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.
On Sunday evening, the Student Government Organization (SGO) convened their first meeting of the 2017 Spring semester. All committee chairs were present aside from Student Budget Committee Chair Jigme Tobgyel ‘17 and Chair of Student Life Policy Clare Perez ‘18.
Co-President Ben Roebuck ‘17 kicked off the meeting by thanking all of the SGO members for their hard work in the previous semester, congratulating them for all that they have achieved. “A lot of the work we do in student government can sometimes be a thankless job,” Co-President Mosea Esaias ‘17 added.
Esaias then proceeded to outline the agenda for their inaugural meeting: the committee chairs were to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of their work last semester, as well as outline goals for the upcoming one.
“We’re going to need to have that communication because it’s just critical for us all to do things successfully,” Roebuck said.
Esaias initiated the roundtable reflection with confidence and gratitude. “I’m really glad of all that we’ve done,” he said. But he added that there’s a lot of work ahead of them, especially with the initiatives to restructure the SGO and pass constitutional amendments.
Chair of Student Organization Cole Graham ‘17 spoke next with candor and cautious optimism. He talked about the challenges of monitoring all the student groups and clubs going through the chartering process, while acknowledging that his committee did well, considering the large number of groups.
Chair of Environmental Impact Tiffany Yu ‘18 brought up several ideas that “are floating around” her committee, including collaborating with other clubs and organizations to raise environmental awareness, and working on an environmental consortium that will take place at the Science Center in February.
Chair of Academic Affairs Corinne Candilis ‘17 admitted that her committee was “a little all over the place” last semester, even though there was a lot she wanted to get done. Her goal for the upcoming semester is to set up meetings with Swarthmore identity groups, and incorporate the substance of those meetings into reports that will be presented to the college administration.
Chair of Diversity Chris Chan ‘17 touched on the recent bias incidents, offering his committee’s support to the identity groups affected by them, as well as reiterating the actions his committee undertook in their aftermath.
He noted that he has also been talking to a member of the recently suspended Delta Upsilon fraternity. He expressed a desire to follow up on these discussions and extend his support to the fraternities in general.
Not everyone in the meeting agreed with his position, however. Chair of Visual and Performing Arts Josie Hung ‘19 questioned the keenness with which Chan has been pursuing this case. She argued that the fraternities have been known to be non-inclusive, and that there are many other groups on campus which advocate for “inclusive party spaces” that should be listened to instead.
Chan disagreed with the idea of completely ignoring the fraternities, arguing that fraternities “are included in diversity.”
“It’s very easy to just dismiss [the frats] … it’s important to look from their side as well,” he said.
As the meeting adjourned, Roebuck reminded the SGO chairs of the importance of holding the administration accountable and making sure student voice remains an integral part of the administrative process.
For the full minutes of this meeting, visit http://sgo.swarthmore.edu/minutes/