Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Meetings with Student Groups: The Lady Philosophers and Muslim Students Association
Student Council continues to invite several student groups to their weekly meeting so as to develop stronger relationships with student groups. This week, The Lady Philosophers and the Muslim Students Association (MSA) came in to update StuCo on its functions and activities. The Lady Philosophers is a discussion group that meets weekly for dinner to discuss issues relating to women in academia. It serves both as a support group and an “intellectual playground,” for its members explained Emlen Metz ’09. The group is now opening its membership to men as well as women. The MSA serves as both a support group for Muslim students as well as a resource to raise awareness about Islam and Muslims on campus. The MSA just held its annual Ramadan/Eid Dinner this past Friday. Future events include planning for Islam Awareness Week, which will happen in the Spring.
Paying Members of Student Council and Focus-Funding Committees
Paul Apollo ’09 came forward with a proposal to make all positions on Student Council as well its Focus Funding Committees (Student Budgeting Committee, Large-Scale Events Committee, Social Affairs Committee, and Forum for Free Speech) paid. Apollo argued that these committees had a profound effect on student life while at the same time required large time commitments, and asked “Should the people on these committees only be the ones wealthy enough to afford not to work?” He also argued that not only would this move diversify the membership of these committees, students who hold these positions will take their commitments more seriously and will be held more accountable.
StuCo members voiced a variety of concerns, including how expensive the proposal would be and the conflict of interest that exists in StuCo voting to pay itself. Student Groups Advisor Chris Green ‘09 suggested stipulating that the new payment system only be put into place after a new council has been elected to mitigate that latter concern. President Yongjun Heo ’09 said that more student input would be necessary before StuCo could move forward with the issue. In a straw poll, Heo, Appointments Chair Nate Erskine ’10 and Vice President Sven Udekwu ’09 were on the fence, Campus Life Representative Andrew Scott Taylor was in support of the measure, and Green was not. However, all agreed that more information was needed before the issue could be resolved.
Safety and Security Survey Results
Heo reported that the results of the survey indicated that most students supported forming a committee to address safety and security concerns, voting for it over installing door alarms that would ring when doors were left propped and doing nothing. Installing a system of universal dorm key access was voted as the best long term solution. Udekwu expressed concern that setting up a committee would not actually do or change anything. Heo said that he thought it may be useful to have such a group of students who could do basic research on these security issues and report back to committee. Erskine also stressed that decisions about security and safety should not solely be decided by a popular vote. “We should talk to the experts about this—things like door alarms may not be the most popular solutions because people might get annoyed with them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the most effective,” he explained.