Goals, SLAP, and Intercouncil Affairs

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.

Short Term Goals

StuCo discussed two short-term goals: creating a resource guide and food services initiatives. They broke up into two groups to discuss these issues.

The resource guide is a guidebook about “how to get things done on campus,” according to a StuCo handout. This includes everything from chartering a student group to attending a conference. They hope to publish it by the end of this semester, before elections. It will be both in print and online, and in the future, included in freshman orientation packets.

So far, StuCo has collected all the necessary information for the guide, and are working on making it student-friendly. They will ask students as well as deans for feedback. They decided that the paper form would be less extensive than the online version.

The members discussing food services initiatives said that they would be meeting with Suzanne Welsh, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer, today, to discuss using points in the Ville. They will discuss what the causes of the initial hesitation toward the initiative were as well as what role StuCo will have in the process.

Long Term Goals

The long-term goals were also discussed in two groups: the Bridge Program/academic support and the Rollover Initiative.

In terms of the Bridge Program and academic support, StuCo will be meeting with members of the student body and the academic deans on November 29th to present their findings as to what further supports are needed.

StuCo spent a large part of the meeting, once reconvened as a large group, discussing the Rollover Initiative. As of now, the initiative has three parts: structural and constitutional changes to the Student Budget Committee (SBC), elimination of the Fun Fund in favor of the Rollover fund, and the establishment of a committee to oversee the allocation of these funds.

StuCo discussed the make up of the Rollover Fund committee, and specifically how many faculty/staff members should sit on it. Simon Zhu ’11, President, said that the current number of faculty projected to be on the ten-member panel (two) might not have enough of an influence in decision-making.

They spoke of adding an additional faculty committee member, which would bring the total to three faculty/staff members, two StuCo members, and four student appointees. This would mean reducing the number of StuCo members by one, perhaps by removing the President from the committee.

StuCo voted to move ahead with the initiative, beginning by meeting with SBC.

Students in Attendance

Adam Bortner ’12 attended the StuCo meeting on behalf of Student Labor Action Project (SLAP), asking that StuCo back their resolution aiming to assure fair labor practices for future workers involved in the construction and the running of the Inn.

Bortner asked StuCo to endorse their petition for a neutrality agreement for the future workers — which would mean that the contractor would remain neutral if the workers chose to organize, and in turn, the workers would not strike or use other disruptive practices. SLAP hopes to present the petition, which calls for a clear decision from the Board of Managers, to the administration this week. SLAP had gathered 552 signatures as of last Monday.

Bortner asserted that SLAP is “trying to shape [the Inn project] into best project possible” and “protections for the people that [will] work there.”

Sonja Spoo ’13, Student Appointments Chair, expressed concern with being unfamiliar with the specific terms of a neutrality agreement. Zhu wanted to discuss the resolution with the administration before backing the resolution, as well as seconding Spoo’s concerns. However the majority of Student Council decided to endorse the petition. There were no “no” votes, only abstentions.

Benjamin Wolcott ’14 stopped by to ask StuCo if they had any questions about a resolution he contacted them about via email. He hopes that the council will recommend that the Dean’s Office support his resolution for the creation of a housing co-operative.

Council Affairs

Finally, StuCo discussed whether Sean Thackurdeen ’11, Educational Policy Representative, could continue to serve as such during an academic leave of absence this spring. Thackurdeen will be auditing classes and continuing to participate in the Swarthmore community, although he will not be living on campus or officially enrolled as a student.

Zhu stated that while the StuCo constitution is not clear in this matter, it does not expressly forbid it. The question, Zhu said, was whether Thackurdeen would be able to act, on council, as a full-time student. Thackurdeen said he would be able to devote more time to council work, as he would not be taking classes.

Spoo questioned whether the stipulations of running for council followed through to the actual terms of council members, i.e. that a candidate must be a full-time student.

Luis Peñate ’13, Student Events Advisor, expressed concerns about what kind of precedent this would serve for future members. This specific situation, of a student taking a leave of absence while choosing to simultaneously remain part of the college community, has never happened before, according to Thackurdeen.

Most council members expressed their assurances that Thackurdeen is and would continue to be a valuable member of the council. They voted in favor of allowing Thackurdeen to sit on council during his leave of absence this spring.

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