Fall 2016 Plenary Minutes (September 25, 2016)

Fall Plenary 2016 – Minutes


  • Quorum was reached at 7:59 PM.
  • There was one resolution entitled “Regulating Resignations” which was presented by Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19 and Mariana Garcia ‘19. After being edited to include three friendly amendments the resolution was passed by a visual majority.
  • Representative Council Members Present: Ananya Kumar, Tyler Brown-Cross, Bridget Murray, Sam Heyrich, Mariana Garcia, Genesis Perez-Melara, Nora Dell, Priyanka Dutta, Connie Lam, Lillian Oyen-Ustad, Adriana Gay, Veda Nambi, Juhi Aggarwal, Makeda Warde, Nichol Westerduin, Evelyn Aviles, Jasmine Rangel, Madison Brown, Emily Dummond, Emma Levin, Claire Romaine, Sarah Awad, Celeste Ledesma, Claire Gaposchkin, Phoebe Dopulos, 
  • Representative Council Members Absent: Kyra Sagal, Catherine Bunza, Sohini Maniar, Hannah Henderson-Charnow, Nikki Shakamuri, Farida Ilboudo, Emma Porter, Emma Lasky


Rhea Manglani ’17: *Starts Annass*  It is 7:59 PM and we have reached quorum.

Our agenda is as follows:

  1. Overview of Plenary (Welcome)
  2. Approval of the Rules of Order and Agenda
  3. Resolution 1: Effective Resignation Rules

So the history of plenary— in 1892, Bryn Mawr College became the first institution in the U.S. to give students the responsibility to decide on how they should govern themselves. While it was considered a radical experiment, it has become one of the most valued aspects of the Bryn Mawr education. The tradition of student autonomy and responsibility has created a unique campus where students participate in discussion and resolution of the most important issues facing the College.

Twice a year, students get the opportunity to present resolutions to the entire student body. The Spirit of Self Governance is a beautiful thing and should make all Mawrters proud.

Robert’s Rules of Order: Plenary uses a form of communication based on Robert’s Rules of Order. This ensures that the will of the majority is done while protecting the voice of the minority. The rules of order may seem awkward and sometimes constraining, but they will limit chaos and personal attack. Please give your attention to the guidelines and follow them. In the long run, they will make Plenary run smoother and faster.

Quorum is essential and required. This means that everyone must enter and exit from the side door of Goodhart. Votes are only valid if there is quorum.

Order of Business: Each resolution will be presented as follows:

  • Reading of the resolution by the presenter(s)
  • Explanation of the resolution by the presenter(s) – 3 minutes · Floor open to questions and Pro/Con statements – 12 minutes

(questions are given priority during this time)

(If amendment is presented, it is given an additional 8 minutes)

  • Floor open to Pro/Con statements only – 7 minutes
  • Rebuttal period for presenter(s) of the resolution – 3 minutes
  • Voting on the resolution

If there is discussion occurring at the microphones, then discussion will occur for at least 12 minutes as outlined above, before the question may be called. This is to ensure that a minimum discussion is given to all resolutions, as the community has already warranted these resolutions worthy of discussion.

If there is no discussion at the microphone, the SGA Executive Board will give a 30 second time limit for those who wish to speak to identify themselves by either approaching the microphone or alerting their section counter. If after the 30 seconds no one has announced that they wish to speak, the amendment or resolution will be voted upon.

There will be a member of the SGA Executive Board moderating as well as another member keeping time for each resolution. One minute and 30 second warnings will be given for each timed period.

Speaking: If you wish to ask a question, please line up at the middle yellow “question” microphone. If you wish to make a statement in favor of a proposal, please use the green “pro” microphone. If you wish to make a statement in opposition to a proposal, please use the red “con” microphone.

There will be a moderator at each microphone who will limit the number of people standing in line. Please keep your statements to one minute, so that everyone may have time to speak. Please listen carefully to the speakers to avoid asking the same question or making the same basic point. If you have already spoken on an issue, you will not be allowed to speak again until everyone else who desires to speak has done so. If you must talk while in your seat, please be considerate of those around you who may be trying to listen to the discussion. Most importantly, please be patient and respectful of all other members. Even though you might not agree with an idea, everyone has the right to speak and be heard.

The President will call on microphones alternating Pro/Con. Only the people at microphones who are recognized by the President will be permitted to speak, and again, no person at the microphone will be allotted more than one minute to comment on the resolution.

Voting: Voting is a right and privilege extended to all members of the Association. The options for exercising this right are pro, con, and abstain (no opinion, or you feel like you don’t have enough information to provide an informed vote). For a motion to pass a majority of members present must vote pro.

Please raise hands high, and know who your counter is for your section. The President will ask that everyone return to their proper seat during a vote, so as to make sure everyone is counted accurately.

All votes will be done visually unless there the majority of the vote is unclear. If you believe you are not being counted, please see a counter or come to the front of the stage.



AMENDMENT: An addition or change that is proposed to a resolution which is on the table for discussion. Please try to use language such as “strike,” “add,” and “replace with.” If the amendment strays too much from the original intent of the proposal, the President may declare the amendment to be out of SCOPE, or outside of the resolution’s jurisdiction or purpose. All amendments must be written down in advance of approaching the microphone and presented to the microphone moderator. All amendments must be presented and discussed as written.

After an amendment is presented, it must be seconded at a microphone by another member of the Association, and is then open for debate. At this time, all discussion regarding the original resolution ceases to allow adequate attention to be given to the amendment. If you are speaking to the main resolution during this time, the President may request you to come back to the microphone when debate on the main resolution resumes.

MOTION TO EXTEND TIME: This needs a simple majority for approval. When making the motion, please specify a length at which time shall be extended (4 more speakers/5 minutes, etc.). It must be made before time has expired, seconded, and then passed by a simple majority.

MOTION TO COMMIT/REFER: If you feel like more research needs to be done in order to support the motion you may move to refer to a committee (I move to refer to a committee/task force). Upon doing so please specify the size, responsibilities and composition of the committee.

POSTPONE INDEFINITELY: This may be done if you feel like there is inadequate information and you feel like the motion does not warrant discussion. The effect would be to postpone debate entirely and move on to the next order of business. If desired, it could then be brought up at Plenary the following year.

CALLING THE QUESTION: A request to stop all discussion IMMEDIATELY and put the resolution to a vote. This MUST be voted upon, and requires 2/3 support. It is basically a vote to vote. The first vote will be to close discussion and move to the final vote. If this fails discussion continues; if this passes then the presenter moves to the rebuttal period and then we vote on whatever debate is currently occurring—i.e. an amendment or the original resolution. If you CALL ALL PREVIOUS QUESTIONS, this would include the same premise as calling the question, only we would proceed to vote systematically on any amendment on the table and the original resolution. This motion may only be made after the original 10 minutes of discussion have elapsed, and must be recognized by the President.

POINT OF ORDER: A motion made after an infraction of Robert’s Rules of Order. May be made from any place in the room. The Parliamentarian will confer with the President regarding the error and then will present a method of recovery to regain order.

Important – These motions as well as the amendment process are serious procedures; which can, if abused, hinder the process or render it unfair. Please use them with discretion and allow the existing process to work as efficiently as possible. All motions must be presented at the microphone.

Food: All food must be consumed in the atrium and the lobby. In the case that food is consumed in the Auditorium, SGA will not be allowed to use Goodhart in the future. Please abide by and uphold the Social Honor Code by respecting this rule.

Please clean up after yourselves and recycle all booklets!

Beautiful. Can the mics identify themselves? All good. If you wish to make a statement in opposition please line up behind the con-mic. If you wish to make a statement in favor please line up behind the pro-mic. If you have a question, please line up behind the question mic.


So is everyone sitting down? The volunteers are wearing red shirts.


I’m now going to call the resolution presenters to the stage.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: Hi guys, my name is Genesis Perez.


Mariana Garcia ’19: Hi my name is Mariana (she/her).


Genesis Perez-Melara ’19: She her as well.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: We’re going to begin by reading our resolution this has to do with regulating resignations in elections. “Summary: This plenary resolution is updating the elections process to hold elected members accountable for their resignations and create a process to regulate resignations.”


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Now the official resolution. “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.’


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: “Resolved, that Article VIII, Section I, Subsection E now reads to:


“Any member of the assembly who needs to resign their position must send a resignation letter at least four weeks before their official resignation date. They must submit the resignation letter to the elections head. In the meantime, the member must retain their position until their official resignation date. If the member must resign immediately, then in their resignation letter they must specify who their temporary replacement is. This temporary replacement will retain the position until a new representative is voted upon.”


Mariana Garcia ‘19: “Resolved, that a new subsection be added under Article VIII, Section I that now reads as: If a member of the assembly resigns too late in their term such that it would be impossible to hold a special election, the member must retain their position. If it is impossible for the member to retain their position, then they must appoint a replacement that will then be voted into office by the Representative Council (two-third votes) in the next SGA meeting.”


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: “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.”


Mariana Garcia ‘19: “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.”


Rhea Manglani ’17: Do you want to give just a quick summary?


Mariana Garcia ’19: So basically, we are the Elections Co-Heads, and as Elections Co-Heads we see all these problems with resigning year round, too late in the year too elected someone else or it’s just really hard to find a replacement. We understood it would be effective to amend the current resignation process so that instead of three weeks prior it’s four weeks because the whole process of doing the nominations, campaigning, Candidates’ Forum, etc., a four week period, and obviously if someone has to step down for a personal or another reason they can appoint someone to take their place for a temporary amount of time until the election (voted upon by the RepCo) would be more effective and much more of a democratic process.


Rhea Manglani ’17: So people can now approach the mics. Questions Mic gets priority then Pro Mic and then Con Mic. First we’ll go floor and then balcony if there’s anyone up there. Remember to say your name and class year before you speak so that Rachel can take minutes.


Delaney Williams ‘17: I was wondering if you would consider adding language in the resolution to make it so you can control the timing of the election?


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: So you’re saying to switch Special Elections to a shorter time period?


Delaney Williams ‘17: Yes.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: That’s actually part of the By-Laws which would have to be amended by the Representative Council.


Delaney Williams ‘17: Oh, okay! So then through RepCo and not through this.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Yeah! We actually do have those things in mind but we wanted to pass this resolution first because it has to do with the constitution.


Delaney Williams ‘17: Okay, great, thank you.


Sam Wall ‘17: In the bottom paragraph at the very end it says, “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.” That doesn’t seem to make sense and I’m wondering if that’s how you meant to write it or if that’s a typo somewhere because “shall take place no later after the official resignation”– no later than what?


Genesis Perez-Melara  ‘19: So after the resignation letter has been submitted to the Election’s Head, the Election’s Head should start with Special Elections to find a replacement for that vacancy.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Is that clear?


Sam Wall ‘17: Because the way it’s worded it sounds like the election will be held no later than week after they have submitted the letter– I don’t know, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Some of these positions are important — they have duties and and responsibilities that need to be taken care of– we feel that it’s more effective that as soon as we get the resignation letter we just start the process with the resignation period as the first step towards the Special Elections process. Does that make sense?


Sam Wall ‘17: No I’m not that it shouldn’t start as soon as possible I’m just arguing that the wording is poor.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Okay so do you suggest a different type of wording?


Sam Wall ‘17: When you say “no later” it’s usually followed by “than a period of time.”


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: So it says “no later than the resignation letters have been presented.”


Mariana Garcia ‘19: So basically you want to add “than”.


Sam Wall ‘17: But after Special Elections should take place? So after Special Elections should take place? It just doesn’t make logical sense to me and I wanted to be transparent.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Okay so would you be okay with having “as soon as the resignation letters are submitted”?


Sam Wall ‘17: Maybe “as soon as possible” but yes, that does sound better.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: Okay, great!


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Please remember to maintain decorum, thank you.


Nora Dell ‘19: Point of order, don’t we need to propose an amendment?


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Do you mind going and doing that then, Nora? Thank you! Just go ahead.


Nora Dell ‘19: Motion to add an amendment to the resolution with the wording that was just stated.


Rhea Manglani ‘17: That’s a friendly amendment. Alright, so there’s one more person for Question’s Mic?


Jessica Breet ‘18: I’d like to propose an amendment. The way the last proposed resolution reads is, “all vacancies shall be filled through a Special Election which shall take place as soon as the official resignation letter(s) have been presented to the Elections Heads.” Please note that in your first proposed resolution it introduces the concept the resignation letter and in the separate concept of the official resignation date. The way that it is worded makes it seem that there are two different resignations that are required. I would propose to strike the last line and replace it with “…all vacancies shall be filled through a Special Election which shall take place as soon as the official resignation letter(s) have been presented to the Elections later than the official resigantion date OR that the resignation is ratified by the Elections Heads.”


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: Right so then no later than the official resignation letter.


Jessica Breet ‘18: Right, so makes it seem as though you submit a resignation letter, decide an official resignation date, and then on that date submit an additional letter.


Mariana Garcia ‘19: No, it’s like if multiple people resign at the same time that would be the issue so it would be more efficient to keep track of.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: We were just trying to account for if there were more than one resignation.


Jessica Breet ‘18: No, it’s not the “letters” that’s the problem, it’s the “official”.  So are you saying that the resignation letter you submit four weeks before your resignation or that you have to submit a resignation letter on the time and date?


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: Would it sound better if we said “which would take place no later than after the resignation letter is submitted to the Election’s Head”?


Jessica Breet ‘18: Right, and then in addition to that I propose that you make the previous sentence that you’re saying if the election has to take place you should start the process that you should say, “all vacancies shall be filled through special election, the process of which must be entered no later than the date in which the resignation letter is dated. So the way it reads now is that the actual Special Election has to take place as soon as the resignation letter is received by the Election’s Heads.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: Yes.


Jessica Breet ‘18: But you said earlier that you only want to introduce the process as soon as the resignation letter is recieved. The way it reads now is you have follow the … So you should say that the process should be entered in as soon as the resignation has been sent.


Geneiss: so filled as part of the special election


Jessica: Yes, as part of the special election.


Delaney Williams ‘17: Hi, so I just realized so if you are planning on the time it takes to have an election with the four week limit… would it be okay to have an amendment to have “at least four weeks” to having the person remain the position until someone else is elected?


Mariana Garcia ‘19: So if a person has to resign immediately because of personal reasons, I can’t force them to stay in their position.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: …  retain their position until the end of elections. We’ll change it.


Delaney :  Okay great, so strike “at least four weeks before their official resignation date” and add “and remain in their position until after the special election”  and reverse  Article VIII  subsection I, subsection E.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: So “must send a resignation letter at least four weeks before their official resignation date…”


Delaney Williams ‘19: And remain in their position until after the election.


Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: Yeah… okay!


Delaney Williams ‘17: Thank you!


Rhea Manglani ‘17: So since these are friendly amendments you are not voting upon them. Is there anyone else at the mic? If not, we can go to a vote. Wait, is that– are you motioning to vote?


Jasmine Rangel ‘17: Can we have the edited version of this up on the screen?


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Yeah, we can put that up on the screen.


Rhea Manglani ‘17: So we’ve now used the twelve minutes of discussion. This isn’t the official document, this is just for you all to look at. We have the changes written down. Is there a motion– you can just vote since it’s been twelve minutes.


Paola Bernal ‘17 motioned to vote on the Resolution.


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Thank you, is there a second?


Nora Dell ‘19 seconded the motion to vote on the Resolution.


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Alright so the way you’re going to vote is you have three options– yes to this resolution and the friendly amendments you have seen us write down, no to this resolution and the friendly amendments, or abstain to this resolution and the friendly amendments. When I say yes you will lift up your packets. We will do a quick count/visual count, no we’ll do a visual count, or abstain same thing. So if you don’t have a packet, raise your phone and make it pretty or split a packet with your friend to make this visual ballot as easy as possible. So to vote your options are yes (you can raise your packets)– section counters go ahead. Alright section counters, you can relax, we’re eyeballing this. Raise your hands if no, and then raise your hands for abstain. Resolution passes!


X ‘19 motioned to end Plenary.


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Who wants to second?


Phoebe Dopulous ‘19 seconded.


Rhea Manglani ‘17: Okay, please forgive me this is the first time I’m doing this. Raise your hands for yes to end Plenary, no, abstain– alright, party’s over!


Plenary was adjourned at 8:33 PM.


Rhea Manglani ‘17 Annassed.