April 7, 2013 Minutes

SGA Meeting 04/7/13

Natalie calls the meeting to order at 7:10 PM.

Absent: Sarah Bristow, Jenn Burns, Raminta Holden, Nikki Ditto, Neha Kamran, Vanessa Sanchez, Morgan Turner, Hannah Smith, Stephanie Clarke, Kellie Meyer, Rebecca Payne-Passmore

Big Cheese Forum:

Natalie Kato ‘14: The questions that they will answer have been discussed at previous SGA meetings. We will give them 3-4 minutes to respond with about 5 minutes to ask questions after that. The first question we are going to ask is: What is the College’s policy for financial aid?  How is scholarship money rewarded/distributed?

Laurie Koehler: I am the interim dean for enrollment. One of the reasons I was attracted to Bryn Mawr was because of the financial aid policy here. It is committed to enrolling a diverse class, with 100% of demonstrated need met. 100% of demonstrated need is met through a combination of institutional grants, loans, and work-study. Last year we awarded about 24 million dollars in institutional need based aid, which is a lot compared to federal aid that went to our students, which was 1.4 million. That’s a significant amount of money. It’s a part of the values of the college to ensure that we enroll academically talented students without regard to their financial ability to pay once we’ve admitted them. We do practice need-aware admissions. That means that for about the last 10% of the admitted class we do take the student’s ability to pay into consideration. We do that so that we can meet 100% of demonstrated financial need. Some schools are need-blind, which means that they do not pay attention to the family’s ability to pay in admissions process, but not all schools meet full need. They will admit students without paying attention to how much families can pay. Say, a school costs 50, and the student can pay 20, then the school will give you 20 – they don’t know where the other 10 is going to come from. For Bryn Mawr, it is close to 60. If you can pay 20, we will come up with a package of 40 so that you can meet those needs. The average loan debt is 22 thousand upon graduation. Meeting 100% need applies to all students – not just domestic students. Most schools do not practice that: not all need is met for international students. This year 73% of our undergraduate students received some kind of institutional aid. The average grant award was 29 thousand dollars. That gives you some sense of our policy for financial aid.

How scholarship money is rewarded or distributed: We use an institutional methodology, which is a Bryn Mawr methodology used to determine the institutional aid that we give. That’s a shared formula – a lot of other schools use this formula. For federal aid – a federal formula is used, determined through completion of FAFSA which determines how much a Pell Grant a student might qualify for or how much loan amount a student will qualify for. Although we do cap that limit at 55 hundred.

Natalie Kato ‘14: Does anybody have any questions regarding financial aid or scholarships?

Olga Ramos ’16: My question is about scholarships. For outside scholarships, the policy is that the total amount of outside scholarship is subtracted by 500 and then halved, and the half is what the student is expected to take out in loans. Why is it that if a person receives a full outside scholarship that does not come from Bryn Mawr, they are not allowed to use all of the money?

Laurie Koehler: I would love to talk with you afterwards and make sure that I connect you with the student director of financial services. You described the policy mostly correctly. If you get an outside award, we give you 500 and then take away from the institutional grant amount half of the remainder. This is a more generous than some schools, and a less generous policy than others. We believe that this is a partnership: the need based aid that we are rewarding. 24 million dollars are going each year to fund many students. It is a partnership between the student and family and college. Where this is additional scholarship money coming in, we remove some of the institutional grant towards that end.

Olga Ramos ‘16: At all public schools it is law that they are not allowed to take back money, but because Bryn Mawr is a private school these policies are allowed. When low-income students are not allowed to take the entire scholarship it makes it difficult for the student to attend Bryn Mawr.

Laurie Koehler: I am not familiar with the law that you are discussing. I can tell you that most public universities do not meet full need for all of their students. They might give you the full scholarship but then other students have to come up with the rest.

Olga Ramos ‘16: The Gates Scholarship pays for every dollar that you’re supposed to take out in loans. Bryn Mawr takes half the money that comes in from that scholarship and has the students still pay loans, which is frustrating for students who cannot afford the loans. It is forcing students who have been awarded those scholarships to look at other options.

Laurie Koehler: I’d love to explore this further with you as I am still becoming familiar with the policy. You and I could meet with Ethel, the director of student financial services, so that I could have a better understanding of your situation.

Emma Rosenblum ’14: At one point in time, the school was need-blind. After talking to alums and the class of 2013 and discussing the perceived socioeconomic demographic of the school, I was wondering how you think being need-sensitive affects the socioeconomic demographic versus being need-blind.

Laurie Koehler: The college used to be what you described as need-blind but as what I could call admit/deny. We were need-blind in admissions but we gapped you and did not meet full need for every demonstrated student. What happened since the need-sensitive policy went into affect: we met full need for all students. We are more socio-economically diverse. We are one of the most socioeconomically diverse liberal arts in the country. 19% of our students are Pell Grant recipients. Last year, out of 25 – we were #3 for socioeconomic diversity in liberal arts schools. What allows us to enroll a socioeconomic diverse class is the policy of being need-aware. Otherwise, we would gapping students or there would be students not able to come.

Emma Rosenblum ‘14: Follow-up question: How did you come about the decision to make the change?

Jerry Berenson: I came as director of financial aid and was very involved with the decision to change. The reason, the decision to change from admit/deny to need-sensitive does not have any affect on socioeconomic diversity because what happened was that students who were admitted but could not fund did not get any aid. Very few of those students could actually come. Every year, one or two or three would come even though they didn’t have the money which meant that they would have to drop out, and could not transfer anywhere else. It was a disaster for a small number of students every year. That is the reason we changed the policy.

Natalie Kato ’14: We are going to move along in the question. Please email sga@brynmawr.edu for your questions if they have not been answered.

What is the process of hiring new professors?  How does tenure work?  What type of impact do students have on curriculum and processor choices?  How is a post-doc hired and how is the decision made?  Where do the funds for a post-doc come from?

Jane McAuliffe: I am going to try to be brief. Most of our faculty hiring is replacement hiring: meaning that if, for example, a professor in the political science department decides to retire, then the department goes to a faculty committee: Committee on Academic Priorities, and requests permission to search. They do that about a year in advance because it is a fairly complicated process. There is documentation that needs to be submitted indicating numbers of students, courses, and demonstrating a need for a replacement position in the area; showing evidence that the person hired will serve that core department but also will connect with other departments because we want our faculty to be interdisciplinary. If the department is successful in gaining permission to search, then the following September they mount a national and international search for a faculty member in the area. I have tried to insist that positions be defined as broadly as possible because if you want to increase the diversity of faculty: the more broadly they are defined, the wider the pool of potential applicants and the consequently the higher our changes are of having candidates from diverse populations in the pool. That is the mechanism by which the department beings the process of searching for a new professor. When the professor is hired, what I have described is a tenured-track hiring process: if the person is hired on the tenure track, we do a lot of work at the time of hiring: we meet with people on campus, they have to submit extensive recommendations. We are trying to ensure that we are hiring somebody who we can successfully guide through tenure.

Tenure means lifetime contract at an institution. There are very few jobs in the world that carry a lifetime contract. Tenure is one of them. When we hire we want to make sure that we are hiring people who are likely to be able to secure tenure at Bryn Mawr. This process kicks on – there is a review process after 3 years of hiring. After 6 years there is an extensive review of work record in teaching, in publications, research and publication, and in service to the community defined as both the Bryn Mawr community and the wider scholarly community. This is an internal review but it involves soliciting letters from scholars in the field from around the country and beyond. Another faculty committee – Committee on Appointments – sits and deliberates. When the department has sent forth a candidate for tenure, then the Committee on Appointments deliberates and decides yes or no on the basis of the record and then the individual is offered tenure or not.

The impact of students on curriculum: Fundamentally, you vote with your feet! If you are Flooding into classes and disciplines and consequently there are enrollment pressures, then that Committee on Academic Priorities constantly scans that to see if it means reallocating lines from one area to another. Your course registrations are an important factor. What you say to your professors – about areas of the curriculum on which Bryn Mawr could enhance and expand – this is conveyed to Committee on Appointments.

For post-docs, which means the hiring of somebody with a recently completed Ph. D., follows the same process as the tenure track but in a more truncated fashion. It does not involve quite as extensive a search or as broad of a solicitation from scholars in other colleges and universities. There the decision is ordinarily made at the departmental level. Usually post-docs are hired for a short period, a year or two.

Where do the funds come from? They tend to come from a variety of sources. Two prominent ones are national funded/foundation funded programs for post-doctoral fellows. Bryn Mawr can compete with other colleges and universities to secure a post-doctoral line and then search for somebody to fill that line. That is a frequent mechanism by which the college has been able t hire post-docs. Another mechanism is on grant funding. If one of our faculty members in the sciences has a major research project and there are funds for a post-doc then the research scholar can be used.

Natalie Kato ‘14: Are there any questions regarding campus finances?

The next questions: Where are general donations – donations not given to fund a specific project – to the college allocated?  How are funds allocated to different departments on campus (i.e. how does one decide how much money is given to dining services, student activities, etc.)?

John Griffith: Bryn Mawr has the Bryn Mawr Fund. That’s where alums donate every year. We get about 5 and a half million dollars a year. I look at the Annual Fund as providing about a 5,000 dollar subsidy per student. Students at Bryn Mawr pay about 50% of the cost of education. The other half is paid by gifts and endowment. 5,000 dollars comes from unrestricted gifts from the Annual/Bryn Mawr Fund. The other part is from endowment, which is about 32 million a year, so a 21 million a year subsidy for students. Combining those gifts from previous alums, each student benefits by 26,000 dollars. There is a statistic: women’s colleges have much lower giving rates. Give every year. One dollar!

How are funds allocated? Each year there is a budget process. For the most part departments will be given the same budget from last year. On top of that departments, are able to request additional funding. Each year each division makes budget requests for areas of increased funding. We received 1.1 million dollars requested for funding this year. We have 350 thousand dollars to distribute. What happens is that the cabinet goes through the list of requests and decides where to allocate the money. Because the requests are so large we are never able to fund every request. For example we knew the dining request was going to be larger. We gave 200 thousand of the 350 thousand that we have. There isn’t that much money from year to year to allocate but we do it incrementally based on budget requests.

Natalie Kato ‘14: Are there any questions regarding campus finances?

The next questions are regarding housing. What are the plans regarding housing for the 2013-2014 academic year?  What are the next steps for the renovations to Haffner?  How will these renovations impact other renovations on campus, such as Perry House, Batten House, etc.?  Where will the money come from that will contribute to Haffner’s renovations?  How will this impact students going abroad?

Jerry Berenson: We are working hard with Angie Sheets and a whole bunch of other people: where we will put 78 students. As you all know Haffner will not be online next year because of the problem we are having in renovating that building. So far, we have been successful in finding places, though not all 78 yet. We are still looking at other options. We have 22 students in the apartments in Mermont Plaza. We are allowed to have an additional 18 students for a total of 40 in the apartments next year. Haverford has an apartment building called the Haverford College Apartments. They have a number of openings. They have 8 apartments that will house around 25 students. They probably will have a few more apartments. That gets us to well over halfway there. We are also looking on campus: certain rooms over the years that have been not used as dorms. They may be converted back to rooms. These are not ideal situations, but temporary ones, for one to two years. We will be looking at public spaces that can be converted into dormitory rooms. There is a possibility of housing students in Wyndham, but we prefer not to because they are used a lot by people visiting the college so it would be a loss, and it makes a lot of money. If we need to, we will use Wyndham. We’re looking at other off-campus apartments other than Mermont Plaza. These apartments would not be as convenient to campus as Mermont Plaza, so we prefer not to do that. We have identified more than 40 spaces of the 78. By the end of the school year we will be able to tell you exactly what the 78 spaces will be.

Next steps: There is a subcommittee of the board of trustees that met on Friday and will meet again in a couple of weeks that will look at the potential numbers. There are two options: Continue with the renovation of Haffner, which is much more expensive: instead of 2 million dollar project it is an 8-9 million dollar project; or, the possibility also of demolishing Haffner and building new student housing in that place, which is a 15 million dollar project, and maybe even more. The benefit of new student housing would be that we could get what we want from the ground up within the constraints of budget.

In terms of Perry: we plan for a new Perry House in the new student housing complex. We could do a lot of what students would prefer to do with that. Batten House could fit into that mix also but we’re not sure. We have to begin to design the space to see how many student beds we can fit. We plan to get a minimum of 100. We want to get the 78 students back in, plus 22 more beds so that we can move students back from the apartments, because the apartments are expensive to rent and the main sources of funding was the money that was paid for the apartments to pay debt service; the money we borrowed to do this project. Either way, we would be in debt. When we look at the money we can save from the apartments if we can bring everyone back on, it does not have a tremendous affect on the operating budget. It actually isn’t that drastic.

Impact on students abroad: I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it.

Michele Rasmussen: I’m not sure what that question means.

Karina Siu ’14: Students coming back from abroad in the fall felt that their housing needs weren’t met. I’m assuming the question was to make sure that students coming back will have sufficient housing options. This year the Erdman conference rooms were converted into rooms, and juniors were put into doubles with other juniors, sophomores, and freshmen.

Jerry Berenson: I can say that there’s gonna be some not-ideal spaces that we are going to be using for students because we need to house 78 students that can no longer be in Haffner. Similar to the situation in Erdman, there will be other rooms converted to student rooms that we would prefer not to but simply have to. We are considering a renovation in place and not change anything about Haffner in a year. That pain would only be one year. If we do a more significant renovation that adds space to Haffner, or if we demolish Haffner and build new student housing, it will take 2 years. We understand that some of these situations are not ideal and sorry about that but we hope that when we are done with this process we will have a better Haffner or even new student housing. The ironic thing about Haffner is that it is the newest dormitory. It is more than 45 years old, and it is the newest dorm. The opportunity to build new would be a good thing with the money.

Saba Qadir ’13: I have two questions. We’re still in the process of considering how to renovate Haffner. If we do have to rebuild, would it still be on the same grounds?

Jerry Berenson: Probably. It is such a good central location. There are not many good locations on campus because of township regulations about where we can put buildings. There are not many other choices. We can consider a couple other options. On the face it is probably the best option. The dining hall is not affected because it does not have the same problems as the other buildings. The dining hall will stay as is.

Saba Qadir ‘13: Do we know if any other buildings have asbestos (such as the health center, which I know is old)?

Jerry Berenson: The health center is old. Asbestos was in every building material. It was in floors, ceilings, walls, all kinds of insulation. That was the problem in Haffner: it was in the fire retardant insulation. These things do not affect you because they’re not in your room and as long as they are not disturbed it is not a problem. The problem is when there is a renovation. It opens the ceilings and walls and it gives a pathway to the asbestos to get into the actual accommodation. It’s part of almost every renovation and it’s usually a small part, not a very significant part, of the renovation. In this case because of where the asbestos is located we can’t get at it without knocking down most of the walls. That’s why it becomes such an intense renovation. The asbestos not unexpected, but the situation is unexpected. It is in many places, not only at Bryn Mawr. Anything older than the 1970s has asbestos.

Diana Tive ’15: When and how are you going to make the decision about what to do with Haffner?

Jerry Berenson: We hope to make the decision at the April board meeting, which is on April 26. The subcommittee that is working to look at the options will present at the meeting. We hope to have enough information to make a decision on how to move forward.

Amanda Beardall ’14: With so many students moving off campus: what does that look like in terms of financial aid. Will they receive a housing stipend?

Jerry Berenson: They pay the same housing cost. I believe that we assume that the food costs are going to be the same. If they do not pay dining services, they will feed themselves. Food will still be paid for by the college.

Natalie Kato ‘14: What is the decision process for selecting the Interim President/long standing President?  Is the Interim President coming internally or externally from the College?  What recommendations would you give a future president of Bryn Mawr?  What can the student body do to support the new president and senior staff members as they learn about Bryn Mawr’s community?

Jane McAuliffe: I was glad to have these questions ahead of time because it gave me an opportunity to talk to two of the members of the board of trustees who are charged with the process of selecting an interim president. I asked for information that they could provide. A small group of trustees is coming to campus next week to meet with students with the cabinet, with other senior administrators, and with the faculty to ask about the qualities they would like to see in an interim president and, by extension, in a permanent president. They were also able to tell me is that they hope that they will have made the selection for interim president by the same board meeting at the end of April (April 26th). Whether that individual comes from within or outside Bryn Mawr College is unknown but that is part of the process that this group of trustees will be engaged with, along with faculty, staff, students next week.

What recommendations would I give to a future president? I would not give recommendations, just many points of enthusiasm for the institution and for the constituencies. The students are willing to gather because of the interest in all facets of the college. The faculty at Bryn Mawr is deeply invested in the college. I used to be utterly amazed at the fact that I could meet with the entire faculty once a month. A president catches that enthusiasm from the faculty and students. As John has repeated several times, you will soon be alums who will be giving to the college. It has been a pleasure to get to know alumnae: What fantastic people they are; what fantastic role models they are. I have over and over been amazed after a conversation with an individual alum to find somebody who is so vibrant, engaged, and reinventing themselves. It is truly an inspiration.

What can the student body do to support the new president and staff members: you do this already, almost the way you breathe. There is excellent leadership from SGA which makes sure that the relationship between student and senior administration consists of open lines of communication. The interest demonstrated by our presence here and other venues will help integrate a new president into the community at Bryn Mawr College, and similarly, for new members of the cabinet. Continue to do the many good things that you do. I spoke constantly about how what an extraordinarily welcoming community Bryn Mawr is. I lived through the benefits of that welcome and I expect that your next president will enjoy the same welcome.

Natalie Kato ‘14: Does anyone have any questions about this?

Anna Sargeant ’15: Will the interim president be living in Pen-y-Groes?

Jane McAuliffe: I have no idea.

Anna Sargeant ‘15: If the interim president won’t be living there, it could be used as student housing for one year.

Jane McAuliffe: Well, there are 5 bedrooms…!

Natalie Kato ‘14: Any other questions regarding this topic? If there aren’t any, then I would just like to open it up to a general Q&A if anyone has any questions that came up during this forum.

Chloe Baumann ’14: We submitted questions before we heard about Dean Rasmussen’s change to the University of Chicago. How are we prepared to handle losing a president and dean of undergraduate students and other various administrators in the same year while handling housing problems and everything else that is going on? It seems that Bryn Mawr is falling apart.

Jane McAuliffe: I have been waiting for that question all evening. You have an excellent board of trustees. At the end of the day, the board is responsible for the college. They carry the fiduciary responsibilities. They are prepared and are already engaged in ways to make this period of transition as smooth and effective as possible. There have been a number of major departures this year when people moved on to positions to which they could not say no. Elliot Shore went on to be head of all research libraries in North America. Dean Rasmussen is on to a major position at the University of Chicago. Laurie Koehler is on to George Washington University. These things happen. It is unfortunate that they happened in one year but it is not all that unusual. The interim president and board will work closely together to assure that leadership in all of these vital areas is appointed and supported during this coming year during which the permanent president will be found.

You don’t need to worry. You have superb leadership in current senior administration. You have strong, capable people, two of which are here: John Griffith and Jerry Berenson. They have a college-wide purview. They are not involved solely in their particular areas but are used to thinking in a college-wide fashion. You have a superb Provost in Kim Cassidy who has exhibited extraordinary leadership. You have very solid people in the senior ranks at Bryn Mawr. I do not anticipate a difficult year. We have challenging problems but are used to dealing with challenging problems.

Maria Aghazarian ’13: I have a question related to what we spoke about this evening related to Title IX and issues of sexual assault and rape on campus. There needs to be ongoing education as mandated by Title IX. How has that taken place on campus throughout the entire year? It does not seem to be very visible.

Michele Rasmussen: I’m glad to hear a student aware of Title IX because many are not aware of it and do not know what it affords them in terms of their rights. Both Dean’s Office and Bryn Mawr’s Title IX Coordinator Peaches Valdes think about it a lot and we also work closely with our colleagues at Haverford. We are thinking about collaborating around Title IX education. The last few years, Haverford has brought in a performance troupe as a more accessible way to understand what assault and misconduct is, that it’s not just male on female, it’s genderless and sexual-orientationless. We are committed to continue these conversations and collaborations. Right now, we are having conversations with Campus Safety around Customsweek and how to improve the initial education. That’s what I want to try to include before I leave: an ongoing education, whether is it an awareness week or bringing the troupe back before Hell Week or other times on campus when there is a lot of social activity that might lead to a higher risk of sexual misconduct. Another idea I’ve toyed with is having an advisory committee of students interested in this topic, because I feel that peer-to-peer education is more effective than top-down administrator to student administration. If you are interested, please follow up with me.

Natalie Kato ‘14: It’s 8 o’ clock. Before we conclude I just want to say thank you for coming out on a Sunday! We really appreciate your answers and hearing your thoughts on different topics. We do realize that a few of you are going to be leaving and that this is your last Big Cheese but I think we can say for all of us that we really appreciate what you have done for the school.


Ana Cordova ’13: Graduate Student Appreciation Week is this week. On Monday there will be a panel, and on Thursday, there is a symposium. Keep an eye out for posters. Also, the Philadelphia orchestra is having a college night exhibit on Saturday at the Kimmel Center if you are interested. Keep an eye out for posters and publicity things.

Saba Qadir ‘13: The Health Center is holding their annual tea tomorrow night!: Monday from 6-8. The theme is exercise. There will be free chair massages and free treats. It is meant to learn about the health center and also to relax and get free stuff. Double the chair massages as last year!

Karina Siu ‘14: There are a few things coming up. Games this week: tennis on Tuesday 4, lacrosse on Wednesday at 4. Rugby’s fan appreciation game is 11 on Saturday at the grad school on the field. It’s not that far.

A couple of highlights: Crew, both varsity 8 and 4 teams placed first the regatta. If you are interested in going to a crew regatta on April 20th there will be a shuttle provided by the SAAC if you want a free ride over to go watch crew compete.

On April 26th there will be a cycle-a-thon. Get a team together to raise money for a non-profit in Philly that helps women in transition of their lives. Get fit and raise money on April 26th. Let me know and I can send you the form. Also check the SAAC blog and Facebook page.

Ali Raber ’13: I am in charge of dorm president elections. Nominations will open with hall group and apartment and multiple-occupancy draw this Tuesday and run until the Sunday after junior/senior draw. Nominate people! If you are a dorm president please be open to talking to constituents about the possibility of running. Email me or sign up at room draw.

Michelle Lee ’15: Please keep nominating! Encourage people to accept their nominations. The other thing: Dorm presidents, I sent an email. Please resend the email about nominations so people in the dorm know that they have more time to send nominations.

Info sessions for candidates will be in Dalton 300. They will be on Monday 9-9:30, Tuesday 9-9:30, and Wednesday 7-7:30 and 7:30-8. Candidate’s forum will be on Thursday in the Campus Center from 7-9:30. I am hoping that we can end at 9:30 but might run longer. I need 2-3 volunteers willing to help out to write the minutes because I need to keep time and speaking order.

Also, in the upcoming weeks I will need volunteers for people to be tabling in Erdman to get people to vote.

About the announcements on Facebook: I love the likes but I’d love you guys to share the posts!

Karina Siu ‘14: Soccer is having their sneaker sale on Wednesday in the gym from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. There will be a lot of sneakers for up to 75% off.

Rebecca Cook ‘15: Appointed positions: applications close Friday! Encourage people to apply.

Natalie Kato ‘14: The SEADS Town Hall is on Tuesday April 9th in Thomas Great Hall at 7:30. Also, on April 26th is PETS ON THE GREEN. Look for posters about that.

Your Two Cents:

Michelle Lee ’15: I’d like to hold a straw poll.

Two questions. I was lucky and got funding for elections.

What kind of food would attract people to candidate’s forum?

Chocolate, pizza. Hope’s cookies and Peace-a-Pizza. Cupcakes.  Finger food, not messy, inexpensive. Cupcakes, drinks.

Shout out a meme that would attract people to candidate’s forum: Hey girl. Ryan Gosling. Cute cats. Grumpy Cat. Kersti Francis.

Natalie Kato ‘14: If you have any other meme ideas email mlee08@brynmawr.edu.

Old Business:

New Business:

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