Spring Plenary, 2015: Minutes

[Note from Secretary emeritus Charlie Bruce ‘16: the minutes for Spring Plenary 2015 are for just the discussion during plenary itself. For the resolutions and their appendices, please consult the SGA blog at sga.blogs.brynmawr.edu/plenary.]
SGA President Syona Arora ’15 called plenary to order at 2:48 PM.
Resolution 1: Reaffirmation of the SGA Constitution
Submitted by the 2015-2016 SGA Executive Board
Charlie Bruce ’16: So, to reiterate what I said in my the speech that I gave earlier, this resolution reaffirms the principles of self-governance on which that we were founded, so that means we will continue to have the honor code, self-scheduled exams, club founding, and we can come into office.
Resolution 2: Updating the Constitution of the Self-Government Association for Improved Clarity and Accurate Reflection of the Current Practices of the Self-Government Association
Submitted by Madelaine Dubin ‘16
Madelaine Dubin ‘16: So in the appendices, there are a lot of changes, most of them are grammatical, clearing up vague language. Removing the lines that are repeated through every representative council that are listed because they’re necessary. That’s the majority of the actual changes.
Syona Arora ‘15: We’ll open the floor to questions and pro/con statements.
Anna Sargeant ‘15: These substantive changes to the Constitution were not clearly presented or communicated to the Representative Counsel, position holders, and the Assembly on Sunday at the SGA meeting when the resolution was presented and Wednesday, the beginning of Hell Week.

Nora Scheland ‘15: Four days is not sufficient enough time for the members of the community and the Representative Council to prepare for Plenary on the following Sunday (today), especially given the length of the resolution.

Anna Sargeant ’15: Furthermore, the language of the body of the resolution proposes cosmetic changes to the constitution while the appendices contain substantive changes or factual inaccuracies to the constitution.

Nora Scheland ’15: Many of the changes make no sense out of the context of the Constitution and it is necessary to read them within the Section, Subsection, or even sentence in order to know what is being changed.

Anna Sargent ‘15: We move to postpone this resolution indefinitely so that there can be more time to compare these changes to the Constitution and to amend them to make them factually accurate and workable within our current system of self-governance.
Syona Arora ‘15: This is a motion and is there a second?
Anna Kalinsky ‘15: I second this motion.
Syona Arora ‘15: We’re going to do a majority vote, explain what you mean.
Anna Sargent: We didn’t haven’t had a lot of time to go over everything in the appendices in the short time it was available, but in an hour, we made a short list of things that weren’t in the spirit of SGA. Additionally, the intent of the resolution didn’t match the form of the resolution; there are multiple fluctuation errors, grammatical errors, and spelling errors are incorrect.
Nora Scheland ’15: Some of the names of the subsections aren’t correct. There’s a list of sections that don’t exist or are misspelled.
Madelaine Dubin ‘16: I’m not going to rebut. If it’s inadequate, that’s all right by me.
Syona Arora ‘15: Would you be interested in postponing debate?
Madelaine Dubin ‘16: I would like to motion to vote.
Syona Arora ‘15: We’re going to move to a vote. It’s a majority vote. The options are yes, I would like to postpone indefinitely, no I would not like to postpone indefinitely, and I abstain.
By visual ballot, this resolution will be postponed indefinitely.
Resolution 3: Resolution to Improve Professional Development, Academic Advising, Academic Support, and Experiential Opportunities for Bryn Mawr STEM Students
Submitted by Lindsey Marinello ’17, Taj Meyer (McBride )’16, Julia Kyungin-Kim ‘18
Lindsey Marinello ’17: Basically, as a science student, we’ve noticed so much support from faculty and administrators, yet there are still areas where there could be better collaboration and development. For example, enhanced cooperation with math and physics department so that TA schedules don’t conflict. In terms of career advising, we don’t have a lot of support for finding internship search. We need some guidance to figure out how to get institutional support of these documents. We want to increase support and awareness. If we had the space on campus, we would have the support to do these things. It’s hard to know the alums in the sciences. There’s no institutional memory or easy ways to know how students have done this in the past. It’s tough for students who don’t have good foundation in math when they get into higher levels of math. The Q center doesn’t have adequate resources.
Aleja Newman ’17: Have you thought about making the “be it resolved” about institutional support more specific? The CPD has internship for STEM, but there weren’t for engineering, so that they can’t counter by saying that we do have those resources available.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: I don’t know if that’s necessary, two externships don’t really capture STEM.
Aleja Newman ’17: have you asked them to make it more specific?
Taj Meyer (McBride) ’16: I had a conversation with Katie Krimmel, and she fully supports it. The conversation right now is how to we go through with it.
Anna Kalinsky ’15: I would like to speak in favor of this. As a chemistry major, I found that the services that do exist for students aren’t sufficient. For a chemistry major, if you don’t take general chemistry your freshman year, you can’t be a major. It’s worth noting that there are no deans have a major in any STEM field. Also, for the summer science research fellowships is highly competitive and is on the low end of other grants. It doesn’t provide room and board. I move to add an amendment to this resolution. Be it resolved that the committee reach out to the Dean’s office to insure adequate knowledge of and support of STEM majors….I would propose putting this after “be it resolved the committee reach out to LILAC”
Lindsey Marinello ’17: I think what you’re saying is valid. I’m a little nervous. It’s just a recommendation.
Anna Kalinsky ’15: I still think it would be worth it for this committee to reach out to the deans.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: Do you mean hiring a new dean?
Anna Kalinsky ’15: I think the next time Bryn Mawr wants to hire a dean in a new dean, they should think about one with a science-related degree.
Syona Arora ‘15: Are you interested in allowing for this amendment to be added? Those standing need to sit so that students who can
Shakhari Badgett ‘17: I am in favor of this, because my freshman year the deans didn’t tell me I didn’t have to take the courses in order to be a chemistry major.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: Thank you for saying that.
Syona Arora ‘15: Are there any other statements? Then we will move to a vote of this amendment.
Aleja Newman ‘17: I would be interested in hiring someone with a STEM path or an engineering to provide more information about how to follow these paths.
Syona Arora ‘15: Now we’re going to move to a vote. The options are yes, I approve this resolution, no I wouldn’t like this amendment to be moved to a resolution, and I abstain.
Be it resolved that the committee reach out to the Dean’s office to insure adequate knowledge of and support of STEM majors
This amendment has been added to the resolution.
Elizabeth Vandenberg ’16: I want to propose a friendly amendment. In the first “be it resolved” and strike “elected”, and add “appointed”. I will email the correction to Charlie.
Syona Arora ‘15: We’re now going to vote on this resolution. The options are yes, I approve this resolution, no I wouldn’t like this amendment to be moved to a resolution, and I abstain.
Be it resolved the word appointed is stricken and elected is added.
This amendment was approved and added.
Shakari Badgett ‘17: In one of these “be it resolved”, it lists different science majors. Why is geology not in here?
Lindsey Marinello ’17: I don’t know anything about how geology and engineering fit together.
Shakhari Badgett ‘17: Would it be possible to add geology?
Lindsey Marinello ’17: If you look at the first appendix, I’m not against adding, would it be effective?
Shakhari Badgett ‘17: Be it resolved that students are represented in one or more of the following sciences: Engineering, Computer Science, Physics, Mathematics, Biological Sciences, and Chemistry, and Geology.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: If we add that, we need to increase the number of students on the committee.
Syona Arora ‘15: We’re going to cease discussion of the resolution and start discussion of the amendment.
Rebekkah Adams ‘15: What about adding the new biochemistry major to the major?
Aleja Newman ‘17: Were we reluctant to put geology in there because of STEM.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: It’s potentially an oversight, but if we have a major space, while I think it should be integrated with geology projects, I don’t see how those things tied directly to geology. I don’t see as much of the underrepresented piece.
Aleja Newman ‘17: Students who are represented in STEM are also interested in other pieces outside of engineers.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: If geology students want to get involved, that’s great.
Sofia Oleas ‘15: If after geology, we could put “, etc.” so that is inclusive language. I could bring it up.
Syona Arora ’15: Is this a friendly or unfriendly amendment
Shakhari Badgett ‘17: It’s a friendly amendment.
Elaine Hollehan ‘16: I notice that it says one of student represents each of the following interest in the sciences. The geology should be added.
Kelechi Njoku ‘15: We shouldn’t exclude any sciences because are all sciences are underrepresented.
Melanie Bahti ‘16: I just wanted to remind everyone that we need to keep decorum. I recognize that we need to keep support. It’s more efficient if we refrain from snapping, clapping, and cheering, but it also creates a preferential space.
Sara Powell ’15: To make the connection between geology and engineering more explicit, think about bridges, and chemical companies.
Georgia Briggs ’16: I think that it’s more important to talk about a science club. I think it’s important to include this geology amendment because people are interested in building opportunities.
Syona Arora ‘15: We’re going to move a vote on this amendment to add “geology, etc.”. The options are yes, I approve this resolution, no I wouldn’t like this amendment to be moved to a resolution, and I abstain.
This amendment was approved and added.
Swetha Narasimhan ’15: The resolution talked a lot about math foundations, I’m wondering if you’ve talked to initiatives geared towards revamping those, like TLI, so that these forces are more effective than they are now.
Taj Meyer (McBride) ’16: We haven’t spoken to TLI directly, we have spoken with Betsy Horner of the Q center and LILAC, and they’re also engaging in conversations. In terms of the pre-health front, they have shot down this idea. They have a notion that students who are here should already be pre-health ready. Some of these conversations have kept going on, but nothing has gone on.
Shreekari Tadepalli ‘18: I’d like to point out some people may major in science here will not go on to a STEM professional career. The opportunities available now effects the community here and how they go on after this campus. This resolution enables people to take on more options.
Natalie DiFrank ‘17: I’m wondering if you’ve had a conversation directly with the CPD. In your resolution, it says that there are no career advisors for STEM fields. I’ve talked to Dana Levy, and they said the career counselors have a knowledge of all fields.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: I’ve talked to Dana and she’s great. There’s a lot more outside of the traditional realm of career advising. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t have specific advice, you won’t know how to move forward.
Syona Arora ‘15: We have a minute and a half left for the floor to be option.
Kelechi Njoku ’15 motioned to extend time until the end of speaking order.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: We have faculty that can also help. We need to have a committee to discuss this.
Kelechi Njoku ‘15: As a math major, a WOC, and a worker at QSEM, I know that there needs to be more support for STEM majors. There’s not a lot of support. The dean’s office tells you that you can’t make it. There needs to be more support so that you wont be shut down. I support this and I would really love more presence for stem majors.
Delany Williams ’17: I was wondering how having pre-health courses go with the requires. For the physics major, certain math courses need to be required before advancing, so they need to be comlpleted by your freshman year.
Anna Kalinsky ’15: That’s incorrect, chemistry multivariable calculus needs to be concurrently taken with organic chemistry.
Delany Williams ’17: It would good to have more opportunities to complete the requirements after freshman year. Also a summer program could help this.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: I agree, how should you manage a pre-calc class? This is a way to start the conversation.
Maritza Vazquez-Trejo ‘17: I have a friendly amendment: “we add two or more members to be added to the STEM committee. Because it would be really helpful to have someone there who has been through this process.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: Can we mandate the faculty to join?
Syona Arora ‘15: Yes.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: That’s something I would ideally want. I caution that since faculty are really busy, they’re willing to help, but don’t have room to extend themselves. They’re less willing to help out unless the provost can say they can drop something. I am not against it, I just don’t know if it’s a good idea.
Maritza Vazquez-Trejo ‘17: I think its really important because having faculty to support the idea is critical to creating this change.
Taj Meyer (McBride )’16: I agree that faculty support is important. Maybe we should put it to vote. My conversation with them , they wanted to take students take initiative. Do you have faculty recommendations?
Maritza Vazquez-Trejo ‘17: No, I don’t.
Taj Meyer (McBride)’16: I agree with this amendment.
Syona Arora ‘15: Let’s put it to a vote.
Maritza Vazquez-Trejo ‘17: Be it resolved that Bryn Mawr college establish a committee of students and faculty, which will consist 4-6 undergraduate students and 2 or more faculty.
Syona Arora ‘15: we’re going to move to a vote on this amendment. The options are yes, I approve this resolution, no I wouldn’t like this amendment to be moved to a resolution, and I abstain.
This amendment has been added.
Maria Morero ‘16: I advocate abscess and insight, which represent almost one third of one of the students have to work three to four jobs to be able to attend. I have a clarification question on one of the clauses. As far as maker spaces are concerned, do we have the funding for this place, if so, there’s a huge looming problem. The majority of the students at this college have a difficult time making for this tuition. If this space requires raising the tuition, how viable is it for the Bryn Mawr College community?
Lindsey Marinello ’17: So right now, Park science is going through a renovation, and they’re planning on building new kinds of spaces. We’ve talked to the people designing the renovation, and they’ve indicated support of this. If we pass this resolution, they indicated that this would be support.
Maria Morero ‘16: My question is about enthusiasm or accessibility for STEM students. Do we have the money for the maker spaces?
Anna Kalinsky ’15: We do have the money for it. The park renovation has 17 million dollars behind it, which has been funded through bond and donation.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: I support this because there are some programs that help STEM students who didn’t have pre-college courses can catch up.
Cala: I wanted to say that I’m in support of this. I just want to bring up that a lot of the things in this resolution, like maker spaces are things that other schools already have. Other seven sisters colleges are increasing their opportunities in these fields. A lot of liberal arts colleges are increasing the opportunities of their science resolutions. These kinds of opportunities increase the desirability of Bryn Mawr.
Syona Arora ‘15: The next item on the order is going to be a rebuttal period for 3 minutes.
Lindsey Marinello ’17: I want to clarify earlier discussions that we’ve had. We have a club that supports engineering interests. We’re not trying to exclude any major. On page 25, we cite the number of women who are in STEM, and we need to ask how many women are in stem. We need to be supporting students more to pursue opportunities.
Syona Arora ‘15: we’re going to move to a vote on this resolution. The options are yes, I approve this resolution, no I don’t approve this resolution, and I abstain.
This resolution and all of its amendments have been passed.
Plenary was adjourned at 3:48 PM.

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