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9/15/19 Students’ Council Meeting Minutes

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 September 15, 2019


Minutes by Devi Namboodiri and Sydney Churchill

Appointments from last week (9/8/19): Elections Coordinators (Asher Porphy and Sophia Tatum-McNeilly) 

Meeting Minutes

Table of Contents

  1. Attendance
  2. Summary of Meeting
  3. What’s happening on Campus
  4. Officer Updates
  5. Appointments Expectations
  6. Plenary

  1. Attendance
    1. Council Members
      1. Co-Presidents: Katie Lieferman & Mariana Ramirez
      2. Co-Vice Presidents: Noorie Chowdhury & Evan Moon
      3. Co-Treasurers: Dex Coen Gilbert & Eliza Koren
      4. Co-Secretaries: Devi Namboodiri & Sydney Churchill
      5. Officer of Multiculturalism: Brittany Robinson
      6. Officer of Academics: Lev Greenstein
      7. Officer of Arts: MacKenzie Somers
      8. Officer of Athletics: Rodrigo Zuniga
      9. Officer of Campus Life: Katie Chung
      10. Representative of International Students: Saket Sekhsaria
      11. First Year Rep: _____
      12. Sophomore Rep: Natalia Cordon
      13. Junior Rep: Brian Hu
      14. Senior Rep: Emily Lin
    2. Absent: Marked with Red
    3. Late: Marked with Orange
  1. Summary of Meeting. This week, the Students’ Council meeting consisted of a discussion about things that are happening and relevant on campus on right now (3), giving officer updates regarding what we did last week (4), talking about the appointments process (5) and discussing restructuring plenary (6).
  1. What’s happening on Campus

Katie L.: What have people heard about on Campus?

Brian: There’s a climate strike happening on Friday, the event sounds like it should be a large event. It is part of the Sunrise Movement (national climate strike), there is a first year wants to organize a strike in front of Lutnick.

Katie C.: Has it already been organized?

Brian: I met with the first year organizing it, told her where to go and who to contact

Mariana: Did you tell her about environmental clubs? CER for example?

Brian: Yes

Katie F.: What else do people have to discuss? The clearness report came out.

Mariana: What has everyone heard about it?

Katie C.: a lot of people haven’t read it

Mariana: There was a clerk article released on it

Rodrigo: I’m going to meet with Wendy Smith to talk about the athletic component of the report to discuss it

Katie L.: It’s been helpful to use the Clearness committee report as a point of data in meetings with administration

Mariana: or bookmark certain sections to use

Dex: Do you know when the Task Force on Student Employment and Service report from Mike is being released?

Katie: We might have work to do in response to the report, setting up a TownHall for example

Evan: We have raw data available from the Clearness Committee Report for those who are interested in reading that

  1. Officer Updates

Dex: Club meetings was Tuesday night

Eliza: We changed the way to get funding for food, didn’t fund meals for off campus trips because not everyone pays for meal plans

Katie L: There will be a section of the meeting specifically for the budget

Katie C.: I talked to Nate Diehl about food insecurity during breaks, going to be meeting with Nate early this week. Briefly talked about ResLife and OMA collaboration on this project. I haven’t spoken to Wendy Raymond directly about this but I have heard that Wendy Raymond is interested in the opportunity to visit some affinity groups and she was receptive to doing this going forward so I am going to be reaching out to clubs to organize this.

Mariana: Related to the food insecurity issue. Met with Jesse Lytle and President  Raymond. Jesse Lytle said that someone on Haverfarm is working on a grant proposal so that food can be grown on Haverfarm during the cold parts of the year. Could be helpful with this.

Noorie/Evan: We appointed two new election coordinators last Sunday. Asher and Sophie. They are going to start running elections after the First Year Election. We’re going to send out appointments schedule to the entire student body and for the SC reps who need to be here for interviews. We met with Mike Elias about how to incorporate Engage into the appointments process. Each committee will be a new organization and members can publish monthly/semesterly reports so everyone can see committee activity.

Saket: We had the first EPC meeting, getting French International student to get signed up for EPC. The clerk article going to be published about international students over the summer. International Student Center opening up in 22 basement.

Emily: I emailed Katrina Glanzer about pre-major advising. Will send follow up this week. Compiled questions to ask departments so that first years and sophomores can have more information about departments. Talked to various students to get feedback for plenary structuring. Setting up meeting with Katie and Mariana to talk about resolution regarding plenary last fall. 

Devi and Sydney: Sydney met with Mariana and Katie to discuss roles. Will email Mike for more info for task force on student work and service and future directions for that.

Lev: Didn’t get to do as much, organizing schedules and classes. Wants to get connected with Classroom Climate Report and check in with Provost. Wants to look into helping Brittany and Kelly Wilcox with the Health Center. And then compile information to understand where can be of help.

Rodrigo: Had first meeting with SAAC about party culture panel discussion, want to get team captains together to plan, nothing concrete has happened yet but want to organize. Nicki Miranda, new strength and conditioning coach wants to put together a student and faculty dodgeball at the end of the semester. Want to look into inclusivity in the weight room. One idea is to have an “inclusivity hour” where athletes are discouraged to wear uniforms in the weight room. It might not be possible to have an hour where athletes are not allowed in the GIAC but maybe the uniforms could be a step in the right direction. I want to open up the floor for comments.

Katie L.: Mariana and I are in conversation with Kelly Wilcox and Wendy Smith about athlete-non-athlete divide. I’ve heard a few years back there was a vote on closing the GIAC for specific time periods so that non-athletes could use it. But the student body voted it down. 

Brittany: Open lift times are posted, may be helpful to spread the word.

Katie L: There are quiet hours posted on the door, times where there is minimal use in the GIAC. 

Rodrigo: The issue with the lift times are that athletes have to go to lift at specific times. Open lift times are times where strength and conditioning coach is available to assist people regardless of whether or not on athletic team. To post open lift times, might make strength and conditioning coach inaccessible to lift times. 

Katie C.: Posting gives people more of an option to choose. 

Emily: Would be good if GIAC made known that resources are available for people who aren’t on teams. I’ve assumed those resources were not available to non-athletes. This could be made more approachable.

Dex: Could it be posted when specific teams are doing team workouts

Digo: issue is each team doesn’t have a set schedule– people make own schedules

Dex:  I would want to know specifically when an entire team is going to be deadlifting and focused on one person doing a deadlift. Can be very overwhelming. Usually happens on the weekends.  If teams are going to do a group workout they could put it online. 

Emily: If there was a google calendar available for GIAC times, athletic teams could add to calendar and then people could plan accordingly. 

Mariana: do you see the party culture panel happening this semester?

Rodrigo: Probably mid-to-late semester. 

Evan: OMA was planning to have discussions about inclusive party culture. Reaching out to Ben and Theresa would be a good step. 

Emily: PARC, BSL and ALAS did a meeting on party culture last year. 

Mariana: Please be sure that SAAC works collaboratively with these affinity groups and organizations, especially during the planning phase.

Brittany: OMA hosted a meeting with coheads for affinity groups but I couldn’t make it and so I am going to follow up and see what the plan is for this semester. If people have suggestions about what the OMA can be working on this semester that would be good. I’m going to meet with Kelly to figure out timeline for the Wellness Center, we’re going to have a soft-opening and will have a more set timeline in the next few weeks. Still getting furniture.

Natalia: Met with SoHo this week to decide what they want to do for introduction event. Need to introduce myself and figure out what kinds of collaborations I can do. SoHo is hosting something this Thursday. Talked to a few juniors to figure out how many people knew about SoHo/how active it was on campus last year. Another thing we’re trying to do is to get sophomore students to be more of a group, want to get sophomore swag of some kind might be money in the budget for that. I contacted someone from the makers space to come up with design.

Dex: Where would the money come from?

Natalia: Mike Elias has money through SoHo to use for this project. We have materials available from past events so wouldn’t be a lot of funding needed.

Brian: I talked to a first year about the climate strike as I said earlier. I also drafted emails to coheads of affinity groups to see what I can do. I’m trying to refrain from savior complex when trying to give support. Going to send emails by next week. Drafted a welcome post for junior class page which would set up office hours and give juniors an opportunity to contact regarding the Clearness committee report and any other concerns. Need to finish reading the report.

Mariana: We met with Wendy and Jesse Lytle on Wednesday and discussed the use of the Ford Form. Want to continue using it as a space for on-campus discussion. This week we want to use it to see where people feel there can be money that can be saved/not spent on certain things on campus to allocate towards more aspirational goals. 

Dex: Could we include a part specifically about the SC budget? There are a few groups of students that take up the majority of the budget funds. Should we fund specific things that maybe are only being utilized by a few students whereas there are small amounts of funding that are going a long way in the committee and having a large impact. Are there things within the SC budget that shouldnt be funded?

Devi: While I understand this concern, people come to Haverford to have these kinds of opportunities. For example, Crew got a new boat last semester and people who use this are able to participate in events that maybe otherwise they wouldn’t be able to

Emily: We should think about what do people find really positive and impactful. We don’t just want this to turn into people putting down specific groups and ideas. What do people want to see?

Dex: To respond to Devi, Haverford doesn’t offer everything. For example, we don’t have a football team. We need to make sure that the money being used (because this is coming from people’s tuitions) is benefiting the entire student body. We need to think about what is equitable. Do we want to continue to fund these clubs or want to use these funds for other things such as the International Students’ Center or other projects. We need to open up this discussion. We feel that certain spending result in being unable to fund other things.

Dex: We hope to send the masterlist to everyone tonight and we will also have the CER comments on each of the items. People can ask questions regarding anything that they see. What do people see as issues on the budget?

Lev: Septa tickets don’t cost 13 dollars round trip. 

Saket: Isn’t it 6 dollars each way.

Lev: They can buy in advance.

Dex: We will add a note. 

Mariana: Are we funding NHSL/MFL or regional rail?

Eliza: We want clubs to make their own decisions regarding these funding things. We don’t want to research on behalf of the club.

Emily: Whatt does SEF stand for?

Dex: Student Engagement Fund.

Emily: I’m seeing SEF for halloween costumes and makeup but non-Halloween costumes being approved. For example with Spotlight. Is this Halloween vs. not Halloween?

Dex: We assume people have makeup in the case of Spotlight. We encourage them to go through student activity fund. 

Saket: How is the Diwali dinner usually organized? Usually hosted by SAS. 

Dex: I think there is also one hosted by International House this year. They are planning on hosting a series of dinners throughout the year regarding cultural immersion. We approved them all. Not sure about the organizing of it. 

Brittany: I have some visual and performing arts questions. What is the differentiation between funding personal items and costumes? Is there any way to ensure that 600 worth of costumes is being passed down year to year? Seems like some of these might be inconsistent. 

Eliza: The issues with shoes is sharing shoes is harder than sharing clothes. People are more likely to keep these items than other items. It is tricky and we are expecting pushbacks in the grievance process. Seems like a lot of money for things that people will take with them.

Dex: I would rather not give shift money for costumes than give everyone money for personal items. Iconic got shoes last year, that’s what Michelle Leao said

Brittany: I feel like Iconic (step club) is a tricky club it could be considered an affinity group. Depending on the makeup of the team. You can’t do the art form without hard toed shoes, it is dangerous. It creates barriers because some students who can’t afford the shoes have to out themselves. 

Dex: I am not opposed to buying the shoes. The shoes would have to stay with the club and the ones that were purchased would have to stay with the club too. Club teams with cleats have done this in the past. The financial assistance clause was put in because a lot of students on this campus can afford to buy cleats and are not on financial aid.  But we are open to change.

Mariana: We can consent via email later.

Emily: For the performing arts section – they are asking for stage makeup and I am wondering if we can have a consolidated student supply of makeup for all clubs

Eliza: I think for hygiene purposes they have to have their own makeup

Emily: There are already certain team supplies

Mariana: Maybe in some cases (ie projector) they are present in certain places and therefore maybe can be shared use across clubs

Eliza: Who’s making sure that everything is not taken back to the club? 

Dex: Our experience with this is coming from spotlight. We found that there was actually old makeup that people had not been using, want to create a way of using things year to year.

Katie L.: When do you want to send out the finalized budget?

Dex: Hopefully tomorrow.

Katie L.: I don’t think we are at a place to consent to the budget right now when a lot of people haven’t read the budget. I think we need to consent via email but want to get a plan of what we do in the next 24 hours to effectively look over the budget and get questions answered.

Devi: Should we schedule another session to talk about the budget? Or list things that we have issues with

Katie L.: I want to avoid going through the entire budget right now.

Noorie: I think it’s important to brainstorm about the budget. If we could find 45 minutes to look over this and take suggestions that people have that would be good

Evan: Would it be possible to have leave notes/comments on the doc and then look over it tonight? I want to respect the time you (Dex and Eliza) have put in

Katie L.: If we opened up comments process on budget, then tonight everyone needs to read and make comments on the budget. Next week we can allot meeting time to look at budget and reflect/improve process for next semester. We can think about how budgeting and spending this semester .

Dex: What was the projector thing?

Mariana: Clubs request similar items and we want to make sure we are not double-funding certain requests. A projector was an example of this.

Katie L: Comment on doc by 10pm tonight so Eliza and Dex can see. We will then do email consensus before finalizing the budget tomorrow.

Dex: I think budgeting is a collaborative process and we want you to weigh in about the budgeting process and certain items. We want to do this on consensus. If you take issue with something let us know. It is really important to talk about this and be clear.

  1. Appointments Expectations

Evan: For appointments, we have a lot of committees and composed of officers and representatives. Comprised of the co-chairs (VPs) and all of the officers. 

Noorie: People usually come in after applications for interviews. Interviews can last between 15 minutes and longer interviews for other positions. Everyone on the committee is free to ask questions. Will send completed applications to reps beforehand. We don’t want you guys to stay back for a long time after every council meeting. We are thinking of having everyone sign up for a few of the interviews, so interviewing committee doesn’t get too big. Can we gauge everyone’s response? 

Devi: Who is present on the committee can really change the decision. There were sometimes clear splits and having everyone present was important.

Evan: I think that is a downside of that option. We were originally choosing self-selection because certain positions relate more to the committees we are interviewing for. Want to have people with experience. Ex office of academics will be there for academics related committees. 

Noorie: We also finalize our decisions on the consensus-based model so everyone in the room will have to agree.

Evan: We will share the sheet after meeting and sign up for 4-5 and quota for 5 people.

And we will share the description of the committees so that you can sign up for things that interest you. 

Mariana: Add them to your calendar.

Noorie: What time works best for appointments?

Lev: How long do they go?

Noorie: It depends on the number of applicants

Evan: We can also see what happens week to week. As soon as we have applications we’ll try to send it to everyone.

Emily: After 8 would be best for me

Noorie: That might get too late with interviews and deliberations

Lev: Are they always on Sunday nights?

Mariana: Yes, do you guys (Evan and Noorie) want to send out a Doodle for scheduling?

Evan: Yes, we’ll send it out tonight.

Emily: How does the process work?

Evan: Appointments are usually bi-weekly, not really every week. Applications due Saturday night, Sunday interview, we will know on monday about the upcoming interview schedule for the year.

MacKenzie’s Updates:

– Began a conversation with students interested in ceramics about potentially starting a club that could support an active pottery community at Haverford. In the meantime, I budgeted for ceramics materials and tools through James House for experienced ceramicists to be able to actually utilize the kiln and pottery wheels which have been in JH for years

– Began coordinating meetings with Courtney Carter, HCAH Post-Bac Fellow, about how I can continue the work that Rachel Kline 2020 began last year in this position. This involves spreading the word about Hurford Center funding opportunities.

– Connected with Michelle Leao, Director of Student Engagement and Leadership, to meet about how we might collaborate this semester to offer accessible spaces for the creative community at Haverford.

  1. Plenary

Katie L: We sent questions for you guys to look over earlier this week but it is getting late so we want to see if we can talk a bit about the questions. Did people get any answers from people they asked? (Questions Below)

  1. How can we make Plenary more engaging? 
  2. How do we ensure that a diversity of voices are heard at Plenary? 
  3. Should changes to the structure of Plenary be made through the resolution process? If not, how should they be made?

Katie C: For the question of if we should we enact plenary changes through the plenary process, I asked people if we should enact plenary changes through the plenary process and they were against it. It might make it feel less legitimate if we don’t do it through the plenary process but it might be fine if we give people enough time/warning.

Eliza: I heard opposite things– people said it would feel like a decision made unilaterally by SC, not representative of the student body.

Katie C.: Could we send like a survey? 

Eliza: I don’t have a strong opinion but maybe some people want to stick to the constitution.

Mariana: Other thoughts?

Katie L.: I hope that everyone has something to share regarding these questions.

Emily: Regardless of whether we do changes through the Plenary process, we need to get student feedback, for example through the Town Halls from last year. We need to inform everyone and that way people won’t feel that we made this decision unilaterally as a council. One specific thing I heard is to have more time with resolutions and having unfriendly resolutions come beforehand so that there is more time for debate. Conversation and debate around resolutions not solely happening during 5 minutes available during plenary.

Eliza: If plenary could be online and if it were a forum that people logged into I think that would be cool. It would increase accessibility and people abroad could participate. Could maintain structure but it would be different.

Devi: We talked about that last year. We weren’t sure because it has been a tradition to have the whole school gather in person. Sometimes people feel omved to speak in the space. But I am open to discussion. I wonder for that kind of change what would happen

Lev: Often online structures of feedback and discussion are more toxic than in person structures of discussion. I don’t think that having everyone in the same room is always helpful but I do think that having face time with other students, if it were small discussion groups. I think that would be good.

Evan: I agree that there needs to be an online forum of some kind but that can’t be the only form of discussion. Need to have everyone in the same room. Can have online things take place beforehand. I talked to Teresa about how to have a productive conversation with everyone in the room. Maybe this could resemble the community day of engagement resolution and we could discuss a variety of topics including. Ex. classroom climate, diversity, etc. Small groups would give agency and accessibility.

Mariana: Do we think the content of resolutions depend on the structure of Plenary? If so we need to let people know about the resolution writing process since plenary is coming up.

Saket: I think independently there is a problem with the way that resolutions are written. It is too much for a small group of people to write resolutions. There are people who are fixed to the constitution but I think people can focus more on the process of writing resolutions. We need to cater to accessibility as opposed to people who are focused on the language on the constitution. I would be interested in talking about more specific things regarding this. I am often hesitant to tell people to write resolutions when I know they can be taxing and time consuming.

Emily: If we want to give ourselves time to re-design plenary we could make it happen at Spring Plenary instead of Fall Plenary. Because resolutions are difficult to write, maybe we could get ideas for resolutions but it doesn’t have to be on the people coming up with the ideas to also write the resolutions. Similar to what Special Plenary Committee did. The timeline for fall plenary is unreasonable.

Noorie: To make brainstorming more intentional as a council, we could come up with a number of options of what plenary could look like and then next week on the ford form or a poll, could send out to the community and then pick one based on that. Let the community decide.

Lev: I think that plenary could be structured as breakout groups of different topics twice. Get people talking in small group settings. Talk face to face about resolutions and gives time to reflect about future aspirations. Breakout groups first and reflecting on different topics. People could pick different topics. Then talk about specific resolutions and then talking about future aspirations. Could be powerful community space, not sure if can happen this semester.. 

Dex: Part of struggle now comes from confusion of the purpose of Plenary in the community. What is it and how does plenary serve us? Why does plenary have bad connotations?

Evan: I agree with that approach. How and why often gets conflated in these conversations. Want to set the goals first and then figure out how to achieve this goal step by step.

Katie L.: Does anyone have anything else to add? Thanks for sharing. This will be a continuing conversation.

Mariana: We are going to continue talking about plenary and send out another action item for next week.

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