By Matthew Denton ’24 and Zhao Gu Gammage ’25
“l don’t know that Haverford students want student government,” says Jack Crump, ’23, the Elections Coordinator. After a four-hour failed plenary on Sunday, in which quorum was lost eight times, many are left questioning a cornerstone of the Haverford community.
Students convened on Sunday in the GIAC gymnasium to debate four new resolutions and most importantly to ratify the Honor Code, but left without voting on most of these issues due to an inability to keep quorum.
The proceedings were slated to begin at two o’clock. Students could attend in person or over Zoom and the majority of attendees chose to attend the event virtually. However, Plenary did not begin for an hour and a half, since the student body could not reach the two-thirds threshold, or about 939 students, required.
While waiting to reach quorum, Ileana Rodriguez ‘25, the sophomore class representative, surveyed students’ thoughts on plenary and later transitioned to running trivia. Student representatives from Bi-Co Mutual Aid, Students for Reproductive Health, and the Committee of Environmental Responsibility also made announcements while waiting for quorum to be met.
The first resolution, presented by Lucas Sherman ‘25 and Sam Monks ‘23, requested that students not have class on Election Day, and that student workers get paid time off to vote. Despite concerns from students about non-eligible voters missing class unnecessarily and the logistics of rescheduling class, the resolution passed.
The first resolution took approximately half an hour to adjudicate; the second, due to several instances of losing quorum, took twice as long.
Grant DeVries ‘26 and Kabir Hinduja-Obregon ’26 proposed the second resolution, which advocates for instituting a ranked-choice voting system for student elections to reduce the number of runoff elections that the current model creates. Students had concerns about the resolution’s futility, and argued that the lack of participation in elections, rather than their format, was the real issue. However, the writers mentioned that many underclass students ran for elected office, and that ranked choice voting would have made those elections run more smoothly.
Before the votes were cast, the attendance fell below quorum for the fifth time, at which point Co-President Abdul-Rasaaq Shittu ‘23 lamented, “At this point, it’s just comical.”. After fifteen more minutes of waiting, during which snacks were distributed and quorum regained, the resolution passed.
The third resolution, written by Emily Almgren ‘24, Sarah Campbell ‘24, Joey Carol ‘25, and Janani Suresh ‘23, proposed to rewrite parts of the Academic Code. With a focus on restorative justice, the group suggested that language surrounding separation from the community, as well as the word “trial,” be removed from the code. The resolution would also create a new outlet for students to communicate with professors regarding breaches of trust.
Although each of these points were discussed in relative depth, the discussion proved fruitless. Quorum was lost three more times, leaving the students in the gym frustrated. Students’ Council advised that they would record in-person student votes if they were unable to vote online, but the resolution still needed around 100 more votes, though there were no technical issues reported in-person. After Shittu ’23 offered a final plea to vote, the resolution still did not reach quorum, likely because students on Zoom were not present at their computers to vote, and ultimately failed.
After four-and-a-half hours StuCo finally decided to end Plenary, at 6:20pm. According to the Rules of Order, StuCo can choose to move to a Special Plenary only when either after half an hour of lost quorum has elapsed or when the Honor Code has not been ratified after two half-hour exentions. Although neither of these situations had occured – it had only been around 20 minutes since quorum was lost and only two and a half hours had elapsed since quorum was first gained – Students’ Council announced a switch to Special Plenary.
Now, students will have six weeks to petition for a Special Plenary, an event which requires 40% of students to approve it. During Special Plenary, ratifications need a three-fourths majority of the student body to pass. If the Honor Code is not ratified at this event, both it and the Alcohol Policy will no longer be in effect. If Sunday’s attendance is any indicator, the Honor Code is on thin ice.
Lisette Pham ’23, Students’ Council Co-President remarked that a move to Special Plenary is very “troublesome for our future” and feared that the Haverford community is “losing our values…people are forgetting why they came to Haverford.”