Plenary reached quorum at around 6:15 p.m. and held throughout the night, approximately three hours later. All three original resolutions had points of contention, but the largest drama of the night came when students voted to split Resolution #3 into two separate resolutions, an unprecedented move in recent Plenary history. Three of the four new resolutions passed, and voting on the ratification of the Honor Code was opened.
Resolution #1: The Good Food Resolution
The first resolution of the night was the Good Food Resolution, which confirmed student body support for the goals of the Food Systems Working Group, a formal coalition of students, administrators, and staff with the mission of creating a food system that is “environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable.” There was some debate over the purpose of the plenary resolution: was it okay that this resolution voiced broad support of a general plan, or should specifics have to be provided? In the end, students decided upon the former, and the resolution passed with a large majority.
Resolution #2: Academic Hearing Resolution
This resolution aimed to streamline the academic Honor Council trial process. If parties in an agree a violation occurred and are on their way to repairing the breach of trust, Honor Council could send the case to a hearing beginning with the circumstantial portion. The resolution, along with a clarifying friendly amendment, passed in the eyes of the chair during the informal vote. In line with the new voting rules added at last fall’s plenary, students contested the results, and a paper ballot vote was taken. The resolution did not pass.
Resolution #3: Treasury Proposal for a New Representative of International Students and a Reallocation of Surplus Funds
The first question asked after the presentation of this resolution was why this resolution was a single resolution since it seemed to encompass two very separate issues: the creation of an elected Representative of International Students and changes to the allocation of surplus funds by Students’ Council. Indeed, it was this question which dominated most of the early part of the debate on this resolution. This prompted an amendment splitting the resolutions into two parts, each of which was to be voted on separately. Although this amendment passed, some students called into question whether splitting a resolution that was already presented set a bad precedent and was in keeping with the spirit of the rules of Plenary.
Resolution #3: Representative of International Students
This resolution sought to create a new Representative of International Students, a position elected by international students that would be responsible for “voicing the perspectives and concerns pertaining specifically” to international students. It also changed the definition of international student used by the students’ association to refer automatically to any student studying in the United States under a visa and other students who completed high school outside of the U.S. the option to identify as an international student upon entering the College. This definition is specific to the students’ association, although the presenters urged the administration to update its definition as well. Many international students spoke in favor of the resolution and its goal of giving international students more voice in Students’ Council. The resolution passed by a large majority.
Resolution #3: Reallocation of Surplus Funds
The final resolution of the night dealt with how Students’ Council handles surplus funds from club budgeting. Due to a Plenary resolution passed in the 2005-2006 school year, surplus funds had been placed into a closed account accessed every four years, and last used for Grand Haverfest. This resolution eliminated that fund so surplus money would automatically roll over from semester to semester and remain in the general Students’ Council fund to be redistributed during the budgeting process the following semester. After very little debate, this resolution also passed.