Meeting with Dean Braun
Student Council met with Dean Braun to discuss three topics.
First, they discussed Thursday night party permit policy. Dean Braun is to gather materials on the policy and bring them to the upcoming meeting on the 17th. The issue will then in turn be given to the Dean’s Advisory Committee for Review. This, however, does not provide sufficient time to draw up a full counter-proposal. As such, StuCo has provided a survey about student life and the party permit policy to the student body via email. This will be used to gather data on student opinions for the meeting.
Second, the meeting covered the Board of Managers Luncheon. The topic for the luncheon will be the Diversity Plan aspect of the Strategic Plan. StuCo will be taking steps similar to those taken for previous luncheons to encourage students to attend the event.
Finally, they worked out a schedule for meeting with candidates for the position of Vice President of Human Resources. StuCo aims to have its members attend as many of the candidate meetings as possible.
Small Steps Forward
(Each week, StuCo responds to or investigates student concerns, requests, and suggestions posted to the “Small Steps Forward” board in Parrish)
1. “Why is there no way of acquiring food after midnight on the weekends?”
2. “Why is there no food on Sunday afternoon?”
In response to requests about meal equivalencies and food options over break from last week’s Small Steps Forward, StuCo has already arranged a meeting with the dining staff. These concerns will be added to the agenda for that discussion.
3. “Why isn’t there a search committee for a new Multi-Cultural Dean?”
The previous Dean of Multi-Cultural Affairs, Dean Smaw, resigned last year. Currently, there is no search committee for a replacement. Dean Braun has provided a timeline for the search for a new dean. In the Spring, a group of students will evaluate the desired roles of the Dean of Multi-Cultural Affairs. In the Fall of 2012, a search committee will be formed for the position. As such, there is unlikely to be a new Dean of Multi-Cultural Affairs until 2013.
StuCo expressed interest in helping to facilitate the process of hiring a new dean. In order to ensure that hiring takes place and that it does so quickly, StuCo will be inviting relevant groups to its Sunday meetings to provide input about the dean’s potential responsibilities. Additionally, StuCo will encourage relevant multi-cultural groups to write op-ed for the student publications to raise awareness about the role previously served by the dean and the impacts of the dean’s absence.
StuCo met with Myrt Westphal to continue discussion on the Thursday Party Permit issue. She raised concerns about the unintended consequences of continuing to push for a change in the party permit policy. Specifically, she raised liability concerns (in the case of any violations of the law), the need for additional labor to facilitate parties, issues in maintaining consistency with Swarthmore’s “wellness” initiative. Moreover, changing the policy would require the involvement of the College’s senior and legal staff. This enhanced scrutiny may pose additional risks to Swarthmore’s social life.
While StuCo does not feel that the issue should be dropped, it is working to find a middle ground. This means reflecting on the results of the ongoing student survey, as well as examining potential alternative policy remedies. Ideas floated included creating a tap registration system with Public Safety that included a time cutoff for return (enforced via fines against the borrower) and diverting students with concerns after midnight to Public Safety rather than PA Coordinators so that the coordinators are able to go to sleep.
A key requirement of a successful policy change will be gathering concrete data on the impacts of the new party permit policy. Such data could draw from both comparisons internal to Swarthmore as well as studies of other colleges’ student life initiatives— for instance, Bryn Mawr’s token system for trips into Philadelphia.
StuCo members mentioned that many students have voiced complaints about internet problems during course registration. StuCo is working with ITS to resolve the problem. Members of the council mentioned the idea of reintroducing a tiered system for registration, though working with ITS to improve Internet strength appears to be the more likely solution.
StuCo is also working on improving the condition of the game room in Tarble. The current plan is to institute a key system. However, it is too costly to introduce a new position to manage the game room at Tarble. So, any sort of system will likely require that students go to McCabe to retrieve the key to unlock the supply closet door.
Editors’ Note: This article was updated on November 10, 2011.