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2/24/19 Students’ Council Minutes

Sunday 24 February 2019

5:15 PM – 7:00 PM

Minutes by Katie Leiferman and Mariana Ramirez*

Meeting Minutes

Table of Contents

  1. Attendance
  2. Absent Member Updates
  3. Plenary Reflections
  4. Ford Form
  5. Customs Town Hall
  6. Campus Labs


  1. Attendance
    1. Council Members
      1. Co-Presidents: Andrew Eaddy & Maurice Rippel
      2. Co-Vice Presidents: Sydney Churchill & Shayan Hashemi
      3. Co-Treasurers: Alejandro Wences & Danny Mayo
      4. Co-Secretaries: Katie Leiferman & Mariana Ramirez
      5. Officer of Multiculturalism: Jhoneidy Javier
      6. Officer of Academics: Ethan Lyne
      7. Officer of Arts: Rachel Kline
      8. Officer of Athletics: Claire Cai
      9. Officer of Campus Life: Tina Le
      10. Representative of International Students: Jason Ngo
      11. First Year Rep: Jacob Gaba
      12. Sophomore Rep: Devi Namboodiri
      13. Junior Rep: Katie Guild
      14. Senior Rep: Julia Blake
    2. Absent: Marked with Red
    3. Late: Marked with Orange
  2. Absent Member Updates
  3. Plenary Reflections
    1. Maurice: Let’s start with individual reflections on Plenary. Free write about what your experience was, what worked/what didn’t work that kind of thing.
    2. Rachel: One con was the late pizza. It came at the end, not everyone got it. It should’ve arrived earlier. People had a lot of good positive feedback about the layout. I think there should’ve been more chairs–people did complain about that.
    3. Jhoneidy: I wasn’t there, but there was a lot of talk about the anonymous letter from the free speech bro. My personal thoughts, it is an issue brought up every year–its kind of a none issue, I don’t see all the need to bring it up specifically at Plenary.
      1. Claire: I heard there were a couple contentious comments submitted to the Ford Form such as “I feel personally attacked” and couldn’t tell if it was sarcastic or not. I also heard it took a while to reach quorum
      2. Maurice: It took an hour, last semester it was twenty minutes.
    4. Devi: I also wrote about the FF. I thought people laughing at what was submitted was not the best reaction, that just dismissed that person’s comments. If someone takes the time to write something, they shouldn’t be made fun of for it. It’s important to address with seriousness. If you were to comment, point out the reasons why they are wrong. The person submitted the form because they were trying to say they did want to get to know the Customs teams, so laughing just perpetuated their isolation. I do see the comment had terms that made people uncomfortable which can’t be ignored. Two side comments I heard about it–”I can’t believe someone said that” and “I can’t believe no one took that seriously.” I was really happy CER resolution passed. Holding ourselves accountable to each other and the environment is important. I look forward to more work with SC and CER together. CER wanted me to pose that to you all to have a post-plenary discussion with SC. It was interesting that we almost lost quorum–there were people leaving. I couldn’t tell what the topic was from the audience it was hard to hear.
      1. Rachel: If you are at a certain angle you couldn’t hear the mics, something happened with the audio there.
      2. Andrew: Some were confused because they couldn’t hear, and some were confused because ROE aren’t smooth or intuitive. Hopefully we can do something about that as well.
    5. Shayan: A lot more student engagement in compared to the last one. It seemed much more like a real Plenary so that is a pro. I also really liked the layout. In terms of cons, as a resolution writer, I felt that some people had concerns about our resolution and never reached out to us, so the process was not as efficient as it could have been.
    6. Alejandro: it felt like more of natural plenary from what I heard.
    7. Andrew: There are often a lot of people and chaos at the table which slowed down an already hard process, we can have some regulations about who can come up in the future to avoid this.
    8. Ethan: We finally had a more “regular” Plenary with less controversy than past ones and gave frosh and sophomores a better idea of Plenary. On the con side, SC didn’t appear as a family or a team and that was disappointing. We brought down individuals during Plenary and that was seen by students and I think that hsouldn’t happen again.  
    9. Katie: I think I was frustrated with the Ford Form. Mainly because we would have a line of people up to speak who we were trying to check in, while also taking minutes on what was being said, while also looking at the form. We couldn’t read 20 comments at a time while also allowing people to publically speak all in the allotted time which made for a stressful situation when we would get comments in yelling at us about not reading their comments, or about being uncomfortable on the ground, or about no pizza. It was not ideal for Mariana and I, but we are going to have to change the Ford Form settings for other reasons anyways so it hopefully won’t happen again. On a happier note, from a few weeks ago we never had a chance to discuss the Town Hall, but I was super happy about the turnout and participation that happened there. Last con, I think that Plenary as a whole isn’t living up to its expectations still, and with the space and all the people there, that there are possibilities for what we can do that we haven’t reached.
    10. Katie G: I appreciate people picking up the slack, like ethan and sydney.
    11. Jason: One of the cons, it was very difficult to follow the amendment clauses. When we voted on them I couldn’t remember what we were even voting on. I was in the conference room and the connection was not optimal for live streaming, there were a lot of times where words were missed. I find the SWOL resolution interesting because they didn’t present a resolution but they asked people to sign this resolution google form. So it wasn’t clear how it functioned in Plenary.
    12. Devi: Did you all see the boycott of Customs that SWOL is also a part of? I think that connects to the Plenary stuff as well.
    13. Maurice: Major themes, why don’t people reach out in advance? I think Plenary is very performative, and people know in advance the things that upset them, but rather than work with resolution writers they want to make a public point at Plenary. I don’t think resolution writers should be able to present their own amendments because that is part of writing the resolution. I agree with Katie in terms of what can we actually “do:” with the space. I left feeling unsatisfied as well. What did we do for four hours with almost a thousand people? Should plenary continue to run the way it is? What is a “real” Plenary to you all?
    14. Shayan: By real, I meant traditional as in what I saw my first and second years at Haverford in terms of the level of engagement of students, having resolutions and discussions. In terms of length, it was more of what I had seen before.
    15. Ethan: For me, I think there is often something related to the environment such as the ethos pledge a few years ago, changing the Code itself, a mix of legislating and value statements that offer students different perspectives that give people a general taste of what they want to change on campus.
    16. Alejandro: I see a lot of confusion, people not knowing what is going on, that is generally how it goes.
    17. Rachel: I agree there is performativity involved, some of the stuff we saw regarding certain resolutions–people actually saying things/asking questions for the right reasons.
    18. Devi: With the performativity, I thought Honor Council trying to block the resolution (librarian resolution) seemed like it was about something greater. I thought it seemed like more of SC and HC need to talk rather than a public conversation.
      1. Claire: For clarification, why did they “block it”?
      2. Ethan: They added an amendment that effectively asked the SC librarian position to intervene if they see violation of the SC constitution. That was their proposed friendly amendment. There was a miscommunication on the intent of it –unfriendly vs friendly– that caused a bit of delay.
    19. Devi: I’m not sure how international students felt about first Amendment, I don’t know how I feel about that.
      1. Rachel: negative, that was a whole thing.
      2. Devi: I don’t know how people never said anything when we were writing or getting signatures instead of waiting and staging a speech at Plenary.
      3. Alejandro: some international students were happy. There was controversy over being a gate keeper and community becoming too inclusive
    20. Jhoneidy: Same people engaging, general passivity.
    21. Devi: I feel like conversation gets cut short, I don’t want to say there is no time limit, but next time, having the pros/cons go until there is a minute when no one speaks instead of how it stands. That could lead to hours of Plenary though. I think its interesting when its only one weekend of one semester that people want to pacify so quickly.
    22. Maurice: what is the point of Plenary?
    23. Jhoneidy: As it stands, it is a performance of Haverford’s ideals about student agency and student government. If those are the standards, we are not meeting them because of a variety of reason. More than anything, Plenary is a symbol for those ideals and in a weird way has a potential to get there but keeps falling short.
    24. Shayan: I see Plenary as an opportunity for the student body to get together and strengthen the sense of community on campus which is very different than what happens there right now.
    25. Ethan: I see Plenary as a form of empowering all folks on campus to have a voice and be able to say what they think about an important issue. To give all an opportunity to express feelings/opinions and bring something forward.
    26. Andrew: Everything in the ROE and agenda is all working toward the goal of passing resolutions, and we did pass resolutions, so in that way, the mechanics of Plenary are working. What people think Plenary should be doing that it is not doing, and why Plenary is the space for those things? What is missing?
    27. Ethan: I think that one of the issues is that people think they have to have a silver bullet that fixes everything. It’s also hard to understand the processes and feel comfortable in presenting something to the entire campus.
    28. Katie G: One thing I was talking about with Mariana was how difficult it can be to have this pressure to present in an eloquent way. At Plenary, when you have the same people speaking and being involved that are also involved in governance (and who can present in a professional way) that can be very intimidating.
    29. Katie: In terms of what Andrew is saying, I think the ROE and agenda have to change if we want to use Plenary better. I think having this strict space where you have to present a perfectly packaged piece of legislation, or that you need something written to change the Constitution, that we are wasting the space. Because yes when we go through the mechanical rules of order and pass resolutions we are “technically” doing Plenary.
    30. Andrew: Why not an online Plenary?
    31. Devi: tradition is very important in some senses, I really value that everyone will try and occupy the same space for some time. People are already removed from the space in some forms with attention, but a physical separation with a form online would take everything away.
    32. Shayan: I agree with the idea that we should have a Plenary and a space for open discussion, I think that is something I would like to see Plenary have–people can share concerns and have dialogue with each other. This could be a much more effective way to unite the student body.
    33. Devi: I think it is also interesting that if we made this online–it is interesting how people choose what to pay attention to. I think that giving an out to people not to come to a space would show the priority for unity is not about caring for other people at all.
    34. Ethan: From personal experience, in the space you can physically moved to go speak. I have seen people go up and speak who have been sidelined–when you are pushed to be in the space and hear things, you are forced to engage with subjects that you can normally easily ignore. It pushes people into that uncomfortable space.
    35. Maurice: We said real Plenary is “changes to Honor Code, in the GIAC, value statements, changes to honor code, working on resolutions” Who thinks it doesn’t need a whole scale remake?
      1. *Rachel, Devi, Ethan, Dany, Claire*
    36. Maurice: You are all a group–decide what can be done for next Plenary to address what doesn’t work currently. Two other group options: Plenary as currently structured should be an online space (ie: idea of librarian would be sent out in an email and vote). Other option, Plenary is like a Town Hall where we all come together and discuss.
      1. Jhoneidy: I lean towards the second option, the point of sending out resolutions prior to plenary, so if we can amend before presented, then Plenary is coming together to vote on it and see where folks stand on the resolution as a whole. Its too much to ask over a 1000 people to amend a resolution especially when everyone already had that chance.
      2. Shayan: I think there should be a physical space, but I think the resolution process could be completely online. We could distinguish the two processes. I think by making it an open discussion space, rather than a formal space for resolutions, a lot more people would be willing to speak up and share.
      3. Katie G: I think shifting to that structure would focus more attention to creating a space for the campus to come together to strengthen student body. The focus would shift from formal resolution/amendment structure to creating a community space.
      4. Shayan: If that is the idea we want to implement, how would that be different than a Town Hall?
      5. Jason: I think a Town Hall is less action-item oriented. My ideal Plenary would be to attend and feel that we as a student body have made changes to campus. Students could discuss resolutions pertaining to the whole student body and come up with actions.
      6. Alejandro: I am learning more towards the second one, having an open discussion type thing–people could voice concerns that we don’t normally have time to think/talk about.
      7. Andrew: It seems like some people think the online portion could streamline the resolution process, but there is still importance of the physical space–with this sort of Town Hall/Plenary hybrid.
      8. Maurice: Like shayan said, a dual process. Maybe a referendum type system. Another system–turning Plenary into new style, open discussion where we come out with action items as a student government body based on mandates given by students in the discussions could be interesting. Can I see a quick show of hands–who wants to think more about the online procedure?
        1. Online: Shayan, Andrew, Claire
      9. Maurice: Everyone else would be working group about making Plenary space into Town Hall type system?
        1. Town Hall: Katie, Jhoneidy, Katie G, Alejandro, Jason, Mariana
      10. Maurice: For next week, similar to what we did at the retreat–meet up in the working groups to come up with one-page memo for your groups’ project looks like.
  4. Ford Form
    1. Katie: First, make the Ford Form non-anonymous because there are some people using the form irresponsibly. We still will read the form without names; however, if there’s confrontation, we can go to the person. The form is not meant for personal digs; rather, it’s meant for people to approach StuCo with issues and changes. In terms of the ‘manifesto’:

“Therefore, I want to encourage you to abolish the clause in section 3.06 about creating safe spaces on campuses. To abolish the clause that deems microaggressions as act of discrimination. This is how we can encourage dialogue and educate people of carrying out acts of hatred to try and reach a common ground.
Additionally, I advocate for more oversight of the customs program. A professionally trained diversity group and increased education about promoting diversity will allow our student body representatives to educate students on diversity rather than indoctrinate ideas of identity politics and the hierarchical structure of victimhood.”

  1. Johneidy: Ironic use of “victimhood”
  2. Shayan: Do you mind sharing the entire Ford Form submission with us and the student body? Students are asking to read the entire submission
  3. Maurice: The specific message will be in the minutes.
  4. Katie: If we make the whole form public, than we are legitimizing abuse of the Ford Form,which we are hoping to end.
  5. Maurice: Katie will share but there’s no need to look at it right now. Any hope for removal of safe spaces is not very high because honor code passed overwhelmingly. I think that’s an interesting proposal. I don’t think what the student’s proposing aligns with his goals.
  6. Katie:  Some of the other Ford Form submissions we have received in the last week include some submissions that expressed discomfort and negative thoughts with the layout of the space because of personal health.
  7. Rachel: there were not enough seats for everyone.
  8. Maurice: there were actually seats and we could take them out from the corner.
  9. Rachel: Someone was using other seats for foot rest.
  10. Katie G: We discussed clearly in our meetings why we sought to change the playout, and if they saw the minutes, they would have seen that and why we decided to change the minutes, so it was technically public information.
  11. Alejandro: if they had commented, we could have changed the layout to suit their needs.
  12. Rachel: I liked the layout, but think we need more seating
  13. Mariana: We encouraged people to bring pillows to sit on
  14. Ethan: A lot of people sat on the floor.
  15. Mariana: To read another Ford Form response, “On November 14th, the student body was sent an email about the controversy surrounding Drinker House and Henry Drinker’s racist legacy. Since then, despite the promise of more updates from student’s council, nothing has changed and the name is still on the house. Why has nothing been done to change the name of the house and why have there been no updates for almost four months?”  
  16. Andrew: There’s a meeting with the Institutional Advancement about deciding the names for Drinker House.
  17. Maurice: Kim Benston will be sending an email in the immediate future about a committee that will be related to the Drinker House controversy
  18. Mariana: Another response, How do I get facilities to deliver more toilet paper to my apartment??? They bring like two rolls per two weeks and I need to steal some from up campus and bring it back in my backpack” This message does raise an important point about the purpose of the Form Form. If someone  was having an urgent need, I don’t think they should be using the Form Form.
  19. Katie G:  We should try to recommend a place for them to better express their misgivings.
  20. Mariana: I think now that we have emails we can respond directly for things like this and help students out quicker than waiting for full meetings.
  21. Customs Town Hall
    1. Maurice: We will have a Town Hall on Monday, March 4th at 7 pm. We would all be ready for this week, but Mike and Michelle need to get financials together. Who is available at this time?
    2. Alejandro: What is the meeting for?
    3. Maurice: There is a protest going around to boycott plenary. They want Customs to be paid, they listed the amount. This Students Workers Union have tried to get people to not apply or if they have applied, to revoke their application.
    4. Katie: I’m on Committee, and so is Mariana,  and none of us are getting paid. Customs Committee is not included in their demands, even though many members spent 10s of hours last week doing interviews, reading applications, and meeting to help make the program run smoothly. Their work is extended from all this mess too.
    5. Alejandro: *reads demands from SWOL from the email*
    6. Dany: They specific it is a stipend not just the school subtracting it to make it clear it won’t affect financial aid. The rationale for off-the-hall members, you are obligated to go to dinners.
    7. Katie G: I have heard that alumni have heard about this and are very upset with the idea that Customs would get paid.
    8. Dany: Its funny they didn’t include any committee in their demands even though they do even more work. They are just caring about themselves.
    9. Maurice: They want our help (admin) to help facilitate a confrontation between those demands and what they can do to meet them in the middle.
    10. Andrew: And to provide common information to everyone about this stuff–that’s why Mike and Michelle are looking at different models paying people at different rates. This is all to show people what it would cost so that hopefully people can all see if it is reasonable/work together.
    11. Ethan: This town hall is not a discussion with pro/con of paying, it is more of an exploration of options  of how we could pay them?
    12. Maurice: I think it will be both–pros and cons and the options should we go that route.
    13. Rachel: Are these all people that have done Customs before?
    14. Maurice: Their email list has over 500 people. There were around 40 people at the first meeting.
  22. Campus Labs
    1. Alejandro: Mike approached us to make a new historical committee to bring in a program called Campus Labs to increase student engagement on campus. This would benefit the college.
    2. Maurice: This helps with elections, registering clubs, etc. It is a software that could store weekly events, event check-ins, appointments, basically everything we do on SC one-stop shop to house it all in one software. Like EMS, everyone would have a login with access. His question for us is whether we can consider 4k a year since it costs 8k?
    3. Ethan: I have heard fantasies about app that due this like Havertivity, LOOP, and I am skeptical of this.
    4. Maurice: Those are both very different, LOOP was a start up by students on campus and Havertivity was misused (not intending to do what this is for). This is a lot cheaper than both of those. Those were Haverford specific, this is being used by other colleges.
    5. Andrew: We are going in right now with 3 other schools including Temple. Has anyone been to one of the demos?
    6. Alejandro: There is one this Tuesday. MIT and other reputable schools also use this.
    7. Maurice: Because this would be a new historical commitment, we need to all consent to this. Since we don’t have enough people to consent, we can vote on this later. Next meeting, we will also develop a plan for Staff Appreciation Day and the Skatehouse Renovations and the Pop-up Study Spaces.
    8. Devi: CER is interested in meeting with council. Can we allocate some time to meet with them? I can ask them to come next week. `

*These minutes reflect summaries written by Katie Leiferman ‘20 and Mariana Ramirez ‘20, with help from Ethan Lyne ‘19 and Jason Ngo ‘21. Questions/comments? Email or submit to the Ford Form.

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