On February 14, 2016, the Swarthmore Student Government (SGO) held an Executive Board Meeting in Parrish Parlors at 7:05 P.M. At the meeting, each committee chair gave updates on their committee’s project progress.
Parrish Hall Bulletin Boards
The SGO Executive Board engaged in a lengthy discussion about the bulletin boards on the walls of Parrish Hall hallways. The boards are used by both student organization groups as well as administration, faculty and staff to post information. Chair of Student Organizations Kara Bledsoe ‘16 announced that she will begin taking down boards that do not comply with SGO guidelines starting on Monday, February 15. Co-President Christine Kim ‘17 responded with some last-minute concerns.
“What boards are owned by administration, and what boards are owned by students?” Kim asked.
Part of the issue comes from outdated documentation on ownership of boards. The most up-to-date document is an OSE map of the boards from last school year.
In an effort to avoid stepping on administration’s toes, and concerned about board capacity, Kim suggested SGO check with staff to see which boards they can’t touch. She added that as more groups become chartered, SGO needs to figure out how they will distribute space.
Although Bledsoe said she doesn’t think that the Parrish boards are a source of power divide between the SGO and the administration, she recalled an incident where an administrator hesitated to give up space.
“The administration has the final say in this power dynamic. For example, Katie Clark’s CIL board is mostly empty space, and when I talked to her about it, she was very resistant about giving up that board space,” Bledsoe said.
Having been listening to the discussion on board usage between Bledsoe and Kim,Chair of Student Budget Committee (SBC) Varun Prasad ’16 commented on the seemingly static presence of student group boards.
“There are probably boards that have been here for like five years,” he said.
Some other executive board members agreed with Prasad, and questioned how useful the boards are in distributing current information for student groups. Bledsoe responded, “Boards are mostly an admissions tool, but there are some students who use it to get information.”
This update on Parrish board compliance rules is part of Bledsoe’s effort to improve the presence of these boards. In response to a question about the significance of Parrish boards, Bledsoe wrote: “Having board space in Parrish is being re-envisioned as a privilege of being an active chartered group to combat the neglect of the space that has been largely present in past years.”
Bledsoe plans to address Kim’s concerns about interfering with the administration’s board space by meeting with Dean Braun, and, if necessary, with President Smith.
SBC Chair Search to Begin
Prasad announced that SBC will be starting the selection process for the next SBC chair soon.
Coffee Fund Budget and Pilot Program
Regarding updates on the Swarthmore Coffee Fund, an initiative to increase student-faculty interactions by funding students who want to join faculty for coffee for free, Chair of Academic Affairs Bobby Zipp ‘18 said that “[Provost] Tom Stephenson set aside $500 on the spot for it.”
The committee is still negotiating for more funding, but the next step is to start a pilot program.
“The target is to have ten people in each class try it and give them an exit survey, and then figure out whether we need to scale down, or scale up,” Zipp said.
The meeting adjourned at 7:44 P.M.
A copy of the meeting’s minutes can be found here: http://sgo.swarthmore.edu/minutes/