Each week, Students’ Council releases meeting minutes to the Haverford community. The ideas represented in these minutes do not necessarily reflect verified facts, nor do they necessarily capture all of any speaker’s intended point. The original document released by Students’ Council can be found here.
Students’ Council Weekly Meeting
Sunday November 10, 2019
Minutes by Devi Namboodiri and Sydney Churchill
Table of Contents
- Summary of Meeting Topics
- Security Q/A
- Campus Updates
- Officer Updates
- Plenary Discussion
- Officer Updates 2
- Council Members
- Co-Presidents: Katie Lieferman & Mariana Ramirez
- Co-Vice Presidents: Noorie Chowdhury & Evan Moon
- Co-Treasurers: Dex Coen Gilbert & Eliza Koren
- Co-Secretaries: Devi Namboodiri & Sydney Churchill
- Officer of Multiculturalism: Brittany Robinson
- Officer of Academics: Lev Greenstein
- Officer of Arts: Mackenzie Somers
- Officer of Athletics: Rodrigo Zuniga
- Officer of Campus Life: Katherine Katie Chung
- Representative of International Students: Saket Sekhsaria
- First Year Rep: Rasaaq Shittu
- Sophomore Rep: Natalia Cordon
- Junior Rep: Brian Hu
- Senior Rep: Emily Lin
- Absent: Marked with Red
- Late: Marked with Orange
- Council Members
- Summary of Meeting Topics
During this Students’ Council meeting we met with Kim Callahan and Lillian Burroughs regarding the security alert email sent out about the man masturbating on the nature trail (3. Security Q/A), we talked about things that are happening around campus (4. Campus Updates), heard about what members of Students’ Council have been up to recently (5. Officer Updates, 7. Officer Updates 2) and talked about plenary (6. Plenary Discussion).
- Security Q/A
*Introductions, joined by Kim Callahan (Associate Director of Investigations) and Lillian Burroughs (Director of Bi-co Operations Campus Safety)*
Mariana: We have invited staff from campus safety today (Kim Callaghan and Lillian (Lil) Burroughs) to answer any questions about the recent email that we’ve talked about in the past few meetings. This is informal but we wanted to give the opportunity to ask questions. Kim, would you mind getting us started?
Kim Callahan: Hi everyone, I’m the associate director of investigations. My office is primarily here at Haverford but I also work at Bryn Mawr and I have been here for 5 years. My job is to primarily investigate title IX issues. Typically, campus safety will make a report and I relay this information to Campus Safety or the Police. Tom King is the Head of Campus Safety but could not make it tonight due to a family emergency. Over the time I’ve been working here, I’ve gotten more responsibilities but one of my jobs is to prepare the yearly report of the statistics for crimes on campus and also develop prevention programs. The reason I say all this is because when the incident happened on the trail, I was over at Bryn Mawr and Tom King was not present. When I walked to Haverford when I heard about this, the Lieutenant and the Captain were already at the office. There was then a discussion about whether or not we should send the safety alert.
Essentially what had happened was that there was someone jogging on the trail and who came into campus safety and she told the dispatcher that she saw the individual masturbating on the trail, gave her report and then quickly left. So I was not there when the person came in to report. They didn’t want to stay to be interviewed by the police or to give any more details besides the fact that it was a black male with facial hair so we didn’t have any more information to provide.
I called Tom and talked to him about what we should do. We weren’t necessarily required to send out a warning but wanted to make the community aware in case anyone was also jogging on the nature trail. Tom asked me to talk to Martha Denney and other staff because we always vet these things, whenever there is a safety alert. It’s not my responsibility soley, to send it out, and it was a rare occasion that I sent it out. Tom will usually be the one to send it out but he always discusses it with Martha Denney and other administrators first.
Before sending this email, we talked about all of the descriptors. We received the report as “dark skin, black male with a goatee” but we decided that we were going to say black male with a goatee. This wasn’t something that went to the police, it wasn’t about alerting the police and it was more about us trying to see if anyone had also seen the incident.
We got this (*the email*) out so that the community would know and so that people on the trail would know and be warned in advance. We also let faculty know and then we talked to Katie and Mariana about the concerns that you all raised.
We are always willing to ideas and discussions. If we have made people feel uncomfortable, we want to hear from you so that we can get better. We are always willing to listen and learn. If we’ve done something that makes people uncomfortable, we want to hear from so that if this comes up again we can do it differently. In this case, since we didn’t have many descriptors, maybe it would have been better to leave out the descriptors. Lil has a perspective from Bryn Mawr. She is the Tom King of Bryn Mawr and has years of experience working there and collaboratively with Tom.
Lillian Burroughs: We share a lot between Haverford and Bryn Mawr, so the alerts usually go through Bi-Co collaboration. If we have a situation at Bryn Mawr that is often shared with Haverford too, but this particular alert was specific to Haverford.
Dex: In general, how long does it take for an email to be sent out after the initial report?
Kim: It’s always specific to the circumstances, but we want to get things out as quickly as possible and sometimes if it’s an immediate concern, we need to get the information out quickly and not much vetting takes place. We actually have templates about what kinds of information needs to be gotten out right away and then we can inform people later more and about specific details if needed.
If there is an immediate concern about somebody’s safety, then the email will be sent pretty quickly, like in the case of a shooting. But other situations are different. We had a situation a couple weeks ago at Bryn Mawr where an email came out from Lillian about a scam. There was a scam and it went through the police in this case. It wasn’t an immediate concern so there wasn’t an immediate safety alert but we wanted everyone to be aware after the fact.
Dex: More specifically, how long did this (*the Haverford email*) one take?
Kim: It was a matter of emailing and phoning people so it was pretty quick. We talked (Mitch, Martha and myself after the report) and then within the hour it was sent, maybe an hour and a half.
Katie L.: Did the person who filed the report have to leave their contact information?
Kim: I’m sure their information was taken down. The next day, somebody called in saying that they saw somebody matching the description the next day without facial hair around the same time. There wasn’t any more descriptors.
Katie L.: Would it be part of the practice to reach out to the person who reported it to get more details?
Kim: Not necessarily, it depends on the circumstances. Maybe we could have done that and seen if we would have gotten more information. I guess the thought was let’s get this out ASAP because of the sexual nature of the incident. It could have been something else but the description was clearly masturbation so we wanted to make people aware as quickly as possible.
In the future, that’s another thing we could do (*reach out to get more details*). When this person walked in it was clear that this person wanted to let us know and leave. If I had been there, someone would have called me up and I would have met with the person directly and would have been able to keep her there a little longer and gotten more descriptors.
MacKenzie: I think my question has to do with what is considered a threat and who decides what is considered a threat. Students on campus do naked laps at night and I’m sure have had sex on the nature trail.
I can imagine Campus Safety not sending out reports about that. I think that has a connection to gate-keeping on our campus and who’s supposed to be here and who’s not supposed to be here. Is there some process for determining what is a threat to the student body and what is not?
Kim: I think in this case because it was day time and because it didn’t appear that it was a prank or something like that, we were required by law to do certain things. We are required to give timely warnings about these kinds of incidents under the Clery Act. We are required to issue timely warnings by law. If they are any kind of such designated offences. The designated offenses that require this include murder, burglary and sexual assault. This is the caveat, we are required to issue timely warnings for any of those cases or if there is an imminent and ongoing threat to the community. It has to be a classified offense (*listed*) and has to occur on our geography and this means the campus itself and contiguous areas. In areas where this is less clear, we will consult with certain people to see if something is still a threat.
That call comes from the director, Tom King, Title IX coordinator, me as Associate Director and Lil as Director of Operations. Sometimes we will be limited by who we can/can’t talk to but Campus Safety is always going to be looking at this to make this decision because we also have responsibility to make timely warnings/emergency notifications also in the case of things that are not crime related, but things like an explosion or a fire. This would come out the same way as everything else but it would be a different classification.
Those are the legal requirements but we also want everyone to know and be aware. We issue safety alerts when we want people to know about situations they could run into. This isn’t one of those designated timely warning things but we want people to be aware of the incident. Does that answer your question?
Mackenzie: Yea, thank you.
Rasaaq: When you said earlier that you have templates for certain incidents, would it be possible to see this? Are these templates that you have? What templates are there for unidentified people?
Kim: We don’t have a template for an unidentified person. The templates we were talking about were specific to crimes.
Lillian: It’s helpful in situations of a shooting or something and for safety concerns that are time-sensitive. We have an Everbridge system and this ensures that these pre-recorded messages (*specific to certain crimes/incidents*) can help send out alerts as soon as possible. The system is always up and there are canned messages (*Pre-recorded messages*) that describe certain situations. So if there’s a situation on campus, it will give you some preliminary information and then we can send more details later.
Mariana: I want to be mindful of time, does anyone else have additional questions?
Brittany: I think what was concerning about the email was that the information in it could be used in profiling. I think there is profiling that can happen, especially because the descriptors were oddly specific but still general. In some ways, whether intentionally or not, this did cause a fear that profiling may occur.
Kim: If it was a white male, I would say white malle with facial hair. It wasn’t because it was a black male. The intent wasn’t that we were going to be taking people off the trail and accusing them of anything. The police weren’t even involved. We weren’t gonna have them yank someone off the trail and interrogate them. Again but we are listening and we have talked about whether or not we need 5 or 7 descriptors for someone before we add in descriptors in these incident reports. We are listening to your concerns and will try to help.
Mackenzie: I’m looking at the email right now and it does say that the police were alerted and that they were involved.
Kim: They were. What I was trying to say was that we didn’t send the email to the police. They were here and they left by the time I got to campus the lieutenant and the captain were gone as was the person who made the report. We didn’t send the email to the police. So yea the police were here and campus safety and police searched the area after the report was made. Once again whether or not the person was masturbating or urinating we’ll never know. But that was the description they gave us was that the person was masturbating.
Mariana: If there’s no other questions, I think we have to stop there. Thank you both so much for coming in.
Kim: Of course, I just want everyone to know that if there is ever a question or concern, to let us know. Even though he could not make it today, Tom King always has an open door and Lil as well. Come in and talk to us, we really do want to talk to you. We want to collaborate and talk to people as much as we can.
Mariana: Thanks y’all for listening and asking thoughtful questions
- Campus Updates
Mackenzie: James House had an open house on Friday night and a lot people came out and it was cool because they used things like the button maker that we didn’t always have on hand.
Emily: IDOMO hosted a Filipino food night and had turn out way beyond what they expected so that was cool
Eliza: Mid-semester budgeting was sent out and all the money has been allocated.
Devi: A lot of people were asking if we’re gonna have some kind of plenary thing or special plenary because we didn’t reach quorum.
Mariana: We can go back to plenary at the end, we reserved time to talk about that. The OMA had an inclusive space workshop. They invited members of the community and reached out to the Men’s Lacrosse Team and the Men’s Baseball team. I was only there for a little bit but they were talking about things like what does it mean to have an inclusive space? And they had a gallery walk and a human barometer on what it means to host an inclusive space. I think it was really productive. Anyone else have other updates?
Brittany: The Wellness Space had a soft opening
- Officer Updates
Mariana: We’re gonna do Popcorn Style so share out if you feel like you have updates to make good use of time
Lev: I spoke with Brian Cuzzolina again about workshop stuff and what makes classrooms positive spaces.
Although we both acknowledged that this might not happen this semester, we thought that it could happen next semester. I reached out to Allison Cook who’s a coordinator at Bryn Mawr and she told me about programs they have focused on helping faculty make classes more inclusive. It’s giving me a better sense of what’s happening on campus around all that. My goal and vision for this is that people feel able and confident to be in the classroom and get support from their professors. Hopefully we could use the classroom climate report in that. That’s what’s in the works.
Noorie: We still need one rep each on Administrative Advisory Committee and Strategic Planning Committee. Hey Dex, you have been meeting with them (*The Administrative Advisory Committee*)?
Dex: Yes, I can make a plug. It’s super important and focused on how to manage the college’s budget. Some of the stuff is very nitty gritty in accounting and budgeting but it is definitely understandable and I can help someone else make it understandable if anyone wants to join.
Noorie: And you meet Thurs 4:30-5:30?
Mariana: I think it’s an important time to be on this committee considering the conversations going on around labor and Customs. Having a student on there that can then report back to us and the rest of the student body would be really important.
Noorie: How many more meetings this semester? You guys meet biweekly?
Dex: We meet every week.
Saket: Is this something we can apply to? How long is the term?
Noorie: Seniors can apply
Mackenzie: Do you feel like it’s something you would have to put in a lot of time outside of the meetings?
Dex: I don’t think so. Deb runs these meetings, and usually send out an optional ~20 min read right before the meeting.
Lev: When’s the application and committee interviews for all that?
Noorie: We’re past that
Katie L.: From what I understand we just need someone in the room (*from SC*) to fill the position.
Saket: Dex sold it well. That was a good pitch. I’ll do it.
Noorie: One last thing. FUCs is going to be a thing again!! They are holding their own appointments process on their own timeline. Unfortunately, we won’t be running the process this year but they are open to having students come to having StuCo members on the committee!
Katie L.: More updates?
Emily: I met with Tom, Director of Dining Services regarding concerns from the Ford Form. Concerns students brought up were like door handles for outdoor seating and in summary the reason they don’t have handles is that students come in without paying from the outside and they can’t let this happen. It has been an ongoing issue for years and something they’ve thought about before. Also, in response to the concerns about the high tables, students are allowed to put tables together and take them apart to make new seating options.
Mariana: Did he say that there’s no way to reverse the seating set-up?
Emily: He didn’t say we can’t change the tables or anything. Maybe I’m not understanding this correctly but a lot of the sports teams will sit at the high tables because there is more seating there so that’s why they are doing that. Observing that athletes are not the only people who sit on those tables but I guess you could say the same thing about the stage. Another concern a people brought up (*on the Ford Form*) is that it is hard to walk between the tables. The DC staff actually moved the tables already so that there are isles and it’s less cramped. The other thing was closing time and people being concerned about when they can go into the DC. What Tom said was that students should be able to go in and get food whenever the DC is listed as open. But during those later times, they might not have all of the options available. But students should be able to go in and get some options. Students should be aware that DC staff still has to clean up after dinner and staff is only paid until a certain hour.
Devi: Natalia and I were also talking about setting up new study spaces again for finals week. Even though Lutnick is open now, there seems to be a shortage of study spaces. Last year we had the West Wing of the DC open at later hours to allow people to study there and this was something that Ethan (*Officer of Academics last year*) and I worked on.
Katie L: Do you know how the study spaces were funded last year?
Devi: Yea, I believe it was something that Alejandro helped us fund and we had about $800 of funding I believe.
Katie L.: Do we have money for that?
Dex: I’m not sure off the top of my head
Eliza: We have a surplus but we want to be cognitive of spending that
Mariana: It might also be worth looking into extra study spaces in Founders’ Hall. Maybe there is furniture left over from last year and maybe we can repurpose that empty space to create more study spaces.
Brittany: Speaking of the surplus, what is the systematic way that it is being allocated/usually allocated? Who’s the ultimate authority on the surplus?
Dex: We all are. Right now, a lot of money is still in the account because lots of checks were written, but haven’t been cashed yet. We were gonna bring this up in a couple weeks when it seems more relevant. We’re gonna create an application for a Students’ Council Grant for community projects and it would something that people could apply for any amount.
Mariana: Is this in addition to the facilities fund?
Dex: It would broadening the scope but it would also be pretty similar.
Katie L.: I just have a nitty gritty questions: Is there any incentive for people cashing checks in a certain time? Because we ran into this process last spring where we were just waiting for people to cash the checks.
Eliza: We can find this out for sure but my understanding is that after a year, we are not obligated to give people the money.
Dex: Most of the surplus comes from money allocated but checks were never picked up
Katie L.: Okay thanks
- Plenary Discussion
Mariana: Alright so unless anyone else has anything else to share we’re going to open- up the space to debrief Plenary. Things didn’t go as planned but we want to frame the conversation today and going forward as constructive as possible, so if you’ve heard anything constructive, please share.
Eliza: I have a questions about what Spring Plenary will look like? I’ve gotten a lot of questions about that.
Katie L.: I think what I’m struggling with, as we saw in the Ford Form, is that some of the students say they didn’t like it/no one wanted this and then someone else will be like thank you so much Council, I wanted this. I think it’s hard to know what people are thinking and what do they want/don’t want to see. As we move forward I think we just have to listen to everyone we can and get a sense of what people are thinking. I’ve heard both and it’s hard to apply it to 1300 people.
Lev: Do you think there’s space to send a follow up email about the fact that there won’t be another plenary this semester? Maybe we could have a link to a poll to see how they felt about the conversations. Maybe a couple questions that we could offer up to get a sense of where students are at with the idea. Is that something we could do in the next few weeks?
Mackenzie: I like that idea. I feel that people maybe weren’t clear on some things and that would be good to clear up. Like the fact that we aren’t trying to change plenary forever, the fact that we started out with an incomplete constitution. These things that we were thinking through that were kind of left out of what we said to everyone. But not defending ourselves too much I think is important, just laying it out.
Lev: I think it would be good to release a question to see what people think plenary means. There’s been some debate about whether or not this would even count as a plenary.
Saket: I think there are two things I was seeing. First, that the alcohol policy wasn’t there and that people generally think of plenary for the alcohol policy and for the honor code. In terms of percentages and quorum and we had really high numbers, one of the highest ever turnouts in terms of absolute numbers but we still didn’t reach quorum. Personally, I think it’s absurd that quorum is 66% and we need to realize what absolute numbers are.
Emily: People were definitely confused about the agenda and whether or not it could be voted down. I didn’t even realize that until later. There was also criticism about not having a traditional call for resolutions. Also, echoing what Saket said, people were like there’s no action items. But for me the action item was engaging with the other students and having discussions/ideas from the discussions becomes action items.
Brittany: When does spring plenary planning start?
Katie L: Now. Just so people know, we’ll bring the date that has been approved by all the facilities that we need by next Sunday and send it out before the end of this semester. Hopefully by sending it out this early, we’ll hear any glaring issues that people have the date.
Mariana: How do people feel about sending out a follow up email (*for Fall plenary*)?
Katie L.: In terms of our past emails, is the problem that people were confused by what was in the past emails or that only a certain pop of people read the emails? Because if it’s the latter we’re gonna run into the same issues.
Emily: I think the latter, but maybe both.
Eliza: I don’t think the answer to that (*people not reading the emails*) is not giving out information
Lev: I think the most immediate method is just talking to people and some people mentioned that there was no why of why we were doing this (*restructuring plenary*). If there was any way to state the intention even post-plenary. Even folks who did read all the emails maybe didn’t get all the things that would have been conveyed in the plenary speech.
Katie L.: Yea I do think it was tough that there was a lot of nuance to the speech and people didn’t get to hear that.
Mariana: I think generally every time you try anything new, there will always be confusion. Plenary is no exception, especially because there are so many moving parts.
Katie L.: We were always asking one another how we could talk to more students and we as a council were always in communication with all of the groups we’re a part of. We can always do more, we got a ford form response that said we weren’t talking enough to students. What would talking to all of campus look like and how could we make this more a part of what we’re doing?
Mackenzie: I know not all of campus is on Facebook, but maybe we could have a stuco fb page to get out there
Lev: I hesitantly offer the idea of more memes
Mariana: We do have a Facebook and Twitter page but they havent been used in a long time so if anyone is interested in developing this
Mackenzie: We could put out info that we are already emailing onto Facebook and maybe then more people would look at it
Rodrigo: This might be a little tacky but what if we did a video of us all talking to the camera and with all of our faces on screen explaining these topics.
Dex: I think Maurice and Andrew did that but the problem is people can’t skim a video.
Mariana: I hear you though, I think we need to engage in more engaging and accessible ways.
Emily: Maybe if we put up posters of really short things. Maybe just one question or idea and it would force people to at least think about issues. That way no one could say I didn’t read my email and I didn’t go to the DC and that’s why I don’t know what’s happening.
Mariana: I want to circle back to the follow up email: What are we going to do?
Dex: Maybe a description of what Special Plenary is and how it came to be. Which is that there needs to be a petition that everyone needs to sign and make a thing. And we could express that we have no intention of doing this. Because I think people think Special Plenary is automatic.
Katie L: We can also include in the email that we have the new librarian position and that the constitution is online and up to date if people have constitution questions
Noorie: Including a draft of the speech or Maybe also the Q and A.
Eliza: I think if we think of it as like a Frequently Asked Questions thing
Dex: Addressing the accessibility questions is probably very important and that we did not have enough seating for folks and framing it as there were cons to this model but we wanted to try something new. We weren’t trying to claim that we had created the perfect plenary.
Mariana: We should also include an element of gratitude. People showed up and gave us a chance to try something that we have never done before. And also highlight that we don’t believe students are apathetic, because there has been a lot of talk about that recently.
Saket: I think a concern I have is that by attaching our intentions it serves as a defense towards what we were trying to do. And if we all agree to this, I think that it is worth while defending our intentions if this is something we want to have happen again in the future. Especially given that there have been a lot of articles published critiquing plenary. There’s a million problems with that but I think that if we’re going to have an explanation of what we’re doing, it has to be a defense.
Katie L: I think it is important we collectively consent on the goal. There’s one version of the email where we are just clarifying things/moving forward and then there is one where we are showing the community that we had thought of all the concerns they are bringing up. If the goal is to move forward from plenary, we should decide that.
Saket: I just don’t see a reality of plenary being changed in the future if we don’t do a justification, that we can try this form of plenary again and change plenary going forward. People coming into SC next year will just see this as a failed plenary and I think if we want to protect the idea of changing plenary going forward, we need to defend ourselves.
Emily: What about publishing a clerk article outlining this?
Katie L.: I’m not sure if the Clerk would be the best method
Devi: I think maybe we could ask if Riley and David want to meet with us as Council because they seem to be expressing a lot of the mistrust or things that they felt weren’t working and they had a lot of time to express it, especially considering that Riley also came to our meetings. And maybe getting at the idea of where this was all coming from and why this wasn’t brought up sooner.
Mariana: I’m not sure how constructive that would be, given that he was at many of our meetings and never said anything.. Does anyone have any other thoughts on the follow-up message?
Dex: Does the speech we were planning to read at the beginning of Plenary have a lot of the intention behind plenary in it? That could be a nice middle ground of a forward looking statement that still has intentions in it.
Mariana: Yes, in the speech we were going to read out we made our intentions clear. How would people feel about maybe attaching a PDF of the speech?
Eliza: Maybe having the question/answer format.
Katie L.: Yea that was the format of our clerk article so i think that is pretty accessible
Mariana: Do we want to send it out by next Sunday?
Emily: Should we be asking for feedback and suggestions? Multiple people were saying that it seemed like Council presented them with this model and they just had to go along with it. Maybe it would be need something to add that we are open to feedback and suggestions?
Mariana: In every email we sent out since the beginning of the year, we have included a paragraph that asks people for feedback, questions, and concerns. We also link the Ford Form at the end of every email.
Katie L.: To what you are saying, yes I think we always need feedback. I think it’s important that students know we are just trying our best. We don’t have all the answers and I don’t want people to think that we think we have it all figured it out. This is a problem that all Councils in the past have run into (how to communicate/stay in touch with the opinions of 1300 people). If somebody has the perfect solution for this problem or has ideas, I would love to know.
Mackenzie: I think when people talk about StuCo, I think people are thinking of an idea and not people doing the same stuff as them, also being their peers.
Mariana: So we’ll get the email started so that way you guys have a couple days to look at it
- Officer Updates 2
Katie C.: If we’re done with all the plenary stuff, I just realized I didn’t share an update. I met with Don Campbell, of Facilities and we went over the projects that could be done with $35,000. One thing that we were thinking of is, in past years, there weren’t really applications for proposals but I was thinking about sending out an email in a week or two saying to give us a detailed description of the project and who it would impact. After we get those written proposals, they could present it to students’ council. Also, if we do want to use SC money to continue with the food pantry idea, I asked how much it would cost for the food pantry idea, they had said about $12,000. My question to council is if we should open up the full 35,000 of the facilities fund to the campus and hope that we get a proposal to the food pantry or cap facilities fund and secure the funding for the food pantry.
Dex: I think we should open up the facilities fund to the whole community so that way we have more freedom to fund projects of all costs.
Kaite L.: I agree with that
Mariana: I am curious to see how that pans out surplus wise
Katie C.: Yea hopefully we can get this started soon that way we can start the construction and people can see the benefits of these projects come spring.
Dex: Maybe the facilities fund can help start the food pantry if someone puts forward a proposal for the food pantry and then the surplus can help flush it out
Eliza: I think we as a council should propose the food pantry then
Katie C.: I will send out an email this week then.