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.
After recent events, sexual assault resources on campus have grown in scope and visibility, but the same is not true for other resources, such as support for sufferers of eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and other problems. Council members think that these resources should be better-publicized and that it should be clearer as to the degrees of confidentiality each offer. The College website lacks clarity in this department.
The council has decided that relevant administrators should be contacted.
“Small Steps Forward”
StuCo has conceived of a new way to receive feedback and suggestions via a bulletin board in Shane Lounge. The bulletin board was previously used as a calendar, which proved to be ineffective and has been replaced by an online version. The suggestion board – titled “Small Steps Forward” – is mainly intended for minor suggestions and comments.
In accordance with President Rebecca Chopp’s promise to hold more community gatherings, StuCo will host a campus-wide collection in the amphitheater. Council members have talked to representatives of the Institute for Liberal Arts, which has experience in setting up community discussions. StuCo believes it would be a good idea to draw on the Institute’s experience in coming up with engaging discussion queries.
It was suggested that Allyship in Action, the new Intercultural Center group, be prominently involved in planning. There was little enthusiasm for this idea. Social Outreach Coordinate Aya Ibrahim ’15 said, “Our first collection is open and not affiliated with anyone.”
The collection will likely be held on Friday, October 25 from 2 to 6 p.m. November 1 is a backup date.
StuCo decided that a discussion will be held after the Halloween party to gauge student response to changes in policy. Important changes will be announced before the event, but the bulk of the discussion will happen afterwards, on Tuesday, October 29.
Dean Braun has asked the council to help set up the Dean’s Halloween party at her house on Thursday, October 24. StuCo members agreed to assist with the preparations.
StuCo tried to find out whether students preferred forty free tickets or eighty half-price tickets. Support came down overwhelmingly in favor of half-price tickets.
This raised the issue of putting an effective payment mechanism in place. Co-President Lanie Schlessinger ’15 said that charging the money to student accounts is basically impossible: the money would have to go through a complex network of offices, including Key Central.
The half-price tickets would still be lotteried out, a system that Ibrahim said is flawed. No one had ideas for better algorithms.
It was decided that StuCo will have specific hours during which they receive payment for lotteried-out tickets. Non-redeemed tickets will be re-lotteried.
Co-president Gabby Capone ’14 said that there were some constitutionality issues with the current election process.
The council decided to “play it safe” and delay elections, with the platform deadline extended to this Wednesday. Those who already submitted are allowed to re-submit.
Applications for the Public Safety-led Clery Committee, which will monitor the college’s compliance with the Clery Act, are due after October. There will be two student members, as well as several administrators.
Sexual Assault Committee
There will be a committee made up of both students and administrators that will examine cases of sexual assault. This is a complex issue, said StuCo members, and some said they have reservations about whether students are qualified to hold committee positions.
“I see some problems with the nature of the committee. I understand that the Dean’s office wants more student involvement… but it’s one of those things that require not just a very delicate hand, but pretty intensive training and knowledge of the subject,” Ibrahim said.
Additionally, some members were concerned that, by involving students, formerly biased administrators might be replaced by biased students.
“There’s no way to actually ensure that we can avoid either of these things. In some ways it’s a concession [on the administration’s part],” Capone said. She added that problems would arise if “[they] don’t find people who are qualified.”
“We Know You’re Smart, But…”
StuCo has met with members of the executive board. One of the topics discussed was the strengthening of student-alumni relations. An alumni mentorship program was suggested, which might be tried on a small scale in the near future. StuCo has contacted other liberal arts colleges with similar programs for advice.
On November 1, between 4:00 and 5:30 p.m., there will be an event named “Liberal Arts Lives,” during which students will get a chance to talk with alumni. The alumni will also hold mock interviews to help students hone their interviewing skills.
The proposed name for the interview program is “We Know You’re Smart, But…,” reflecting the discrepancy between Swatties’ intellect and their job-hunting abilities.
The alumni who will participate in the event have requested that it be made clear that they are in no way affiliated with the Board of Managers.
Schlessinger said StuCo is “on the hunt for an office.” StuCo currently does not have an office. Its former space is used for Paces storage. The council believes that some arrangement could be made to find an office in Tarble.
Student Resource Guide
The Student Resource Guide, a planned StuCo-run Swarthmore Encyclopedia of sorts, might be made obsolete by plans to update Swarthmore’s official website. StuCo decided to watch how the official website develops before taking decisive action on the SRG.