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.
SAC Co-Chair Josh Hallquist ’14 updated the council on Genderfuck planning. This year there will be a sober escort program with at least 15 active SwatTeam members, and the Genderfuck committee is working with the RAs and DARTeam to get safe drinking information distributed to the whole campus – not just for Genderfuck, but also for LSE, Worthstock, and general campus parties.
Much of the meeting was spent addressing a complaint brought to StuCo by SASS President Paul Cato ’14, who came representing the BCC. He addressed concerns that the BCC has felt about their trust in StuCo’s role as student representation. Most notably, he cited StuCo’s failure to release a statement in support of the IC when the IC door was urinated on multiple times last spring.
“Why is President Chopp, who is flying all around the country, able to release a statement regarding the IC incident last semester before StuCo, which is meant to represent the Student Body, releases anything about the problem? Those small signs of good faith are what define this community. It would help a lot if we saw these small little steps taken,” Cato said.
He continued, stating that members of the BCC don’t feel that StuCo is an ally to them, and they want more representation in and support from StuCo and student government in general.
Cato also brought up the issue of representation of student groups on campus in Student Assembly. Currently, there are four filled positions on Student Assembly who constitute Community Representatives – one representative for the BCC, two for the IC (though only one is currently filled), once for SAAC, and one for Greek life.
The council deliberated on whether these Community Representatives would be able to hold leadership positions like that of Speaker, Secretary, or Outreach Coordinator in Student Assembly. In further email exchanges that have transpired since the StuCo meeting, according to an email from StuCo Co-President Lanie Schlessinger ’16, StuCo is considering possibly hiring these Student Assembly leadership positions or submitting these positions for general campus election.
Schlessinger also pointed out the projects that StuCo has taken on following a meeting with the IC last spring, which include trying to find an alumni mentor for the BCC, and a number of academic projects led by Chair of Academic Affairs Marian Firke, ’15.
Since StuCo’s difficulty in resolving these issues is partly caused by the fact that StuCo is still not operating under a ratified constitution, Cato made an offer on behalf of the BCC to help StuCo draft its constitution, given that the SASS constitution is the oldest constitution on campus. StuCo Co-President Jason Heo ’15 and Schlessinger, the primary drafters of the StuCo constitution, along with Student Assembly Senior Class Representative Gabby Capone ’14, accepted the offer.
This segued into a discussion about StuCo’s constitution, which is currently being redrafted. According to Schlessinger, it should be done by the next StuCo meeting. In order for the constitution to be ratified, it will have to be approved by two-thirds of StuCo, two-thirds of Student Assembly, Dean of Students Liz Braun, and 60 percent of the student body (of those who participate in the vote). Student Groups Chair David Ding ’16, stated strongly that the constitution should take highest priority for StuCo.
“Because we did not have a written constitution, the SBC Chair process was a disaster, some of us on this council have been severely hurt, and those of us who have been hurt are suffering. [gets on knees] I beg of you, please help us write this constitution because we should be writing this constitution together and make this legitimate. If we do not have legitimacy in the eyes of the people, how can we say we are a democratic institution?” he said.
StuCo resolved to involve the student body in the drafting process, where students can come to open StuCo Constitution Drafting Hours and suggest clauses to be voted on by StuCo. These open hours will happen on on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Kohlberg, when people can join Schlessinger and other StuCo members as they work on the constitution. Specific times for these hours will be sent out in an email and on StuCo’s Facebook page.
Facebook Page, Tabling, and SEPTA Program
StuCo has created a new Facebook page, which has gathered 116 likes as of 6:00PM on Monday, April 7th. StuCo will also continue tabling in Sharples during lunch and dinner (times will be posted on the Facebook page), and they are committed to having a maximum one-week follow-up period for projects and issues that students bring forward at tabling.
The SEPTA program, which provided a limited number of students with subsidized tickets into Philly on the weekends, was formerly funded through the Dean’s Office but has been funded by SBC since this fall. StuCo plans to reapply for SBC funding next semester and will then issue a poll to ask students whether they still want those funds to be allocated to the SEPTA program or another StuCo project.
If you’d like to post a question or suggestion to StuCo – especially if you are interested in this week’s drafting of the StuCo constitution but cannot make the office hours – here is the Small Steps Forward StuCo suggestion box. You can also find the minutes here.