- Role Call:
- The meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM. It was later adjourned at 8:19 PM.
- Present: Ananya Kumar, Tyler Brown-Cross, Bridget Murray, Sam Heyrich, Catherine Bunza, Sohini Maniar, Mariana Garcia, Genesis Perez-Melara, Nora Dell, Priyanka Dutta, Hannah Henderson-Charnow, Connie Lam, Lillian Oyen-Ustad, Nikki Shakamuri, Adriana Gay, Veda Nambi, Juhi Aggarwal, Makeda Wade, Emma Porter, Nichol Westerduin, Evelyn Aviles, Jasmine Rangel, Madison Brown, Emma Drummond, Emma Lasky, Emma Levin, Clair Romaine, Claire Gaposchkin, Sarah Awad, Celeste Ledesma
- Absent: Kyra Sagal, Jessica Breet, Farida Ilboudo, Phoebe Dopulos
- Nominations for the Fall Elections Cycle ended Sunday night at 9:00 PM. Info sessions will be occurring this week. The original time has been changed from 8:00 to 9:00 on Thursday evening to Friday afternoon at 3:15 PM in the Denbigh Common Room. Accepting your nomination is not binding. The information session should not take longer than a half hour and will give candidates information about campaigning.
- This year Bryn Mawr is hosting the annual Seven Sisters Conference! The conference is scheduled for the weekend of November 11th. The conference will not only feature workshops on leadership, diversity, and other important issues to SGA, but also social functions to meet the other delegates from the different Seven Sisters schools. If you have any ideas or would be interesting in hosting one or more students for the weekend, please contact Emily Spiegel ’18 (Seven Sisters Representative and Head of the Seven Sisters Conference Planning Committee) at email@example.com.
- The Traditions Lantern has been found! This was announced by Traditions Mistresses Catherine Bunza ’18 and Sohini Maniar ’18. The lantern disappeared after Parade Night the on Friday, September 2nd and was returned Sunday, September 11th Thank you everyone for your search in the days following Parade Night! #TheLanternisBACK
- The Appointments application for the September Appointments Cycle is now open! The application will remain open until Sunday, September 18th at 11:59 PM (Application can be found here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSccegnBlc9Nrg-nYwYGKrL3kZf5m_rQbVAYHYYu_wZv-CtrPQ/viewform?c=0&w=1). Do not forget to sign up for an interview after completing your application! Positions up for reappointments are Bryn Mawr Concert Series Officers (1-2), Campus Greening Representative (1), Elections Board (2-4), Financial Services Advisory Board (2-5), Independent Major Representative (1; Class of 2018 only), Outreach and Communications Committee (3), Plenary Committee (1), SGA Institutional Memory Committee (1), SGA Webmistress/Master/Mistex (1-2), Social Committee (5-7), S.TEAM (1-5), Student Finance Committee (1), Sustainable Food Committee (5), and the Traditions Committee (6; Class of 2017, 2018, 2019 only). More information can be found on the Appointments Blog at (appointments.blogs.brynmawr.edu). If you have any questions, please email Shaina Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Budget interviews will take place this week. If you have not submitted your proposed budget, please contact Jocelyne Oliveros at email@example.com.
- Kate Weiler ’20 was at the meeting Sunday to report on the Hot Topic: Swastikas at Swarthmore. She announced her presence to the room to those present, as well as described the work, asked if anyone had any potential connections to Swarthmore, as well as asked if anyone would be willing to be interviewed after the meeting regarding the Hot Topic.
- Your Two Cents:
- There were no Your Two Cents.
- Old Business:
- There was no Old Business.
- New Business:
- Mariana Garcia ’19 and Genesis Perez-Melara ’19, Co-Heads of Elections, are presenting a resolution at Fall Plenary on Sunday, September 25th at 7:00 PM. A copy of the resolution in progress can be found in the transcript below. Both Garcia and Perez-Melara welcomed feedback as well as answered some questions about their resolution. An updated version will be presented at the next meeting on Sunday, September 18th. This is the only Plenary Resolution being presented at Fall 2016 Plenary.
- Hot Topic: Swastikas at Swarthmore:
- The Hot Topic at a very good turnout and was overall a very fruitful discussion. Students who chose to participate discussed a variety of the implications of the swastika as used by the culprits who committed the recent hate crime at Swarthmore earlier this month, as well as anti-Semitism and the larger role of religion on Bryn Mawr’s campus. Small group discussions were not recorded as per agenda guidelines, however a transcript of the final regroup and debrief can be found in the last part of the transcript of the meeting.
- The meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM. It was later adjourned at 8:19 PM.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: It’s 7:10, we’re going to start with Role Call.
Rachel Bruce ‘18: Hi everyone, I’m required to tell you by the State of Pennsylvania that everything said here tonight will be recorded for the minutes.
Absent: Kyra Sagal, Jessica Breet, Farida Ilboudo, Phoebe Dopulos
Rhea Manglani ’17: Okay, now it’s time for announcements. Announcements are a time when any member of the Bryn Mawr community can make an announcement. We’ve allowed ten minutes for this agenda item. Does anyone have any announcements? If more people have announcements they can start lining up next to Shaina.
Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: I just want to remind everyone that nominations end tonight at 9:00 PM. We will be having info sessions next week from I think it’s like 8:00 to 10:00, but it really takes like half an hour, and it’s not binding— that is if you accept your nomination it’s not binding. Just go to the info session and decide if you want to run for the position or not. So just wanted to remind you about that.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: Any other announcements?
Emily Spiegel ‘18: Hi everyone, I’m Emily Spiegel ’18. If you don’t know, I’m the Seven Sisters Representative and the head of the Seven Sisters Committee Planning Committee because we are hosting the Seven Sisters Conference this fall, November 11th through the 13th (that’s a Friday to a Sunday) so I’ll be coming to the meetings regularly to give you updates on our planning process. Right now we’re kind of budgeting and planning workshops. The conference is centered around leadership and diversity so it’s going to be really exciting. One really new thing that we’re offering is social events with the delegates from the other Seven Sisters schools so you can host students and then come party with them later, so it’s a good way to meet people and learn about the SGA’s at all the other schools. So if you have any comments, questions, or contributions or you want to get involved with planning or hosting other students you can let me know.
Rhea Manglani ’17: Anyone else have announcements?
Catherine Bunza ’18: Catherine Bunza, 2018.
Sohini Maniar ’18: Sohini Maniar, 2018.
Catherine Bunza ‘18: And we would just like to announce that the Traditions Lantern has been found.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: We have to use decorum, sorry! Anybody else have announcements?
Shaina Robinson ‘17: We are at the end of elections nominations; September appointments round, so if you are interested in getting involved with SGA through an Appointed Position it’s a great way to do it. Positions up for re-appointment are: Bryn Mawr Concert Series Officers, Campus Greening Representative, Elections Board, Financial Services Advisory Board, Independent Major Representative, Outreach and Communications Committee, Plenary Committee, SGA Institutional Memory Committee, SGA Webmistress/Master/Mistex, Social Committee, S. TEAM, Student Finance Committee, Sustainable Food Committee, and Traditions Committee. All the info about the various positions and committees can be found on the Appointments Blog and you can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The application is opening tonight and will be open until next Sunday, the 18th.
Jocelyne Oliveros ‘18: Hello, Jocelyne Oliveros ’18. So budgets were due this past Friday and interviews are coming up but if you have not submitted anything just come talk to me.
Rhea Manglani ’17: Anyone else? The person from the Bi-Co News?
Kate Weiler ‘20: Hi guys, I’m Kate Weiler ’20. I’m here and I’m taking notes for an article for the Bi-Co News on the Hot Topic so if anyone has connections at Swarthmore or here or anywhere or wants to talk to me about your thoughts just come find me, thanks!
Rhea Manglani ‘17: Leave your email.
Kate: Oh, so it’s email@example.com.
Rhea Manglani ’17: I’m going to assume that’s the end of Announcements so we’ll go onto Your Two Cents.
Your Two Cents:
Rhea Manglani ‘17: Your Two Cents is a time when anyone from the Bryn Mawr community can come up and take a straw poll or gage interest in something. Does anyone have any Your Two Cents? Moving on.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: Old Business is a time when anyone, or anyone from the Representative Council, can present an old item they were working on. All right.
Rhea: New Business is a time when anyone from the Representative Council can present something new that they’re working on. Does anyone have any items for New Business? Okay, so before we start the Hot Topic, Plenary is coming up in two weeks. We have one resolution so we’re going to present that one resolution and then we’ll get started with the Hot Topic. Do you want to pull it up on the screen? Just go ahead and start and we’ll pull it up.
Genesis Perez-Melara ’19: Genesis Perez Melara, class of 2019.
Mariana Garcia ’19: Mariana Garcia, class of 2019. We’re the Elections Heads.
Genesis Perez-Melara ’19: So we’re writing a resolution to deal with resignation and the form of voting, specifically that, so, the formal vote on that will take place next week because we just need the RepCo vote but for resignation we actually have to change something in the Constitution so that will be our resolution for Plenary. So we’re just going to begin reading the resolution. So:
This plenary resolution is updating the elections process to hold elected members accountable for their resignations and create a process to regulate resignations.
Whereas, Article VIII, Section I, Subsection E currently reads: “Any member desiring to resign from the SGA Assembly shall submit a written resignation no less than three weeks prior to official resignation to the Secretary of SGA who shall present it to the Assembly for action.”
Resolved, that Article VIII, Section I, Subsection E now reads to: Any resignation will take place at least four weeks prior to official resignation date through a written resignation. In the meantime, the office holder will need to retain their position until a replacement has been voted on. If the office holder cannot retain the position until a replacement is voted upon, only then, they must specify in their resignation letter who their temporary replacement is.
Resolved, that a new subsection be added under Article VIII, Section I that now reads as: If a member of the assembly resigns at the discretion of the Elections Heads too late in the term to elect a new candidate, the Elections Head will analyze the importance of the position and the time the resignation happened. Thus, if the Elections Heads decide that it is too late in the term, the office holder must retain their position or find an appointee. If an office holder cannot retain their position until the end of the term, they must appoint a replacement as soon as possible. This replacement/appointee will be voted upon by the Representative Council (two-third votes) in the next SGA meeting.
Whereas, Article VIII, Section IV, Subsection C, currently reads: “With the exception of the Office of the President of SGA (see Article III, Section I, Subsection C), all vacancies shall be filled through the special election which shall take place no later than two weeks after the vacancies occurs, under the direction of the Elections Board.”
Resolved that Article VIII, Section IV, Subsection C, now reads: With the exception of the office of President of SGA, (see Article III, Section I, Subsection C), all vacancies shall be filled through the special election which shall take place no later after the official resignation letter(s) have been presented to the Elections Heads.
Mariana Garcia ’19: So does anyone have any questions or suggestions?
Nora Dell ’19: Um, is the—
Rachel Bruce ’18: Name and class year, please.
Nora Dell ’19: Nora Dell, 2019. Is the appointment in accordance with the Appointments section in the Constitution?
Mariana Garcia ’19: No, that’s two separate things because the only—obviously there are the appointments that are related to the Vice President of SGA but these are only appointments because a person can not retain their position because it is either too late in the term or the person has personal reasons not to retain their position, and because we understand that the person who best knows the job is the person who’s holding the office, that person may know, or may know people around campus, that can do the job well and effectively while we don’t have time or voting because it’s either too late in the term.
Nora Dell ’19: So is it in accordance with the rest of the Constitution, or like agrees?
Mariana Garcia ’19: Yeah, and obviously with the other things that are in the Elections By-Laws, that because for the By-Laws you can’t do a Plenary Resolution, that’s something that we’ll do at the next SGA meetings. Thank you.
Genesis Perez-Melara ’19: Any suggestions?
Clair Romaine ’17: Maybe just one of the things in the original is that they give it to the Secretary of SGA… maybe include that?
Mariana Garcia ’19: But like with the Secretary, do you mean the resignation laws?
Clair Romaine ’17: Yeah, the resignation law and how it goes together.
Mariana Garcia ’19: Right, we’re going to include to make it more comprehensive But after the letter is submitted to the—first it’s submitted to the Secretary then it’s sent to us so after it reaches us then we’ll take action. Thank you!
Hot Topic: Swastikas at Swarthmore
Rhea Manglani ’17: Alright, so thank you! Will everyone hosting the Hot Topic please come up now, and Joy can you come up with me real quick? So before we start this, Joy and I just wanted to apologize for last week and our communication error. We realize that a lot of students were hurt and I just want to express again I am very, very sorry and I am definitely taking steps to prevent this from happening again. So again, I am really, really sorry.
Joy Chan ’17: So it was a quick turnover and we wanted to be sensitive— Joy Chan, 2017— and we wanted to be sensitive to the fact that it was time sensitive but make it respectful because the matter of the topic was really important so that’s why we apologize for anyone who felt that they were disrespected last week. And I work out of the Pensby Office as the Religious and Spiritual Life Coordinator, as well as Interfaith Council Student Leader, so that is also another reason why I’m involved in this planning and in securing this.
Rhea Manglani ’17: With that we will hand it over.
Rachel Silverman ’19: Rachel Silverman, class of 2019.
Yael Zeldin ’19: Yael Zeldin, class of 2019.
Rebecca Kaplan ’19: Rebecca Kaplan, class of 2019.
Miriam Himelstein ’19: Miriam Himelstein, class of 2019.
Yael Zeldin ’19: Hello again. So something I want to start off with: this is not a comfortable conversation. We all recognize that, and I recognize that not all of you might be aware of that or what happened at Swarthmore, and we’ll go into that but I just want to ask that when you break into groups or in general, to lean into that discomfort. While this may be a difficult conversation to have, it’s important that we have it. Just try to throw yourself into and try to understand and discuss and bring in your own ideas. Thanks.
So first we just want to go over what happened for those of you are unaware—
Rachel Bruce ’18: Name and class year, please? Sorry… When you say something in a presentation, just please say your name and class year so I can put it down in the minutes accordingly.
Yael Zeldin ’19: Yael Zeldin, 2019.
Rachel Bruce ’18: Thank you!
Yael Zeldin ’19: So, okay, so the week before last, someone at Swarthmore—it is unclear if it was a student or someone else—put a swastika in the bathroom of the library at Swarthmore. Now, for those of you who are also unaware, that symbol means a lot of things. In history, during WWII and the Holocaust, that symbol was written on a lot of buildings of Jewish people (so their homes, their businesses). Mostly to mean that you don’t belong here—your contributions are not valued… go. This sign is also not limited to Jews. It was also put on the homes of LGBTQIA+ people, people with disabilities, many People of Color. In general—I can speak for myself, no one else— for me this symbol means everything that Bryn Mawr isn’t. It’s anti-everyone. And so, me personally, I do, at least for me, have more of an emotional response to it because I am Jewish (you can guess from “Yael”). But, at least, how I see it, this symbol is against everything I believe Bryn Mawr stands for. I don’t— everyone who doesn’t fit into the “Aryan Box”, so not just anti-Jewish. If you belong on this campus, this symbol is “anti-you” and I don’t think this is what we stand for, and I understand that because this happened on Swarthmore’s campus we may not feel as directly connected, but this is part of the Tri-Co—we are the same community.
Rachel Silverman ‘19: So the swastika was used by Nazi Germany during the Holocaust, which—if you didn’t know— was used to kill millions of people. About six million Jews were killed, which was one third of the Jewish population at the time and five million people who were not Jewish, so this is a very big thing, a very sad thing—the genocide of millions of people. But a lot of people think that this is just something in our history books that this is something that happened a hundred years ago— that anti-Semitism doesn’t happen anymore. But the sad thing is that anti-Semitism doesn’t happen anymore. It is still prevalent, and getting increasingly prevalent, and more and more common, and this isn’t just one isolated incident that happened. Every year the FBI reports that the majority of religious hate crimes are against Jewish people, and in recent years the number of hate crimes on college campuses, especially liberal arts campuses has been increasing and increasing. There are swastikas on Hillel buildings, many things that—just because major news outlets aren’t reporting on it (I think they should be reporting on it), it’s been happening all the time everywhere. This isn’t just one thing that happened at Swarthmore, this is our reality and I think I can speak on behalf of a lot of other Jewish students when I say that a lot of us have experienced anti-Semitism too.
When my brother was in high school, people chucked pennies at his head and said “pick them up, little Jewish boy.” It’s things that are micro-aggressions to things that are bigger than that. Anti-Semitism is real and it still happens, and this symbol that was in Swarthmore got very real and very personal to a lot of us. When I see a Swastika, like, I can’t breathe, I start to panic, I get emotional and it’s something that is very, very personal for me. The Holocaust isn’t just something that’s in my history book, it’s why my family came to America, it’s the reason why I don’t have very many distant relatives because they fled Poland and Russia and the rest of their family were killed or they had to flee. It isn’t just something that would have happened to me if I was there, this is my family. So, I think maybe a lot of people may not have realized the impact that this symbol at Swarthmore had on a lot of students because it was a very scary thing. I felt unsafe, I felt scared, I felt upset when it happened.
Okay, so we want to go into how the Bryn Mawr community responded when we found out about this incident at Swarthmore because many of us in the Jewish community at Bryn Mawr were disappointed by Bryn Mawr’s response, both on an administrative level and student body level in general. I actually was the first one who notified Administration. I went to the Pensby Center and helped write the email that was sent out to everyone, like the whole Bryn Mawr Administration was notified. But after that it kind of felt like everything was put on the Jewish community’s shoulders, that we were responsible for writing the email and hosting events about it and telling people about it and we got the impression from the Administration that this was the problem of Jewish students, or like Hillel (our Jewish club on campus). It was something that was very uncomfortable for a lot of us, especially because we were also dealing with something very emotional at that time—to have to process what happened but also “the ball’s in your court” so if you want to have events about it it’s on you, and then I personally, and many other Jewish student that I had spoken to felt very alone with the Bryn Mawr community the way that students responded because one thing that I love Bryn Mawr and that I chose to come here is that because of how involved our students are in social justice issues and how passionate we are and how we speak up when something is wrong and condemn acts of hatred and when this happened—the swastika is an act of hatred— most of the community was silent and that was deafening to me. I felt alone, I felt like no one cared. And I don’t want to say that Facebook statuses—that you need to make a status to care about something, but when something else happens around the world every Bryn Mawr student I know is quick to go and condemn and talk about it and I think I counted less than five people that aren’t Jewish that made a status about it. People weren’t talking about it, I mean I know some people were, but in general there weren’t a lot of people participating in that discussion and it felt that we only had the Jewish community to talk to and that we were just alone and by ourselves and this should have been an event that brought solidarity to our community. Like Yael was saying, this isn’t just something that affects Jewish students it’s also People of Color, it’s used as a sign of white supremacy now, neo-Nazi groups use it. It affects the LGBTQ+ community. It affects all of these people and we wanted the community to come together and many of us feel that that did not happen and that there was a lot of apathy and also that some things that people said to me about how they felt made it seem like oh this isn’t really a Bryn Mawr problem, it happened on Swarthmore’s campus. Like Yael said, Swarthmore’s campus may be twenty minutes away but its part of our community. We take classes there, Swarthmore students take classes here. The Tri-Co might be closer on paper than it is in actuality, but we are part of the same community. Also, anti-Semitism isn’t something that only happens from far-right people. More of these acts are happening on very liberal campuses and micro-aggressions do exist on Bryn Mawr’s campus. I’ve experienced it, my friends have experienced it in the last couple of weeks, and as we stand to action when we, like as people who are committed to other groups when there’s micro-aggressions, it should be the same thing when they are anti-Semitic. We should notice them, we should recognize them, we should speak out, and we should try to put an end to them. This is something that is affecting our students and that should be recognized and we’ll talk about this more in the small groups. But it feels like this wasn’t really taken seriously because people may not have felt like this was a big deal or the big effect that it had on people but it had a big effect on a lot of us here.
So we are now going to break into small groups—we are going to do a count-off into five groups.
The members of the Assembly participating in the conversation counted off into groups by five and dispersed throughout the room.
Rhea Manglani ’17: All right, so now that we’re getting into our groups I’m just going to remind everyone of a few things. When we are in small groups, we don’t take minutes because it’s physically impossible, so this is kind of your freer “say all you things in this moment” kind of deal. Take what you bring into the small group, what you really gain from it, into the large group. Right now we’re allowing fifteen minutes for small group. That time can be extended and we’ll tell you when time is cutting short and we’ll vote on extending time. Again, we’re not in this to stay in small groups, it’s to learn from each other in a small group and bring it into the larger group, and I will turn this mic back over.
Rachel Silverman ’19: So you guys can talk about whatever you want because I know that was a very loaded introduction (sorry about that). But four questions that we have that you can talk about, or talk about other things, are:
- Why do you think that the BMC community was apathetic about this act?
- How do you think the BMC community should respond now, or should have responded?
- What do you think about Bryn Mawr’s attitude towards religion on campus in general?
- How does the current perception and reality of American Jews as white and privileged enter into our discussion of anti-Semitism and contribute to the erasure of Jews of Color?
Sorry, that was a long question. Do you need me to repeat them all again?
Rhea Manglani ’17: Real quick, Jocelyne can you raise your hand? I just need her to, oh, never mind. Proceed!
Notes were not taken for the duration of the small-group discussions. Time was extended once by five minutes by a majority of the Representative Council. The interest for this extension was gaged by a straw poll of all those who were present and participating in the Hot Topic.
Rhea Manglani ’17: Okay, so just so you all know the Hot Topic isn’t over, this is the larger group discussion. So I want to ask the presenters to come back up and stand next to me, and I want to take a moment to recognize the vulnerability and honesty they’ve shown us and I ask that you respect that they’ve done this. I met with them literally just a few hours before this and they pulled it together very well so I really want this to be fruitful and thank you for the amount of vulnerability and thought you’ve put into this. I’m going to turn this back over.
Rachel Silverman: Also, before I forget the Pensby Center is going to be hosting a discussion about what happened at Swarthmore and anti-Semitism—oh wait, Rachel Silverman, 2019—on Friday, September 23rd from I believe 12:30 to 2:00, I forget where it is.
Joy Chan ’17: The conversation will be Aelwyd on Cambrian Row. There will be a van from Pem Arch at noon so this is accessible, and there is also a free lunch there so please come.
Rachel Silverman ’19: Also, we don’t have it planned yet, but Hillel will be having a speaker to talk about anti-Semitism and have a discussion so we’ll keep you posted. Does anyone want to say anything for the larger about the discussion?
Eliot Mutschlecner ‘19: The power of symbols and in both the swastika and also on our campus with the Confederate Flag how we need to be conscious about how symbols have power and mean things, even if we consider them in a historical context and how they’re still present and continue that power and hatred. So recognizing that and how the Administration needs to recognize the power of symbols as well.
Rachel Silverman ’19: Anyone else?
Claire Gaposchkin ‘17: I just wanted to say that I very much appreciate this conversation being had in this public forum because it’s definitely something that I might not necessarily have known how to have started before on my own, having such a conversation. But I appreciate this conversation because it’s a little bit of a nudge that can be very helpful for people to realize, that it’s easy to forget it’s happening with so much going on, that it’s an important conversation to have and to put out of your own head and into the world.
Rachel Silverman ‘19: My group talked a lot about the Administration’s response, and we discussed that there should be more of a plan in place in case something like this happens so it isn’t really a last-minute scramble of what to do. That a lot of people did not know bout the event and that there shouldn’t have been such a burden on the Jewish community to run all of these events, that the Administration should have had some kind of a discussion right after it happened so that people could have talked about it sooner.
Nora Dell ‘19: I’m not sure if the Pensby Center Representative has been elected yet, but once they are elected that might be something they can bring up with Pensby once they are elected, slash, in the future.
Alison Robins ’17: Going back to Rachel’s point, I found it interesting as well. I was actually surprised by their response on campus. One of the things we discussed in our group was the response to the Hate Crime Policy, partially because it didn’t happen on campus, and while we have this relationship with the Tri-Co there isn’t a formal policy, but I find it interesting that more happened about this happened than acts of anti-Semitism that have happened on campus during my time. So I’m also, I find it interesting that when talking about Bryn Mawr’s attitudes that we were quicker to respond to something that didn’t happen on our campus.
Kristian Sumner ’17: One thing that I brought up in my group was how I had no idea what Swat was doing about this graffiti that happened on their own campus and I think that their, I mean I don’t know what’s happening on their campus, does anyone know?
Rachel Silverman ’19: They had a talk the next day about it, that’s all I know.
Kristian Sumner ’17: That doesn’t seem like enough! That’s not enough. But there’s a question about the apathy on campus (I don’t know what it was) but I think that Swat’s inability to acknowledge how big of a deal the graffiti was affected how the other schools dealt with it because I feel that there are probably still a lot of people who probably don’t know what happened at Swat and having to help people acknowledge that it is a thing and that it is a big thing, not an isolated interested, and it should not fall on one person. And I think that it’s our job, Bryn Mawr specifically (because I go to Bryn Mawr and not any other school), to start shifting the discourse around anti-Semitism and other –isms because there should be no space for that to thrive, or even exist.
Sophia Brown ‘19: I think just on the subject of response that it’s worth noting that in the wake of what happened, that I’ve experienced some anti-Semitic comments in he last week that weren’t directly related to the incident, but what sort of unsettled me about it was whether we’re actually making effective change in anti-Semitism on our campus.
Rhea: I can use my voice. I guess one thing that I was interested nobody brought up was the legacy of M. Carey Thomas. There have been numerous people quoted anti-Semitic things. Like I’ve never personally looked into it but I’ve heard of it but I’m surprised a as room we didn’t address this. Personally, I feel pretty bad about dropping the ball last week and seeing the kind of pain people dealt with because of the feeling that this campus didn’t care. That was my piece. Sorry, I did not mean to get as emotional.
Rachel Silverman ‘19: Anyone else?
Yael Zeldin ’19: So at least in my group, something that Claire said that, at least for me and I feel like a lot of Jewish people on campus or people who felt affected by what happened at Swarthmore, that I personally would appreciate those that don’t feel like this pertains to then or not really sure how to talk about it to try to push through that discomfort because it’s really uncomfortable that’s not really a secret and I think that with regards to this issue along with others, as a community we need to get better with pushing through the discomfort and just talk about because if we’re a community if we’re a that prides itself on being a safe space, and people still feel uncomfortable, then it ain’t that safe now is it? So I just really request, for myself, please just push past it and talk about it. I would feel safer, I would feel more at home and I think that a lot of people campus would as well. So when these kinds of things happen, just ask if they’re okay, ask if they want to talk about it. I think it’s really important.
Rachel Silverman ‘19: I didn’t really bring this up before because it would open a can of worms, but I think it needs to be said, and for some groups it may have been the elephant in the room, that a lot of times on campus that anti-Zionism can blend into anti-Semitism and they are very different things. Just because a person is Jewish does not mean anything about their political views, and I would encourage you to please watch the wording that people use when they talk about politics and make sure that it doesn’t go into an anti-Semitic space because I’ve seen it go that far on this campus and it’s important.
Joy Chan ‘17: I think one thing that, so one thing that we discussed in our group is how a lot of people reflect on things differently and so, if someone doesn’t make a Facebook post or whatnot it doesn’t mean they don’t care; it might also not be the right—there’s just so many factors in how people respond. But also, if you don’t if you don’t fee comfortable personally voicing things out, also just being, I think, proactive by finding spaces where you can feel you can feel comfortable voicing your opinion, like going to an event that you can talk as part of the conversation that’s going to happen, and just being at this Hot Topic— I really commend us all for these efforts. I know that it’s definitely had to see how far we’ve come but I mean, I’ve been this job for like three years and having student leader ho are able to pull this together and everything, I want everyone to know that this is a space of progress here and not to forget that.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: So we’re almost out of time, I just wanted to check if there’s any kind of final comments.
Maya Berrol-Young ‘17: Sorry, I think this has been brought up—
Rachel Bruce ’18: Name and class year, please.
Maya Berrol-Young ‘17: Oh, great, Maya Beryl-Young ’17. I think that this has been brought up but we’re in a room full of student leaders here and you can all have these conversations if you choose to. You’re a group that ‘s very respected on this campus, and so if you want to have these conversations you have the power to have them. You’ve already done it, so you should at least feel a little more comfortable doing that in the future.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: All right, so I think our time is going to go off soon. Once again, I want to thank the four of you for coming together. I want to thank everyone for making this as productive a space as it was. Just a reminder that these conversations don’t end here. Beyond being a student leader, everyone’s a part of SGA, so carry these on with you. Just one quick announcement I forgot to make at the beginning (this has nothing to do with the Hot Topic, you can all sit down, sorry), Swati and I met with Dean Walters to have a 9/11 event only to decide it was inappropriate, and we’d rather focus on the legacy of that will be happening in the next few weeks. So that’s it. You can motion to—
Lillian Oyen-Ustad ‘19: Motion to end the meeting!
Rachel Bruce ’18: Name and class year?
Lillian Oyen-Ustad ’19: Lillian Oyen-Ustad, 2019.
Rachel Bruce ’18: Thank you!
Rhea Manglani ’17: Anyone want to second? Who wants to be the official second?
Clair Romaine ‘17: Second!
Rhea Manglani ‘17: This is a Representative Council Vote only. Your options are yes to end the meeting, no to end the meeting, and abstain. Hands for yes? No? Abstain? Thank you all, the meeting is over!
Meeting adjourned at 8:19 PM.