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Students’ Council Minutes 2/28/21

Absent: Isabel, Katie, Kim, Lisette, Rasaaq, Vic


JLo: A lot of the spring athlete captains got together and sent President Raymond an email about the spring season announcement being delayed so Wendy Smith, President Raymond and the captains will be meeting at some point. 

Dex: Could you maybe explain about the delay?

JLo: The conference makes a decision each season about whether the conference competes in sports, and then it’s up to individual schools to decide whether to participate. The conference decides based on what all the presidents of the colleges decide together , and they were supposed to make a decision in January, which is making a lot of athletes antsy.

Evan: Silent disco is next week, so sign up, and then lets move on to town halls.

Fiona: Can I quickly say, I tried the Haverfriends app and it’s amazing!

Dex: We just had a meeting with Mike Casel, Jesse Lytle, and Raquel Esteves-Joyce around the idea of having some student “town halls” around different topics that would help the college. Educated students about what’s going on, increase transparency about what’s going on in the college, and get student feedback. I also think we should distinguish between a townhall and a q and a. Those are two separate things. Anyone have thoughts, or suggestions for topics? One potential topic we talked extensively about was the endowment and how it’s managed, stuff like curriculum reform or athletics.

Evan: Are there any areas of the school that you find mysterious? It could be about how employment and promotion works, etc. Are there any policies that you found vague and are unsure about?

Fiona: The Educational Policy Committee is a big one for me, because they have a lot of power and it’s hard to know how to get suggestions across. Also are these townhalls supposed to be a permanent system for transparency that happens every year, or is it a “we want to hear what students have to say right now and right now only.” I think those are very different, and I’m not sure I understand which they want.

JLo: If this is to collect information, one thing that has come up in meetings is that the college has a really archaic data-collecting system, and because the data system is so old, they keep losing feedback that they request from students. So a big thing for me would be making sure that feedback is actually getting through.

Evan: Yeah there definitely needs to be an accountability system to make sure feedback is seen and heard.

Ella: More about how tenure works and the tenure track. This information might be available, but it seems pretty buried.

Sam: Also just understanding hiring generally is something I would be interested in.

JLo: Along those lines, how do they hire coaches here?

Sam: There seems to be an overall budgeting thing, like there’s a business office somewhere and I don’t know names or faces or how they make decisions.

Dex: I totally agree, I don’t know if any of you have ever submitted pay forms in person, there’s like 50 people working in an office in Stokes who are totally anonymous to the students.

Evan: This is also something SC can do without admin, but there’s so many budgeting options and no one really knows how they’re distinguished.

JLo: We can make an interactive map and put it on one of the websites to make budgeting easier and clearer.

Noorie: How donations work from alumni and generally donors. Like sometimes they have criteria you have to meet and things you need to use the funds for, but sometimes they’re open ended. I feel like nobody really knows criteria on donations and what the money can be used for.

Dex: what topics would people be interested in doing a feedback panel townhall-style, rather than a Q and A to learn more.

Fiona: Committee on Student Standing and Programs and ECP for feedback.

Erin: Customs still. It still isn’t working.

Luka: I agree.

Dex: We’ll carry this into our next meeting, these are really productive suggestions.

Evan: Last thing is compensation. There’s serious movement towards compensating student reps and SC/HC, we’re trying to parse out the details, we’d like feedback on priorities of who gets paid more or first, if we have limited resources, and then stipends vs hourly pay, and then which positions get paid and how. First major question is priority for who gets paid. We want to prioritize work study students, and also the rigor of the labor they’re doing.

JLo: the way I’m imagining is how they’re rolling out vaccines. So like most need gets priority. 

Sam: I think there’s a difference between paying everyone and paying people who need money more. Once you make this a job you can embed it with extra responsibilities. Going forward I think for people for whom there’s a financial impediment for doing this work should be prioritized.

Luka: I was wondering if we could create a system where people could refuse payment if they didn’t need it.

Evan: Then there’s the question of where that money would go, go back to the school or get donated. One added option in the past was when they were compensating people on SC who were on work study, they weren’t paying people, they were just waiving their work study.

Fiona: I am for compensation. would being on the schools payroll restrict what they can do or say? We’re supposed to be speaking for the student body and will be being paid mean we’re more a tool of the administration.

Evan: That’s a real complication and I worry that being college employees will restrict what we can say, but that’s something we can ask Mike and Raquel when we meet.

JLo: Can you ask about social media, because during the strike, accounts were censored. If we’re college employees can we still post whatever we want on our personal social media?

Erin: Is there a way to do a financial loophole so we’re not being paid directly by the college?

Evan: the SC fund is technically outside the college, but obviously they don’t want SC paying SC.

Dex: Mike is pretty adamant that this shouldn’t come from a student managed account, because the student activity account is the only one and it’s emptied every year. We shouldn’t be using the fund for fun for consulting work and student labor. As of now, I don’t think there’s anything set up to take the funds from.

Evan: We can use customs as a guide for how compensation works. Customs got paid, and it hasn’t gone ideally. It turns out this year customs was the whitest it’s been, which means compensation doesn’t always do what it’s supposed to.

Erin: I don’t think we should prioritize paying equally, but rather paying those who need it most.

Luka: Is there a way to do a payment plan?

Evan: there was the case where they paid people by waiving work study rather than making them a college employee. Maybe stipends, as CPGC provides stipends rather than hires fellows.

Sam: I thought customs was supposed to be a stipend?

Erin: It was, but now we log 10 hours a week into workday.

Sam: Maybe something like getting meal plan comped or something like that? That might be a solution to break the dynamics.

Amolina: At other schools, RAs get housing comped.

Erin: Wasn’t the issue that they didn’t have enough funding to comp meal plans, which is why they’re paying us instead.

Dex: So we can quickly talk plenary. We’re going to roll over last semester’s plan into this semester. That was asynchronous weeklong work. It’s vague, but because the sem was pushed back we can push plenary back to the end of April. We want to be responsive to the needs of the community, and the needs of the community are to not be in a physical space or on zoom for 8 hours. Soon, we’ll start taking volunteers to start helping with specific parts of plenary planning, rather than doing the super long onerous extra meetings with the whole council. Next sem, be ready to have feedback. Also anyone reading the minutes, please give us feedback too

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