StuCo Brief: Sexual Misconduct Discussion Planned; Student Input Solicited

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.

Sexual Misconduct Discussion

In advance of the March 15 sexual misconduct discussion, Co-President Gabby Capone ’14 and Students Groups Advisor Lanie Schlessinger ’15 have met with Interim Vice-President for Human Resources Sharmaine LaMar, Worth Health Center Director Beth Kotarski, and CAPS Clinical Fellow Patricia Fischette. Capone pointed out that the umbrella term “misconduct” had replaced “assault” because it was less of a “trigger word.” Schlessinger reported that one product of these preliminary meetings was a sense that many concerns about sexual misconduct were already being dealt with.

StuCo Members suggested that the March 15 discussion will be focused around building familiarity between students and their campus resources as well as revealing the perspectives of the administrators and staff involved. Another goal of the discussion is to help clarify the differences between the current and previous administrations and to address any baggage that still exists. Appointments Chair Will Lawrence ’13 said he wants the administration to acknowledge the mistakes of the past when talking about its current practices.

StuCo hopes to coordinate the meeting with SQU, SMARTeam, BCC, IC, PAs, RAs, and social space coordinators.

Beth Kotarski and the staff at Worth are looking to implement an anonymous sexual misconduct/assault phone hotline to supplement the current email hotline, which is necessarily not anonymous.

StuCo Information Session

StuCo will be holding an information session this Thursday. Capone said that the meeting, to be structured as a public panel discussion, will focus on the question, “what can we do for you?” Members will explain how StuCo works and will then take any questions from the audience. The meeting will be in Parrish Parlors at 7 p.m.


In discussion of the future closed meeting policy, Lawrence remarked that there had been some confusion on exactly what policy changes were intended. “I think it’d be helpful to have a more formal decision-making process to ensure we all agree,” he said.

As a potential solution, he drafted an addendum to the StuCo Bylaws that would make a distinction between “open discussion” and “formal deliberaton” during meetings. In order to eliminate ambiguity, he continued, during phases of the meeting designated “formal deliberation (…) discussion would be less free-flowing.” Lawrence’s proposed addendum has yet to be finalized, but members favored it.

The current Constitution is available here.

Debate continues on Lawrence’s proposal to pay StuCo members. Some discussion has taken place between StuCo and Dean Liz Braun. Issues of concern include the accountability that comes with a paid job as well as differences in pay between members. Lawrence will be looking into peer institutions’ practices.

The Student Budget Committee has allotted $40 for the new StuCo website hosted on Tumblr. The money will be used to purchase a theme. The new site, which has yet to come online, will contain all the minutes from this winter that have been missing from the old site.

Campus Life Representative Ali Roseberry-Polier ’14 suggested putting the agenda from each regular meeting online. She wants to make minutes from the meetings with Dean Braun public as well. Other members agreed that except for private information, the content of these meetings belongs online for all to see.

This article has been revised to reflect the following corrections: The article stated that Capone and Schlessinger have been meeting with Kotarski, LaMar and  Fischette on multiple occasions. They have met only once. The article stated that StuCo would plan the sexual misconduct discussion in concert with SMARTeam, SQU, BCC, IC, PAs, RAs and social space coordinators. StuCo plans to reach out to these groups but has yet to contact them.

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