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 did not hold a regular meeting on Sunday, September 29. Instead, members met with representatives from Margolis Healy and Associates, as part of the firm’s campus visit this week.
Margolis Healy Introductions
Managing Partner and Co-Founder Steven Healy explained that this week’s visit is to investigate aspects of the College’s culture and climate, compared to the firm’s visit last May, which focused on addressing procedural and policy changes. He said that members of the firm hope to meet with many more students this time around compared to last spring.
Accompanying Healy was Associate Linda Langford, who has fifteen years of experience on the preventative side of dealing with sexual assault. She began by voicing her hopes to find an answer to the question of how to create a campus culture in which health and safety problems are less likely to happen.
Was Summer Break a Break?
Healy began asking members how they felt now compared to last spring. Many members echoed the sentiment that last semester was an information overload, while the summer gave them time to reflect and feel less overwhelmed.
Co-President Lanie Schlessinger ’15 said, “I think it was the legal involvement that took people by surprise. We understood that there would be consequences so it was very scary.”
As the discussion continued, Educational Policy Representative Marian Firke ’14 talked about the issue of “apologism,” in which students defend those accused of discrimination or sexual assault. One incident that was discussed in great lengths with regards to apologism was the urination at the IC.
Firke said, “Friends of the accused would say ‘I’m sure you must be misunderstanding the situation’ which is just ridiculous.”
Firke mentioned that she had a hand in coordinating and revamping this year’s ASAP training sessions, but not all new students attended despite the seemingly mandatory label. Members explained that orientation is a hectic week with first-years and transfers being bombarded with information – much of which does not stay with students.
The difficulty of creating and implementing a mandatory event was discussed, since it was thought that many students may be prejudiced against attending any event with a “mandatory” label.
Co-President Gabriella Capone ’14 suggested eliminating the “outdated” P.E. requirement and replacing it with a credit/no credit course that would educate the community on topics such as sexual assault and identity issues. She mentioned that a required Quaker History course could hold merit as well.
StuCo members also further explored the idea of listening versus talking in regards to responding to students’ comments and suggestions when issues arise on campus.