A key tradition of Haverford College is Plenary, which typically happens twice a school year. Plenary is a time for students to talk about their experiences on campus and come together as a community. These conversations are integral to Haverford’s core values of student governance and agency.
While Fall Plenary did not happen in 2020 due to the campus-wide student strike, Spring Plenary will be happening asynchronously and virtually over a two-week period at the end of April and the beginning of May.
Students’ Council brainstormed ideas on how to engage the entire community, including remote students, international students in different time zones, and students on campus. The result: Spring Plenary 2021 will be hosted as a series of multiple sessions throughout the week of Plenary, along with Honor Council, the Joint Student Administration Alcohol Policy Panel (JSAAPP), and resolution writers.
The first event was a Plenary and Resolutions workshop that took place on Friday, April 9. The workshop went into more detail as to what Spring Plenary 2021 will look like and how to write resolutions.
Once all the resolutions have been submitted by April 16 in an email to email@example.com, Students’ Council will publish them in Google Docs, where students can leave comments and suggestions. These will serve as the “friendly amendments” that the resolution writers can accept or reject. For the amendments that are rejected, amendment writers will be given a chance to raise them as “unfriendly amendments”, which will go through an additional comment and debate period.
After all the resolutions have been revised, they will then be sent to voting by the student body. Typically, Plenary requires two-thirds of the study body to be present to reach quorum. Only after the majority of students are in the building can Plenary then officially start with voting on resolutions. This year, however, voting will take place through online polls.
Due to the past two Plenaries being cancelled and the mixture of remote and off-campus students, informing the student body about Plenary has proven to be difficult, especially among younger students. “To be honest, I don’t know enough about [Plenary] to have an opinion,” said Luke Mandel ’24.
In order to avoid going to Special Plenary, Students’ Council is planning to table and incentivize students to vote with food and activities.
A breakdown of the key dates for resolution writing is included below, while a detailed timeline for Spring Plenary can be viewed here.
April 16: Resolution drafts due
April 21–25: Resolution drafts open to community review/comments
April 26–30: Virtual sessions/debates on resolutions
April 23–25: Vote to open Plenary and agree to the Rules of Order
April 30 – May 2: Vote on resolutions, the Alcohol Policy, and opening of Honor Code ratification
May 6–7: Vote on Honor Code ratification