SGA Meeting 3/31/14
Syona Arora calls the meeting to order at 7:10 PM
Present: Anna Kalinsky, Emma Rosenblum, Carolyn Jacoby, Pamudu Tennakoon, Molly MacDougall, Karina Siu, Sarah Lovegren, Daniele Arad-Neeman, Erin Saladin, Christine Newville, Sara Kim, Lindsey Crowe, Jancy Munguia, Kaeun Bae, Karunya Venugopal, Angela Blatz, Odeymarys Garrido, Celeste Gambino, Christina Tse, Hannah Hastings, Alex Beda, Jessica Ferreira, Ivy Drexel, Kayla Bondi, Sarah Gilmour, Meg Sumner-Moore, Jessica Arbon, Jenna Myers, Jennifer Mendez Alba,, Dani Weismann, Phoebe Jordan, Emily Garcia, Emma Burke, Nina Shmorhun, Alex Francendese, Xavia Miles, Sarah Lesser, Sofia Oleas, Natalie Zamora, Alexandra Krusinski, Sam Terry, Lucy Gleysteen, Frankie Leech, Danyelle Phillips,
Absent: Colin Baumann, Rhett Richardson, Noor Masannat, Chrystyna Colon
Syona Arora ‘15: Thank you so much to the Big Cheeses for coming out on a Sunday night. We’re going to start with questions created at the SGA meeting period last night. There will be a questions period pertaining only to the discussion topic. The rep council can extend time only for one minute. Once that has elapsed we go onto next questions. If anyone has questions, please start lining up so we can predict how many have questions. Once all of the 5 pre-posed questions are answered, we’ll open up to the Q& A. Friendly reminder: please be respectful to the guests. We’re going to do quick introductions.
Mary Osirim: I’m Mary Osirim, interim provost, and sociology professor.
Jerry Berenson: I’m Jerry Berenson. I’m the Chief Administration Officer.
Judy Balthazar: I’m Judy Balthazar, dean of undergraduate college..
Kim Cassidy: I’m President of Bryn Mawr College.
Mary Beth Horvath I’m Mary Beth Horvath: student activities.
Peaches Valdes: I’m Director of Admissions and class ‘99
Syona Arora ‘15: 1st Is there an update on the Haffner timeline? Are there any updates regarding residential spaces on campus, either expansion or changes? What is being done with the Student Life Office space, and office spaces in general, and are there any plans for space redistribution?
Jerry Berenson: Haffner timeline: we’re about to tear down 2/3 of Haffner. There are no safety issues about asbestos. There’s no more asbestos left. Save in the cloth around the windows. The Haffner dining hall closure was related to Haffner project. We’re doing changes to the dining hall. We’re changing the entrance, which will be different than the old one. The major construction will start as soon as school is over. The demolition will begin any day now. The construction will begin in June/July. The renovated new Perry house will be done by fall 2015. Our goal is to reduce density throughout campus, converting triples back to doubles through the renovated Haffner dorm. We’ll keep a couple of apartments in Mermont,, but after the new dorm is built we will reduce them.
Judy Balthazar: The student life office space is being used for storage. We’re holding it for LILAC until we know whether they want to use it. If they don’t use it, we’ll have a larger conversation.
Sofia Oleas ‘15: Will you be replanting the trees cut down in the Haffner courtyard?
Jerry Berenson: I don’t know exactly. Extensive landscape plan is a part of our project. There are two main purposes for cutting them down. One is to do a lot of plantings on the yarrow avenue side of Haffner for coverage from street for 1st floor rooms. The other is we’re doing extensive work in the courtyard. It’ll be more open after renovations. It’ll be possible to get into the courtyard from Marion Avenue. Hopefully this will make it welcoming to the whole community
Syona Arora ‘15: What are implications of the increase in tuition? Who can students contact and speak to in person about student accounts?
Jerry Berenson: The tuition increase of 3.7 percent meant to be 3.5 percent but we added lab fees. The lab fees came to cover all students paying for labs regardless of financial aid package. Nothing has changed in terms of financial aid policies. We hope to reduce financial aid forms complications, hopefully through public forum before incoming class has to fill them out. Students can contact x5245 and check in at desk in entrance of guild figure out student account issues.
Emma Rosenblum ‘16: You mentioned a workshop on financial aid for current students. Could this be combined into admitted students events?
Jerry Berenson: The problem is admitted student’s applications were due by January 15th, , so it’s late for them. We’re working on creating a video. We’re talking to firms who will make one to put online. It would provide step-by-step examples of how to fill out the forms. We’re hoping it would be ready for the class applying in the fall.
Namita Dwarakanath: Are there any plans on changing the merit aid policy?
Jerry Berenson: There are no specific plans right now. We’ve formed a committee that includes trustees and staff members to discuss this. We will determine pricing and how financial aid is set.
Syona Arora ‘15: President Cassidy, could you speak to your short- and long-term goals as president, as well as any upcoming initiatives?
Kim Cassidy: For the last three years, we’ve been creating a strategic plan for the college. Within the plan, we’re setting priorities. There are four elements of the strategic plan. 1st curricular innovation, growing 360 program, adding AB/MA, adding new / nurturing old programs, and developing Existing area studies and looking at things around our core. Starting in the fall, we’re instituting a new writing intensive course for majors. 2. LILAC bridge liberal arts education to world around them. Big part of the office is internships, focusing on personal and professional development. 3rd is globalization and preparing students for the world. We’re piloting different initiatives, curriculum, student preparation integration, thinking about study abroad options, thinking about the college as a voice for women’s empowerment and thinking about how to be a place for women’s advancements. We’ve had a number of conferences here and we’re thinking about how what this means. 4th is science we are planning to renovate park science. We’re securing the first phase of funding and hoping to start renovations soon. I would add a 5th as student life and making sure we’re developing the whole student. We’re doing pop-ups coffee hours but I look forward to partnering with deans office to encourage health and wellness.
Syona Arora ’15: What are the procedures for filling current interim positions, given that there has been lots of reshuffling? What are Bryn Mawr-specific rules for professors allowed on the tenure track? What are some of the processes taken by the faculty search committee?
Raquel Azul ‘15: Are there any long or short term and long term goals to address professors and students.
Kim Cassidy: For both faculty and staff, we’re looking to enhance recruitment of diverse faculty. We’re adding new things to encourage more diverse pool of staff employment. We’re looking into more systematic changes to make campus more welcoming. We’ve met with the diversity group to discuss new programing. Stephanie Nixon and Vanessa Christman have been working with initiatives. The dean’s office and Pensby are interested in getting student input. The best way to change culture is through dialogue rather than discussing only about. R
Ola Madamidola ’16 Can you talk about rising honor code violations. How do you plan to help students adjust to this environment and increase honor code awareness.
Judy Balthazar: I’ve seen concerns with the academic honor code. Melanie and I have been talking about systematic orientations to the honor code that would introduce students to the honor code multiple times through the semester. Honor board is working very well to address the issues that are coming to us.
Peaches Valdes: I wanted to add that I’ve been meeting with members of the honor board and the SGA executive board to amending the application essay. On the application there is a Bryn Mawr opportunities page. This incorporates both honor code and self-governance association and will increase awareness .
Laruen Footman ’14: what policies do we have in place when campus concerns happen? Is there a bias committee? Do they go to the deans? How do you decide what panels are best?
Balthazar: There are a lot of panels and the student has to decide which is best for her. She can go to the DLT, CDAs, HAs, Dorm President. Students can also go to deans. You can go to the president’s office. They can see me as well. It depends upon what the issues are. There’s not one avenue.
Laruen Footman ’14: When you’re having discussion of the honor code, are we thinking of ways staff and faculty bound by the honor code. Should we be going to the honor board representative or is this a provost issue?
Judy Balthazar: We think the faculty and staff are vital to helping the students make sense of the honor code. If you think we are acting dishonorably, you should deal with us the same way you would with a student, which is to address the person who is making you feel uncomfortable.
Mary Osirim: Every single year, when we bring new faculty to campus, we have a two day orientation. What’s come to light to me is that we need to expand that orientation to include talking about honor code/ honor board as a faculty person. We’re also revamping faculty conversation series.
SA: What are the procedures for fulfilling interim positions?
Kim Cassidy: There are six open positions in the leadership. Two of those positions we’re actively searching for. One is chief enrollment officer, we’re having 4 finalists coming back soon. We’re also launching search for Chief Financial Officer. Next year we will do the faculty process for naming a provost, that will start in fall and end in spring. I’m in the process to converting our interim position of development to a permanent position. The Deans position and chief communications officer I will continue still search for. Searches are up and coming.
Mary Osirim: I will start in terms of interim faculty positions. At Bryn Mawr there is a thorough and thoughtful process of getting faculty. It takes a yearlong process a professor. Departments identify the need for their department. They submit a proposal detailing this need and submit it to the committee on academic priorities, which is major academic planning committee at the college. They take an entire year to see what is need. They meet with faculty from bryn mawr department and other bico departments. They have 2 major face-to-face meetings with faculty. That committee makes a decision on that position request and the range that have come forward. Once they have made they’re recommendations, they are delivered to the president, who accepts or denies them. If they’re accepted, the department drafts a position ad, which does committee of faculty committee and another committee revise. The job is crafted looked at by 10 people and posted. There are specific areas that are detailed in terms of what is requested and deadlines. The provost’s office is engaged directly in creating that search committee. These committees are departmentally based. Often the department chair is chair of student search committee. There are student representatives on each search committee. There’s an outside member, a Haverford College member, there’s a faculty diversity representative. They proceed with the process of reviewing applications during the professional meetings of the organization, and they bring finalists to campus. The part I want to emphasize: there are student search representatives but they’re only two voices among committee of 10 or 8. Usually 3 or 4 finalists brought to campus and they give job talks. Those job talks need student voices. We can only hire according to what we have in the job ad. Our concern is we have to hire strictly to what is demanded for in the job ad. One of the things we’re thinking about is rethinking our hiring process to create a more diverse faculty.
Kieres Regensburg ‘16: Thank you for the information. I am asking on behalf of my class whose professor left halfway through the semester. Our class had been kept in the dark that then had to go on a conference, so we’ve had three professors in half a semester. What happens when we have immediate replacements?
Mary Osirim: A letter is going out to students in class tomorrow. We have hired someone to take over that class. They signed a contract and they will continue. We didn’t know at the time that they were going to a conference. We can assure you there will be stability with in this class. Students will be in no way effected/harmed/penalized for this disruption. On occasion there are personal reasons why people need to leave community.
Ola Madamidola ‘16: How many professors of color are there?
Osirim: There are 15% Professors of color. These numbers calculated by American association of university professor guidelines. This counts full time faculty at beginning of academic year, part time, PE instructors, bbatical people not accounted.
Syona Arora: There have been lots of new initiatives in the admissions office featuring students. How are students chosen?
Peaches Valdes: There’s some mystery to how students are selected/chosen. Student engagement is important. In order for the college to get student voices. During my time at Bryn Mawr and as a graduate, I’ve definitely been involved quite a bit. First we start a project by getting a sense of what is the purpose of this activity. We have an active set of lists of students who will host students who are active ambassadors. At the beginning of every semester, we ask for support of students in the community. We also table at campus functions to increase student involvement. We have a tour guide community – student workers who are tour guides and resources to our staff. We also have admissions ambassadors. If we’re doing an event like admitted student weekend, we communicate with the deans, office Pensby center, athletics, faculty, and we ask them: can you give us names of students who would be great representatives of the institutions. Sometimes we’re seen as only wanting student leaders. We ask faculty for individuals that would be a great representation of the college, so that they can see their role and know that they can influence. We’ve been reviewing application of 2018 and the majority of the essays were I met a student who I made a connection with. Student involvement is critical in how wee do our job. We also get peer reviews/ recommendations. We’ve contacted student leaders to ask who in your club, community, and hall are great representatives of the institution. Sometimes they’re solicited and unsolicited. Sometimes I get emails that give me the name of a student. Many of you may have met Tiffany Shumate, her role is to be a liaison between admissions and students, and she’s collaborated with students on campus. This is new. It used to be the responsibility of admissions officer to be connected to campus. Tiffany’s role is to be a liaison. If you know students who want to be involved, send them my way.
Anna Sargent ‘15: I have a question regarding admissions and advertising to international communities. I’ve had students say advertisement is different than experience. Does this effect retention rate for international students? What’s the upshot of false advertising?
Peaches Valdes: We did an assessment of our paper use a few years, and have reduced them since them. Everything we send internationally is directed through email/ website, we don’t send letters abroad. We can’t guarantee addresses abroad. That’s resulted a streamline in the messaging. What we send to local and international students is similar. Our coordinator for international relations is Jennifer Russell, she works with international students. we’ve streamlined message enough so regardless of where you live you will get same message.
Judy Balthazar: Peaches and I worked together to find students who would want to stay.
Peaches Valdes: One of the new initiatives for ’18 is to connect international students with alumnae through a web form.
Syona Arora ‘15: Thank you for answering the proposed questions, they answered the questions in the community. We’re going to allot 20 minutes and extended time of 5 minutes for an open Q&A. Please line up at the mike so we can determine how people are going to determine how much time to devote per student. Be aware that we’re going to keep this to end as close to 8:30 as possible.
Crystal Des-Ogugua’17: apart from posse, what types of services are available for students from underrepresented backgrounds to become assimilated into the school. On target was one program that focused on POC transition.
Judy Balthazar: We have encouraged students to look to affinity groups and pensby center for support. We don’t have first year programs.
Emma Rosenblum ‘14: Thank you all for coming out on a Sunday night. President Cassidy brought up ba/ma program. How can we make sure this is available to students from diverse educational backgrounds?
Kim Cassidy: we’re sensitive to that. The concept of that is two degrees in four years. For some students that doesn’t work because students don’t have preparation and the fields don’t lend themselves to the intensive track. We’re interested in expanding to a 5-year or 4 + 2 program. There will always be inefficiency with double counting. It may not be possible to condense this into four years.
Emma Rosenblum ‘14: what are the criteria for acceptance?
Kim Cassidy: These would be programs you enter while you’re here.
Ola Madamidola ’16: This is a follow up question to Crystal’s question. Dean Balthazar, you said affinity groups are in charge of academic emersion. What resources are you giving them for academic emersion? It’s becoming more of the student’s role to do these jobs that are on the administration to do. What are you doing? What is faculty doing?
Judy Balthazar: I was confused with the question, I thought she was talking about strictly cultural assimilation. For education, we’ve ben treating all first year students the same. Setting up to a dean, faculty apt. We’ve hoped that structure would help student feel support. It’s been very individualized. I’d be glad to talk about alternatives, but I want to talk to students to hear input rather than deans deciding.
Ola Madamidola ‘16: For the social aspects, what kinds of funds and resources are you doing to give students access to these things?
Balthazar: defer to Vanessa because I don’t know how much comes from SGA and how much Pensby.
Vanessa Christman: As a partnership with SGA we always hope to look institutionally at the growing needs of our student population.
Ola Madamidola ‘16: The DLG is the task force to assess the issues going on, who implements these tasks?
Kim Cassidy: The DLG is an ongoing advisory group to the president. Sent to various ongoing advisory board. That group is an advisory group, not one that implements policy. It’s a sounding board for groups to connect with other groups on campus the implementers are Pensby, alumnae office, the liaison to the staff for staff issues. Its advisory group, which are funneled to appropriate body.
Ola Madamidola ‘16: what are the goals and duties of diversity officers for each department. How successful are they in contracting professors of color? Based on 15 percent statistic not very representative.
Mary Osirim: that’s definitely been brought to attention to faculty the faculty diversity representatives are on every faculty search. They do not vote on the faculty search, neither do students. We’ve put forward a recommendation to increase diversity. The proposal has been made to increase responsibility of diversity on the committee of appointment representatives because they represent and understand the college’s broad goals. For years we’ve been involved in the consortium for faculty diversity at Liberal Arts College. We have a fellow every 2-3 years. They are committed to bringing in excellent demonstrations. We’re hoping to convert our fellows in campus to permanent positions.
Kim Cassidy: One of the roles of DLG is to help develop search to make it more representative. Sometimes there’s a pipeline issue of lack of candidates in the specific field. So now we’re moving to look at other models to seek out the diverse candidates rather than hope they become finalists in the committee process. Sometimes there are candidates in areas we aren’t searching. We’re taking steps that we’ve reached the limit in diversify with this current practice.
Lauren footman ’14: Follow up to affinity group question on funding. Pensby has a limited budget, only1000 per semester. If you have more affinity groups pulling out of the same budget. How can we represent and facilitate community connecting with a limited budget. Has movement been placed to make more diversity program in the Pensby center. What can Stephanie do to help? The budget needs to increase because we have more issues to discuss.
Balthazar: We did look to do an increase for budgeting for next year. There might be other ways to redistribute. Mary Beth Horvath and I have been thinking ways of redistributed money.
Syona Arora ‘15: thank you to everyone who asked questions. We are having a regular SGA meeting after this.
Crystal Des-Ogugua’17: You mentioned the DLG is an advisory force as opposed to a task force. Is there an administrative group that is a task force that assures these recommendations is implemented?
Kim Cassidy: Bryn Mawr College made a choice about how to address diversity. There are different models for colleges to address diversity, some use a central office. We elected to have diversity concerns to be spread among the campus. Different offices are in charge of addressing concerns throughout campus. Makes sure that all offices are involved in department. If we’re concerned with staff issues, they’re within different areas of responsibility for different departments.
Crystal Des-Ogugua’17: As concerned students on campus, are there specific places we can go on campus to make our concerns known? Do we have to go to Pensby or DLG first to make this happen?
Judy Balthazar: If you’re worried about a staff member who is not getting something about diversity, talk to whoever is in charge of that area. If it’s a professor, talk to department chair. I would talk to whose in charge of that area. If you’re worried about a faculty member, talk to Mary. It depends on what you’re concerned about.
Crystal Des-Ogugua’17: Whenever there’s a diversity issue, the first thought is to go to Pensby, but is it advertised that students can go to multiple places.
Kim Cassidy: I would ask if it’s made clear to students or offices?
Crystal Des-Ogugua’17: Is it made clear whom you go to?
Kim Cassidy: A lot depends on the issue, the Pensby center might be the best place to go. Two members of the Pensby center sit on the DLG. They’re the best place to go to get a referral. You would be encouraged to go to any of these offices. We’ll work on making this to make clearer. Pensby are good about pointing out who’s the best to discus with.
Ola Madamidola ‘16: In regards to increasing fees – to 3.7 – how do you plan to encourage increase in endowment to assuage students’ fears of not being able to reroll for the incoming year.
Jerry Berenson: Increasing fees doesn’t effect financial aid eligibility. We take the total cost minus the calculating faculty contribution. If the cost goes up 300$, the financial aid ability goes up.
Rebecca Adams ’16: How do you plan to support religious life on campus? What are the discussions about hiring the new director of religious life.
Judy Balthazar: Vanessa and I’ve been talking about this. She’s been advocating for new people. I’d be glad to talk to students if they feel that this is something they need. Last year was the only year we had a staff person who worked outside of the Pensby center. I worked for many years with religious life. I don’t know if we can return to full time person staff person.
Sofia Oleas ‘15: point of information: given that we passed a recent resolution on more gender inclusive language, I think it would be more appropriate to use less gendered language since some Bryn Mawr students don’t use those pronouns.
Syona Arora ‘15: Thank you to everyone who asked questions during Q& A and proposed topic questions. This was a great way to proposed staff and faculty. This fosters discussion. Thank you for coming out. If you have questions, please email sga@BMC. We will relay this to faculty and staff. We will not have SGA meeting. Big cheeses are free to leave.
Moly MacDougal ‘16 April elections are coming up. Nominations are going to begin at seven pm. We’re going to have a mixer at SGA with all of the current position holders. The heads of the resident’s council, students, class presidents, honor board reps, songs mistresses/masters/mistex, civic engagement office representative, and Social Committee head.
Emma: Resco has two announcements. We’re supposed to announce when we’ve used SCO fund. We had an incident in Denbigh where a mirror broke in dance. We voted for paying for it in the rep council. We’re hosting mock room draw here in Thursday. You don’t need to be a 1st year student to attend. Rising customs is interesting
Erin Saladin ‘16: We were at a faculty rep meeting and we had a lot of interesting talks. We wanted to bring to your attention regarding honor code violations that there’s a town hall Monday April 7th TGH they really want a lot of student voices. Please talk to us.
Anna Sargent ‘16: we’ve emailed all the club leaders regarding activities on may day regarding plays and acapella concerts, please email traditions @ bmc regarding may day activity.
Karina Siu ‘14 : We 4 home games this week. Tennis has a match Tuesday/ Friday @ 4pm, lacrosse will be playing at home Wednesday at 4:30 and Saturday 1pm, rugby is playing Saturday in the field by the GSSWK
Alexis De La Rosa ‘15 : Along with Molly’s announcements, appointments rounds are in April. Interviews will be in the week of the 21st, for people who are interested.
Lindsey Crowe ‘14: due to scheduling conflict the next senior cocktails is moved from the 12th to the 19th.
Karina Siu ‘14: this Wednesday, SAC is having an info session on the exec board positions. Please let your constituents know.
Syona Arora ‘15: thank you for all of the questions that all of you posed for the big cheese forum. Thank you to everyone who asked questions. If you have any questions you’d like answered, we’ll put you in touch with whoever can answer them. Thank you for your participating.