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.
Yesterday, the Student Government Organization convened for their final meeting of the school semester and calendar year. Co-President Ben Roebuck ‘17 Skyped into the meeting from Texas.
On the agenda were updates from committee chairs and on the upcoming all-SGO retreat, a deliberation on the constitutional amendment to add a Speaker of Senate position, and a discussion on SGO’s role in student activism. This final item was not discussed.
The Visual and Performing Arts committee detailed their recent activity, mentioning the recently created weekly Arts Newsletter. “Not too many people have been going to arts-related events,” committee chair Josie Hung ‘19 said. She further explained that the newsletter was one way that SGO was working with arts groups to remedy this.
The committee is also planning an arts and crafts study break, with the possibility of gingerbread house-making.
Chair of the Academic Affairs, Corinne Candilis ‘17, brought up conversations that had been circulating within the committee. She mentioned a proposal for a change to the pass/fail policy, which would allow students to declare pass/fail up to two weeks after their final.
Jigme Tobgyel ‘17 expressed concern that this policy might contribute to grade inflation, but Candilis maintained that it would actually incentivize students to put in effort throughout the entirety of the semester.
Christ Chan ‘17, Chair of Diversity, briefly touched on the committee’s responses following recent bias incidents and expressed a desire for a diversity week sometime in the coming semester. They are still working out logistics.
SGO is also planning to start sending out a bi-weekly newsletter explaining what they have been doing, and they hope to begin sending it out before the start of the spring semester.
The Environmental Committee brought up plans for a sustainability retreat with other environmental groups on campus in January, in addition to the possibility of a hosting a sustainability summit on campus.
The Student Budget Committee has continued their regular activities. They have been “just funding stuff,” said Jigme Tobgyel ‘17.
SGO then moved on to the discussion of the creation of The Speaker of the Senate position. The holder of this position would be democratically elected by Senate members at the start of the Fall of 2017 and would convene Senate meetings.
There was some debate regarding whether or not the new speaker would have a vote on the executive board, the length of time that a member would have needed to be a part of SGO prior to running, and some formal wording.
After adjusting some phrasing, granting the Speaker an executive vote, and adding a one-year SGO membership requirement prior to running for Speaker of the Senate to the amendment, it passed with a majority vote.