StuCo Report: Greek Life Referendum and Constitution Amendments

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.


Joyce Wu ’15 formally presented a petition for a referendum on Greek life to Student Council (StuCo) during Sunday’s meeting, meaning that StuCo is constitutionally required to conduct a campus-wide vote on the questions posed in the petition within the next two weeks. Wu had emailed the list of signatories—which numbered over 155, the necessary ten percent of the student body—to StuCo prior to the meeting.

The petition for a referendum, which is a modification of a petition created on February 14 and which reflects questions raised during two campus-wide discussions on Swarthmore social life, can be viewed online.

Because the petition poses six questions, Gabby Capone ’14, co-president of StuCo, said that each of the questions would be treated as an individual referendum during the voting process. “Each question […] would need to pass by the stipulations of one referendum,” Capone said.

Wu said that she hopes the results of the referenda will inform further actions regarding social life on campus. Victor Brady ’13, co-president of StuCo, said that StuCo would assist in planning future Greek life and social life discussions.

Green Advisors

Green Advisor (GA) Laura Laderman ’15 has been working with Lanie Schlessinger ’15, student groups advisor, in hopes of making GA positions paid. Laderman said that she would like the GA program to function similarly to the SAM program, with involved students located in each dorm and receiving stipends for their work.

According to Laderman, the Climate Action Plan developed by the Climate Action Planning Committee makes GAs largely responsible for educating students about campus sustainability initiatives. “Green Advisors are going to be the way students are informed,” Laderman said. Making the GA positions paid, Laderman said, would give GAs time to plan more initiatives for their dorms.

Capone asked that Laderman return to StuCo with a more concrete proposal in the coming weeks. “We’re going to want numbers on the stipends,” Capone said. Brady said that he would email Vice President for College and Community Relations Maurice Eldridge to find out where the College currently stands in the process of hiring a sustainability coordinator, given that the coordinator might eventually oversee the GAs.

Constitution Amendments

Capone drafted two amendments to the StuCo constitution for Sunday’s meeting. One amendment would prohibit first-semester freshman from running for StuCo positions while the other would require that co-president candidates have served for at least one year on either StuCo or the Student Budget Committee (SBC) before running. According to Capone, “StuCo has been run more effectively by people with experience.”

Educational Policy Representative Rachel Stein ’15 suggested modifying the co-president eligibility amendment to require that candidates have one term of experience as opposed to one year. Stein said that not everyone who holds a position in StuCo or SBC serves for a full year due to emergency appointments and similar situations.

Schlessinger noted that students selected through emergency appointments sometimes serve very brief terms. “There was an emergency election last year that served three weeks,” Schlessinger said. Capone said that she would revise the amendment to require one semester of StuCo or SBC experience.

Capone also discussed allowing the Elections Committee to create a bylaw if no co-president candidate is eligible to run under the new amendment. Appointments Chair Yuan Qu ’14 suggested that the student body be allowed to select a candidate in the case that none are constitutionally eligible. Capone and Brady said that they would talk about protocol and bring revised amendments to next week’s meeting.


Jason Heo ’15, campus life representative, requested that StuCo members continue to populate their respective sections of the new Student Resource Guide (SRG). Heo has been researching the Wiki pages maintained by Student Councils at other schools and plans to meet with Chief Information Technology Officer Joel Cooper in the coming weeks to discuss the creation of StuCo’s SRG.

StuCo’s Philadelphia Access Program received 216 applications for SEPTA tickets this week. Capone and Brady are meeting with Director of Public Safety Michael Hill to discuss the future of the program. StuCo had previously discussed cutting the Philly shuttle to provide additional funds for the Philadelphia Access Program but Capone said that StuCo would not cut a service before reaching out for student feedback.

Student Senate will meet on Wednesday, April 3. Elections for the positions of Senate scribe and Senate speaker will take place during Wednesday’s meeting. Brady said that the Senate working groups have been meeting since the first Senate meeting on March 21.


  1. Just a note for StuCo to PLEASE make sure that the referendum is conducted in a manner that is accessible to students studying abroad!!! I know that there has been a shift back to paper ballots for the regular StuCo elections in the past, and although I can understand some of the reasons for that I would be really sad for study abroad students to not be able to voice their opinions, whatever those are, during the referendum.

  2. To Marian and other off-campus students:

    Yes, it will be. All voting will be conducted on Moodle.

  3. Quick question regarding parts of the referendum

    I was under the impression that both fraternities paid rent to the college in order to use what are regarded as the frat houses; given that the houses are rented from the college I’d conclude that this means they can be leased by any party and are not expressly for use of greek life, they just happen to be rented to the frats currently.

    Am I wrong about this? If I’m right, what impact could referendum questions with regards to the space have (i.e. questions 4 and 5, with regards to 3 I assume that as the leaser the college can make any building it wants dry)?

    Just curious! Thanks in advance.

  4. I wonder, granted the referendum passes (since I am confident most of these suggestions won’t pass), if the administration will actually take these suggestions and do something with them. After all, the referendum passing just means they get a formal stuco suggestion about it

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