December 8, 2013 Minutes

SGA Meeting 12/08/13

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

Absent: Daniele Arad-Neeman, Erin Saladin, Rhett Richardson, Mariam Khoudari, Noor Masannat, Hannah Hastings, Alex Beda, Jessica Ferriera, Chrystyna Colon, Kayla Bondi, Sarah Gilmour, Jennifer Mendez Alba, Namita Dwarakanath, Phoebe Jordan


Anna Kalinsky ‘15: We have two announcements from Tuesday Group regarding safety things that don’t fall under campus safety. They are interested in starting a student committee on smoking. If you have feelings about smoking, especially if you are a student who smokes, contact Don Abramowitz. If you know anyone who is interested then tell them.

We also have an request from Bernie Chung-Templeton to solicit complaints especially regarding cleanliness and use of space in the dining hall. Leave napkin notes and please be honest!

Elizabeth Vandenberg ’16: The next round of elections is in February. Nominations will open right after the first SGA meeting when we get back on January 26th. Positions being run are: the Executive Board, the Elections Head, and the Appointments Committee. Please nominate people and email your nominations to elections@bmc.

Natalie Kato ’14: This is the last SGA meeting of the semester. The next SGA meeting is on January 26th. You will receive an email and announcements.

Carolyn Jacoby ’14: Sign-ups for proctoring have gone out for self-scheduled exams. There are still slots with too few people. Please sign up. We need proctors to run them.

Amani Chowdhury ’14: TGH Alternate Study Space starts tomorrow! It’s a space you can eat in. Don’t eat in the library.

Your 2 Cents:

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: We had some requests to add a printer to the space. I spoke to info and tech services and it might be an idea we can implement – maybe the second week, not the first. Do keep in mind the acoustics. How popular would this idea be? I want to take a straw poll.

Colin Baumann ’14: Is this wireless printing only?

Amani Chowdhury ’14: Yes.

Natalie Kato ‘14: The options are: in favor of seeing a printer, not in favor in a printer, and abstain.

In favor: 15-20 people.

Not in favor: 12-145.

Abstain: Many.

The results were mostly abstentions but most are in favor of seeing a printer in the alternate study space. Amani will look into it and there will be an announcement through the SGA listserv.

Colin Baumann ’14: I want to get a feel about what you guys want from So-Co next semester, particularly in events that we hold. In the fall we just do Halloween. In the spring would you like to see a larger event like a formal, or smaller fancier versions of the presidential pop-ups?

Anna Kalinsky ‘15: There will be food?

Colin Baumann ‘14: Yes. I’m looking for opinions. Feel free to email me. Right now I want to take a straw poll. The options are: a larger open-campus event, several smaller events, no events, or abstain.

Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: All of those events will be dry?

Colin Baumann ‘14: Yes.

Natalie Kato ‘14:

Smaller: Around 15 people

Bigger: Around 25 people


Abstain: Around 6 people

The option that received the most votes was a large event.

Colin Baumann ‘14: Halloween was unattended. If you have ideas about what people would be interested in going to, please let me know.

Appointments Introductions:

Hayley Burke ’15: Co-head of the Customs Committee. Sophia Dauria is the other co-head who is abroad. We’re excited!

Khadijah Seay ‘16: Customs Committee.

Xavia Miles ‘16: Customs Committee.

Coco Wang ‘16: Customs Committee.

K.C. McConnell ‘16: Customs Committee.

Marisa Rafsky ‘16: Plenary Committee.

Bridget Murray ‘17: Orientation Reorganization Committee.

Angie Chen ‘16: Constitution Review Committee.

Leqi Liu ‘17: Constitution Review Committee.

Rebecca Cook ‘15: Thank you everyone! I also have an appointments-related announcement. The campus greening rep is graduating this winter. The formal reappointment is in April but it’s a very important position on campus and Ed Harmon asked me to ask the community to see if anyone was interested in taking the position temporarily.

Here is the description of the position: The Primary Responsibility for this person(s) is to be the essential link between Students, College Administration, Facilities Services and the Board of Trustees. The students will work closely with Director of Grounds Ed Harman, an annual meeting with the Board of Trustees, to bring news regarding changes to the campus landscape from the Facilities to the student community, to collect and deliver student inputs on landscape projects on campus, and create and run Student Services Project once every year to keep up the college’s recognition as the Tree Campus USA college. The role will also requires students to manage the Department’s different communications channels (including website, facebook page, connections with the College Communication, etc) to effectively use them as tools to liaise among different parties. Candidates should be well organized, have strong communication skills, and be willing to take initiative on projects. Students will gain experience making campus wide connections with Administration and Faculty, and potentially create visible impact on campus.  Knowledge of and interest in Bryn Mawr’s history and landscape are helpful but not required.

Please email me or if you know someone who is interested encourage them to send us an email it’s an important position and there must be someone willing to fill it!

Honor Board Mock Hearing:

(For more information about Honor Board hearings and the Honor Code, refer to

Amani Chowdhury ’14: Do you have any questions

Emma Rosenblum ‘14: How do you know that you collectively are representing the best interest of the community?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: We were voted on by the community so that’s approval right there. The head of the honor board meets earlier and outlines, reads through abstracts – that’s the preparation. It’s also a lot of learning from experience. If a new member would like to be part of the hearing, we try to have at least two experienced members so that it is a gradual transition.

Anna Kalinsky ‘15: How common are repeat offenses?

Amani Chowdhury ’14: I don’t know if I can disclose that. It is made note of in the abstracts.

Lindsey Crowe ‘14: When discussing resolutions is it natural or do you often make an example of someone? For example, Kevin G was a mathlete and Professor Park had said that he’s a representative and should fail the course. Is that normal?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: We try not to make an example of anyone. When we look at a case there are no general trends – we don’t want to use the same resolution for the same offense because each situation is different. We want to gauge students’ understanding of violation of community values and base the resolution off of that.

Colin Baumann ‘14: Is there a process in which members of the honor board can refuse hearings?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: We ask members if they are free, then ask them about a conflict of interest, then the student involved is asked about a conflict of interest.

Colin Baumann ‘14: There are also faculty reps on the honor board. Is there a process for them also?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: I don’t coordinate faculty reps.

don’t coordinate fact reps. Joann O’Doherty notifies students and student can have a say in it.

Ola Madamidola ‘16: Is there any way that a student can appeal the decision?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: A reason for an appeal could be that the procedure was not followed. The president will not review new evidence. If you were asked to come to a hearing, we expect you to come with the full story. Not bringing all of the information makes it difficult for the board to gauge the situation.

Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: Other than reading the honor code, is there a simpler way for a student who goes before the honor board to know the procedure?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: When I am approached about a hearing I email both parties and personally give them an outline.

Melanie Bahti ‘16: Point of information, we are also working on a hearing flowchart that will be online once it’s done.

Emma Rosenblum ‘14: What does it look like if a student disagrees? If Kevin G learned new methods but it wasn’t cheating.

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: If we cannot think of resolution? They are always recommendations. If we cannot figure out whether he has taken the exam honestly, it is left up to the professor and the student because we cannot make a recommendation. We help with follow up. This is not very common.

Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: Does this mean that even if the honor board would recommend to the professor not to fail the student, could the professor disregard the recommendation?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: The faculty can choose to participate in the Honor Code through confrontation but they do not have to take and apply resolutions.

Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: Is there a way for the student to challenge the decisions?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: This hasn’t ever come up. I haven’t ever seen it. People have approached me about actions from professors or faculty that can be deemed dishonorable but the Honor Code applies to just the undergraduate community so it’s difficult to judge those who can opt in and out.

Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: How are we governed by the spirit of self-governance and the honor code if the professor can make a decision that trumps the honor code? Doesn’t that invalidate our idea of self-governance?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: Yes, but that hasn’t happened because professors understand and appreciate the honor code. It is a cooperative and appreciated system.

Elizabeth Vandenberg ‘16: Is this something that comes up when professors go up for tenure? If they don’t respect honor board decisions?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: That would mean that information would go beyond the honor board.

Colin Baumann ‘14: It could come up through the student.

Student Financial Services Q&A:

Natalie Kato ’14: The advisory board has come to discuss questions posed before Big Cheese about off-campus financial aid. They will also give us an update about financial aid and other questions that they can report on.

Ola Madamidola ‘16: In regards to housing, how does financial aid work if a student lives off campus at the Haverford apartments, Mermont, or Overbrook?

If you are on financial aid then you will receive the same amount if you are living in off-campus housing. The only difference is that if you have a meal plan – if you live in off campus housing, you can choose another meal plan. But it’s the same thing.

Colin Baumann ‘14: In an instance where students receiving aid that covers partial board, whereas if the meal plan at Mermont/Overbrook/Haverford is supplementary, is there a system in place to reimburse food costs? It’s not always the student’s choice to live there.

Ola Madamidola ‘16: I don’t think there is reimbursement but I can talk to the director about that. We are in communication with her talking about the student experience and feelings towards financial aid.

Rebecca Cook ‘15: If you’re not in school housing, what happens?

Ola Madamidola ‘16: The Mermont room and board are not on-campus, you pay the board yourself and that is cut out of the financial aid. I don’t actually know.

Amy Chen ‘14: I’m curious what you mean by Bryn Mawr or Haverford housing when the partial meal plan is significantly cheaper and doesn’t actually affect financial aid. Does that extra financial aid get deposited into your account?

Colin Baumann ‘14: Point of information – I can’t cite my source but I understand that with the price differential it’s more expensive there than on campus. You pay room and board but don’t get a meal plan.

Sara Kim ‘14: Point of information – I’m not 100% sure about Mermont-owned apartments but financial aid will cover room and board but it starts with room first and then board which is the meal plan covered up to what aid you can receive.

Ola Madamidola ‘16: I can pose some of these questions to the department. There is also confusion because Res Life has their own information and Financial Aid has their own information. I can come back to you guys with clarified information.

Karina Siu ‘14: You said you would have a conversation about our feelings towards financial aid?

Ola Madamidola ‘16: I have been talking to students about that especially in clubs in which I am involved. There are bad and not bad experiences with financial aid. Straw poll? What do you think about a survey? The opportunity to talk about your experience and what you would like to see with financial aid, would you guys respond to that?

Natalie Kato ‘14: The options are yes, no, and abstain.

Sam Terry ’14: Is this in opposition to continuing this conversation?

Natalie Kato ‘14: In addition to, and also to get perspective from outside of this room.

In favor of survey: majority

Not in favor of survey: none

Abstain: maybe five

Karina Siu ‘14: I think I would like to have an actual conversation on financial services and processes at an SGA meeting, at least one of the first ones.

Ola Madamidola ‘16: We can have someone come in?

Karina Siu ‘14: yeah if possible. Some conversation. I’ve had bad experiences.

Honor Board Synopsis:

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: This semester there have been eleven academic hearings. They encompass different departments. Some hearings were about stealing peer work, dishonest communication, improper use of technology, use of published work, and unacceptable collaboration. There was a trend of technology and plagiarism. Resolutions included deduction of grade or failure of assignment, failure of class, withdrawing the student from college, etc.

Something that concerned me was that there were 11 hearings in one semester. Last semester I reported 10 hearings over 2 semesters, so 11 in one semester is concerning. It’s just food for thought.

Ola Madamidola ‘16: Is this a reflection of how academics are harder and harder and the increased pressure that students are feeling?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: I don’t think I’m allowed to voice my opinion on that.

Sam Terry ’14: Are you allowed to tell us the breakdown of the class years?

Amani Chowdhury ‘14: I can tell you to look at abstracts. I cannot tell you about hearings that just happened. The class years are in the abstracts, as well as the class levels.

Natalie Kato ‘14: If you have more questions about the synopsis or mock hearings please take advantage of Amani’s office hours – they are from 10-12 on Tuesdays. You can also email her or the board.

Old Business:

Natalie Kato ’14: It was requested that we get information about printing and an update about where we are. 1.3 million pages have been printed. On average each day 13 thousand pages are printed and 8 thousand sheets per day. I don’t know how large the trees are but 8.6 trees thus far have been consumed over 97 days. Keep in mind that this is not just the undergraduate community – it’s about 1,800 people printing. It’s equivalent to 200,000 hours of lightbulb usage. Grayscale printing has been 1.2 million pages and color printing is 86,000. The peak hours are between 1:30 and 2:30 PM. There was a drop in printing when fall break occurred. The highest number of pages are printed in Canaday. Next semester what they have planned to do is to set up a program that if you are set to print to the color printer there will be a pop-up asking if you’re sure that you want to print color because there are excess color prints accidentally. If you have questions, email Eric Pumroy.

Printing Update

New Business:

Syona Arora ‘15: As some of you know we have started a new SGA campaign with the tagline I am Empowered. I am SGA. A large part of this campaign is a photo campaign. We have posters with the decal designed by Sara Kim ’14 with the words “Bryn Mawr College Self-Government Assocation: I am Empowered. I am SGA”. We have dry erase markers and are looking for students to write how SGA has influenced their time at Bryn Mawr. This allows for people to place faces to names especially with titles and names that are thrown around a lot.

Natalie Kato ‘14: This can also expand beyond held positions. SGA encompasses a lot of things on campus. If there was an SGA-funded an event you enjoyed or contributed to something you believe in, write it on the paper! Questions?

Pamudu Tennakoon ‘15: When else will you be doing this?

Natalie Kato ‘14: We wanted to do more this semester but it’s busy. The members-at-large and first-year dorm reps will be taking photographs next semester.