bob Walton has ordered the signs to work with B&G to get sign design approved; hopefully within the next month we can see these signs on campus. Interest for temporary signs we can ask for. Phase 2—not likely to be completed, identify where we need to do structural renovations, moves forward with hope that each building renovation blueprints include gender neutral bathrooms.

    AT LARGE: what will the sign look like?

    STUDENT LIFE: I’ve been in communication with Judy Jarvis and communicating with Administration, we want to steer clear gendered icons that have been prevalent. They defeat the purpose, and other signs seem cartoonish, we have encouraged including terminology with braille and wheelchair where applicable, in houses, academic buildings. The gender neutral bathroom forum is Feb 19, Wed., in Rocky 300 to answer any questions—why school has decided on it. It’s from 5:30-6:30.

    JEWETT: Can you send blurb out about forum?

    STUDENT LIFE: Yes, should be going out from LGBTQ to mail and email, will be on official calendar. I talked last week about SAVP process flow chart out for students to see, if house reps can get them from my office sometime before end of the week would be best, put up on house bulletin boards and laundry rooms of apartment houses. I’ve been talking to Elizabeth Schrock about Title IX process SAVP student subcommittee. Also looking into the travel home fund with regards to accesible resources, looking for updates, going through CDO right now.

    7:45 // Academics

    ACADEMICS: New York Times collects data on how many papers used, 86% usage first week, continually picked up throughout semester. I’m interested in continuing funding past this semester. We’ve discussed an idea for 24-hour space that it’s not open Fridays or Saturdays—problem, talked to head librarian so it will be open, will take two weeks so don’t advertise right now. Newsletter will go out, 100-150 copies; students’ applications have been sent out, and they get 2 weeks to do apps. Send emails with application. The majors fair is 1-4 p.m., from March 30 to April 5, in the Villard Room. More details to follow. We’re collecting student feedback on student capstone project, class of 2019 or 2020 will be affected.

    7:50 // Approval of Pre-Orgs.

    ACTIVITIES 22 applications. We finalized decisions and the 12 in front of you are those we’re comfortable supporting.
    PRESIDENTS: Any concerns? We can remove and talk about them if there are.


    FINANCE: To get funding you must submit form 3 weeks before event.

    TAs: Is there a limit on preorgs?
    Fin: 100 dollars the first semester.

    7:54 // Organization Debt Amendment….

    ACTIVITES: Current bylaws state 2 semesters without debt certified. The amendment says they need to face disciplinary action.


    RAYMOND: We talked about it in Operations Committee. Elections eligibility and questions—this amendment makes any person in Reslife positions cannot be in VSA elected position accept joint-committee positions, reason was because we feel we should be opening up positions to people on campus. Bring up next week to vote.

    7:58 // Appointment of Jewett VP and 2016 Secretary

    OPERATIONS: There is one app for Jewett VP and we decided not to recommend anyone appointed to that position. Seven Deadly Sins is on Feb 22 and if we are unable to appoint someone, function of VP is diminished. There’s nothing wrong with the applicant but we felt that he wouldn’t be excited to work on event planning. So we’re closing the position and it will stay open for the rest of the year.

    As for 1016 secretary: 2 applications, we interviewed both. The first app is who we are reccomendeding, Taylor. she skyped in and had excitement about the position and has experience with VSA. She’s excited to do stuff other than note taking, and a great sense of balance.


    8:00 // Conversation about VSA Audit…. OPERATIONS

    OPERATIONS: Toward beginning of year the idea was one thing and was meant to be simple, now it’s complicated in that it involves many offices and people. The enthusiasm from council members is great, outside council is not so great. Between special elections and losing people involved in project it has been difficult to get on track. We want to talk about it here where there is passion, what ideas you have and ideas for a timeframe.

    TOWN STUDENTS: Given the fact that the audit is a big project, do you think it would be good to do internal auditing, like canvasing Tasty Tuesday, smaller and more active projects? Working out relationships between students and VSA.

    TAs: What direction was Operations looking at last semester because it grew.

    OPERATIONS: The initial committee was entirely council past or current, goal to look at diversity on campus and it wasn’t the perfect body for that goal. Started to make progress in building up committee of different people with former VP of Student Life. We found a professor who can audit and do research, but the sudden change with VP so a lot of conversations with the auditor halted. The professor sensed we weren’t enthusiastic because we didn’t know what was going on, now we’re trying to rebuild.

    TH’s: I’m worried about institutional memory, is there timeline so that decisions are carried out so concerns now adressed next year?

    OPERATIONS: I agree, it’s very important, we want to have clear idea of what we want and an idea we can move forward with.

    JOSS: A lot of money is going into it, so what now?

    OPERATIONS: We have the Dean of College’s money pledged, but no money spent now. We would have asked for covering half of cost $15,000 combined, but money pledged was not real so we don’t have any money. VSA money will go to other stuff, when we ask for money later the Dean of College will hopefully give us money.

    LATHROP: You talked to an external auditor, and it fell through, where is that going now? Someone else?Seems like a large component.

    OPERATIONS: Right now trying to figure it out, if you all are interested in the next step, he was scared to work with students who weren’t organized. talk with him and rework relationship, if not then look at other options, like the field of research for professors.

    LATHROP: Is it things that professors do a lot?

    OPERATIONS: Looking here for professors, it needs to happen. Value with external auditor is looking at new situation, internal auditor has familiar perspective.

    JEWETT: I’m in favor of TOWN STUDENT’S comment about doing more internal things, if we consider external audit, since its student money can we ask them, ask all of campus if we want to see VSA audited, start by doing stuff within ourselves before going out.

    OPERATIONS: Came from campus climate demands which was that VSA have external audit to look at it, meant to be a response to that, though we can never get too much student input, should do some things ourselves.

    DAVISON: Ideas for restructuring VSA? Or is it just external? How can we make VSARC as a body?

    OPERATIONS: Have STUDENT LIFE and OPERATIONS meeting and inviting additional people, would be building off point to create structurally sound committee, organize oneself isn’t hard but need to get interest

    STUDENT LIFE: Figure out how to maintain this with overturn from elections, how to guarantee this will happen next year. So, to formulate in minds, can we say ideal things we hope for?

    TOWN STUDENTS: It’s important to consider not what we want but provide avenues for students, like restructuring how this is or not being heard, would be ideal way see what they want changed.

    2015: If you bring in external person we have data but then students don’t feel opinions voiced, should commit again to getting student voices.

    TH’s: We should have campus-wide forum to get representation to get what they want out of it.

    RAYMOND: In October or November, when people wrote things about what they wanted to see from the audit what were results?

    OPERATIONS: VSA is racist was the most popular response, done at the beginning of the year so maybe that’s changed. We can go through them, find a different way to reach out, didn’t get functional answers, lots showed misunderstanding of what VSA does which is a problem.

    PRESIDENT: Someone mentioned that during elections when we reach out, we should use that as a source for feedback, times when we communicate with students, people don’t respond to my emails.

    JEWETT: At the ending of preregistration can we add that since everyone will be using it, it would be ideal.

    ACADEMICS: We can ask faculty, but Ask Banner technology is ancient so we can’t change it.

    OPERATIONS: We can put it on annual budgeting application, all org leaders required to fill it out, gets large audience.

    TH’s: A way to get admins to help us and foster dialogue with students, students read their emails.

    OP: Talk about sending out an email.

    DAVISON: Restructuring means involving people who feel marginalized, reach out to cultural orgs or set of people who feel not represented.

    8:17 // Open Discussion

    STUDENT LIFE: Update—met with Cappy and asked about making VSA exec positions work study, and she didn’t turn it down if we could have student written endorsement of why exec board members are different from VICE or the Misc to submit we might have a chance, she might be interested.

    DAVISON: Can we take comparative approach to reslife positions?

    STUDENT LIFE: I can talk to reslife, big thing is budgeting, HSA is eligible for work study, there are so many student fellows it’s a budgeting issue. We’re interested in reevaluating reslife structure, could be cause for many open positions, it’s a big time commitment to not get paid.

    PRESIDENT: I talked about food served at late night at the Deece. It’s a 3 weekend trial period, order hot food thing, trying to solicit student feedback, if it goes well we will implement it.

    JEWETT: Will small side DC be open at that time?

    PRESIDENT: Yes, we are just adding food, I’ll send email.

    2014: 100 nights this Saturday, food and cocktails and fancy stuff at the Alumnae/i House from 8-10, and 11-2 is the campus party. Facebook events have gone out; council member, senior class council letter to Dean Dunbar about alleviating travel costs.

    Stephanie George ’14 at large: Idea to make commencement affordable, Luis Inoa seems excited about it, if you want to sign it and endorse it that would be great.

    2014: Sign and pass it to endorse idea.

    2015: Class council, for Valentine’s Day you can send someone a Crush soda, cutest thing ever, you should do this. For $1 you can send anonymously and $2 someone finds out, $2 it’s anon. proceeds go to Grace House, a domestic violence center.

    RAYMOND: President and OPERATIONS, 7 Sisters type thing, is there one planned for spring conference?

    PRESIDENT: No, because all schools can’t afford to go, communicate about different projects. 3 committees about things that will go on, 7 sisters, activities and outreach to create alumnae/i network, let me know if interested.

    RAYMOND: Student Bill of Rights had meeting Saturday, disappointing turnout, especially disappointed with lack of council because people didn’t come, would like people to come this weekend sat 2 UpC.

    JEWETT: ACTIVITIES, when is activities fair?

    ACTIVITIES: This sat 11-2, Villard Room, posters will go up, organizations and pre orgs will be there.

    ACTIVITIES: Thanks to Strong for pushing amendment brought up today.

    MAIN: Question: Activites, how many pre-orgs are tabling?

    ACTIVITES: All have, 7 of existing are requested slots.

    STUDENT LIFE: Vassar Devils are doing Valentine grams, can send for $5, tabling in Retreat.

    JEWETT: Motion to adjourn.


  • Chris Gonzalez 12:04 am on February 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting—2 Feb 2014 

    Happy Super Bowl, everyone! We’re off to a late start, but we should get going shortly.

    7:05 // Call to Order
    Attendance ……………Operations
    Proxies: Jewett, Davison

    7:09 // Consent Agenda
    SJP (Pre Org).…………………………………………………………………………….($25/$25)
    VARC (Speakers)………………………………………………………………($495/$595)
    Quizbowl (Pre Org)..………………………………………………………………($90/$90)
    YDS (Pre Org)..……………………………………………………………..($200/$199.63)
    Poder Latino (Discretionary)…………………………………………………($3000/$5000)
    Wordsmiths (Speakers) ($3060/$3208)
    Ski Team (Discretionary) ($1500/$2000)
    NSO (Speakers) tabled
    VHP (Collaboration) ($93.75)

    SOCOS takes Poder Latino off the list. Council will come back to this later. Rest of Consent passes.

    7:10 // POSSE Forum…Jon Wood

    WOOD: If you don’t know who POSSE is, you probably know by now. It’s a big deal, it’s 25 years old. The President donated his Noble Peace Prize money. I’m here to discuss the PossePlus Retreat. Last year it was around gender and sexuality, and over 39 universities across the US participated in this. This is a big deal, this is a tool Vassar hasn’t had before. I’m hoping the leaders of the VSA can promote this and possibly attend. This year’s topic is “Revolt, Rethink, Reform.” This could not possible get more broad. Basically, we’re going to start real broad and then we’re going to move to subjects regarding Vassar College specifically. We’re hoping to translate this retreat into something done on campus to create an immediate benefit. Since a lot of these retreats are social and political movements, I think this is the heart and soul of Vassar and I hope we can contribute to it. A side benefit for Vassar: Since we are the first Veteran Posse, we’ll probably be getting a lot of media attention.You Leave friday come back Sunday march 28-30, trying to lower costs, register through members of POSSE program, first come first serve, Cappy and faculty coming, chance to discuss issues with them and peers

    ACTIVITIES: How many people can attend?

    WOODS: 100 maximum, transportation available.

    OPERATIONS: Do we need to email you?

    WOODS: You don’t need to email us, there’s a link. But you can talk to other Posse representatives.

    PRESIDENT: Thank you for coming in.

    7:17 // Poder Latino:

    SOCOS: I’m concerned about details of the conference, $3000 seems like a lot, some students already fully funded, usually funding brings back info to greater community, this much money is a lot, and I’m worried about the precedent it sets for sending so many people.

    AT LARGE GARZA ’14: There are 2 people on research grant who aren’t listed on the funding. The rest of the group is applying for funding, research grant is for seniors. I also want to clarify and say this is not a conference. In Cuba there is national campaign against homophobia that goes on throughout entire country and they’re visiting all the cities listed.

    MAIN: What funds are secured for this?

    GARZA: 2000 from Dean of College, money from Alumnae/i, rest will come from students attending

    JOSS: Can you give me a list of ways explaining how you will be funding?

    GARZA: We’ll be selling moon cups in the College Center, and we’re hoping for good turnout. We also have an online funding campaign, we’re applying for grant from national organization LGBTQ and looking at NYC organizations.

    FINANCE: This was not a unanimous decision from Finance Committee. It came from speaker last year, who arranged opportunity and the Finance Committee was to sponsor underclassmen who want to go. This supports mission of Poder Latino, and their app outlined how it will benefit the campus.

    GARZA: Collab orgs will help out and will receive benefits from members who go, dance groups and health and science groups.

    OPERATIONS: The average allocation is 1840 so why is it 3000?

    FINANCE: The amount was a thought exercise and from it we realized that participation would be possible. The amount of 3000 reached after the decision to support, the cost per student is 2700. They’re not looking at funding just one person; the idea was for underclassmen to attend and money will be divided internally.

    SOCO: I guess I’m wondering why that many people need to go and would it be feasible to do with fewer people? Are that many people needed to bring back this rich information to campus?

    GARZA: This opportunity came from speaker who recommended a Vassar delegation; it’s rare opportunity to travel with daughter of current president—Mariel Castro—and her social organizers. We thought a lot about what was feasible since 90 percent of funding comes from groups effort. More is not feasible, but we want to bring as many people as possible—each member is involved with different VSA org, not just coming to one org but to many.

    PRESIDENT: We’re at time.

    OPERATIONS: Motion to extend time to 10 minutes with 1 minute of speaking.


    OPERATIONS: Does the amount change if we change the number of people?

    FINANCE: How the orgs allocate money is up to them. We try to give flexibility and the money doesn’t change no matter how many are invited.

    2015: The Finance committee debated for a while to reach decision. It’s a little unnecessary to scrutinize the decision, in the past it’s been bad, 3000 decision came from vote. We had conversations before and after, and after hearing about refundable deposit came to 3000 number. Talk to finance if you doubt the decisions we make.

    PRESIDENT: We shouldn’t discourage people from voicing their concerns.

    2016: It would be less confusing if we had fund app agenda—original was 45000. I was uncomfortable because it was a big amount, PL came in to give good speech, we should because we are contributing tiny portion, lots of other funding involved. I shared initial concern about numbers but it is more clear that we are funding small portion of it, and we’re happy we had the chance to talk about it in Council. There’s no reason not to discuss it.

    SOCO: I didn’t want to doubt finance, but we have consent agenda because we have checks and balances, and there’s this fear of taking things off consent agenda which isn’t good.

    Strong: If you want more info you should be able to express that, shouldn’t just let it go because you don’t feel comfortable.

    2015: We had long conversation with PL and they had to come here, too.

    GARZA: It would have been difficult to come here if hadn’t been in the area anyway, would be good to have reps here and let them know so they can figure out if they can be here for these discussions.

    PRESIDENT: Motion to approve 3000 allocation, can propose alternative.


    7:33 // Executive Board reports…President

    PRESIDENT: Today we had conversation about shared governances and what info students don’t know and how to communicate it, create a Students Bill of Rights to send to Administration. Shared governance is ongoing, and there’s recognition that info isn’t available—looking into less available resources like financial aid and making that available to constituents. The Bill: Cushing offered to create task force open to students at large to create a document that could affirm that all students have rights and responsibilities on campus such as safety.

    STUDENT LIFE: I want to make sure there will be advertisement on campus for this.

    CUSHING: We can email out constituencies and members of council.

    7:34 // Executive Board reports….OPERATIONS

    OPERATIONS: Elections timeline—voting today and hopefully passing it. This Tuesday coming up is Tasty Tuesday. People have been issues with the Saturday shuttle: there’s been a communication issue with getting it started this semester. I called them and will again so it should be running this weekend and should be every Saturday when there are classes. The schedule online is out of date, but will be updated shortly. We’re working on a time for Student Life and Operations meeting to discuss audit. We will publicize to entire campus, next week or week after. Projects:continuing proposal to divide elections and appointments from regular OP stuff so it can be given a larger amount of time; under consideration to make 7th Exec Board position. We recognize positions are time consuming and a lot isn’t getting done, so spreading out workload would be good way to get stuff done. We hope to get a proposal and amendment passed by end of the year. The position could be elected next spring.

    TA: Last semester resolution on publishing results didn’t pass.

    OPERATIONS: We’re going to talk about this next meeting and discuss. We’re uncertain whether we wanted to move forward with it, results of special elections will be put up on line almost immediately.

    2016: Subcomittee that wrote it has written another resolution that will be passed along.

    7:42 // Letter Concerning Vassar Counseling Staff…South Commons

    SOCOS: wE did research about questions for Metcalf. And we’re looking for OP committee to draft letter. There’s a 27 percent increase of crisis calls, 375 percent increase of off-hours calls. We will send this to the Dean of finance and the Dean of the College. We request a post-doctoral fellow to help out.

    PRESIDENT: At the End of last semester, the goal was to make resources at Metcalf more accessible, this is wonderful.

    FINANCE: What’s the difference between post doc and regular?

    SOCO: They’re only hired for a year so it’s not as much of a financial commitment for the College.

    OPERATIONS: Make sure we have good follow up after it’s sent. We need to decide how to follow up after letter.

    PRESIDENT: All docs go on website and we can send to student body.


    7: 46 // Spring Elections…OPERATIONS

    OPERATIONS: Spring elections timeline to be passed, 10 days for filing and 10 for campaigning, 2 for voting. Between filing campaign there is a candidates meeting to give rules for campaigning. Last year elections moved up to Monday after spring break, it’s now Wednesday after spring break. Give time for people to figure out their standing before applying.

    NOYES: If we adopt it what changes and if we don’t what happens?

    OPERATIONS: Can’t not adopt timeline and need to start planning, we need to get it to computer services, if we wait it won’t make a difference.

    FINANCE: First day on timeline is correct?

    OPERATIONS: March 2 is an interest meeting so people know what positions are and can decide to run, there will be food.

    President: Filing should be 11 days.

    OPERATIONS: I move to suspend bylaws that filing must be 11, have filing end later so that it is 10.5 days.
    Pres: Sorry, everyone, the wording is poor. Motion to suspend bylaw.



    7:47 // Annual Budgeting Timeline…FINANCE

    FINANCE: Annual budgeting timeline now corresponds with elections timeline. We need new execs to go to the meeting. The key thing is that you must submit annual budget to get money, send to houses, 48 hour appeal window.

    Saturday March 17 Application Available online
    Sunday April 6 Application Due
    April 7 – April 15 Finance Committee reviews applications and meets with orgs
    Wednesday April 16 Exec Reviews preliminary budget, preliminary budget made available
    Thursday April 17 -Friday April 18 48 HOUR APPEAL PERIOD
    Saturday April 19 Appeal Committee meets with orgs
    Sunday April 20 Final Budget Presented to Council

    OPERATIONS: Add Sunday, April 18 to elections timeline so people running for exec know.

    RAYMOND: To clarify—appeal process happens after elections, so do orgs know they should have new exec boards?

    FINANCE: It’s the outgoing exec that does the annual budgeting, but they should be in communication. This has been given to orgs, this is something to plan for next year.



    OPERATION: 2 open positions—2016 Secretary and Jewett VP (2nd time this year). Declare both positions open with timeline—all apps due Thursday at noon and appointment for this Sunday. Reason being is the Secretary position has been open a while, reason for Jewett is their all-campus party is really soon and they need VP.

    2016: Point of info, freshman can run?


    NOYES: 2016 positions have people applied already so is it unfair to those that have applied.

    OPERATIONS: Didn’t bring it up in ops as issue, shouldn’t affect anything.

    2016: Request to extend it because the position opened up suddenly, and because of finals, not many people may have applied.

    2015: Position of Joss 2015 spring rep has been open for a while and we would like more people on class council.

    PRESIDENT: Motion to vote on appoitment.



    2014: 111 days to graduation, not long. In 2 weeks is 100 nights at the Alumnae/i house, the cocktail party is 8-10. Rest of school can go to the party in the Villard Room from 11-2. New thing: playing on Vassar’s 150th class, we compiled 150 item bucket list for seniors and we sent it to students. If they tweet a pic of them doing an item on the list, they’ll get prize. Probably a DVD.

    STUDENT LIFE: Shout out to ACTIVITIES for the Spring Leadership conference.

    ACTIVITIES: Thank you everybody who did come. It was larger turnout than expected, had to order more food, info will be sent out to those that couldn’t make it. Founder’s Day interest: get in contact with me or STRONG.

    FINANCE: I want to applaud SOCOs for opportunity to talk about what we do as a council.

    MAIN: Did Activities committee decide to enforce fee for orgs who didn’t send reps?

    ACTIVITIES: We will present the list on Tuesday and go from there.

    2017: All College Day is Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 17-20.

    JOSS: Battle of Bands, Shiva at 9 p.m. on the 7th.

    2016: Event on divestment, public debate to give everyone the facts to get the chance to figure out position. Twisted Soul will be offered. To give council more info on Finance, include fund apps in email so people can look at it, everyone should feel comfortable with vote.

    STUDENT LIFE: Gender-neutral bathrooms forum from 5-6:30, Feb. 19, Rocky 200.

    TAs: Working on project with Stephanie George as liaison to Senior Class council to look at options to subsidize costs for commencement housing, esp with first class of transitions students. We’re also looking to lower travel costs for students.



  • Chris Gonzalez 11:58 pm on January 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council Meeting Minutes—26 January 2014 

    Hey everyone, hope you all had a good first week of classes. We should be getting started shortly.

    7: 01 // Call to Order
    Attendance ……………Operations

    Proxies: Ferry, Jewett.
    Everyone else present.

    7:03 // Consent Agenda
    a. Democracy Matters – Conference ($800/$800)
    b. VARC – Discretionary ($0/$125.25)
    c. South Commons – Discretionary ($160.15/$160.15)

    Everyone Consents.

    ACTIVITIES Reports…..

    ACTIVITIES: There will be a refresher for programmers and treasurers next weekend. There will be more information. The Activities Fair for the spring is taking place on the 15th from 11 to 2. This is for the preliminary orgs and new orgs to table. We’re still working on the storage space project. The theme of Founder’s Day is dinosaurs. We’ll be having a meeting this Wed. Rocky 200, at 7pm. My self and members in this room, we’ve been working on this unofficial committee called the Traditions Committee. We’ve been looking at the large campus events—Halloween, Serenading, etc.—and the goal of this committee is to look and find a place for these campus events. We’re trying to figure out what where to go with this committee, and we’re trying to come up with a person who could over see this committee.

    MAIN: Sorry, can you repeat the specific goal in terms of these traditions?

    ACTIVITIES: It takes a lot to put on these events…

    2014: Remember at Serenading when Senior Class was planning it, and no one was talking to anyone about it, and it became a mess.

    ACTIVITIES: Hopefully there will be a similar model to the Founder’s Day committees.

    The unofficial name is the Vassar Traditions Committee, but not all of these events are specific tradition.

    PRESIDENT: Other schools have a traditions commmittee, but that might not fit so well with what we hope the committee will do at Vassar. If you want to help, maybe you can pick a new name.

    7:10 // Finance Reports

    Finance: We’re a little ahead on the speaker fund, but we’re looking good. We’re moving the fund app deadline to 5pm on Sundays. This gives me a chance to meet with folks a couple of days ahead of time. Fund Apps need to be submitted 14 days before the finance committee meeting during which they will be reviewed. From the point where we will review it on Wed. your event needs to be at least 14 days away.

    If you are interested in paying someone, just giving them cash or a check is harder to do than it used to be. Finally we have 3 new wireless VCash machines that Campus Activities has put in place. But in order for them to work wirelessly, we need to shut down the entire campus wifi for it to work. So they won’t be wireless yet.

    TAs: Can you remind us what the funds were out of?

    FINANCE: Discretionary, out of 50,000. Speakers out of 50,000. Collaboration out of 12. Community out of 12 or 15. Social Conscientious 10.

    PRESIDENT: Next we’re going to turn to Student Life for a conversation about spring orientation.

    STUDENT LIFE: It was rather successful. It happened on Monday and Tuesday. It consisted of two main speakers—Jay Smoothe and Jay Mace III. We discussed issues of identity and held film screenings. It was successful; there was a good turn-out from freshmen, but there’s room to grow.

    RAYMOND: Any plans to make it mandatory in the future?

    STUDENT LIFE: I think the plan is to make it mandatory in the future. It’s still a pilot program, but I know most students want it to be mandatory?

    MAIN: Do we know how out peer institutions compare in terms of having spring orientations for freshmen?

    STUDENT LIFE: Not that I know of.

    STRONG: I heard it was very tiring, so maybe it could be spread out.

    CUSHING: The complaint some of my freshmen had was that it was a bit repetitive.

    7:19 // Dean of Studies Search Committee…

    PRESIDENT: Joanne Long will be finishing her term as dean of studies this semester. We received a lot of emails about Ben Lotto

    ACTIVITIES: There were 7 members of faculty and student. We started with emails to faculty for nominations or self-nominations as well as student nominations. Some declines noms. And it ended with 3 candidates.


    2016: I just want to ask if the student members on the community felt they were being listened to, if their voices were being heard.

    STUDENT LIFE: I think that the faculty were receptive to our feedback. There were a lot of conversations in terms of what faculty look for and things about academia, and we were able to give a lot of insight from the student perspective. I felt that the break down of 4 faculty and 3 students is deliberate.

    MAIN: Can you tell us about some of the feedback you received?

    PRESIDENT: Some were concerned about there only being 3 students on the team. It felt to a lot of students I heard from that it wasn’t transparent. I mean this is a person who is a representative for the faculty, a person who students go to to talk to the faculty. They are a resource for us, but they are not representing us the same way I represent the student body. If students are concerned about their voices being heard, we should talk about that.

    2015: It was necessarily process-related concerns. There are a number of students who have very strong feelings against that person.

    ACADEMICS: There’s not as much student interaction with the Dean of Studies as with the Dean of Freshmen. If you’re a senior, for example, you don’t go to the Dean of Studies, you talk to the Assistant Dean of Studies. I just think it’s worth noting.

    2015: I think it’s just work noting that people don’t like him. The other thing was the voting process wasn’t clear.

    STUDENT LIFE: The breakdown was that there were 4 votes in favor and 3 votes not in favor. I would say that if any of you would like to speak to us in our committees or outside of Council, I’d be willing to open up. There was a lot of student feedback and it was voiced passionately. We passed it on directly to President Hill.

    JOSSELYN: It’s a recommendation, so is Ben Lotto the Dean or not?

    PRESIDENT: He is.

    JOSSELYN: OK, I also feel that because he is, what can we do?

    STUDENT LIFE: There was a chance to go to external search if the internal search found no viable candidates. Hill decided not to and took the recommendation of the committee. I think we should also add that Joanne Long did not opt to go for the position again. It’s 5 years. So this appointment has the potential to remain.

    TAs: I know that the candidate needs to come from a department that won’t experience a drain by the loss.

    PRESIDENT: It privileges some departments over others.

    OPERATIONS: We wanted to talk about the process and not the person. Talking about how the process can be better is great. The thing about the process was that the decision to go to an external search was not made.

    ACADEMICS: The reasoning is that if an external search was held, and another person came into the position. Our Dean of Studies office works differently than at other schools, so it would be more of a process for that person to learn how the offices under the Dean of Studies works. It’s not my explanation, but it is an explanation.

    PRESIDENT: I will be sitting on a search committee later in this semester from a position. So moving forward, we’re looking at this as a chance to make changes for the future. If you get feedback from constituents about experiences that were or weren’t good, send them to me. Ben Lotto will come in later to have productive discussion.

    7:34 //…..Open Discussion

    2014: There are 118 days until graduation. 100 Nights is coming up on Feb. 15. There will be wine, cheese and dancing.

    MAIN: Can we get an update on the VSA Audit?

    OPERATIONS: There’s a 1 year timeline. We’re talking about bringing in an expert to do some of the data gathering and an analyses. That’s a more time-consuming process. We should do it right rather than doing it quickly.

    2016: I got a lot of emails over break from students about the textbook lists and how they couldn’t get a list so they had to get books from the bookstores. We talked to the CCP about posting the syllabi being posted and we were shot down. It was frustrating went someone sent me a link to an online course catalogue from another school that had the syllabus from the last few years. I don’t see what the big deal is concerning having your book lists or a syllabus posted 2 weeks before classes. You should know what you’re teaching.

    2015: Card office changed policies. Anytime you print a card it’s 25 dollars, but we’re not sure if that the actual policy. It would be nice to know what these changes are if there are any.

    PRESIDENT: We are going to ask Acting Dean Dunbar if she has a consolidated list of things that changed that we can send out.

    So you know last semester we started Late Night at the Deece, and we’re working on getting food down there. We talked to Aramark and they’re into the idea. The trial period would be a couple of days a week, because we don’t have enough staff. The trial period would be from Thursday though Saturday, 10pm to 2am to fill a void on campus. But we need 2 to 3 students to start a task force. If you have any interest come talk to me.

    JEWETT: What time does it open now?

    PRESIDENT: 10. It’s always open at that time, this would just be a time when food would be available because they have to reset the kitchen. I was hoping it would start in the beginning of Feb. but the trial should start before spring break.

    2016: What does the Food Committee have to say about this, and what do they do?

    OPERATION: Well the committee is elected. Sarah King ’16 is the chair. They meet every week with Maureen King, and read over the comment cards. They make those suggestions to Maureen and she works with them to make them happen.

    JOSSELYN: I was wondering when this task force meets.

    PRESIDENT: It would meet like once, hopefully next week.

    AT LARGE: I don’t know much about late night at the Deece, so what does it offer that’s different than the Retreat or UpC?

    PRESIDENT: It’s just another space. UpC is now an event space so there might be noise going on there. And you could use the Retreat, but it’s a different space. The idea started because we wanted to serve food. Originally it was going to be the Retreat, but there’s limited storage space. So this is phase II of Late night at the Deece.

    STUDENT LIFE: Tomorrow is there’s the committee meeting in the LGBTQ Center. I was sitting on the SAVP Committee on Friday. One of the things that came up was finding students to sit on the student subcommittee of the SAVP. If House Presidents could reach out to their students and see if they’re interesting. It would give students an opportunity to have conversations about personal violence with students. It would give students a little more perspective on more complicated questions. For example, we got a report on every resource utilized and that information is usually available.But we’re still defining the subcommittee as far as defining what we, as a body, will do.

    DAVISON: So this is a call to students to structure and sit on the committee?


    RAYMOND: What does the overarching committee do?

    STUDENT LIFE: They plan and review events. Dealt with Title IX. Accurately report what happens in government.

    Anyone is welcome to express interest in this committee.

    JOSSELYN: When do they meet?

    STUDENT LIFE: The interested parties would decide that.

    ACADEMICS: CCP believes that 75% of the professors already send out their booklists. I think it’s a problem here and there, but it’s not a universal problem. On to happier things, starting tomorrow we will have a New York Times subscription. They will be available in the Retreat by the Mug and by the Kiosk.

    OPERATIONS: A lot of schools require their professors to upload their material on Moodle 2 weeks early.

    ACADEMICS: A lot of faculty don’t use Moodle and they don’t want to use Moodle, and they don’t know what books are available.

    PRESIDENT: Reality is a lot of faculty don’t have their syllabus 2 weeks early.

    SOUTH COMMONS: Professors will put books on the list and students will buy them and then say never mind, you don’t need them.

    2017: I thought the Audit started.

    OPERATIONS: It has started. We’ve talked about it with students at large, etc. it’s just a bit more complicated. We’ve been in negotiations with auditors..

    PRESIDENT: Ed Pittman will be coming in to talk in a forum about All-College Day.

    VARC PRESIDENT: I wanted to invite everyone to Ferry House this weekend, from 7-9 for a vegan wine and cheese party. There will be nonalcoholic wine.

    CUSHING: I really would like for the focus of our Council to fix that we don’t feel like we have a voice. One thing we could think about is forming a student bill of rights. I would love for it to be something the VSA to create.

    STUDENT LIFE: It’s something a join-operational committee could work on.

    PRESIDENT: Or anyone who’s interested could join together.

    2016: I was going to suggest we could do it during a Council dinner. I think we should all sit down and do it.

    RAYMOND: 2 questions, do we have a dinner on the horizon?

    PRESIDENT: We can.

    RAYMOND: Does Exec board have their office hours up?

    PRESIDENT: No, we’re working on it. They should be in by Wednesday, and then I’ll send them to everyone.

    STUDENT LIFE: This is something I would say in my update, but this is more time sensitive. There will be a forum with Judy Jarvis and other students, for students and faculty to explain why we are moving in the direction of gender-neutral bathrooms. It will be on Feb. 19 in CCMPR or Villard from 5:30-6:40.

    JOSSELYN: Joss will be having a battle of the bands in the Shiva on the Feb. 7.

    OPERATIONS: Motion to adjourn.

    8: 05 // MOTION PASSES.

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc