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Spring Plenary 2019 Minutes

Spring Plenary Minutes

Sunday 17 February 2019, 2:30 PM

Quorum Reached: 3:26 PM

Minutes by Katie Leiferman & Mariana Ramirez*

Spring Plenary Minutes

Table of Contents

  1. Quorum Reached
  2. Moment of Silence
  3. Student Council/Honor Council Introductions
  4. Students’ Council Updates
  5. Overview of Agenda & Rules of Order
  6. Resolution #1: Amendment to the Nomination and Election Processes of Student Council
  7. Resolution #2:  Campus and Individual Sustainability
  8. Resolution #3: Student Council Librarian
  9. The Honor Code

  1. Quorum Reached:
    1. Time:  3:26
  2. Moment of Silence
  3. Student Council/Honor Council Introductions
    1. Katie Leiferman ‘20
    2. Mariana Ramirez ‘20
    3. Shayan Hashemi ‘19
    4. Sydney Churchill ‘20
    5. Maurice Rippel ‘19
    6. Andrew Eaddy ‘19
    7. Lourdes Taylor ‘21
    8. Daisy Zhan ‘20
    9. Helena Frisbie- Firsching ‘21
    10. Brett Hungar ‘21
  4. Students’ Council Updates
    1. Andrew: Updates on spaces on campus such as the apartments, wellness center, campus center, the bathroom project is underway in the GIAC and a few other places.
    2. Maurice: We have also been working on Discourse on Discourse. Finally, SC has been working on transparency as a council, thanks to the Student’s Council who enabled comments on the minutes, opened up the Ford Form (please use this during Plenary), and we are really proud of the Town Hall that we just had. We are going to give you all a minute to look over the Rules of Order. We have three resolutions on the packet: making our campus more sustainable, changing elections procedures, and adjusting student council. We will also hear from the Honor Council Co-Chairs to open ratification of the honor code.
  5. Overview of Agenda and Rules of Order
    1. Read over Rules of Order and Agenda (2 Minutes)
    2. Questions (2 Minutes)
    3. Vote on Agenda and Rules of Order (Requires ⅔ majority)
    4. Rules of Order and the Agenda have been approved.
  6. Resolution #1: Amendment to the Nomination and Election Processes of Student Council
    1. Resolution Introduction (3 Minutes)
    2. Talia: We are making the elections process more efficient, so first, we are adding a clause in the Constitution to approve the Haverford definition of what a SC is. We are adding a campaign budget for Spring elections. The current timeline is 48 hours for nominations and voting, we are changing that to a week each, and then 48 hours for voting. We are also reducing quorum from 50% to 40% for SC elections (which it already is for honor council and student reps). We are also creating guidelines for JSAAP. We are also making plurality  40% for SC reps and JSAPP, and only SC has plurality in the constitution. We are standardizing elections’ process for all students’ group, so less emails for everyone.
    3. Question and Answer (5 Minutes)
      1. Jesse Zeldes ‘22: Is the money coming from the SC or total budget?
        1. Sydney: It is coming directly from the SC budget.
      2. Paul Breitenfeld ‘19: What is the rationality for allocating resources is? Why do we need campaign funds?
        1. Shayan: The SC Treasurer’s have extra money. This is to ensure that people will not spend their own money or overspend.
        2. Rachel: I came from a school where campaigns were a huge deal. It was a good way to facilitate school spirit.
      3. Jesse Friedson ‘21: Could you explain why specifically $600 and why not applying for the funds? What happens with left over money?
        1. Shayan:  One of the authors is Alejandro, who is unfortunately not here with us today.
      4. Paul Breitenfeld ‘19: How will this impact special elections?
        1. Shayan: We are not concerned about special elections.
      5. Rebecca Chang ‘19: What does it mean that uncontested elections don’t need an election? This was an issue with JSAAP last semester
        1. Talia: We are trying to avoid this issue altogether.
        2. Sydney: this is an effort to make sure we have no vacant positions.
      6. Isabel Floyd ‘20: More elaboration on $600, why not used for anything else? You can print posters for free. It seems like there are a lot of things on campus that we could use that money for.
        1. Shayan: This part was written by Alejandro.
        2. Sydney: This portion of the resolution is to generate excitement about elections such as pens, posters, elections. We have guidelines in the resolution. This is to increase engagement. If you are not happy with engagement, please consider a friendly amendment.
    4. Pro-Con Presentations (10 Minutes)
      1. Paul Breitenfeld ‘19: (CON) I think that it is bad idea to have the elections stipulation in this bill. There are good things, but not all of them are. As far as I can tell, there are 20 elected representative. This means that each person would only get about $30, which is not a lot.  
      2. Riley Wheaton ‘20: CON it is a really good resolution, but doesn’t address fundamental reason why people are not engaged, which is elections coordination. It is sensible for people to not engage if they are confused. I think we need to work on the elections coordinator position. We need support and accountability.
      3. Cecil Ross ‘20: CON Against the use of the definition of international students. I would like to point to the phrasing about International Students. I would like to advocate for the use of a self-identifying definition.
      4. Jai Nimgaonkar ‘19: PRO Its not perfect, but given the burdens on someone of writing a resolution it does a lot of good things. This resolution is trying to do a lot of good things.
      5. Andre: PRO I am here to speak in favor. I think there is no rule for how money can spend on it. This means that people with a higher economic income would use their own money.
      6. Katie reads from the Ford Form
      7. Lev ‘20:  I want to speak in favor for the resolution.
      8. Mosell Burke ‘21: CON Uncontested elections and not reaching quorum,
      9. Maurice Rippel ‘19 PRO: I want to cover two of the things people are harping on, funding $600 is very doable for printing color and facebook ads. $600 is already in Students’ Council, what we have seen from the past 3 years of research data, when there is only one person running and it doesn’t reach quorum, people don’t step forward and say I am going to run anyway. We have the same person running again and again, this makes the job on the folks up here.
      10. Drew Evans and Tai ‘19: PRO: We are both currently the JSAAP co-heads. We want to talk about how our election was not run well. We believe this process will help the election run smoother.
      11. Isabel Floyd ‘20 and Jesse Friedson ‘21: CON Objecting to the lowering of quorum. I just hope that there is a better solution. Because we are extending the time period, it would help us reach quorum.
      12. Paul: CON I don’t think this resolution actually addresses the issues at stake in introducing elections. I think it’s a good idea to ban outside money in the elections. No one has run into issues with money in their elections.
      13. Ford Form Responses:
        1. I think needing to campaign will discourage people from running – particularly people that are underrepresented on campus
        2. Are there restrictions for students to not use their own resources for campaigning?
        3. What does “plurality at 40% mean”?
        4. Question for Resolution 1: What will be done with leftover money not being used by candidates? If they don’t use the exact $600, where will the money be put? How will it be returned to Students Council?
        5. I think the use of money in elections is superfluous and that that money should be allocated elsewhere. Additionally, by lowering quorum we will promote further disengagement in the election process, which is already a very present issue on this campus. We need to be combating disengagement not putting money into the system. Finally, by having people automatically get a position without having to meet quorum seems rash in that they may not be qualified for the position.
      14. Body votes to extend pro/con
      15. Lev Greenstein ‘20: PRO
        1. I think this a way to engage people in a new way. This gets people to come together and talk.
      16. Arlene Casey ‘19: PRO Right now, the elections process is really advanced, this isn’t perfect but its a step in the right direction. I know at least for honor council, the process continue to fail the  HC Exec Board. The Exec Board can essentially appoint people. This streamlines the process and makes some improvements.
    5. Response to Pro-Con Debate (3 Minutes)
    6. Call For Friendly Amendments (Supported By Presenters and Approved by Chairs) (5 Minutes)
      1. Presentation of Friendly Amendment (2 Minutes)
        1. Lourdes, Brett: We are presenting a friendly amendment–we want to change the Honor Council elections back to November.
      2. Question and Answer (3 Minutes)
      3. Pro-Con Debate (5 Minutes)
      4. Vote on Friendly Amendment
        1. Passes
    7. Call For Friendly Amendments (Supported By Presenters and Approved by Chairs) (5 Minutes)
      1. Voting to extend the time for Friendly Amendments
        1. Fails.
    8. Call for Unfriendly Amendments (75 Signatures Needed) (5 Minutes)
      1. Presentation of Unfriendly Amendments (2 minutes)
        1. No Unfriendly Amendments
    9. Moment of Silence
    10. Vote on Final Resolution (Requires 2/3 majority to pass)
      1. Resolution passes
  7. Resolution #2:  Campus and Individual Sustainability
    1. Resolution Introduction (3 Minutes)
      1. Presenters: How our school uses energy–we have the report and what the school is aiming for is carbon neutrality by 2060, but based on conversations with facilities, we can be there by 2035. A lot of the language in our resolution is about trying to reach this new date. The means include student input at every level, and college commitment. There should be student input in every part of the process. We are proposing an audit to SC’s budget. Basically, we want to be a resource for how clubs and organizations on campus can become more sustainable.
      2. Joseph Stein ‘21
      3. Vaidehi ‘19
      4. Ceci ‘19
      5. Johanna ‘21
      6. Ian ‘22
    2. Question and Answer (5 Minutes)
      1. Ford Form questions:
      2. Ford Form: how much carbon footprint haverford is having?
        1. Ceci: The audit will be carried out by an individual *reads resolution document*
        2. Joseph: Most of it is in heating, other is miscellaneous things.
      3. Daniel Van Beveren ‘20: What specifically would carbon neutrality look like in concrete terms?
    3. Pro-Con Presentations (10 Minutes)
      1. Collin ‘22: PRO: Some saying that this is a good chance for the school to take responsibility in doing its part to reduce the effects of climate change.
    4. Response to Pro-Con Debate (3 Minutes)
      1. Vaidehi: In terms of composting, technically that is not true we do have composting in the DC. The company comes every week.
      2. Cici: We have been changing things a lot. We are trying to change our solution for composting. I think this could be a future resolution. We are working with Carousel Connections.
      3. Joseph: The people– we, the student body–are the ones that need to implement this.
    5. Call For Friendly Amendments (Supported By Presenters and Approved by Chairs) (5 Minutes)
      1. Presentation of Friendly Amendment (2 Minutes)
        1. CER: changes to the initial resolution: “the student body, including student organizations and student government, strives to exemplify through individual and collective actions the environmental responsibility it seeks.” “the audit will be carried out by a working group which will: serve as a resource to clubs during the budgeting process and assist and advise the SC treasurer’s to make environmentally conscious budgeting decision”. This friendly amendment reflects the recommendations that other environmental groups on campus have.
      2. Question and Answer (3 Minutes)
      3. Pro-Con Debate (5 Minutes)
      4. Vote on Friendly Amendment  
        1. Amendment passes.
      5. Presentation of Friendly Amendment #2 (2 Minutes)
        1. Alicia, Andrew: “Hereby sustainability efforts made by the college the student body, ehaus, and CER must reflect this awareness and actively construct these existing systems within the institution to construct environmental sustainability that is sustainable for every human, plant, animal, and organism.
      6. Question and Answer (3 Minutes)
      7. Pro-Con Debate (5 Minutes)
      8. Vote on Friendly Amendment  
        1. Passes
    6. Call for Unfriendly Amendments (75 Signatures Needed) (5 Minutes)
      1. Presentation of Unfriendly Amendments (2 minutes)
        1. Sadie Kenyon-Dean ‘20, Will Herzog ‘19: Asking the college to consider light pollution in addition to carbon pollution.
      2. Question and Answer (3 Minutes)
        1. Jay Kiensle ‘19: Doesn’t this resolution already contain language about light pollution?
          1. Jesse: Some version did, but it was not included in the official version.
        2. Hanae Togami ‘19: Why is this an unfriendly amendment?
          1. Will: The reason why is because when it was created it, the amendment does not include any language regarding construction.
      3. Pro-Con Debate (5 Minutes)
        1. Jesse Friedman: CON I’m concerned about safety for women especially with changing the lighting at night.
          1. Sadie: Everyone who lives on campus knows about how bright the campus is.
          2. Will: to clarify, it’s not about brightness but color.
      4. Vote on Unfriendly Amendment
        1. Passes.
    7. Moment of Silence
    8. Vote on Final Resolution (Requires 2/3 majority to pass)
      1. Resolution Passes
  8. Resolution #3: Student Council Librarian
    1. Resolution Introduction (3 Minutes)
      1. Sydney Churchill ‘20, Ethan Lyne ‘19: *Summary* : Institutional memory and continuity on Students’ Council has been an ongoing concern in terms of making sure past Students’ Council operations, projects and ideas are passed down year to year. We believe that this position would provide an important resource for future Councils to transition smoothly and seamlessly into their terms. A Students’ Council Librarian would establish stronger institutional memory for Students’ Council, specifically surrounding the history of the procedures, responsibilities, projects and structure of the Council. The SC Librarian would act as a resource to council members and the greater community through compiling historical records and documentation of past Councils’ work, structure, plenaries, and procedural practices that can be referenced by future Councils and by the community as a whole.
    2. Question and Answer (5 Minutes)
      1. Gilad Avrahami ‘22: Would the librarian take part in SC meetings?
        1. Sydney: The expectation is to attend meetings, keep an archive of what is happening during the year. They would not be a consenting member.
      2. Madeline Guth ‘19: What happens if no one wants to do this position?
        1. Sydney: To address that question, there are currently a good amount of interest, so we feel confident.
        2. Ethan: We think that this position should operate independently of the climate of the current council.
      3. Jay Kensal ‘19: Is there a requirement for 3 semesters on campus, or could you study abroad?
        1. Ethan: We find that they should be present to be sure they are actively meeting with SC members.
    3. Pro-Con Presentations (10 Minutes)
      1. Daisy, Lourdes: We think the requirement for the term of 3 semesters shouldn’t be so long because it leaves a small amount of eligible people. The HC Librarians have never had to be on council that long to be qualified. I think they should add a clause about stepping down.
      2. Julia Blake ‘19: CON, I don’t support what the resolution stands for, technically that position should be appointed internally, it is unnecessary to add to the constitution.
      3. Riley Wheaton ‘20: PRO Up until 2 months ago I was the HC Librarian, it is a greatly needed resolution and position. The website wasn’t updated before the crisis, this created a lot of confusion on campus and administration. SC members are burdened by a lot, so having someone whose job it is to keep this up to date is  and really helpful.
      4. Ford Form: “I wonder if the historical society wouldn’t be a good fit for this. Maybe incorporate them into the council somehow?”
    4. Response to Pro-Con Debate (3 Minutes)
      1. Ethan: To Julia’s point, I am going to use anecdotal evidence for things that happen on SC that have no been brought forward. For one of the things, we have considered changing the number of class representatives, and in our discussion about that, nothing has been brought forward about the council of 12 that occured in the past. This was something not introduced and it only required some independent effort to find this.
      2. Sydney: I want to add to that, that someone currently on council that has this position to add these responsibilities is not doable.
    5. Call For Friendly Amendments (Supported By Presenters and Approved by Chairs) (5 Minutes)
      1. Presentation of Friendly Amendment (2 Minutes)
        1. Madeline Guth, Madison Sulton, Jai Nimgaonkar: We are presenting a 2 semester position that begins in January.
      2. Question and Answer (3 Minutes)
      3. Pro-Con Debate (5 Minutes)
        1. Riley: PRO They come in at the same time as the HC librarian so they could get trained together.
      4. Vote on Friendly Amendment
        1. Passes
      5. Presentation of Friendly Amendment #2 (2 Minutes)
        1. Daisy and Lourdes: add to the resolution “if the student council librarian sees a potential violation of the constitution, they should step in and intervene” also, add “other” to additional.
      6. Question and Answer (3 Minutes)
      7. Pro-Con Debate (5 Minutes)
      8. Vote on Friendly Amendment
        1. Passes
    6. Call for Unfriendly Amendments (75 Signatures Needed) (5 Minutes)
      1. No unfriendly amendments.
    7. Moment of Silence
    8. Vote on Final Resolution (Requires 2/3 majority to pass)
      1. Resolution Passes.
  9. The Honor Code
    1. Presentation of Honor Code
      1. Daisy and Lourdes:

We are speaking as the Honour Council Co-Chairs to update the Haverford community on the general state of the Honor Code, specifically focusing on how effectively the New Honor Code, which we ratified last academic year, has fulfilled its original intention, as well as how well the Haverford community has lived up to its expectation.

We do recognize the great improvements the new honor code intends to make for this community, which is creating a safe space for students of historically underrepresented or marginalized identities. We believe it is important and indeed a big step forward to explicitly have these values reflected on the Honor Code. Actually, from the cases honor council and the Community Outreach Multicultural Liaisons have received, more students are using us as a resource to assist their confrontations. However, the fact that values are explicitly put into words in the Honor Code does not mean they offer affective protection and warnings. Our first-hand insights working as Honor Council Co-Chairs urge us to acknowledge the fact that in many aspects, the New Code failed to change what it is expected to change.

First, some of the biggest changes of the New Honor Code advocate for equity and equal accessibility of academic spaces to students across all aspects of identity, and asks both students and professors to uphold these values. However, according to data kindly provided by the Clearness Committee, about 56% percent of student body have witnessed insensitive statements and behaviours from professors around issues of identity and trauma. In Honor Council trial meetings, there have also been several instances of professors being racist and xenophobic. Thus, this new portion in the New Honor Code that is supposed to make students of all identities safer in academic spaces failed its purpose.

Two other major changes of the new honour code are the broadened categories of discriminatory acts in the social code, and the diversified discourses of confrontation, to alleviate the burdens on and insecurities of the harmed parties of social code violations. Honour Council and the Multicultural Liaisons have received many cases regarding social code violations conducted by groups and clubs on this campus, which is a big shift comparing to dominant social cases of individual violations we received in the past. This trend tells us two sides of the story. One is that it reveals the institutional discrimination that has been existing on this campus, and that we still failed to suppress them under the New Honor Code. However, another side of the story is that the new system of confrontation provided harmed individuals more protections to bravely confront the improper acts of these powerful groups deeply embedded in this institutions. These institutional discriminations always exist, but now they may be more frequently brought under the jurisdiction of the Honor Code. Nevertheless, we want to acknowledge that there are also rampant discriminatory acts happening everyday and everywhere on this campus that are brought to neither Honor Council nor the Multicultural Liaisons. This reveals the fact that either under the new confrontational system, those harmed still feel burdened and unsafe, or there are many problems not stressed by the honor code, so people just do not pay attention to them.

Overall, we want to recognise that from the perspective of Honor Council, the new honour code, although with good intentions and some effects, still failed to provide enough support and protection for the marginalised students on this campus.

Lourdes: As Daisy articulated, there are many acts of discrimination that take place constantly on this campus that never receive attention. The Honor Code has been wildly exclusive to students of underrepresented backgrounds since its inception in 1897, simply because it exists in a school and a nation that flourishes on minority oppression. Given this, I am frustrated by how much focus and attention is paid to the Honor Code, in Haverford’s advertising, in plenary, in Customs and half the conversations on campus. Yes, it is good and important to critically, and even painstakingly consider our shared statement of values, because language is incredibly powerful. But why is the Honor Code the primary focus of our attention, when it’s obvious that the Honor Code itself is not at the root of Haverford’s issues? In addressing the state of the code, it is important to address that while the Honor Code is the manifestation of our campus, and moreover a function of it for Honor Council, there are pressing issues at Haverford that will never, and have not ever been solved at Plenary, or in limiting our conversations to the Code. I encourage us to think beyond the Honor Code, Student Government, and all of Haverford’s historic institutions, since before the 1970s, about 70% of us, on the basis of gender and race alone, would not have allowed in these seats as students.
This is not to say that students should become apathetic or less engaged with issues on our campus. Quite the opposite, in fact. In conversations about student engagement, “apathy” is often associated with a lack of attention to tradition, when this term is not accurate. It is not “apathetic” to focus one’s attention on social change that isn’t born out of plenary, or Honor Council, or clearness committee. While great and valuable things can come out of these groups, (if I do say so myself) we must stop perpetuating the idea that you have to be an HCO, run for Honor Council, become student Council president and befriend the school’s alumni to be engaged. It should not be more Haverfordian to attend plenary than to lead an affinity group. It should not be more Haverfordian to be on Honor Council than to take the time to recognize how you may be insensitive toward your peers. But it is, and this has created a social dynamic that has made it too easy to make the Honor Code a permanent placeholder for making lasting cultural change. Of course the code should be reevaluated, in fact, I’m a supporter of failing it pretty much every time we come to plenary. But do not let your presence here be confused with engagement. Many of us, who have sat in this room for hours many times before, or have served on a trial, or led a customs session, no matter how good those things may be, run the risk of being more apathetic to the actual problems on this campus than we realize. We implore everyone, in considering the code today and in the future, to think of AND beyond the Honor Code, so that we may actually create the “Haverford community” that has never fully actualized.
We hope these insights are helpful to you as we begin discussion and ratification of the Honor Code.
Thank you from Daisy and Lourdes, your Honor Council Co-Chairs.

  1. Reading of the Honor Code Preamble, Jurisdiction
  2. Pro-Con Debate (10 Minutes)
    1. Riley Wheaton ‘20: I wanted to share a bit of clearness committee data with you — 89% agreed the code makes Haverford a better place, I agree with you all and say we should open it up for ratification.
    2. Maurice reads portion of the Ford Form Response
  3. Response to Pro-Con Debate (3 Minutes)
    1. Lourdes: People like you, keep coming up and making people feel unwanted. Calling your identities out is not a problem, but rather giving light to the systemic issues surrounding identity. The fact that you don’t want to have safe spaces on campus makes you the problem.
    2. Daisy: I feel like for the person who wrote the response, I think you have a huge misunderstanding of trust, concern, respect. If you had listened to the state of the code, I feel like this is a really good example of what we outlined in the speech. The key issue is whether people stick to these guidelines.
    3. Lourdes: We do not support your recommendation to get rid of the safe spaces clause, to respond directly to that one proposal.  
  4. Open ratification for the  Honor Code
    1. Honor Code Ratification Opens

Final Moment of Silence

* If there is a significant period of silence (one minute or longer) where no one approaches the mic, chairs may move forward with proceedings.

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