StuCo Report: Stipends, Small Steps and Town and Gown

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.

StuCo Stipend
Appointments Chair Will Lawrence ‘13 put forward a proposal to pay StuCo members for their work on council, with a trial period starting after the next election cycle, so that current members would not be voting to pay themselves.

He gave the members who were not present at previous discussions a briefing on the stipend initiative. Lawrence also recounted the pros and cons of a stipend initiative.“StuCo is a significant time commitment, and that can be a disincentive for students who are on work-study,” he said, speaking of the proposal’s pros.

“It is a class-based barrier to access,” he added. Lawrence proposed that the stipend would be equivalent to three hours of work a week, amounting to $327 a semester. Several members mentioned that a stipend would allow students to drop a campus job, but they also talked about how big of a time commitment work on StuCo actually was. They considered the varying level of commitment of the positions.

Lawrence said that many of the chairs of student committees related to governance, such as the Student Budget Committee and LSE are payed positions. “There is a precedent set,” he said.

Co-President Gabby Capone ‘14 said she was more convinced by the precedence argument than by the enticing role of payment. “I don’t think we can make the judgment call [about the stipend being an incentive],” she added.

The cons included potential technical issues, but Lawrence said he had talked to SBC Manager Amelia Mitter-Burke ‘12, who had said that from the perspective of the Business Office and the SBC there were no logistical hurdles, but the stipend would have to be allocated through logging in hours every week, like every other campus job.

The other concern that Lawrence, and other members had was StuCo making the decision unilaterally, without consulting the student body. “It has to do with our internal logistics of governance,” said Capone. Lawrence added that bringing the proposal to the SBC would be a form of consulting the students. StuCo members agreed on the stipend being a flat $327 stipend for every position.

Out of the 8 present members of StuCo all were in favor of the initiative. Secretary Sarah Dwider ‘13 will bring the proposal to the SBC.

Sexual Misconduct Discussion
Capone and Dwider were disappointed about the low turnout for the Sexual Misconduct Discussion. “ I think it would be helpful if we hosted something more informal, where we could bring forward the new Title IX regulations, clarify a few things, show how to use the resources,” said Dwider. “There is a difference between, for instance, a Title IX and a College Judiciary Committeee (CJC) hearing,” she added. StuCo members expressed concern about the CJC reports not being publicly posted. Dwider proposed they be put on the StuCo website. Co-President Matt Lamb ‘12 and Capone will be sending out a campus email about about the different processes and confidentiality issues.

Town and Gown Issues
Lamb and Capone spoke with Dean of Students Liz Braun about the confederate flag and vandalism incidents that occurred last week. There will be a campus-wide collection Friday to reflect and talk about the events of the last several weeks. Capone asked about StuCo’s role in such situations. The conversation led into a wider discussion about town and gown relations. “As someone who lives in the fieldhouse I can say there are some people who make me feel unsafe,” said Capone. Dwider, who lives in the Ville, said you can hear a lot of homophobic and sexist comments. Capone asked whether StuCo should be reaching out to the town. Lamb suggested that StuCo members join the monthly meetings that the administration holds with the Borough Police to bring up student concerns.

One of the issues brought up during the meeting with Braun about town and gown relations was the lack of a curfew in the Ville, which results in middle and high school students from surrounding towns – which do have curfews – hanging around Swarthmore at night.

Lawrence advised caution. “A curfew that has a whole lot of external effects – criminalization of being young and out late, which is problematic,” he said. “We need to talk about this, look into other responses which would be community-based, and not law-enforcement based,” he added. He also stipulated that a lot of the issues, such as the confederate flag incident are internal. “We need to have student accountability,” he said.

Small Steps Initiative
Dining Services and Braun are looking into re-evaluating the meal plan. Dining Services wants to form a separate committee, though Capone and Lamb see no need for another student body.

Lamb is set on putting a stop sign by Mary Lyon, a proposal that needs to undergo state evaluation. He will also be talking to Vice President for Facilities and Services Stu Hain about establishing a proxy card system to get into buildings on campus.

The student suggestions from the Small Steps Initiatives included composting, Media Center printing and van accessibility, Bike Share maintenance, and the problems with the wireless. StuCo members will be looking into these issues.

Student Groups Union
Lamb gave out a Student Groups Union questionnaire at the Spring Budgeting meeting. He received many positive responses and the consensus was that the Union should be an online platform with multiple forums, group pages, and an event calendar.


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