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.
Meeting attendee Liliana Rodriguez—who was named the College’s Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development in August—introduced herself to the Council and outlined her position, saying that “the institution would like to see [her] as a coordinator of several diversity initiatives.”
Specifically, Rodriguez mentioned her work to organize a College-wide climate study, which she called a “super-intensive qualitative and quantitative study […] that figures out everything about your experience as an individual and at the group level, about your academic experience, your social experience, faculty relationships—the whole darn thing.” She said that such a study’s results could identify particular areas of attention going forward.
Rodriguez has also been conducting informal focus groups of students in order to familiarize herself with the community. In addition, she has been meeting with Assistant Dean for Residential Life Rachel Head and Coordinator of Student Activities Michael Elias to explore the possibility of combining their offices. This combination, she said, could eliminate redundancies in their operations, and could involve hiring additional staff members in order to increase administrative responsiveness.
Educational Policy Representative Marian Firke ’14 followed up on a Small Steps Forward suggestion to extend the College’s Add/Drop Period from two weeks to four weeks. Her informal research, she said, turned up several student concerns regarding the period’s current length, including the unrepresentativeness of courses’ first two weeks and the difficulty of shopping multiple courses in a single time block.
Having met with Registrar Martin Warner earlier in the week, however, Firke reported that the period’s current length is already a compromise between the desires of students and faculty—faculty have pushed for a one-week period in the past, citing the period as disruptive to student engagement and classroom dynamics.
According to Firke, Warner voiced several concerns about students, namely that they should actively and promptly contact the Registrar with individual concerns relating to Add/Drop. In addition, he said that students are sometimes unnecessarily hesitant to withdraw from classes later in the semester for fear of having withdrawals marked on their transcripts. The council discussed possible methods by which to encourage student communication with the Office of the Registrar.
SEPTA Ticket Program
StuCo will continue to distribute Open Arts Philly key tags—which provide discounted entry to certain events in Philadelphia—along with its subsidized SEPTA tickets each week.
StuCo is working to begin the distribution of Independence Passes, which provide unlimited one-day travel on SEPTA services. Co-President Lanie Schlessinger ’15, citing necessary “administrative work” that has yet to be done, predicted that the Passes would first be available either the week after Thanksgiving or the first week of the spring semester.
Schlessinger related that a resident of Worth Hall had approached her and expressed displeasure with Crunkfest, which occurs annually in Worth Courtyard. Schlessinger proposed a poll to gauge student opinion of the event, though she also noted that any decision to move or cancel it would lie with the Office of Student Activities and Public Safety. Student Outreach Coordinator Aya Ibrahim ’15 noted that the Council should be careful not to set a precedent of exploring adjustments to an event on the basis of a single student’s objections.
Campus Life Representatives Jason Heo ’15 and Shaina Lu ’16 will work to determine the poll’s specific content.
Financial Policy Representative Razi Shaban ’16, in coordination with Ibrahim, will work to collect information on the distribution of funding by the Social Affairs Committee.
Public Safety Student Program
StuCo is working to coordinate a program through which Public Safety officers would visit various residence halls to meet with students in informal settings.
SRG and Student-Group Web Pages
The Council discussed the in-development Student Resource Guide (SRG), and how to encourage student groups to create and maintain web pages.
Ibrahim suggested that student-group funding be used as leverage to incentivize the creation and maintenance of pages. Schlessinger also suggested that future charter applications require groups to create pages, and said she would discuss the possibility with Student Groups Advisor David Ding ’16, who was not present at the meeting.
The Council further discussed how to ensure both that current students can share honest and extensive information via the SRG and that up-to-date student-group information is freely available to non-students.
Student Group Leader Orientation
Ibrahim outlined plans to provide orientations through which College staff members, such as Facilities Coordinator Tricia Maloney and Director of Grounds Jeff Jabco, would introduce themselves to student-group leaders and describe their roles—with specific attention paid to their interaction with students and student groups. The orientations would occur at the beginning of each semester.
Schlessinger and Co-President Gabby Capone ’14 will meet with the Party Associate (PA) program coordinators to discuss the state of the program. Schlessinger and Capone have discussed issues of volunteer accountability and how to create a more structured and better-trained force of volunteers. Firke suggested that StuCo contact Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate and Educator Nina Harris in order to coordinate the PA program with the Sexual Misconduct and Resource Team (SMART) and Acquaintance Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP).
Rodriguez noted that her office was also planning improvements to the PA program and party policies, saying that she envisioned a larger body of PAs, broader PA training, and a requirement that parties be bartended by TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS)-certified students.
Ibrahim said that StuCo is aiming to introduce party-host training, as an interim measure, by early next semester.
Council members will meet with members of the Career Services Office to discuss possible improvements to the office’s operations.
Ibrahim updated the Council on the upcoming launch of the new StuCo Facebook page. She solicited ideas regarding what content—beyond councilmembers’ photos and bios—should be included on the page, and how to publicize the page.
The fall semester’s Midnight Breakfast is scheduled for December 12.
During winter break, student rooms will be checked for hazards and missing furniture.
Public Safety is working to make campus shuttle service more consistent. As part of this effort, the shuttle will now make all stops even when full, so that waiting students will see that the shuttle is indeed running regularly.