SGA Meeting Minutes – November 20, 2016
- Meeting was called to order at 7:10 PM and was adjourned at 7:50 PM.
- Roll Call:
- Present: Katherine Nichols, Abbie Sullivan, Camila Duluc, Tyler Brown-Cross, Precious Robinson, Bridget Murray, Kyra Sagal, Sam Heyrich, Catherine Bunza, Mariana Garcia, Genesis Perez-Melara, Nora Dell, Priyanka Dutta, Hannah Henderson-Charnow, Connie Lam, Abby Chernila, Dilesha Tanna, Margaret Gorman, Lea Williams, Leticia Robledo, Adriana Gay, Veda Nambi, Jessica Breet, Emma Porter, Nichol Westerduin, Evelyn Aviles, Jasmine Rangel, Emily Drummond, Claire Romaine, Claire Gaposchkin, Celeste Ledesma
- Absent: Ananya Kumar, Elizabeth Hilton, Sohini Maniar, Lillian Oyen-Ustad, Nikki Shakamuri, Manal Hussein, May Zhu, Juhi Aggarwal, Makeda Wade, Farida Ilboudo, Phoebe Dopulos, Madison Brown, Emma Lasky, Emma Levin, Sarah Awad
- A discussion on anti-Semitism and healing will be hosted by the Pensby Centerand Hillel on Friday, December 2 at 3:00 PM in Aelwyd. It will be followed by a healing session for students affected by anti-Semitism. All are welcome! This announcement was made by Hannah Rifkin ‘17.
- November 20 is Trans Day of Remembrance. A moment of silence was held during the meeting to commemorate trans lives lost to violence. This announcement was made by Claire Romaine ‘17.
- Your Two Cents:
- A straw poll was held by Abbie Sullivan ‘17, Faculty Representative, as to changing the deadline for declaring Credit/No Credit to be brought up at the upcoming Faculty Meeting. Rhea Manglani ‘17 brought up the point that the deadline is set early so that students can tell graduate schools that they did not yet know their grade when they declared CR/NCR.
● Seven Sisters Recap:
- SGA President Rhea Manglani ‘17 gave a brief-recap of the Seven Sisters Conference which occurred at Bryn Mawr on November 12 and 13. Some things that came out of it were that the E-Board decided against having a faculty advisor and that they are looking into paying E-Board positions because of the time that they involve. Both of these initiatives are pursued by the other Seven Sisters SGA’s. The E-Board was also given ideas about working with the Dean’s Office to create internship paid programs for international students that would allow them to work off-campus.
● Plenary Recap:
- Students broke up into small groups to discuss potential ideas for Plenary Resolutions. Some ideas involved initiatives to make campus more accessible, rework budgets from DIning Services to contribute to financial aid, and creating kosher/halal/gluten free dining space, or improved quality of meals.
● Old Business:
- There was no Old Business.
● New Business:
- Abbie Sullivan ‘17, Faculty Representative, presented the summary of the November 16 Faculty Meeting. The faculty discussed writing a letter regarding comments made regarding the Seven Sisters by Steve Bannon. The meeting also discussed Tri-Co in the City, a new initiative allowing Tri-Co students to live and take classes in the city, as well as budgeting concerns for the upcoming fiscal year.
- Spring Plenary will take place on March 19 at 7:00 PM rather than the end of Welcome the First Years Week because of the stress of students wanting to catch up on work and rest following the multi-day tradition. A letter will also be sent out by the E-Board talking about ways they are working to improve Plenary for the future based on survey answers about Fall Plenary. Additionally, if you volunteered for Plenary in the Fall please volunteer again in the Spring. A number of shirts were stolen and we need people who have shirts and would be willing to help out again. Additionally, if you stole a shirt please return it ASAP. Stealing, whether it is physical or academic property, is a violation of the Honor Code.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: It’s 7:10 so we’re going to start the meeting with Roll Call.
Rachel Bruce ’18: Hi everyone, I am required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to tell you that everything said here tonight will be recorded for the minutes.
Present: Katherine Nichols, Abbie Sullivan, Camila Duluc, Tyler Brown-Cross, Precious Robinson, Bridget Murray, Kyra Sagal, Sam Heyrich, Catherine Bunza, Mariana Garcia, Genesis Perez-Melara, Nora Dell, Priyanka Dutta, Hannah Henderson-Charnow, Connie Lam, Abby Chernila, Dilesha Tanna, Margaret Gorman, Lea Williams, Leticia Robledo, Adriana Gay, Veda Nambi, Jessica Breet, Emma Porter, Nichol Westerduin, Evelyn Aviles, Jasmine Rangel, Emily Drummond, Claire Romaine, Claire Gaposchkin, Celeste Ledesma
Absent: Ananya Kumar, Elizabeth Hilton, Sohini Maniar, Lillian Oyen-Ustad, Nikki Shakamuri, Manal Hussein, May Zhu, Juhi Aggarwal, Makeda Wade, Farida Ilboudo, Phoebe Dopulos, Madison Brown, Emma Lasky, Emma Levin, Sarah Awad
Rhea Manglani ‘17: So first thing is Announcements. Announcements is a time when any member of the Bryn Mawr community can make an announcement. We have ten minutes for this agenda item. Are there any announcements? Okay, I have an announcement! So I posted this on Facebook, but Dean Walters is hosting a talk tomorrow at guild at 7:00 PM. It’s basically like if you’re going home or sitting down with people on Thursday, talking about a bunch of topics like coming out, talking about the election, etc., how to mitigate the situation and talk about it.
Hannah Rifkin ‘17: Pensby, on December 2, is going to be co-hosting with me a special session on anti-Semitism and how we cam combat that, which is unfortunately relevant. Please advertise it. It’s going to be in Aelwyd at 4:30. Afterwards there’s going to be a healing session for students affected by anti-Semitism. So discussion, then healing.
Claire Romaine ‘17: Today is annually called Trans Day awareness when we remember people killed because of being who they are. Just keep those people in your thoughts, particularly in a place where trans people are welcomed and embraced.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: Do you want to do a moment of reflection?
Claire Romaine ’17: Yes.
Assembly pauses for moment of reflection.
Claire Romaine ’17: Thank you.
Your Two Cents:
Rhea Manglani ’17: Now it’s time for Your Two Cents. Your Two Cents is a time when anyone can pose a topic for discussion or host a straw poll. We have ten minutes for this agenda item. Are there any Your Two Cents?
Abbie Sullivan ‘17: Hey guys, I’m the Faculty Representative. Something I was thinking about bringing up at the next faculty meeting was the Credit/No Credit deadline. A lot of students have struggled with whether they should declare Credit/No Credit because they don’t really have any grades yet and can’t decide if that’s a good time for that or not. I want to get a straw poll. So the two options are wait until grade is in or keep it the way it is. In favor? Not in favor?
Rhea: Manglani ’17: I was on Curriculum Committee two years ago and Dean Balthazar said that it can change by course. They make it early so that when you apply to grad school so that you can say you didn’t know your grade was but that you had a feeling.
Abbie Sullivan ’17: Okay, thanks! Rhea Manglani ‘17: Anybody else? Seven Sisters Recap
Rhea Manglani ’17: Seven Sisters was last week which is why the E-Board was so tired, but it’s a time when different SGA’s within the remaining Seven Sisters gather together to talk about SGA and ways we can improve it. Emily Spiegel coordinated everything so if you see her thank her because she really did a lot. A couple of people here helped facilitate so thank you as well.
Basically what we learned is that all of our campuses are similar. We sat down and talked about how we’re alike and different. We, as an E-Board, decided that don’t want an administrative advisor, but want to work on making E-Board positions paid. It was started last year and didn’t go anywhere, but we’re in talks with Dean Walters now. This will probably have to go through Plenary. Admin expects a lot. You have to be very professional, and sometimes I’m floundering because I’m doing this by volunteer. We’re working on the details of that. Other than that we didn’t have anything all that great to talk about.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: We want to do a quick exercise. Thinking about what you guys talked about last weekend at Big Cheese Forum, let’s take some time to think about possible Plenary Resolutions, or even people you know, groups you know on campus who would want to write them if not you yourself. Last Plenary a big criticism was that there was only one resolution. That’s what we’re trying not to do. So let’s count off by four and we’ll reconvene in ten minutes.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: I think the first thing was an update on the shuttle. It’s in the budgeting, Rachel’s on it. Another idea was the kosher and halal food Plenary Resolution, which was kind of a failure because the food wasn’t great. Dean Walters planted the idea of making a work-study position for making kosher and halal food in the dining hall and the halal kitchen. It will be more than one person.
Hannah Rifkin ‘17: I spoke with her and she seems excited. She was kind of throwing out ideas based on how Smith does it.
Rhea Manglani ’17: What was the other thing? International students, there’s a program for international students where Smith creates special program to create paid internship opportunities because they are not allowed to receive paid work outside of campus. It helps them move into the country once they graduate. This isn’t really a resolution. We also talked about sanctuary camps and how Bryn Mawr can make new policies to protect undocumented students in wake of President-Elect Donald Trump. There was also the Health Center and creating position in the advisory board to assist in the planning of the new Health Center. It could make it slower but should you feel very passionate about architecture and the health center you should consider writing a resolution about this.
Evelyn Aviles ’17: We talked a little at the beginning about the possibilities in creating a separate dining hall with gluten free, kosher, and halal food. I was with David Chase and he talked about how some things weren’t really a possibility. I think it could work because David Chase said that Dining Services wasn’t considering this at all. We also talked about potentially extended hours of library on Saturday or starting 24-Hour Canaday a week earlier. Also potentially extending dining hall hours for athletes on Friday because often times they don’t have enough time to eat or miss dinner altogether because of practice. Also, maybe a Brecon van or something. And I think that’s it.
Genesis Perez-Melara ‘19: So we didn’t talk a lot about a lot of topics. There were two main
ones. One was about accessibility. I know there have been Plenary Resolutions in the past but we never really followed up on. Maybe there could another one made about accessibility. If there’s a committee made we could create could draw more attention to these issues. We find that resolutions are passed but the Bryn Mawr community is not informed. And we’re talking about non-constitutional resolutions. Also, another idea was having a place where we can buy coffee late at night.
Rhea Manglani ‘17: I’ve actually talked to KCass about making a committee. I’ll sent an email making sure something happens.
Bridget Murray ‘17: One thing we talked about was trying to reallocate money (e.g. Dining Services) for financial aid because it’s better to have an improved quality of life and to come to college than to have specialty dinners. Figuring out how this could play out is super important. Also the lack of accessible gender neutral bathrooms. There are none in Taylor, one in Thomas, and none in Carp. Maybe we could make the men’s room gender neutral.
Nora Dell ‘19: Can I just ask where the extra money in Dining Services is? Bridget Murray ‘17: It’s in the big special meals and smaller events.
Nora Dell ‘19: How much?
Claire Gaposchkin ‘17: I’m not an expert with the budgeting, but something that was brought up is that when there’s extra money it moves back into the overall fund. If Dining Services has extra money they don’t get to use it.
Bridget Murray ‘17: Where we can cut corners financially we can make emergency funds for students. There’s a lot of ambiguity and misinformation about this. No one knows quite what to do or how to fix it.
Evelyn Aviles ‘17: Point of Information I believe Dean’s Office provides the money.
Rhea: Quick shout-out to Genesis. Feel free to migrate back to your seats and we’ll wrap things up.
Rhea Manglani ’17: Old Business is a time when members of the Representative Council can revisit a topic related to their position. We have ten minutes for this agenda item. Is there any Old Business?
Rhea: New Business is a time when members of the Representative Council can present a new topic for discussion related to their position. We have ten minutes for this agenda item. Does anyone have anything?
Abbie Sullivan ‘17: Hey guys, there was a Faculty Meeting on November 16. The meeting started out kind of broad, with the entire faculty talking about what was happening in the last week with the election. A statement that went out for the English Department in support of their students. They have been working with Professor Hartford Vargas about sanctuary campuses. There’s a Google Doc in support of swat becoming a sanctuary campus you can sign and she explained to me what a Sanctuary Campus involves. If anyone has any questions she’s the one to contact. We recently received a $8,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation for humanities for funding intensives, international internships, funding faculty research, helping faculty get their research, etc. This is not in the budget. We are not doing as well as we thought but it’s not a crisis. The fiscal year performed poorly however they stressed that this was not unique to Bryn Mawr. The investment portfolio is performing average. Basically with investment portfolio we talked about how to manage—not stop spending but spend differently. They’re going to look at all areas of the college and see what we’re spending. They wanted to stress that this is as transparent and inclusive as possible. Everything identified broadly and everything identified for the budget cuts does not mean that there will be budget cuts. From that there was a discussion with the Provost and then President Cassidy’s plan for the next few years. Next was the Tri-Co in the City initiative. That’s like creating an academic and residential Tri-Co in the city. There will likely be academic Tri-Co in the City in 2017-18 but it won’t be residential just yet. Provost Osirim is trying to organize ideas for mini-conference, so stay tuned. There was some communications about admissions so I got kicked out of the meeting because there was potentially sensitive about other students. I was then brought back in and we talked about election, Bannon’s comments about the Seven Sisters. The faculty all voted on writing a letter so that will probably be forthcoming and condemning certain things. LILAC has also communicated different ways for students to get involved with a Women in Politics Intensive. They’re also trying and help with bussing students to protests in DC in January. Any questions?
Rhea Manglani ‘17: One thing the E-Board did this week. We decided to change date of Plenary next semester, March 19. So basically it’s going to be the week after Spring Break, same time at 7:00 PM. People are tired during its original week during Hell Week. We are going to send out letter of ways we’re improving it, like opening the doors at 6:30 and maybe better training for volunteers. Because a number of the shirts were stolen, if you volunteered we’re asking that you come back to volunteer. There’s very few shirts left. If you stole one please return it. If you wore it a lot, don’t. That’s kind of gross. Live with that on your conscience.
Is there anything else for New Business?
Okay, is there a motion to end the meeting?
Claire Romaine ‘17 motioned to end the meeting.
Rhea Manglani ’17: Second?
Bridget Murray ‘17 seconded the motion.
Rhea: Okay, your options are yes, no, and abstain. This is a Representative Council vote only. Co-held positions, blah blah, one of you can vote. Yes? No? Abstain? Have a good week.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:50 PM.