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Student Groups Advisor: Chris Green

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April 15, 2008

by Rio Akasaka

With over a hundred student groups at Swarthmore, representing a wide diversity of activities, interests, cultures, and causes, the Student Group Advisor needs to be familiar with them and their needs.

I will bring to the job a year and a half of experience on SBC. Twice during spring budgeting I have listened to every student group give explanations of what they do and why it is important, and with the addition of personal participation I have much experience with what groups want and need, as well as what the college can provide for them.

This semester I have attended every public meeting of Student Council and been present when groups have presented their concerns to Council. I have also made my own contributions when appropriate, and so am already very familiar with the way Student Council operates (I even read the constitution!).

Next year as Student Groups Advisor, I will continue to work with student groups, Student Council, SBC, and the administration to help student groups achieve their short-term goals. I will also work to realize their long term goals in conjunction with the upcoming capital campaign. I will meet personally with members of every student group to hear their current plans and discuss their vision for the future development of their groups.

Knowledgeable, experienced, fair, and diligent — Chris Green for Student Groups Advisor

11 Responses to Student Groups Advisor: Chris Green

  1. David German '08

    April 16, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    I have listened to every student group give explanations of what they do and why it is important…

    What is your position on the funding of the Halcyon?

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  2. Chris Green

    April 16, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Student council (with the support of SBC) is currently working with the administration to get some or all of the approximately $50,000 we spend on it each year to be covered by various branches of the administration. As it seems a service mostly to alumni and to the publications office, SC and SBC both feel that the administration should be covering at least some of the heavy costs that the publication incurs.

    As the Halcyon is a chartered group which is fulfilling its charter without faults, there is no reason for the group to be even considered for dechartering before its position comes up for review (nor do I think that dechartering is the course of action we should take).

    While I believe that the majority of student body would be greatly upset if no yearbook were made, there are options than the status quo: either reducing the cost and simply settling for a less extravagant book or sharing the production costs with administrative departments (or a combination of both) seems like a very good route to still have a yearbook while freeing up more student funds to fund groups and activities with more direct value to the student body.

    This is the route that I will continue to pursue, especially in light of the many new student groups seeking funds and new hopeful groups seeking charters — we will still accommodate traditional work like the Halcyon but re-allocate funding to allow greater creativity and more effective spending of SAA funds for the current students and groups.

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  3. S

    April 17, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Chris, I’m very concerned about your ability to be fair and unbiased when it comes to chartering new groups and supporting existing groups. Looking at some of your comments about articles on the Daily Gazette, I’ve noticed quite a few comments that make me wary. Responding to an article by M, you say that “There are Swarthmore students who think that some issues, important as they may be, should remain private; the issues are not appropriate for public display. Simply because we do something doesn’t mean we must publish it — why in today’s society do we assume that just because something is real, it must be flaunted to the whole world?” How will you respond to groups who do things you might deem “flaunting” “privtate” matters such as sex? (I’m thinking of groups like the Sexual Health Counselors, the Women’s Resource Center, and SQU.)

    You then go on to talk about how the Gazette has “written many articles about non-traditional expressions of sexuality in the entire range of hetero-, homo- and auto- sexuality, (leaving out, I suppose, only bestiality; perhaps for another week?).” How original–comparing homosexuality to bestiality! You say you don’t like or appreciate the gazette’s “bold broaching of diverse forms of sexuality and sexual practice.” It’s fine if you want a lack of diversity in your own sexual life, but if you’re elected, please don’t let your personal preferences affect the way you treat groups at Swarthmore.

    I’m curious–from people who have interacted with Chris in his SBC capacities, do you thinik these biases against people influence his decisions?

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  4. Miles Skorpen

    April 17, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Regarding Chris’ bestiality comment—it is worth noting that he actually compared all forms of sexuality to bestiality, not just homosexuality. Which might be better or worse, depending on how you look at it.

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  5. AQ

    April 17, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    I was on SBC with Chris for a year and would describe him as very “by the book”. Not someone who let personal biases influence his budgeting votes.

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  6. SBC Member

    April 18, 2008 at 12:34 am

    I have served on SBC with Chris–in fact, that is how I came to meet him–and can say with confidence that not only is he genuinely invested in the Swarthmore community, but he is objective (that is to say neither emotionally nor personally affected) in his decisions. In response to S, I don’t think a response to a Daily Gazette article accurately reflects one’s professional decision-making process. Whether Chris in fact meant to parallel bestiality with sexuality is irrelevant, assuming (and correctly so, if I’m not misatken) because I do believe he would support groups in spite of his own moral/personal beliefs.

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  7. Katie

    April 18, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    To readers of the Gazette and my fellow Swarthmore students, I appreciate that you are fully considering student council candidates positions on issues importang to Swarthmore. While every individual no doubt has his/her own individual opinions and perspectives, at times it is important to separate these individual interests in order to better represent and serve the larger community. However, I can assure you that candidate Chris Green is fully capable of making such distinctions, and he should not be punished for making his voice heard in other capacities.

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  8. Chris Green

    April 19, 2008 at 7:58 am

    In my official capacities on SBC, I always consider the most important aspect of my job: to fund groups to fulfill their charters. In this capacity I sometimes have refused funding to events or activities I personally would have enjoyed — because they weren’t appropriate for the group. Other times I have voted for and argued to fund events or activities I personally disliked because SBC must be consistent and fair, always looking to help groups serve their own interests and charters.

    A position in student government requires an individual to carefully evaluate personal opinion and bias in order to best serve the student body as a whole without discrimination. I have been carefully doing this, even going so far as to personally record how I voted on every single SBC proposal and keeping these data in my files. I would be happy to share my voting record with any interested party still considered.

    I will continue on SBC to argue and vote as fairly as possible to support student groups, regardless of my personal opinions. As Student Groups Advisor I will also actively reach out to groups with which I am less familiar or had less personal experience (e.g. sports teams, Jewish groups, queer community groups) in order to better help them fulfill their charters and attain their group goals.

    Fair representation for every group, regardless of cause or creed — this is what Chris Green stands and fights for.

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  9. S

    April 20, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    What are some of the ways you plan to reach out to groups you’re less familiar with? Also, how do you feel about the ways this year’s Student Council has attempted to be more in touch with and accountable to IC and BCC groups? Any ideas for furthering this work next year?

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  10. Chris Green

    April 21, 2008 at 7:06 am

    In addition to meeting with group members to discuss the group’s mission and goals, which I plan to do with all groups on campus regardless of familiarity or not, I intend on participating in activities sponsored by the groups I am less familiar with: attending a soccer game, going to an open meeting of SQU, or going to a Ruach dinner are all example of ways in which I intend on familiarizing myself not only with what a group thinks, but also how they carry out their meetings and goals in their regular activities.

    At least so long as I have been at Swarthmore there have been concerns raised by the IC/BCC that student government has not been concerned with their issues. Addressing this is extremely important, not only because the IC/BCC represents a significant population of students on campus, but also because this population is one which frequently finds itself misunderstood and attacked in the broader society beyond Swarthmore.

    I have been frequently involved with IC/BCC events. I have attended very many of the events, parties, lecture, and viewings that Friends of Taiwan and SAO have hosted. I have also gone to BCC-hosted dinners, the I-20 cultural show last year (prior obligations prevented me from going this year, unfortunately), and a large number of other open events hosted by IC/BCC groups.

    I think participation in these events are wonderful ways to experience many elements of different cultures which the IC/BCC represents, but often do not and cannot bring to the fore deeper issues on campus, issues of discrimination, alienation, and misunderstanding. These issues are often sensitive and personal, requiring a huge amount of respect and patience for everyone involved. There are some ways in which I have moved to address these topics.

    I have on more than one occasion asked questions of my freshman year roommate, an international student from Ghana, on his experiences as an African in America — both as an international student and as a black man; and I have had similar conversations with international students from Korea, China, Japan, South America, and Europe. Two nights ago I and a small group of students, some of whom I had just met that night for the first time, had an unplanned 2 hour-long discussion on the ways in which social class and language barriers can screw over American students who cannot afford Swarthmore’s “generous” financial aid package. I also have participated in discussions and private conversations with students who identify as queer about their experiences at Swarthmore. Finally, but also important, I have frequently communicated with religious and conservative members of campus who have felt, in ways very similar to those of the IC/BCC groups, discriminated and marginalized by the student body. These are issues that are all important to me personally, and which I will continue to explore and address them even more in my official capacity on Student Council.

    Even though as Groups Advisor I would be the student council member most directly responsible to and directly involved with student groups, I would also strongly encourage all of student council to continue the trend instituted this semester of inviting a group to come at each meeting to talk to the entire council about issues, goals, and concerns of that group. I would also encourage individual members of SC to join me in personally meeting with groups they don’t know as well. It is important for the entire council to be as in tune with the student body as possible, not just the Groups Advisor.

    SC, while it can be and should be an engine generating ideas for change, primarily serves as a conduit for the student body to make its desires known to the administration. My primary goal on SC, especially as I fulfill the specific role of Groups Advisor (rather than the more general roles of Student Life Advisor), would be to gather the needs of student groups and advocate with them and for them to the administration.

    Here I have written for so long and other obligations drag me away with the feeling that though I have not addressed your question as completely as I would prefer. If you would like a follow-up, please do post again.

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  11. S

    April 21, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Good, answer, actually. I may still not vote for you, but I won’t be as worried if you win ;)

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