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  • Palak 11:07 pm on March 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA 3.27.16 

    7:05//Call to Order and Attendance

    7:06//Consensus agenda

    a. Speakers to Poder Latino (5300/8000)

    b. Conference to Poder Latino (1000/1000)

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

    d. Speakers to Davison (0/12000)

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

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

    g. Discretionary to BSU (7500/23500)

    h. Minutes from 3/6/16

    7:07//Constituent Concerns

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

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

    Pres: I can find out.

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

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

    Raymond: It’s almost all the houses.

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

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

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

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

    Pres: Did anyone stay over winter break?

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

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

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

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

    Joss: Can we think on it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    SoCos: Please read the mission statement in the Constitution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Abby: Cappy is bringing people. People are coming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    7:52//Open Discussion

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

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

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

    2019: Will I be getting a new VP?

    Abby: Yes, you will.

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

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

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

    Ferry: When are we done?

    Pres: April 30th.

    SoCos: Is Art Rodriguez coming in?

    Pres: Trying to!

    2019: Class of 2019 has zero money.

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

  • Palak 12:01 am on March 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 3.6.16 

    7:02//Call to Order and Attendance

    Everyone is here.

    7:08//Consensus agenda

    a. Conference to On Tap (1350/2070)

    b. Social Consciousness to VPI (2000/2000)

    c. Discretionary to LiNK (0/100)

    d. Pre-Org to Majors (0/100)

    e. Discretionary to Crafts Not Bombs (400/400)

    f. Discretionary to Crafts Not Bombs (86.83/86.83)

    g. Conference to TransMission (500/500)

    h. Minutes from 2/21

    Finance: Five people are going to the On Tap conference. VPI is hosting a workshop. LiNK wants to do a fundraiser, but we don’t pay for that. We don’t do reimbursements, you have to apply for funding before hand.


    Activities: No reports.

    Finance: No reports.

    Academics: I’m meeting with Colleen Mallet this week to talk about gender pronouns.

    Ops: No reports.

    Pres: No reports.

    StuLife: Dining focus groups tomorrow. Please go if you were asked to be a part of it.

    BOEA: I have no email. Elections are happening. Filing will open March 26, the Saturday before we get back from break. Then March 30 will be a candidates meeting. Campaigning starts immediately after.

    Ferry: Are we advertising the new positions?

    Ops: I’ll be there the whole time to explain things.

    7:13//Constituent Concerns

    SoCos: The Bridge access is not there yet. The plan is for full 24/7 access. They want to fix the door between Olmsted and the Bridge. Once that’s fixed, they will do it.

    7:15//BDS Resolution and Amendment SJP and JVP

    SJP: The main changes are the removal of the boycotting of Zionism. We do not agree with that. We added that BDS does not take a stance on Zionism.

    At-Large: How exactly is this going to be enforced?

    Ops: Speaking from an operational standpoint, the amendment would mean the VSA wouldn’t spend its funds from here on out on these specific things.

    Finance: Right now we don’t allow people to buy certain items. People submit receipts. I review those receipts. It would be the same.

    At-Large: In the resolution, there is a part that references right of return. There is no international law that recognizes right of return. Can we adjust the language?

    SJP: It is from a UN resolution…the binding of this is moral and ethical.

    At-Large: How it is relevant to reference intersectional feminism?

    SJP: A number of the organizations that made the initial call for BDS were women’s organizations. And the patriarchal nature of colonial regimes.

    At-Large: One of the most horrible consequences of occupation is rape and sexual assault.

    At-Large: Would we boycott Metro North because GE builds those trains?

    SJP: I think we have allowances in Finance Committee. It’s not cut and dried.

    Town Students: I think we have to remind ourselves to be respectful here. Not everyone is on the same plane of knowledge.

    SJP: I feel like it is worth trying to frame the conversation. There are many complicated aspects of BDS. The core of the issue is simple, whether or not we are willing to stand by the oppressed. We want to recenter the conversation on the Palestinian people.

    At-Large: I do not appreciate this dichotomy you are offering, standing with the oppressed or standing with the oppressor. You solution is not necessarily the correct one. There are many ways to support Palestine. To say that nobody on campus, regardless of what they believe, should be allowed to buy these products is a problem.

    At-Large: I wanted to shift the conversation to shared governance. Shared governance has been threatened by the Board and Administration. I want to urge council to postpone the vote.

    At-Large: This was mentioned last time, that we are forcing people to not subscribe to BDS. You have to acknowledge that you are always forcing people to add their money to something they really don’t believe in.

    At-Large: …the voices of students of color should be sought after concerning this report. We have grown from a variety of oppression in the past.

    At-Large: I recognize the aftermath of the intimidation. JStreet Vassar doesn’t agree with these groups. I want the VSA to hold true to the promise to vote true. We want the VSA to vote no because JStreet does not agree with BDS.

    THs: I want to speak to the Administration and what happened this week. They could have sent that out in August. For them to then go into a mode of basically threaten us the Thursday before we vote is very unfortunate. I’ve been clear. I plan on voting no and I have a number of reasons why. It is about the symbolism that we stand for; it is truly bizarre. It is more than this.

    At-Large: I’m glad that people have brought up the Canary Mission and the Administration. It shows where the power lies.

    At-Large: The Administration was very disrespectful, and don’t change your vote. But please don’t pass this. They are making a move to protect the students. This is a discriminatory amendment. This fundamentally destroys my right as a student.

    At-Large: The resolution explicitly states that the BDS movement does not take a stance on Zionism. The resolution is supported by students of color and the marginalized students on campus.

    At-Large: Who has more to lose here? I believe the Palestinian state does not threaten the Jewish state. We should advocate for a two-state solution. Israel is important. We need to have a place to come home to. We should not support any resolution that does not acknowledge the right for the Jewish state to exist.

    At-Large: The dichotomy between the two powers is one of the oppressed and the oppressor. We are trying to help those that are marginalized and oppressed. if you question who has more to lose, you have to think about the dichotomy that exists.

    Joss: You know who’s voices have truly be silenced and squandered? Black and brown bodies, queer and trans folks, Palestinians. We are being targeted for our existence.

    At-Large (VPI): VPI supports the BDS resolution.

    At-Large: In reference to Joss, the Israeli existence was fought against by Palestine. There’s bloodshed on both sides.

    At-Large: I wanted to represent Jewish Voice for Peace. I wanted, on JVP, to speak in opposition of using the Holocaust in this conversation. Nobody can speak for all Jews. We are active supporters of BDS on campus. Just because genocide was invoked as a political tool. It affects people in this room, that historical trauma.

    At-Large: We need to act collectively.

    At-Large: I am speaking on behalf of the Multi Racial Biracial Students Alliance. Colonization is something that is bad. Jewish students are not all in agreement with this issue. It’s more complicated.

    At-Large: I would like to begin by commending the BDS Coalition. I think we need to take a good look at what they have presented. What good does it do? We shouldn’t neglect the lives of students on this campus. If this were to fail, nobody would transfer out of Vassar. This has a major effect on campus climate.

    Strong: I disagree with what he said, but I feel like this conversation has devolved into oppression vs oppression. That’s awful. I think this is merely for creating a space for students with marginalized voices. That’s important.

    THs motions to extend time by 10 minutes.

    Pres: It is 14 yes, 8 no, 1 extension. It passes.

    At-Large: I feel that the discussion that we are having now is very based on the views of Americans. As a person from the Middle East without American nationality, I want to speak about how we are talking about real people and real individuals. We talk about being Jewish, Middle Eastern, Arab, Muslim…we have to talk about nationality. We encourage people to think about the implications of being American. Tax-payers are inevitably supporting Israel.

    Ferry: The amount of antisemitism that surrounds this issue is horrific. Its been bad for me, but its been worse for other people. We don’t have to make this divisive. It’s not creating a safe environment. JStreet offered an alternative.

    THs: We keep using the language of dichotomy and power. The biggest problem with this discussion is that we aren’t having a discussion about the historical context. It’s about more than just European Jews.

    At-Large: Some of us do not have institutional support. I’m an Arab-Muslim student. I have nobody. Some of us are institutionally discriminated against.

    At-Large: Some of us don’t have the privilege of color.

    At-Large: I think the misconception of all Jews being the same is wrong. Not all Jews here are rich and white.

    Pres: We are going to move into the voting process.

    SJP: This is an incredibly contentious issue. We do have to have a conversation about who’s voices are being marginalized.

    At-Large: I think it is pretty clear that this is divisive. I’m anti-BDS, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine. I’m disgusted by what is happening here, by pitting students against each other. This is a real problem. BDS isn’t the right way to solve this problem. It’s not as simple as we want it to be. We aren’t being nuanced. We are dichotomizing everything.

    SJP: I think the amendment is an important part of the resolution. It changes the way our funding works. Historically when we supported the bottled water divestment, we can easily make this happen. It’s a simple way to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people. I would be unfortunate to pass one and not the other.

    At-Large: I hope the VSA does not pass this amendment. We have to look at the activism we are doing….the action is not so good.

    The council proceeds with their anonymous vote.

    Pres: To pass the resolution, you just need a majority, the amendment needs 2/3 in favor. For the resolution, 15 in favor, 7 opposed. For the amendment, 12 in favor, and 10 opposed. The resolution passes, but the amendment does not.

    Five minute break.

    8:42//Anti Occupation Activism Resolution J Street U

    JStreet: Pretty much the same as last week. We separated the committee into a charter.

    Cushing: If the BDS resolution passes, we are not voting in favor of the resolution.

    Ops: What is upheld, is what was last passed. We still have to vote now.

    THs: In regard to the education committee. Can you strike it? Nobody seems down with it. It seems privileging.

    At-Large: The VSA will not take a position on BDS. This will cancel out what just happened.

    At-Large: I believe the anti-occupation resolution to be self-undermining. I would like to raise a complaint. Two clauses conflict. I urge you to vote against it, anti-BDS activists will continue to come to the VSA.

    JStreet: It’s an educational committee. It’s purpose is to offer opportunities to the campus to engage with Israel-Palestine issues. I don’t think it has any institutional power in the VSA.

    At-Large: SJP and JStreet do not work together. How can this committee work then? I think this is an imposition on orgs.

    At-Large: I think it is pretty clear what people at this school care about. Look at the room. SJP and JVP refusing to work with JStreet and the conversation from tonight shows how much we still have to do.

    At-Large: Unfortunately, SJP and JVP won’t work with individuals. Maybe you should work with more people. The campus climate right now is not very good. Only at Vassar can a conversation like this can erupt this way.

    THs: It is interesting to see how many people are in the room now. I want to respond to a comment to somebody who is not here anymore concerning institutional support. I am at a loss for words. This has been such a beautiful waste of my last semester. If the Administration cared so much, they would have been facilitating this dialogue from the beginning. This issue is so damaging.

    SoCos: So there should be no call for a charter. It’s separate.

    JStreet: The last three clauses are struck, actually.

    Joss: The voices that want to be talking, are often silenced. How do we make sure as a VSA, that those voices are being heard and advocated for in real institutional ways?

    JStreet: This is just one step in one issue that we feel needs to be talked about. I think there is no doubt that more committees should be formed.

    Lathrop: Committees like these have been attempted in the past and have failed? What do you think will be different about this committee?

    JStreet: If this committee is formed, we will work hard to push to make it work. We want people to be comfortable to be in it. I can’t say it is going to be thriving and wonderful, but why not just try?

    THs: I just don’t have faith in the capacity of students to do this well, to make it something positive. Part of my issue is that we are framing this around an American understanding, not a Middle Eastern one. I don’t want people to waste their time and ultimately be hurt.

    JStreet: To the 15 of you who voted yes to the previous resolution, I believe you made the wrong choice. It’s not simple. People are fighting for a right to land. They have been fighting for a really long time. I support Palestinians. We need to stop and think about the resolution we just endorsed. I’m scared to call it antisemitism. We let it go and don’t allow ourselves to call it out when it is antisemitism. If you vote for this, you can fix what you just did. I think we have damaged Vassar for…I used to imagine looking back at these four years and being proud of this institution. But now I’m not so sure. We can look at this empty room and see what people really care about. It’s not about winning. People are dying. Do what you think is right.

    At-large: I affirm how difficult it has been for anti-BDS activists. The VSA has voted and passed the BDS resolution. For logical reasons, it makes no sense to pass this resolution. I don’t think that we need the resolution. I think it would stifle further BDS activism on this campus. To pass this, would be to rebuke the work that many activists who did leave. I think it is about winning, though. We listened to the voices of the people who are dying.

    4 yes, 15 no, 3 abstentions for Resolution.

    6 yes, 14 no, 2 abstentions for Charter.

    9:20//Open Discussion

    Ferry: What’s been happening on this campus isn’t great. We need to do something about this. Truly hateful things have been said. I don’t want this to be a one-sided debate anymore. We should make this positive and not hurtful.

    THs: I do not have faith in students to be able to do anything about this. We keep talking about Israel as if it is a normal colonial state. This is a distinct, different type. I would just like to say that I’m very skeptical about anything moving forward on this. I don’t see this getting better for Jewish students. I don’t know what we do from here, but we need to be very cognizant. We are hurting people. That’s a serious problem.

    At-Large: We talked about emotional tolls. I want to recognize the emotional toll taken on council.

    At-Large: I don’t want your help anymore. Or Vassar’s help anymore.

    SoCos: Can we change focus now. Trustees? Are we planning any sort of resolution or something? How do we proceed?

    2017: Deviate back, I feel very complicit in the antisemitism that was occurring tonight. We couldn’t do anything to any of the people laughing at people crying. We need to do something to stop this. We have to be able to kick people out.

    At-Large: I think it is important to recognize and listen to Jewish voices.

    StuLife: The College will not strike it because it is symbolic. It’s out of our hands though.

    J: What are the possibilities to having this be brought to referendum?

    At-Large: the numbers in this room are not indicative of the numbers on this campus.

    THs: Less than 10 people came to talk to me in favor of BDS and over 30 against it. We are adults. Public people. There has been an incredible lack of accountability for us, as adults.

    At-Large: If we want to repeal this, or something else comes up in the future,…I found out from a member of council that this was going to be voted on in August. You did a tremendous amount. But a few of you didn’t do your homework.

    Pres: It says in the constitution, that they have two academic weeks to get signatures for a referendum. It is 5% for the resolution and 15% for the amendment.

    2018: The conversation that happened in here was disrespectful. I was scared to say something. The disrespect and tones tonight were hateful. We couldn’t do anything. We are supposed to be facilitators. We do have the power to tell people to be respectful. I think everyone in this room was ready to vote on this.

    2019: There was a lot of disrespect on all sides. We appreciate those that stayed as well.

  • Palak 12:04 am on February 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 2.21.16 

    7:02//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: Strong (proxy), Town Students

    7:04//Consensus agenda

    a. Preliminary to Toastmasters (180/180)

    b. Social Consciousness to JVP (1500/1500)

    c. Capital to Miscellany News (1232.17/1232.17)

    d. Capital to VCTV (999/999)

    e. Minutes from 2/14

    7:06//Forum with Christopher Roellke regarding the Dean of Students Search

    Chris Roellke: Thanks for having me. Ramy and the VSA Exec asked me to update you on the Dean of Students search. I can answer any questions you have. DB Brown has announced his retirement after three decades at the College. He’s served us well. The search committee is made up of two faculty members whose roles are affiliate with Student Life. We have Jamie Kelly and Sophia Harvey. There is also Michelle Ransom and Matthew Schultz. Then we have the two VSA dream team members: Chris Brown and Ramy Abbady. The job has been posted and is out there. We hope to have applications being accepted through March 15. Semifinalists by April. Finalist interviews will take place April 11-26. I am not on the committee, but the committee makes a recommendation to me and to Cappy. We will also celebrate DB’s accomplishments after Spring Break.

    Lathrop: DB was originally a professor?

    Roellke: He came as a counselor actually. There might be internal candidates though.

    SoCos: I’m a current member of CAFA. It was very frustrating because we didn’t meet with anyone. I’m hoping it will be different this time. Can the general campus body meet with the candidates? And what are you doing to look introspectively with the office?

    Roellke: I couldn’t agree with you more about student input is vital in this search. I want to shout-out to the two co-chairs. They’ve already met with the Deans and Directors for their feedback and suggestions for the kind of candidates that they would like to see come. For the finalist interviews…we had the finalists have open public forums. They made public presentations. I see something quite similar happening here. We have worked on internal structure. We also want to leave some of the restructuring to the candidate. The main offices that report to the Dean of Students is ResLife, health…Safety and Security has come under my office now.

    J: Is there any priority given to internal candidates?

    Roellke: There is no advantage for internal candidates.

    J: For finding student feedback…is there any structure in place whereby students can talk to the committee itself or a town hall for general communication?

    Roellke: I think that’s a very good suggestion. I have to say that I think they are really interested in getting as much student feedback as possible.

    TAs: How much flexibility will be given to the new candidate? And how much will change?

    Roellke: I’ve heard about the problems with consistency. Something has already changed within the Dean of Students office, which is the moving of the Title IX offier to EOAA. There is already a committee looking at a Chief Diversity Officer at Vassar. That will be happening around April.

    THs: This is to focus in on the SSN. Are we dealing with that after we have a person, or separately?

    Roellke: I think if there are concerns with the SSN, I would encourage voices to be heard right away. It might help the committee. There are no plans afoot to change the network.

    Lathrop: One common critique that I’ve heard has been the response to a lot of cases with students is to send students home. I think it is important for a candidate to look at the circumstances of the students. Sending a student home could be doing more damage to them. That is one of the largest critiques and outcries.

    Roellke: I know that we struggle with those decisions. It’s a constant balancing act.

    Sam (at -large): I’m wondering how we can think about the Dean of Students concerning the all-gender bathroom initiative.

    Roellke: I think we made progress concerning the all-gender bathroom initiative. I think a better person is to speak with Marianne Begemann. Part of the renovation of the new Bridge building included adding gender neutral bathrooms to Olmsted. There is only one set of bathrooms in the Bridge Building, though.

    Sam: Hypothetically, if the Vassar Queer Health Initiative did all of the work, provided the signage, and gave enough info about it, what would be stopping it?

    Roellke: It would still go to Begemann and the Master Planning committee. I encourage you to continue to keep moving forward.

    Sam: But what about the lives of trans students right now?

    Roellke: I will push back a little here and say we are making progress.

    Cushing: When do you expect the LGBTQ/Women’s Center director position to be filled? Or increase funding to the ALANA center?

    Roellke: The LGBTQ/Women’s Center job has already been posted. We have hired a Post-Bacc for that area, Dallas Robinson, who will be starting soon. The search for the Director is ongoing, but we are hoping to have somebody on board by May. I do agree that we need to have a larger budget for our programming centers.

    Sam: I was wondering why the College hasn’t made a public response to the Islamophobia on campus?

    Roellke: I can’t speak for Cappy. I believe the message that was co-authored by your president, Ramy, included a phrasing about Islamophobia. Needless to say, BIRT and a number of other offices have been quite busy concerning the speech on campus.

    Lathrop: Do you have any steps in place to combat any of these issues?

    Roellke: We are looking at a geo-fence, but we aren’t fans of this idea. We have consulted with CIS on this. We have gone to the step of going to Yik Yak directly for any personal attacks online. We’ve engaged with local police and law enforcement. We are somewhat limited in our ability to fight back against this. It takes the whole community.

    Alexia: I’ve noticed that there are a lot of differences in groups being able to get funding from the President’s office.

    Roellke: I’m very sorry to hear that. We can track where funding has gone anywhere on this campus. We should have a factual basis for these assertions. There were restrictions for how the funding could be distributed, because it was funded by an anonymous donor.

    Roellke: I really love this place and I love working with these students. I do have your best interest at heart, even though we do disagree on things.


    Pres: The Board of Trustees is coming! City Committee will be meeting. I’m working on a new project, which is the creation of a VSA endowment.

    Ops: We restructured. Ku-Yah retired and moved to Florida. And Janice’s Jerk doesn’t have a kitchen so all of the Jamaican food is gone. Saturday Shuttle drama needs to calm down. The Saturday Shuttle actually costs more.

    Pres: Talk to CSA about the Jamaican food.

    StuLife: Meeting with TQ this Tuesday concerning dining. Tampon things are happening.

    Academics: Deadline for Student Seminars was extended.

    Activities: We did week one of the new pre-org application process.

    Finance: Nothing new.

    Pres: Since Vassar upgraded their fancy systems, I cannot access the VSA email.

    8:05//Constituent Concerns

    8:05//Restructuring President, Operations, 2017, SoCos

    Noyes: I’m working with ResLife to talk about House Presidents getting adjusted. Can we amend stuff later?

    Pres: Yes, we will be having multiple amendments throughout.

    Ops: I move to Restructure the VSA.

    The motion passes unanimously.

    ~the VSA will take a 5 minute break~

    8:23//A Conversation on the BDS Voting Process

    Pres: We are talking about voting process, not the actual resolution.

    StuLife: We talked about it at the tail end of our meeting. Some of the comments brought up revolved around the idea of…

    2019: …I’m going to speak on behalf of my participation. I think the vote should be anonymous and not public. There is at least a perception that if this is public, it can effect their livelihood later in life. I believe because of that it should be anonymous.

    Ops: We were pretty concerned with the divisive nature of the resolution. We were concerned that the vote does follow you for the rest of your life. On a more democratic level, this issue is something that the campus should be deciding on.

    StuLife: One of the arguments brought up was that given what 2019 has already stated, given the implication for greater members of the council….It is inherently racist to make it a public vote.

    2019: I’m going to expand on that because that was what I brought up. I think a referendum or anonymous vote is the best.

    Jesse: I would like to speak against the idea of anonymity. The public at large elected representatives. You ran to represent your constituents. They deserve to have a right to know how their representatives voted.

    StuLife: I hear the uncomfortability. Although I acknowledge that I was elected for this position, I do not think we owe the student body our livelihood.

    Raymond: They can always come and ask us.

    2018: Read the minutes from last week.

    2019: there have been people on this campus who have taken a public stance who have been harassed.

    Academics: I want to query the notion of accountability here. What would accountability look like here?

    2017: The people who are looking to be reelected..are you not going to vote for me because I didn’t vote according to your ideas?

    Matt: I understand the reasoning to be anonymous. I would prefer for it to be referendum. I would like the people who vote and go for reelection to let their opinions be known.

    Ferry: I know people want to know how their representatives are voting. I think it shouldn’t be anonymous.

    Jesse: I think it is reasonable. I’m not saying it has to be a vote here. I’m saying we should have a referendum. But people should know how we vote.

    Sam: Retaliation will look a lot different for people who say yes versus people who say no. Institutionally, voting no is supported.

    StuLife: In terms of precedent, I reached out to our research director and got info on previous colleges that voted on BDS. About four our of eleven schools went to referendum.

    Cush: We recommend going straight to referendum. It is inherently more democratic.

    TA: This is going to be impossible for some of us to represent our constituents here. We should give them the opportunity to educate ourselves. We should give students on this campus spaces to talk about this.

    Cush: We can teach people. Especially in houses. We are having a forum in our house as well.

    Pres: From an org standpoint, it’s frustrating that people aren’t engaging in the spaces that are already available.

    Davison: We talked about getting stuff going on in the house. We decided against it because we didn’t want to bring that divisive issue into a space that is supposed to be safe.

    Ferry: I disagree with Ramy. Those orgs have a political agenda.

    2019: I agree with Ramy about using our orgs.

    Strong: I’m speaking for myself and also spoke with Sumaiya. Both of us support sending it to referendum. An org will organize to send it to referendum no matter what. You all still get to vote and you only vote for yourself.

    Ian (at large): we probably voted more on who we like than your political opinions. The student body would probably appreciate a referendum. There’s already a lot of hate on all sides.

    Pres: I agree with what Maya said. We’ve known about this since August. We’ve invested a lot of time and energy into this issue. It feels shitty to have that be ignored. The other thing is a precedent thing, we voted on the Greens thing when we knew that was going to referendum.

    2018: I’m going to speak in support of the VSA voting first. I think this conversation has really helped us grow. By voting on it, it will help us become stronger leaders. I think the student body deserves to know how we would vote.

    Noyes: I don’t think it’s fair for us to vote with little to no thought about whether it goes to referendum.

    Alexia: First seconding things that Ramy and Maya have said. There should be a conversation this year. The VSA did take a political stance this year. Pushing it referendum will leave out a lot of points of view.

    Jason: I really agree with Alexia. There especially seems to be a lot of documentation where it did pass and things didn’t go well. I’m sure you have info about the opposite.

    Matt: Regardless of what your decision is, it would be really rad to have an open discussion.

    J: This has been an issue that everyone has known about for months. After being aware of it, you still passed guiding principles that made the VSA a political body. If you punt it to a group of people who are predominantly not as educated as you are. It feels like a dodge.

    StuLife: I’ve spoken to constituents who don’t want a public VSA council vote. Some people want a secret vote over referendum. Some don’t. Maybe we should propose a vote for a secret vote first, then see where we stand.

    StuLife moves to have a secret vote in VSA council.

    Pres: to clarify, he is moving to suspend the bylaw on this particular issue. It can still go to referendum.

    16 in favor, 3 oppose, 3 abstentions. The motion passes.

    Academics: I do not think the VSA is more educated than the general student body. There are people who are more invested in it outside of the VSA. A referendum is the best way to let the constituents have their say.

    Cushing moves to suspend a bylaw to send the resolution to referendum.

    Cushing retracts that motion.

    Alexia: We have to actually amend the resolution.

    9:20// Finance Guidelines Exec

    Finance: We have drafted guiding principles for Finance until the BDS decision has passed. The guidelines can be reviewed afterward. It basically says we aren’t taking a stance at this time, that is not what we are going to base our funding on.

    Pres: to clarify, this will only last for this year. It is very temporary. They will have to redo stuff next year.

    Finance moves to adapt the language of the guiding principles.

    Passes with 19 in favor, two abstentions.

    9:41//Open Discussion

    2018: We should think about how political we want to be.

    Pres: BDS is slightly more complicated now. I don’t personally believe there is such a thing as being apolitical.

  • Palak 11:59 pm on January 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Meeting 1.31.2016 

    7:02//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: Activities, Finance (proxy)

    Consensus agenda

    1. Capital to EMS (900/900)
    2. Capital to EMS (304.25/304.25)
    3. Social Consciousness to Fem Alliance (1485/1485)
    4. Conference to CBS (954/954)
    5. Collab to ViCE Film (0/3500)
    6. Discretionary to VPI (2000/2000)
    7. Capital to Noyes (0/495.75)
    8. Community to ASA (0/2500)
    9. Discretionary to FWA (600/1000)
    10. Discretionary to Operating (740/740)
    11. Appointment of Kaden Maguire as VP for Finance
    12. Minutes from 11/29

    Pres: Capital items for the first two. We gave money to Fem Alliance for a conference. CBS is going to a conference. ViCE Film canceled their event. Noyes wanted their pool tables refurbished, but we don’t do that. ASA was looking for a speaker. FWA we gave money for production cost. Operating got bus money.

    Abby: Thanks BOEA. We are excited that Kaden applied. They are fully qualified.

    7:05//Forum with Campus Climate Survey Oversight Group

    Hannah Matsunaga: We are the majority of the people who designed the What Happens Here survey. Please feel free to step out at any time. We will be doing two public presentations on Monday.

    Kelly Grab, Rachel Pereira and David Davis-Van Atta are here.

    Davis-Van Atta: I’m going to talk fast because there is a lot of information here. Hannah meant her title as a way of stating What Happens Here. I’ll start with the background of the data. Response rates matter. You can never fully extrapolate from a survey sample to a population. It’s important to know how limited this is. We got good response rates though. A totally of 1171 students completed the survey. Only 48 non-cis-identified respondents. We cannot judge this response rate because we don’t know this data. Our samples were reasonably to very closely representative of Vassar. One of the caveats was with sexual orientation. There is no way for us to know this information. All I have is data from other surveys. We have one validity test. That is where we ask if these data are accurate. The only thing that we have, and it’s not terribly good, is official Title IX reports. Only 18 respondents out of 1171 who responded to this question. The incidents presented here are for non-consensual and unwanted sexual contacts. They must have occurred on Vassar Campus, JYA or any official VC program/event. The analyses are also broken down by type of event.

    Davis-Van Atta shows a graph of incidence rate findings. This graph shows both annual rates (2014-2015) and cumulative rates since enrolling.

    Davis-Van Atta: We have twelve different ways to look at these incidence rates. We have to be really careful when we interpret this data. Rates are higher for cis-women than for cis-men. Non-cis incidents report higher. We can see that this population is more at risk. This data is important for people who are trying to work on prevention and education. We have to go through these by class years.

    Davis-Van Atta shows a graph broken up by class year.

    Davis-Van Atta: The story is with the cis-women data. It starts off at a peak during freshman year and declines steadily over four years. We have enough cases to talk with reasonable confidence and we have a pattern. This is a well-established pattern in the literature of this kind of survey. We found it here too. The cumulative rates also have a pattern; it is the opposite. Women’s rates are higher than cis-men. We do a survey on the National College Health Association. This is a more omnibus type of survey. It’s not as specific as ours. It makes sense to compare our survey results with the NCHA survey findings because we ask the same question. This is reliability, not validity. We did not find significant differences in race/ethnic background.There were eight sections on the survey that counted demographics, but I’m only talking about three right now.

    Ferry: The percentage of sexual assault against women at Vassar is lower than average. Do you know how low?

    Davis-Van Atta: I don’t know. The numbers are very hard to read in order to make a definitive answer. This was never designed to be a quantitative test.

    THs: How is this info being presented to the student body, beside email?

    Davis-Van Atta: There will be a presentation exactly like tonight tomorrow. It will be presented at least twice as open campus sessions in Rocky. Those presentations will have other people besides me, including Cappy and Chris Roellke. It’s a longer presentation. We will schedule a third if there is interest and demand. There will be a presentation by SARC, SAVP and CARES. There is an executive summary online and a full document. The full report will come out later this month, as soon as I can get it finished and modified.

    Lathrop: Do you have autonomy on when the full report will be released?

    Davis-Van Atta: There will always be higher ups here. They are totally committed to do this. There has been some Board nervousness. They hadn’t seen it until just yesterday. It’s not my job to send it to them, but it is a major oversight.

    Pres: My understanding is that we have to do this every few years?

    Davis-Van Atta: Two years. Not this exact survey, but something like it.

    2017: is there a plan to try to generate more non-cis data?

    Pereira: I have a list of things that I want to discuss with Ramy and that is on there.

    Cushing: One of the glaring issues I saw was about how cases seemed to be handled. Is there a movement toward trying to fix these issues?

    Grab: The procedures and processes have changed in the four years that the class of 2016 has been here. We have seen a lot of major changes.

    ~quick five minute break~


    President: BOEA first.

    Abby: There are a lot of open positions: VP for Activities, 2016 Treasurer, Town Students President, Noyes Treasurer, Strong VP, 2018 VP, Davison Sophomore Rep, Strong Sophomore Rep and Davison Junior Rep. Applications will open right now.

    Pres: New York City shuttle starts next week. Some extra spots available. I’m working on other projects, but info TBD.

    Operations: New vendors for Tasty Tuesday: Zorona, Janet’s Jerk and a food truck. Restructuring meetings are happening this week. Saturday shuttle is happening. Should be next week.

    Student Life: Tampons are happening. Pro-Health is ready for distribution.

    2018: It’s hard to find other colleges that have done this. I’m working on finding a company that will provide tampons, pads and menstrual cups. We are looking for good quality products.

    Lathrop: Will it be similar to CHOICE for distribution?

    StuLife: Yeah, it will be similar, with tabling at the beginning and figuring out how to have it around campus.

    Academics: We are working on a proposal to let me sit at Faculty Meetings. We just don’t know a lot about faculty meetings. Student Seminars are soon.

    Activities: Pre-org apps are going out.

    Finance: Fund levels are on track, but we don’t know what is in Capital.

    8:41//Constituent Concerns

    Raymond: We have  mice.

    Lathrop: We have a mouse.

    Raymond: Mouse traps are inhumane. Can we change that?

    2016: Could we write a letter to get dorm cats?

    Ferry: Can we get an emblem for Ferry?

    Abby: Just make one.

    8:46//Open Discussion

    JD Nichols: After Judy left, there isn’t an interim director, but an interim faculty fellow. No students were consulted in this decision. The faculty fellow is the chair of the Drama department, Denise Walen. She has had several transphobic interactions with students in class. I wrote an open letter to administration in collaboration with Spectrum orgs. The list of org leaders is not quite accurate; there should be one more person on there.

    2019: Are the people listed at the end the full org or just individual?

    Nichols: It is a mixture of both.

    Lathrop: Are you representing any of these orgs?

    Nichols: I’m a member of some, but I’m not representing any of them.

    Ferry: What do you want us to do?

    Nichols: Council has endorsed letters in the past.

    Pres: If we decide to endorse it, we get added as a signatory.

    SoCos: There’s a difference between what we’ve done in the past. You just want to add our names here.

    Academics: Is this the first communication?

    Nichols: The nature of previous experiences show that it would not be helpful to speak with Denise Walen in person. This is the first communication calling for action.

    Ferry: Can you detail some of the incidences?

    Nichols: Two semesters ago, a student in two of her classes gave pronouns and Walen refused to use them. When asked to ask for pronouns, she did at the beginning of class, but then ignored the given pronouns for the rest of the semester.

    Noyes: I move to vote.

    2017: Can we take the vote by consensus?

    Pres: Yes.

    All in favor.

    Cushing: The new science building is awesome. A quick update on the refugee solidarity initiative. There’s a class for six weeks tomorrow. It has 130 students, six professors and various experts and scholars from away from here.

    Matt Kolbert: Thanks for the Coalition Building Training.

    Pres: There’s a lot of info out there. It’s coming up in a month!

    Jewett: I joined VCLU.

    Matsunaga: Tell your constituents to attend the What Happens Here Results session.

    Pres: we have to name the space. We will probably do a runoff. We will be doing one-on-ones. I’m interviewing for grad schools next week.

  • Palak 12:04 am on November 30, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 11.29.15 

    7:05//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: THs, Town Students, Activities

    7:06//Consensus agenda


    President: We have tickets for the shuttle to NYC. On the Wednesday and Thursday after classes.

    Operations: Still working on Tasty Tuesday. Saturday Shuttle is still under works.

    StuLife: Nothing.

    Academics: My life is going great. This week we are going to be talking about….I lost it.

    Finance: We didn’t meet last week. Meeting on Wednesday.

    SoCos: Can we get a roster for Finance Committee?

    7:09//Constituent Concerns

    SoCos: Sunday at 9:30 p.m. there was a power outage on campus. This was our second power outage. My housing area lost power for 14 hours, including no heat. I was emailing some senior administrators about it, looking for updates. We didn’t have heat and they told us to wear more layers. There might be a review later on. We don’t have a generator in the SoCos.

    Ferry: I think this speaks to a larger issue on campus. We do not have a system in place in the event of an emergency.

    Lathrop: I met with my house advisor. There was nothing my house team could do. Part of winter training will be power outage training.

    Raymond: Several of our lights are still out. Is that happening in other houses? A student fellow also told me that the emergency lighting went out within 40 minutes.

    Pres: Shout out to Josh for getting us food swipes since our food went bad during the outage.

    SoCos: It seems like there are structural issues about this. The emergency lights in the SoCos also slowly started going out. They haven’t been replaced since the SoCos were built. We are just not kept in the loop. I sent four emails asking for information. There was no attempt or effort on their end to have a conversation about this. This is an easy thing to solve.

    Ferry: I researched a lot about disaster preparedness. I can email you guys the reports if anybody is interested.

    J (at large): Only students living in the effected areas were notified. Were faculty?

    Pres: Yes.

    7:18//Open Discussion

    Pres: Next week is our last meeting of the semester. It will be a longish meeting. We will have a forum. We will hopefully do a soft endorsement of the new structure.

    Lathrop: Are we going to bring Art Rodriguez?

    SoCos: If you have specific CAFA things, reach out to your rep.

    2017: About restructuring, can we make a simple report on the fundamental changes? I don’t think people know the current structure very well.

    Ops: We are working on that this week.

    SoCos: Short-term, I’m trying to brainstorm a flowchart right now.

    2018: Is that campaign just for information? Or to join the discussion?

    Ops: Both.

    Jewett: I had a message on behalf of VCLU. Saturday at 6 in Rocky 308.

  • Palak 12:02 am on November 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 11.15.2015 

    7:02//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: 2018 (proxy), Noyes (proxy)

    7:04//Consensus agenda

    1.  Fund Apps
    2. Official Reprimand of ViCE
    3.  Crafts Not Bombs to Level 2
    4.  Minutes from 11/7/15

    Finance: Speakers to NSO will be taken off after SAVP training. New sound system. 2016 for 99 Nights.

    Activities: We are issuing ViCE an official reprimand for the Chapel damages.

    TA: Doesn’t mention anything about before and after the event?

    Activities: The issue is all of it. Can we vote right now to amend this?

    7:10//Forum with Hollace Francy, Campus Activities Program Coordinator

    Hollace Francy: I’m the Post-Bacc for Campus Activities. I do want Dominique Waldren did, but a little more. I advise ViCE, Shiva, others. My other title is Programming Coordinator. We approve all events that occur on the campus.

    SoCos: As we saw about building entrance, are we looking at expanding space access from just Rocky?

    Francy: I don’t think that has been brought to the table before. Basically, you reserve rooms through EMS. I don’t know why this isn’t on EMS. That is something we can look into. Sometimes we give card access. That’s a discussion we have to have with the faculty in those buildings.

    Pres: Can you talk about the process of event approval?

    Francy: The general process is that you go to the SARC office and talk to your intern to put in your event request. That goes to Khasi, who looks over the event and approves it if there are no conflicts. From there, it goes to Sia, Kevin and I and we approve it in our meetings. Then Sia puts them into EMS manually. A lot of events were put in on top of each other. We tend to handle them in the order of the event date.

    Cushing: what’s the typical volume of events per week?

    Francy: In the beginning of the semester we would have like 15 events per week, but now we have about 5 per week. It’s more now that we are gearing up for the next semester.

    Cush: How many people work in the SARC?

    Francy: I think the biggest lag isn’t on the SARC interns but on my side, because it takes time to input events into the EMS. We can talk about ways to make it faster. One way would be to get somebody else to help input events.

    Joss: I know the SARC has a lot of protocols. What are areas of noncompliance that can slow everything down?

    Francy: People filling out the event request form properly. It needs to be really specific. Usually, we then email the SARC intern to get in touch with their org. Also, making sure the SARC interns are looking over your shoulder to make sure you fill it our properly.

    Lathrop: Is there any news on OrgSync software?

    Francy: I went to a demo over the summer but we haven’t talked about it yet. I think we want to display it for the VSA first.

    Pres: When people would book a room on their side of EMS, I can also see it when I was a SARC intern.

    Francy: SARC interns are supposed to be doing that now. We can always do better. I think the discrepancy is between that period of time where you submit the request and Sia puts it in.

    SoCos: Is there anything we can do for space transparency?

    Francy: Only orgs are supposed to be able to reserve spaces for damages. In the College Center they post the schedules during the days. It doesn’t happen in Rocky though. We can look into it though.

    Ops: I have a question about org advising. Is there a way, from the SARC end, we can do that?

    Francy: We did have a plan. We are planning on adding more SARC interns because there are more orgs. We are also tentatively thinking about specializing some SARC interns. We don’t have any formal plans though.

    Abby Johnson: I have an org with a large exec board. Only one of us went to fall leadership conference. Is there a manual or something with all of that info?

    Francy: We have a programming resource guide. It’s online and in the office. I have a bunch now!

    Pres: is there a most common mistake for us to stop making?

    Francy: Don’t assume we have a working speaker system, because we don’t. I’ve been talking with Josh and Kevin and some others about how to make the sound system accessible.


    Student Life: We are all humans. CCL met this past Wednesday. We met with Arlene Sabo about cameras on this campus. I think the number is around 200. They are thinking about adding more outside the residential dorms. They are outlining the policy now. CIE Under-represented Students Sub-Committee met in the ALANA center. Yale and Brown have a separate page for undocumented students online. We are working to try and see what we can do. We are trying to put together a dream team of resources for undocumented students.

    SoCos: What is student life talking about for the cameras? CCL, do they talk about keg ban? CIE, student financial services doesn’t have their own website.

    StuLife: We are talking about it tomorrow at StuLife. Keg ban is on the agenda. We did talk about financial services. Some find it difficult to change it because they would no longer be international students. It would be a difficult push.

    TAs: Small comment about the keg ban. The agenda keeps getting tabled until Roellke gets back.

    Academics: Peer advising was last Tuesday. We had burritos. Great time. CCP met and we talked about credential limits. Not much conversation. At the library committee meeting, we talked about CIS and the computing issues.

    Pres: Bystander Intervention make-up session is TBD. We have quotes for our city buses. I submitted a fund app. This week we are meeting with Administrators! If you have anything you want us to bring up, let us know. We spoke to Bob Walton on Friday. there is a transallyship training happening. Two sessions. Please attend. It’s been updated. We have adopted a 24-hour email policy. Even if you don’t have an answer, you need to respond within 24 hours.

    Lathrop: Who is this policy for?

    Emily Platt: It’s VSA representatives responding to constituent concerns.

    Ferry: We need more time.

    Emily Platt: It wouldn’t count weekends. I also get a lot of complaints about it from students.

    Ops: I think it would be good for all of us to look at it first.

    Pres: Exec has adopted it.

    Ops: Still in progress for updating Saturday shuttle. It sucks. We will have our results from the Tasty Tuesday survey. We had our big restructuring event on Saturday. Lot of pad thai. We finished it. Restructuring the VSA. We did not go with a bi-cameral. We changed it to a senate. We have four boards: residential, activities, strategic planning and student affairs. We have worked out quite a bit of detail..

    Activities: We spent most of our time talking about ViCE. Spring Leadership Conference is coming up. Event is the Saturday after break.

    Finance: Fund levels next week. Still going through applications.

    Raymond: If I send an email on Friday is that too late?

    Finance: Not too late.

    7:47//Constituent Concerns

    Ferry: People are complaining about shoes in the gym. There should be a cleaning station in the gym. I don’t clean my shoes.

    2018: Noise in the library. You can’t study in the library. Today in the Deece, there were a bunch of people in the Deece.

    Cush: There was a tour in the library yesterday and it was so loud. I asked a librarian and they told me to deal with it.

    SoCos: Study rooms would be cool. Oh wait, they took those away.

    Ferry: We should have a quiet floor or something in the library.

    Academics: All of these suggestions should be sent to Andy Ashton.

    2018: I also wanted to say that the biggest issue is just students talking in the library. Can we send out a nice little note? Also, the printer above the Retreat doesn’t work. Can we get another printer?

    TAs: TA printer had a lot of problems. Some printers are supposed to be checked every day.

    J: None of the printers have staplers near by. Can we chain staplers near the printers?

    7:57//Gender Neutral Bathrooms Resolution

    Pres: The body of the resolution I referenced the last times we talked about it. We resolve to reaffirm out commitment to the Gender Neutral Bathroom Initiative.

    StuLife: How are we going to disseminate this?

    Pres: I was going to email it out. I move to adopt the resolution.

    Unanimously passes.

    8:00//Discussion on Mizzou, Yale, and Racism at Vassar

    Pres: Mizzou is the University of Missouri. There were a lot of different events that happened. The University President resigned over student concern that many Black students had raised about how they were not being supported on campus. There was a football related boycott.

    StuLife: The team, namely the Black students, decided to boycott. Two days later people resigned.

    TAs: In addition to that, one person went on a hunger strike. The whole team was behind them.

    Ferry: Also, if they didn’t appear in the game on Saturday, the school  would be fined like a million dollars.

    StuLife: We talked about this at BIRT. We have an ideological problem that it took the boycott of a football team to get these people to resign.

    Abby: I can talk about Yale. Essentially, a couple things happened at once. In a short period of time a fraternity was turning away women of color and an administrator sent out an email asking them to look at their Halloween costumes to not be racist or offensive. One house master sent out an email asking why we need to be respectful during Halloween. That led to a large protest.

    SoCos: The professor was a psych prof who explained her belief behind her email. She was talking about when we stop psychologically developing.

    Ops: To add a bit more, this past week speaks to a larger pattern of oppression that happens. This isn’t new. Somebody went on a hunger strike at Claremont-McKenna and got their dean to resign. Also, since we don’t have a football team to advocate for us, who can do that here?

    2019: I was going to add something about the language. It implied institutional control.

    Ferry: One of the colleges at Yale is named after an extreme white-supremist slave owner.

    Abby: Also, at Georgetown did a successful sit-in to change the name of a building named after somebody who sold slaves to payoff Georgetown’s debt.

    Pres: There were some bombings in Paris, Beirut, Afghanistan, and other places. Maya, would you mind sharing?

    Ths: I’ve been thinking a lot about the way in which we have discourse on this campus. I’m always frustrated. What my status was about was how can we make connections between domestic and international occurrences. How can we not have conversations about occurrences that happen every day here. This is not about our facebook statuses, changing our photos, copy and pasting solidarity notes. The war has not begun, it has been happening. We need to start discussing what is happening domestically, here at Vassar, here in America. And then think about that in context to the rest of the world.

    Pres: Now we should talk about Vassar.

    Ops: A lot of this comes out of a place that lacks clear communication. We need to communicate in a compassionate manner. I would like to see Vassar students being quiet and listening first. Just basic human kindness.

    Cush: At Vassar specifically, I’m just envisioning a space where some people can talk and some people can listen. Maybe we can draw up a fact-sheet to fight misinformation.

    Lathrop: One place we can start is funding the ALANA center more. Having more programming. Admin is pretty white-washed.

    Ferry: Other schools are having an equality director.

    2019: This is something my class council has been talking about. Assumptions are the most harmful here.

    SoCos: We are not a grassroots movement. We can support them though.

    Main: I think we need to do more than have an email sent out by Cappy. I was confused about the presence of non-Black students. Also, it blocked entrances.

    Cush: On the email sent by Ben Lotto. It focused on Paris.

    2017: I think it is important that we do what we can, but we aren’t the ones who should be heading what should be going on.

    Ths: We can help facilitate protests and events.

    SoCos: Student empowerment. We have a lot of energy. It is our job to support that. I want to see about getting an ad-hoc fund.

    Academics: We did that last year.

    Strong: Let’s not let that conversation die down.

    J: I think it is cutting the VSA too much slack. It is a student union.

    SoCos: I don’t want our actions to shadow other voices. We are not the only bargaining voice in the system.

    Pres: Let’s vote on SoCos’ motion?

    SoCos: Whether from discretionary or operating, it doesn’t matter. There are funds available that do not need the regular finance system.

    Ferry: I think all Exec should discuss it.

    Pres: Essentially, somebody would be approached, we discuss it quickly and then make the decision.

    Ops: I can work with Emily to send out a notice to students.

    SoCos: I withdraw the motion then.

    8:55//Open Discussion

    SoCos: Thanks for all of the exec reports.

  • Palak 12:05 am on November 9, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA 11.8.15 

    7:05//Call to Order and Attendance

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

    7:07//Consensus agenda

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

    Finance: NoViCE came in for a collab with Idlewild.

    Activities: We only leveled up two orgs this week.

    TA: BOEA appointed Elizabeth Garrity for Noyes Spring Rep.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Lathrop: Is SLD still active?

    Jarvis: I don’t know if it is active.

    7:50// Frozen Budgets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Jon: I move to separate YDS from this list.

    Pres: We can do that.

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

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

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

    Strong: Can we table this discussion for Activities?

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

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

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


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

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

    StuLife: No major updates.

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

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

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

    8:19//Constituent Concerns

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

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

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

    2018: Vending machines in dorms for essentials?

    Ops: Funding is not there yet.

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

    THs: In the bathroom option.

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

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

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

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

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

    Noyes: The Greens is already in talks about alternatives.

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

    Noyes: let’s just table it.

    8:33//Open Discussion

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

    2016: They are a permanent staple of this room.

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

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

    Main: Do your job.

  • Palak 12:20 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 11.1.15 

    7:03//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: 2017, 2019…

    //Consensus agenda

      1. Social Consciousness to Feminist Alliance ($150/$150)
      2. Discretionary to Quiz Bowl ($820/$820)
      3. Capital to NSO ($927.68/$927.68)
      4. Capital to Barefoot Monkeys ($205/$244.07)
      5. Discretionary to Night Owls ($2000/$4000)
      6. Speakers to CHOICE ($0/$1200)
      7. Speakers to ViCE Comedy (Tabled/$10000-$15000)
      8. Conference to Debate Club ($600/$1615)
      9. Speakers to The Listening Center ($2250/2500)
      10. Capital to FWA ($181.15 + shipping/$181.15)
      11. Pianists Pre-Org to Level 2
      12. Vassar Sori Pre-Org to Level 2
      13. Certification of Questbridge
      14. Mock Trial Level Up
      15. New Pre-Org: Chinese Students’ Association
      16. Minutes from 10/25/15

    Finance: CHOICE was told to table theirs and come back with a new fund app.

    Activities: Pianists is up to level 2, as is Sori. Mock Trial is level 3. The Chinese Students’ Association came to appeal their original app. They want their own affinity space as international students.

    Abby: Shout-out to BOEA. We appointed a new CIE rep, a 2019 CCL rep, the 2019 class gift co-chairs, and a Davi Sophomore rep.

    7:09//Forum with ViCE

    Sarah (ViCE): I think ViCE’s goal this year is to make sure ViCE is accessible for anybody. We are doing three concerts, instead of just two. We are also trying to do consistent concerts on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We also have ViCE Comedy.

    Cushing: ViCE only seems to cater to a specific audience. How does the massive budget adequately represent the taste on campus?

    ViCE: The special events portion of ViCE is a good place to start. We are also doing three concerts to diversify that. Only a small group of people come to our committees though. We want to get more people to come to these meetings. Thursday shows have really good attendance.

    2017: Budget-wise, how does this work?

    ViCE: The committees that do weekly events are good at getting local artists.

    Ops: We reached out to Sarah to talk about ViCE’s role in programming. We want to brainstorm ways to increase communication between VSA and ViCE.

    Finance: I had a quick question about turnover. How are the different heads chosen?

    ViCE: There has never been a consistent or formal training process. We didn’t really have a layout for what each position is. We are currently working on a document that has a toolkit for the jobs. As far as choosing, you just apply. Then we have an interview process which is conducted by Exec who are not applying again. We have some sort of conversation before we nominate.

    TS: Historically, one of the things we get criticized for is transparency. Has ViCE ever considered sending out mass emails or surveys to get student input?

    ViCE: Teddy is working on a weekly email with all of the events each week. We could look into expanding it to campus wide. I can talk about meeting notes.

    SoCos: Does ViCE have a protocol or process with dealing with preplanned events and things with other groups coming to you? Where do you see ViCE integrating with VSA more?

    ViCE: Usually the budget is split in two by the concerts, but we changed that up this year to bring more music here. As far as how budget is planned for particular events, the only groups that have more stuff is Jazz and No-ViCE, so we plan according to the calendar. Special Events is the only one with the most flexible budget. There’s a bit of leeway for Film  as well. We don’t have an official process. I hope to do this forum monthly, maybe. We talked about the restructuring of programming.

    Matt (at-large): A lot of people have a perception of ViCE as closed off. It might be helpful to look at what other schools do?

    ViCE: The only hesitance about that is that the campus gets really excited about certain artists and then get disappointed when we couldn’t bring them. We do want more surveys.

    Ferry: Do you have systems for general student body outreach?

    ViCE: AJ was working on a forum space. But he’s busy.

    Cushing: Following up. The type of artists you bring…a lot of the concern is that it is the same type of artist every time. The other thing is that for a lot of big events are alcohol related. What has ViCE done to create non-alcoholic related programming? Transparency is great, but the whole process you explained for an exec board is just having the same people doing the same thing. Also, if you tell the House Presidents, we can email stuff.

    ViCE: There have been delays on the forum and survey projects. As far as self-appointing, we open that up to the entire campus. It’s pretty open, it just depends on how you hear about these things. We can work on publicity for that. As far as non-alcohol programming, we don’t provide alcohol at our events. We have Comedy events, and they have a lot in the works. A lot of special events collabs are lectures and no Film events shouldn’t have alcohol connotations. ViCE is holding a safer spaces talk this Saturday, open to everyone.

    Lathrop: I think ViCE is doing great. Some of us might be looking for a problem that isn’t there. It’s not broken. But I think there are places that ViCE could be more transparent. Have a rep on the Activities committee. You should also do more to get the pulse of the campus and interests on campus.

    Joss: I think there is a difference between democratizing ViCE and giving feedback. There’s no official decision making process, though. And all the funds are basically already allocated.

    ViCE: There are avenues for people who want to do things outside of the already set ViCE categories. Wordsmiths is doing a collab with Special Events.

    Main: I wanted to explicitly state the issue with the lack of backbone in ViCE. Where is the constitution or something? It seems very similar to last year. Where is the institutional memory?

    ViCE: Exec has a good relationship with its committees. We are currently working on that document for a structure in ViCE.

    THs: I think ViCE is a chill space. It’s hard to make structural changes. People who make suggestions to ViCE are sometimes so out of budget. ViCE does have a big budget, but musicians are expensive.

    ViCE: It was laid out to me to think of an artist you would dream of getting, and then think two grades lower. That’s our budget.

    Finance: Can you talk about collab between the ViCE orgs?

    ViCE: I think collabs are going well. Because half of our org is music, there is a lot of back and forth within those groups. Exec meets every Sunday. That’s usually where collabs are discussed.

    2017: First, on the distinction of training. Just knowing that you can have training when you apply to these positions, it’s nice to know. I know we talked about it last week about charging for concerts. It’s not a lot, but some people can’t pay. Having free concerts is ideal.

    ViCE: I know it has always been a tradition to charge for the Fall Concert. It’s come up a few times. I’ll bring that up to exec. That money covers extra sound systems. Pricing allows a better quality of events. We have collabed with other orgs in the past.

    2018: Maybe appointing a communications director to help with transparency to the campus. It would be great to have an additional person to help you out.

    SoCos: When outside orgs come to ViCE to ask for support, what would be a rule of thumb for that situation?

    ViCE: You are invited to come to the meeting and give a presentation. Then the committee will discuss it. They could also come to our Exec meeting and then we decide together how to divide this work. We aren’t a bank. We want to collaborate with people.

    Pres: Collaboration is important.


    Finance: We talked about how to proceed surrounding events. We discussed speaker fund allocations. This week we will be having a second Finance meeting. It’s not part of your obligation, but we will be talking about policies and what we do as a committee. A time will be coming out soon. New pcards are being issued by JP Morgan. Treasurer training again! Anybody can come. There will be pizza. We are in the middle of finding a new time for Finance committee. We are moving our meeting to Wednesdays at 5. Applications for Finance committee are being sent out to the freshman class this week. You can send them out to everyone. Fund levels are fine.

    Joss: Realistically, when we need funding, we should consider this in the future. We can’t always depend on being reimbursed later.

    Finance: I’m really sorry. It sucks.

    Ops: You can always come to discretionary. You shouldn’t be spending money out of pocket.

    Lathrop: I’m wondering which orgs were defunded.

    Pres: We are working on that. I’m meeting with Kelly tomorrow. Also, for pcard issues, should people come to you or Ruby?

    Finance: I’m fine with people coming to me.

    2018: Individuals should ask their class presidents.

    Activities: On Friday, I and Ramy organized a meeting to plan spring leadership conference. It will happen on the first weekend back, probably. It will have bystander intervention training. We also discussed Vice President training. If you have ideas for spring leadership conference, let me know. We talked about the need for alternative programming. ResLife and HealthEd have talked about creating a space for people recovering, but decided it would be too stimatizing. 

    Jesse (at-large): It’s good to have more alternative forms of programming, but there are still too many EMS calls.

    2018: Do you know the number of EMS calls?

    Abby: I heard 18.

    2018: Last year we tried to educate the campus and let them know that not everyone drinks here.

    Jewett: I just want to talk about dorm damage. Every year it happens.

    2017: There are so many orgs and preorgs. It feels like there are too many orgs and everyone will get a budget. Some orgs just have a budget for food. We don’t need orgs buying food.

    Activities: I don’t think we should decertify orgs. I can talk to Josh about limiting the amount of money they can spend on food.

    Finance: That’s a conversation we have every year. I know what you spend your money on. We tell you in treasurer training to spend money on experiences and not food.

    SoCos: We keep bringing up restructuring because it is important. We would love more people to show up.

    Pres: I’m meeting with Kelly Grab. VSA is invited to come to the Smoking Task Force meeting.

    Ops: Restructuring is going well. We are thinking of creating a bicameral system. Come to restructuring. We will have surveys going out soon. We are getting a second vending machine. One will have medicine, etc. The other will have food that we want.

    StuLife: Drafted a final version of the letter for transpo. CIE met this past Friday. Ask me questions.

    Academics: We discussed the logistics of the Code movie. We talked about peer advising dinner. We had a rousing discussion about grades. The Lib committee is meeting this week.

    Cushing: Shout-out to Ruby and Josh.

    SoCos: Vending machines are great. We don’t have to pay for them! Email us about getting healthy options.

    8:31//Constituent Concerns

    Joss: It has been brought up to me that there have been several instances of misgendering and use of slurs in the faculty. Can we talk about an identity based training?

    StuLife: We talked about this at CIE. Faculty training is in the midst of happening. I don’t know what it looks like.

    Matt: Last year, QCVC worked on an email or something about talking to you professor about these things. I think a few people used it.

    Academics: An ongoing project of mine is pronoun use in the classroom. It will come up.

    2019: Freshman class council had their first meeting. Security was the main thing brought up in my house. Jewett had a lot to say.

    SoCos: We have the security committee. We have StuLife committee. Come to these meetings.

    THs: I was asked to alert you guys to not feed any animals. Somebody was attacked by a raccoon recently. Our lawns are not trash cans. It is attached to the animal problems. Somebody stole the speed bumps. They have been found in the woods.

    8:40//StuLife Letter

    StuLife: There needs to be some structural edits to it. This is what we came out with. It speaks very largely to what we were trying to convey. We want transportation off campus for medical needs.

    SoCos: I added some changes to this. Bob Walton has been added to this letter. We talked about the notion of specificity. I included examples from other schools as well.

    Ferry: We stressed financial accessibility here.

    SoCos: We talked about it. It would be stronger to explain that other schools do it and that it is a burden to everyone.

    Jon (at large): The bottom of the first page. It characterizes going above and beyond.

    StuLife: I see that.

    SoCos: I can rewrite it now. I motion it now.

    Pres: Does anybody object to the change? No? Okay, we are changing it.

    StuLife: What’s the next phase?

    Pres: We have to endorse it first, and then we send it.

    Ferry: I have another edit.

    Pres: I will make the same motion Chris just made to endorse it as is. If you aren’t comfortable with it, say no. It will go back to committee.


    Yes: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, cush, davi, jewett, joss, lathrop, main, noyes, raymond, strong, socos, tas, ths, town students, finance, academics, activities, stulife, ops

    no: ferry

    Pres: motion passes.

    8.54//Open Discussion

    Cush: 69 nights this Saturday. Come celebrate sex positivity. We are doing a stoplight party.

    Main: We had a lot of events this past weekend.

    SoCos: Banks and funding. if you care about money, come to the finance meetings.

    Jewett: Dormal Formal is Nov. 20.

    Pres: I know last week we were a little cryptic about BDS things. We are not hiding anything. Everyone should be doing their best to educate themselves.

    Ops: It is not coming to a vote anytime soon.

    2019: What’s the protocol about offensive language in my council?

    Pres: Speak directly to that person.

    2019: Do we operate underneath a constitution?

    Matt: Speaking of BDS stuff, JStreet is talking about the assassination of a major political figure in Israel.

    THs: BDS is coming in March because it coincides with Israeli apartheid week.

  • Palak 11:01 pm on October 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 10.25.15 

    7:00//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: Cushing, Davison,  THs, Activities

    7:05//Consensus agenda

      1. Speakers to GAAP
      2. Capital to VCTV
      3. Social Consciousness to ViCE Film
      4. Collaboration to ViCE Film
      5. Speakers to ViCE Film
      6. Pre-Org to Traditional Korean Folk Music
      7. Discretionary to Strong
      8. Speakers to ASA
      9. Collaboration to Traditions Committee
      10. Discretionary to Night Owls
      11. Capital to Merely Players
      12. Social Consciousness to Poder [email protected]
      13. Collaboration to Cushing
      14. Speakers to Josselyn

    Finance: Most of these we don’t need to talk about. Most of them have been tabled.

    Pres: We are moving the speakers to ViCE off of the agenda. Now we will talk about the new Traditions Committee fund app.

    Finance: There have been conversations about this. Basically, we want to have more conversations between houses. Have house presidents met about this and talked?  Let’s vote for a closed session.

    ~closed session~

    Finance: We decided on an allocation of $1450. Now for the speaker app for Joss. Joss wants to bring a speaker to do a talk about positivity. How do we feel about this event and what will Joss do.

    Shahid: I can answer any questions.

    Cushing: For context, who is this speaker?

    Shahid: We are bringing Lil B here. He’s a rapper from the Bay Area. There are some great videos on YouTube online of him speaking. We think it would be an amazing event and add to dialogues on campus. He has so much to say, as a young man of color, I feel like it would be beneficial. As for ridiculing the artist, do you have contexts?

    At-large: I’m a member of Finance, I was not happy about this. I think it is a misuse of $14000 dollars. All of the questions at the end were about his twitter feuds. I think the message should be worth the funds.

    Shahid: I think it would be unfair to limit the speakers coming to Vassar because of questions asked at a different school. I’ve spoken with his manager and we know how to frame this conversation. We will have the purview to let the more important questions to be heard.

    At-large: Is this worth $14,000 dollars, though? He’s a notorious rapper, known for starting feuds. If we are talking about controlling the way this lecture will be digested, there is only so much we can do. He’s not somebody who caters his talks to any one specific thing. I don’t know if it is worth this amount of money. He’s not the first person we would think of.

    Student Life: I’m on the same line. Do we know what he is going to be talking about and who the targeted audience is? I hesitate to grant this much money if the event isn’t as planned as I would hope it to be. I would like to have a more itemized list of what is happening here.

    Shahid: I think that Joss’s point is not necessarily entirely routed in an activist dialogue. It would be intensely engaging and interesting. He does not script his speeches; he speaks from the heart. It has been an intensely positive experience. I do apologize for the number we are bringing to the VSA. We have a lot of collaborators. We are also expecting a pretty large audience. We have a lot of views for publicity.

    StuLife: I see a lot of opportunity for it to devolve into something…where we are laughing at this artist of color.

    2017: I don’t know very much about him and his politics. One of his strongest talking points online. I don’t know if I necessarily like that as a political ideology.

    Strong: I have a similar sentiment. There’s an interesting dichotomy between his songs and what he speaks about.

    THs: Did you go to the contract stage without any funding? And he’s not performing. It’s a large number to bring a performer to campus to not perform.

    Jewett: Same as Strong.

    Cush: What impact would this have on the speakers fund?

    Finance: We haven’t used a lot of speakers fund. Allocating this amount would put us a 1/4 into the fund. It wouldn’t take us off of the trajectory that we are on.

    Town Students: What else can you use this amount of money for? What else has this gotten us?

    2019: I wanted to know more about the content of the positivity message. I did rudimentary research. I did see merit in his speeches.

    Shahid: I’m not that into listening to Lil B as an artist. He considers himself an environmentalist, fights for animal rights and human rights. It’s worth noting that he is not an academic or a scholar. He won’t give us a list of talking points. We want to bring a different event.

    SoCos: It depends on a number of factors, to answer TS question. Some speakers could have ten thousand for an honorarium, others could have none. VSA is a fund for last resort. The amount you ask for is after you fund raise. What is significant here is also why they declined to help you?

    Shahid: This number reflects an incredible amount of hard work. The figure was also really high. We had a lot of emails and discussions about trying to get the number down. ViCE does have a huge budget, as does Hip-Hop 101. We talked extensively with them and they just didn’t get back to us and didn’t give us good meeting times. Their budgets were already tapped out though.

    SoCos: There’s complexity here too. They do preplan for their events throughout the year. We don’t know what their motives were.

    Shahid: They had indicated a giant interest last year for this event. They told us that they could do it at the 30,000 budget.

    2018: Why specifically have you chosen Lil B to express this positivity?

    Shahid: I think the reason is that this is such a draw and he’s different than other people we bring to campus.

    Emma: In his lecture at MIT, he stated some problematic things. I don’t know if that is okay.

    Ferry: I appreciate the work you’ve done to bring a non-academic speaker here. What work has he done on some of these issues though?

    Shahid: He’s not an activist in any way. I don’t think he has the academic qualifications to speak on anything.

    Joss: I wanted to respond to the level of funding. I think what we are trying to do with this speaker is trying to challenge what is worthy of that much money. I think that’s the kind of engagement we want to bring. That money could serve other things, but I feel that it shows us trying to uphold non-academic voices.

    Lily: I want to bring the point of what you said earlier about the purpose of this is about positivity. Your fund app shows a range of things he could talk about. I’m confused about how much work you did on the content of the lecture. I want to draw your attention to bring local activists to campus. I also want to talk about all of the orgs that bring people who are cheaper but also see very unattended lectures.

    Kayla: We keep talking about this concern of moving out of academia. I put together a list of people who you could bring to campus, Kimberly Crenshaw….

    Shahid: That’s a fantastic point. I think that is exactly the point we are trying to illuminate. And those events were all underattended.

    Lily: I think the people that will attend this event will be there for the wrong reasons.

    StuLife: The impression I’m getting is that a lot of the reasons you want to bring him is for he bigness of the event. I wonder how much of that weighed into your opinion to bring him.

    Shahid: I think the bigness of the event absolutely weighed into our event.

    Ops: I feel like now would be a good time to move into a voting discussion space.

    Max: Thank you for your work. It will help the VSA put on good alternative programming that will draw crowds. I think there is a lot to say about the way your team has set this up.

    2019: I just wanted to talk about reception real quick. I wonder about the reception some of his views could have.

    Shahid: It’s difficult to talk about this because we don’t have a contract with him yet.

    Finance: Let’s move into a vote on this. These issues did not come up in our initial conversation. I think this body is more equipped to make this decision now. Should we consent to the fund app as is or resubmit the fund app?

    Pres: You’re moving to table? And a closed session? We can’t vote in a closed session.

    Finance: Nevermind, let’s just bring them back in.

    Pres: The motion is to table?

    Noyes: What exactly are we voting for?

    Pres: The options are zero or the allocation.

    Finance: Wait…

    Pres: Give me a moment.

    Finance: If we vote to table it, it goes to Finance as a new application. Then we either vote for a full allocation or no allocation.

    Ops: If we table it, then it goes to Finance.

    Pres: The motion is to table to fund app. Speak in favor?

    Lily: I feel like there is room for Joss to go back and make this a better event. I also don’t want it to go to council because it privatizes the power to council.

    SoCos: I think we should just do the vote here. We’ve had a major discussion here. If we ask them to rethink this, then we want them to change the core of the event. There’s also more value to having more voices.

    Ops: Let’s vote. Don’t abstain because you are lazy.

    No: 2016, 2019, Ferry, Main, Noyes, Raymond, Strong, SoCos, TAs, THs,

    Pres: We are not tabling this so we will vote now.

    Ops: Now the motion is whether to allocate the full amount or not.

    No: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, Cush, Ferry, Jewett, Lathrop, Raymond, Strong, SoCos, TA, TH, TS, Finance, Ops

    Zero fund allocation.

    8:06//Constituent Concerns

    THs: I want to address the emails sent by Anders. I’m going to read some of these emails….I wanted to give a lot of credit to people who sent the emails. Jud Board was also confused about how to find somebody responsible for this. It seems to have been resolved. There will not be security guards combing the area. There is no room for concern. If something does happen, then it needs to be addressed immediately because they made us a promise and they would be breaking it.

    Raymond: We are wondering if we can get bins or something for those who choose to smoke off of campus.

    TAs: CCL was flustering. The two women who headed the initiative….Anders is a liaison but he didn’t get it. He doesn’t understand this policy and Luis Inoa didn’t know the email was sent out. The two women didn’t even know about these concerns. I don’t know where we come in here. They kind of think that everything is fine.

    Raymond: I’m very confused that this is coming from Anders. He was the one who told us something different earlier.

    StuLife: I think it does show a lack of respect. I do want to give some credit to the co-chairs of the smoking initiative. They just don’t know what would happen once the ban is initiated.

    Ferry: Cigarette butts are highly toxic and terrible for the environment. The school should have receptacles. It’s a hard habit to kick. There should be places where they can go off campus if they choose to smoke.

    SoCos: I have strong feelings about the VSA putting money here. When this was initially voted on our Freshman year, every class rep said no. I think we need to dig into this a little more. I also have problems with non-tobacco products being banned. This has been planned for years. There needs to be a public commitment.

    Main: Seeing as this is the last meeting before Halloween. It does not have to be an ugly event. People live in Main.

    Pres: It’s going to go in my all-campus email about being nice to the building.

    2018: Can house presidents also put it into their emails.

    Joss: We were contacted by Health Ed and they asked us to have more information about consent, drinking, etc. Anders said it violated the reslife poster hanging protocol. I think this supercedes that protocol.

    Davi: Luis is going to take care of it.

    Finance: Having active members there to encourage people to respect the space.

    2019: What’s the typical damage?

    Main: Two years ago was a shitshow. There were toilets smashed, windows destroyed. There was no campaign for peace in Main. Last year there was a campaign and there was no damage. We are getting security guards to do extra rounds as well.

    Ferry: Try not to be offensive as well.

    Pres: Campus life is going to send an email about not being racist and offensive.

    TS: Don’t bring this off campus. Don’t go to College Ave. Just don’t.

    Cushing: Heating. It’s cold.

    2016: My house is so hot.

    2017: Can we have the house advisors send out emails about the heating control rooms.


    Academics: Peer advising dinner is scheduled. Tuesday, Nov. 10. It requires you to have your name is a system for people to email. You also get a fun and free meal in the Aula. Speaking of prereg, the official launch of the syllabus archive is going out soon. Town Students is helping me with the screening thing. Be mindful of your knocking.

    Lathrop: What’s going to be served?

    Academics: We are continuing those discussions at meeting.

    2017: I want to talk about grading. Econ sucks.

    Student Life: CCL met. Finalized a list of topics for this year. I’m going to join more committees. Tell me which ones you want. I’ve met with Arlene Sabo. Let me know what you want us to talk about. Ramy has spoken about the gender neutral bathrooms initiative is in jeopardy.

    Pres: At the end of last year, the next big phase we were going into was athletics. Some of the existing gender neutral bathrooms are being called into question by certain staff, including Sanders Physics, Skinner and the College Center. We are going to write a letter to reaffirm our beliefs about it.

    Cushing: If you don’t sit on the committee, do students sit on them?

    StuLife: yes, but I don’t know for sure who.

    Cushing: What if we did nominations?

    Abby: BOEA will appoint people. Chris, do you wanna come?

    StuLife: yeah, let me know.

    Raymond: There are mice in the deece.

    Lathrop: Food contracts update?

    Pres: I can say stuff. Ops has officially asked for everyone to do updates.

    Activities: We are working on closet space for orgs. We are also planning the spring leadership training.

    Finance: My thesis is done. Another session of treasurer training.

    Ops: I was in a lot of trustee meetings. I missed restructuring, but stuff happened. We are moving forward with a survey about tasty Tuesday. We are working on the Saturday Shuttle.

    Pres: I can’t say anything about the meetings. We will have a forum about dining though. We made a city committee for the once a month shuttle to the city. Foodtruck Friday will meet this week. Six orgs did not get bystander trained and they are going to be defunded until they are trained.

    Davi: You need to talk to your house advisor to get the fliers up for Halloween.

    Pres: Restructuring went well yesterday. We talked about StuLife and Academics. We haven’t finalized this Saturday’s meeting yet.

    8:46//Letter Regarding Off-Campus Transportation

    StuLife: We wrote this letter over the past few weeks. This is out of a concern that there is not enough transportation for students seeking off-campus counseling and go to off-campus pharmacies for medication. Public transportation is unreliable. This is a necessity for students on campus.

    Ops: The letter came to Ops and we had quite a bit of feedback.

    Pres: Counseling maintains a list of off-campus options. It can be helpful to see how far away Vassar insurance is taken.

    Cush: Are we just tabling this?

    Joss: This hasn’t been sent out? Would it be appropriate to send this to our constituents.

    Stulife: summaries are good and then maybe tell them to come to student life.

    8:50//Open Discussion

    2018: Sophomore class council is thinking of doing a class project, like an art project.

    Cushing: Refugee panels are happening this week. Please tell everyone about it.

    Pres: Shout-out to Davi for your event. Chris and I have been meeting with Ed Pittman. This coming Friday we will have a pre-council dinner that will be a conversation around Israel-Palestine.

    Abby: That’s Shabbot.

    StuLife: We heard through the grapevine about something that could come up to council soon. We want to have something as soon as possible. If and when a BDS resolution come to council, we want to be as educated as possible. This was the time chosen by Ed Pittman because it was the only time free. We are still trying to figure this out. We are trying to put this together very last minute.

    Ferry: Is this discussion going to involve anti-Semitism?

    StuLife: We will find a different time.

    SoCos: Go to the conversation dinner on Thursday to see how this is structured. It’s about class, but it can be helpful for planning.

    2018: I went to one last year and it was very safe.

    Main: Haunted house on Friday. 8 p.m. in Rocky.

    Cushing: We are also having an alternative to Halloween party in our parlor.

    TS: how scary is it going to be?

    Main: Really scary.

    Matt: This meeting on Friday is not happening?

    StuLife: Yes, it will be rescheduled.

    Pres: A BDS resolution will be coming up soon, we just don’t know when. It will not sneak up on us because it goes through Ops first.

    StuLife: It is also so that we as a VSA can still function.

    Raymond: We are having a session on this in Raymond.

    2017: Will there be bagels?

    Ops: Yes.

  • Palak 11:04 pm on October 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    VSA Council 10.18.2015 

    7:02//Call to Order and Attendance

    Absent: 2016 (proxy), Lathrop (proxy), Main, THs, Town Students, Activities

    7:03//Consensus agenda

    a. Fund Apps

    b. Minutes from 10/4/15

    Finance: Capital items from LiNK, discretionary to Jewett, full allocation for VMSU.

    7:04//unFramed Fund App

    Matthew McCardwell: We are bringing Kay Ulanday Barrett, a trans poet. We need some extra money for our event this coming weekend.

    SoCos: Can you explain the discrepancy in amount being asked?

    McCardwell: We have gotten some extra money from over break. We also cut down some costs along the way so we are asking for less money than the initial fund app. The new amount being requested we need $3040 in total now from the VSA.

    Finance: We are treating this like a new fund app now, to clarify. They really need the funding for this event now. This is difficult because QCVC tried to bring this same speaker earlier this year and they had to cancel it when they found out about this event and they had to pay cancellation fees, which means they can’t contribute more than about $50. I recommend a full allocation. None of this is really their fault.

    SoCos: Is this a closed session?

    Finance: Let’s enter a closed session for 15 minutes.

    ~closed session~

    Finance: Okay, thanks for coming. We will give the full allocation.


    Operations: I have to change my reports. We are ahead of schedule for restructuring. We need people to engage in these conversations. We will be discussing student life and academics. We are going to go forward to buy shuttles for the Saturday shuttles. Ben Lotto wants us to put together the money for this. We have to rethink who attends Tasty Tuesday. They are on semester contracts. I’ve had people approach me about attending Tasty Tuesday.

    SoCos: Curious about the shuttle thing. Can we look at multiple options and scenarios?

    Ops: We will talk about that in Ops.

    Ferry: Can we talk about the space that it is in? Maybe the bottom part of UpC?

    Ops: We can think about that, but having it in Main is better.

    Pres: Say no to Subway. This is local business.

    TAs: If we make this a student employment position, let’s make sure they actually get paid.

    Raymond: Where is the money coming from?

    Ops: Student Employment says we need to make a report about who pays for this.

    SoCos: There are a lot of other things to think about for this payment stuff.

    President: Bystander Intervention training is still ongoing. You need to do it. Seven Sisters Conference is approaching. I’ve been working on a project about NYC transportation. Board of Trustees will be here this weekend. We will talk about campus climate. Judy Jarvis sent me stuff about the privilege campaign.

    SoCos: Bring up joint committee stuff to BoT?

    Pres: Logan and I are on one that they forgot to include us in.

    TAs: As a member of CCL, it’s the worst. Roellke’s exec assistant sends us a time and it is not set up properly. They need to get their shit together.

    Pres: Exec is also meeting with Cappy tomorrow. We will bring it up to her.

    Ferry: We talked about how people who are in charge of joint committees need to actually show up to their meetings.

    Ops: We should talk about this soon.

    Ferry: Let’s do Class D legislation. If we vote on this, they have to look at it and respond to it.

    Pres: Bryn Mawr also does it. They need a third of the student body to attend and anything they pass becomes binding.

    7:34//Constituent Concerns

    Ops: A concern was brought up via facebook.

    Jon: You are expected to write a thank you letter if you receive a named scholarship. Also, you need to write a thank you letter or give the money back if you receive money from the Internship Grant Fund.

    SoCos: These are all different offices. Usually the development office asks for the thank you note.

    Abby: How do they intend to enforce that?

    Pres: Probably just charge your account. Also, last night I sent a slightly aggressive email to Cappy about the fireworks.

    Cushing: A $5 fee for the fall concert? I don’t think that’s fair. We have money.

    2016: I used to be ViCE director. We always ticket at least one show.

    Cushing: If that’s a fundraiser, then it should be different.

    Raymond: I went to a Grace Hopper conference. I want to know if VSA could sponsor a screening of this film we talked about about coding.

    TAs: I would suggest maybe approaching some departments as well. I think it’s a great idea.

    SoCos: The science bridge is going up. Maybe asking Cappy?

    Ferry: There are discussions about how to get more women in the sciences. How do we encourage women to become more involved in the hard sciences.

    Ops: Josh and I both sit on the Committee on Financial Aid. We can bring that up. I also wanted to say we should table this to a committee to put together the event.

    2017: Get in touch with major’s committees.

    Raymond: We talked about how computer science should be introduced in high school.

    7:49//Open Discussion

    Cushing: For those who were not there for the panel the Thursday before break, we had a panel about the refugee crisis. It’s the biggest crisis since WWII and the greatest crisis of our generation. What can we as an institution do for this? We have precedence, we did stuff in the 30s and 40s. Professor Hoehn and I met to talk about starting a student org group. We talked about a few options. We will be having panels for the dorms in the next few weeks in order to spread awareness and create a core group. She also said she would give an independent study course for those who want to be more involved. Cappy is on board, but wants to hear more from students.

    Raymond: Maybe set up a scholarship for students to volunteer during spring break.

    2017: How specific is the core group going to be?

    Cushing: I think it is focused on the Middle East, African, European area. I don’t think it has to be limited.

    Ferry: A lot of other colleges have alternate spring break….to help out at these NGOs.

    Abby: I would think that going forward, it would be great to think about what they need the most. Maybe reaching out and finding out the best way we can help.

    Cushing: One suggestion was having online classes and having joint classes with refugees.

    Raymond: Something the Vassar Christian Fellowship is doing is collecting clothes to donate.

    Student Life: Updates for last week’s stuff. we talked about the whiteness workshops. We met with them as an Exec Board. We decided not to fund them because of uneasiness. We felt there was a lack of acknowledgement and care for people of color. We are now going to start working on creating affinity spaces for people of color. We just feel this is not something the administration seems to address.

    2018: Last week there were concerns about how it is sponsored by the ALANA center. Did you talk to B?

    StuLife: I didn’t, but I can. B will be running at least one session.

    Ops: I want to encourage everyone about POC spaces. Let’s support the places that exist already.

    2018: How do you feel about this now?

    StuLife: They already said they were going to do the workshops, with or without our funding. I pretty much have the same opinion as last time.

    Ops: My opinion hasn’t changed. I support the workshops, but the way in which this has been brought about is questionable.

    Pres: I think teaching white people to not be racist is a great thing. It’s not great that the college is paying for the privileged group to be taught, instead of taking a two-pronged approach.

    TAs: When is this and was anyone invited?

    StuLife: They sent out an email. About 15 people signed up right now?

    Raymond: The nine houses probably got it.

    Abby: We need to train the freshman class council.

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