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Plenary Preview

By Alison Rosenman and Ellen Schoder

No resolutions will be discussed at the year’s fall plenary, but there is still bound to be plenty of conversation. In an email sent late Thursday night, the Students’ Council (SC) Co-Presidents, Andrew Eaddy and Maurice Rippel ‘19, announced a sudden change of plans for this weekend’s event and put their own twist on the biannual tradition. Plenary is scheduled for Oct. 7 at 2:30pm.

According to the email, this semester’s plenary will begin with a speech by the SC Co-Presidents on the “State of the Ford,” followed by a Town Hall and the ratification of the Alcohol Policy. The email states that plenary will run from 2:30-5:30pm, though it does not specify any time limit for the discussion. This fall, quorum is set at two-thirds of the campus population, thanks to last year’s resolution at special plenary.

As of a week ago, there was a resolution on the docket to create a Plenary Committee, modelled in part after the Special Plenary Committee that was created last spring. But the resolution no longer appeared on the agenda sent in Thursday’s email. When asked why the resolution was revoked, Emily Lin ‘20, one of the resolution writers, said that “the situation’s unclear.”

“There are complications related to the Students’ Constitution,” she wrote via text. In the email, the SC Co-Presidents, one of whom was also a writer for the resolution, said that they would explain the situation at plenary.

Without any resolutions, the SC Co-Presidents announced that they would reformat the event to facilitate the discussion of community issues, and allowed students to submit suggestions for discussion topics. It’s a format that’s different from anything students on campus have seen so far in their time at Haverford.

“Our unique circumstances provide us with an opportunity to do Plenary differently than previous years — we also feel that this model (or another variation of it) may set a standard for future plenaries,” the Co-Presidents wrote in the email. They declined to comment for this article.

“The community town hall discussion, I think that’s actually going to be really helpful because I think a lot of the problems that surrounded the last couple of plenaries, at least the ones I experienced, was the lack of discussion that was going on,” said Devi Namboodiri ‘21, the SC sophomore representative.

Namboodiri and another SC member who was interviewed for this article said that, as far as they know, students will still have the opportunity to make changes to and vote on the rules of order at plenary.

At plenary, students will also have the opportunity to discuss and ratify the Alcohol Policy, as they do every fall. This year, however, SC has yet to announce JSAAPP co-heads for the year because the student body did not reach quorum in the online election poll earlier this semester.

This fall’s plenary follows an unusual year in self-governance at Haverford, which included the #AllStrugglesOneCode protest and a complete rejection of resolutions by President Kim Benston in the fall, as well as a Special Plenary, administration-imposed interim Honor Code, town hall about legal concerns in the Honor Code, and divisive meetings and discussions galore in the spring.

As plenary unfolds on Sunday, share your thoughts with us @HaverfordClerk on Instagram and Twitter.

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