StuCo Update: Constitutional Amendment, Security, Special Election, Rollover Funds, and Student Job Conflicts
Constitutional Amendment on Emergency Appeals Process:
Nate Erskine ’10, StuCo VP, proposed a constitution amendment on the emergency appeals process. This amendment allows for budge appeals to the Student Council to be proposed via email. Stipulations include the proposal has to be time-sensitive and be resolved before the next StuCo meeting and the proposal requires the approval of the Student Events Advisor and SBC manager. There was a call to vote and it passed with unanimous approval by the present StuCo members at the meeting.
Security at Swarthmore
In response to the security situation last week where a Villanova student was robbed, Yongjun Heo ’09, StuCo President, met with Dean Larimore to discuss how the school should respond to security emergencies such as these. Larimore discussed the sensitivity of informing students immediately about cases such as these, but Heo believes that “I think its important for students to know what’s going on, even if it scares them a little bit.” He also proposed a procedure written up for RAs where RAs immediately notify Swatties in their hall if a security incident occurred near their dormitory. Heo also mentioned that there was some student dissatisfaction with the original description (“two black males”) whereas the second description involved details such as clothing. Heo suggested drafting a letter claiming immediate notification is the course of action that StuCo supports in the case of security issues such as the incident last week.
Special election Update
Stephen LeFebvre ’11, Secretary, proposed to SBC for supplementary funds ($1030) for this year’s special election for Student Events Advisor. Chris Green ‘09, Student Groups Advisor, has expressed a strong desire to consider alternative, less expensive methods for special elections. Rachel Bell ’10, Student Events Advisor and StuCo president-elect, suggested using the Blackboard system as an alternative means.
Rollover Funds and Proposed Budget Cuts:
Erskine spoke with Dean Larimore and is thinking about using this special election for students to also vote for spending priorities. The scenario would be where there will be a couple of questions where people can vote their top priorities in the case of budget cuts. After seeing the student body’s opinions, the school would see how much rollover money is left and do budget cuts accordingly.
Heo provided more details on the voting process and the ballot would also list things that may be cut and have the students vote what they would least like to see cut. Things such as Parlor Parties ($10000), free New York Times ($13000), Large Scale Events (to cut off $40000 of its total funding), Penn’s landing ice skating trip ($3000), ITS student equipment loans ($1000 to $3000), and athletics. These items may not be completely cut, but rather significantly reduced. Ambar La Forgia ‘11, Campus Life Representative, said that she is okay with cutting these small things as long as large issues, such as financial aid and healthcare benefits for workers remain.
As for healthcare benefits for workers, Erskine proposed drafting a resolution that would thank the college for its current worker healthcare benefits system and embolden students to ask for the College to continuing this system. He was concerned about workers’ benefits being placed in the hands of Swarthmore students’ decisions.
Heo responded and replied that he will draft a letter to students on asking them how things should be conducted. Ben Francis ’12, the new Student Groups Advisor for next semester, voiced his concern that this letter should specifically mention that maintaining healthcare benefits and financial aid are not mutually exclusive in the case of large budget cuts.
Maurice Weeks ’09 and Dermot Delude-Dix ’10 attended the meeting as concerned Swatties. Delude-Dix discussed about their work in class awareness month and brought up the price of textbooks as a barrier to the accessibility of Swarthmore academics. Two solutions were proposed: one, subsidizing the textbook prices at the bookstore and two, McCabe purchasing more books on reserve for classes. Delude-Dix said the librarians’ response was that the library maintains a fifteen to one ratio of books for large classes but it is difficult purchase books for classes where professors constantly change the book list. However, the root of the problem is that textbooks themselves are too expensive and StuCo should find the most efficient way to subsidize the problem. Heo, Erskine, Francis, and Marie Rousseau ’12, the new Campus Life Representative, voiced their opinions and concerns for this issue. Weeks also brought up the issue of high cost of flights to and from home as another barrier to accessibility.
Conflict of Student Jobs:
Green discussed the policy that no person involved on StuCo or SBC is able to simultaneously hold a SBC paid position. Green reasons that this rule to prevent conflict of interests. For example of the most recent conflict, LeFebvre applied to be SBC Assistant Manager and is asking for exception to this rule. Fletcher Coleman ’09 was not present at the meeting, but Green spoke on his behalf. Coleman mentioned that if an exception is to be made, it may seem that StuCo is offering patronage jobs. Green expressed that while he trusts in LeFebvre’s objective perspectives, he is afraid that this exception may set a precedent for the future. Additionally, there are also on-campus jobs available. Delude-Dix added his input and expressed concern that it seems unfair that StuCo members may have more limited options for jobs than other Swatties. Heo’s opinion is that if this person is the best for the job, than he/she deserves it, regardless of prior conflicts.
Other notes: – Appointments Committee update: Appointments to committees will be formally announced shortly after Sunday’s meeting. – Chartering committee update: Green has chartered two new groups and is currently considering another charter request. – For next semester, Heo asked sitting StuCo members to work on the course rec book. – For the next Board of Managers’ luncheon, seventeen individuals from different groups and organizations will be attending.