Allegheny Student Government
Mission Statement The Allegheny Student Government will strive to maintain the quality of, and whenever feasible, improve upon the education, cultural, and social areas of the Allegheny Community. The Allegheny Student Government will also endeavor to crystallize, reflect, and represent undergraduate opinion; to organize and coordinate programs of co-curricular and extra-curricular nature; and to cooperate effectively with the faculty and administration in the areas common to all as a college community.
Senate Meeting October 21, 2008 Minutes I. Call to Order
The October 21, 2008 meeting of the Allegheny Student Government Senate was called to order at 7:00 PM. II. Roll
Absent: Kris Isabelli, Jackie Conrad Ian Brost arrive at 7:06 PM. Aubrey Green arrived at 7:10 PM. JP Russell and Zach Best arrived at 7:11 PM. Shane downing left at 7:40 PM. Danny Huang left at 8:03 PM Audra Sinclair and Sarah McAfoose leave at 8:10 PM. Moin Syed leaves at 8:13 PM. Casey Brown and Adam Gailey leave at 8:21 PM.
Approval of Minutes a. Senate Meeting from October 16, 2008. II. Nate Summers made motion to approve. There were multiple seconds. Minutes pass. b. Finance Meeting from October 21, 2008. II. Ashleigh Welko made motion to approve. There were multiple seconds. Discussion: Rachel Faber – Since there is such a high production cost for Overkill, can we push the amount they have to closer to 500 dollars? Laura Summers - The contract that they sent in only sees them producing 150 copies. They don’t want to charge for their magazine, or selling ads to help cut cost. In Finance we discussed people paying for the next issue. As long as they’re financially responsible, they can come back and request more money if they need it. There is no guarantee that they will get that money. We can get money from other funds as well.
Casey Brown – Any student can pay for an issue to reserve it and they’ll print one for them. They’re working to get them in the library, and they’re in GFC. Rachel Faber – But they need to print more than one issue a semester. Sara Brown – I think we should make it so they can have enough money for them to print 2 issues a year. I think if we’re behind the group, I think we should try to put that if it’s such a unique magazine that they don’t have to sell ads. Laura Summers– The Allegheny Review is similar, but they’re funded elsewhere. We approach this cautiously. They were very open to the idea of ads, I was surprised. I think they realize that it is the only way it’s going to work. Meghan Sherman – In Finance, it’s not unusual to have this done with a new group. This isn’t us trying to put them down, it’s a normal procedure. Sara Brown motions to end discussion. Minutes pass. IV. Guest Speaker
Guest Speaker: Joe DiChristina – The other day I was walking home and I ran into Audra while she was texting. How many texts does she send in a day? 300-400. Sending and Receiving. How many texts have I sent? 0. Before the last president left, he left us the Special Task Force on Diversity, community, and freedom of expression. This has been brought to the students. He asked these questions of us. He’s a rep from Student Life Committee. We’re meeting again on Thursday. We’re trying to get input from students, about how freedom of speech should be supported. How do we develop an environment where we can feel comfortable sharing views. It’s the foundation of an American University or College. In previous years, we’ve had some incidents on campus, banners taken down, stolen, for ABC. Last October, we caught students taking down Union Latinas posters. Fraternities have things stolen. People who have been a part of SARO, their message to the campus, their hanger thing gets destroyed. When we talk about freedom of expression, this is why we have decided to have this conversation. There have been recommendations. What does freedom of expression mean to you? If you would like to be part of it, talk to Joe and he will add you to the list. Thursday at noon at the Treasury Room. I’d like to hear from you all the questions that President Cook outlined. What are your responses? Manuella – To me, there are many ways to confront intolerance. You can always be mean at them, or you can “be the bigger person” and confront them and discuss with them your views versus theirs. Liz Kozub – I think during Spring semester a group came in and promoted the Confederate flag, and two publications were distributed through the student body. I think
that was a good way for the school to confront that. I think it was a good way to get the students involved, but not necessarily lash out. As that would have called more attention to it. Joe – Should we have had a discussion? As students, would you have been interested in attending? Sam - I think it would have been. I think there would have been less confusion. A dialogue might have been good to address that. Sarah Bickel (Guest) – I think if we had opened it up to the campus, it would have been a very good thing, since conversations did go on between myself and my friends. Joe – James and I met when those who are seniors here remember the Die-In in response to the fact that we had army recruiters on campus that day. James is part of the United States Marine Corp. He wanted to support the recruiter. We ended up having people come together for a meeting during lunch time where everyone could make their case. It went well, points were made. There was confronting of opinions. I appreciate that he came to me. This way we were able to make sure the environment was a space that things could be resolved. Do people like that? Do people want “ARGGH?” Is that confront and challenge? James – It is one thing to rant and rave about an opinion. But when we could sit down in a room, things were a little different. You’re not talking about ideas, but people. JeVon – It can be frustrating at times, in an academic response. I can’t really take time out of my life to write up a response to what you feel about some things. It gets difficult because of time and everything else. Meghan – I’m frustrated with the recent occurrences with Overkill. It’s frustrating, because though a lot of people weren’t offended by it. Some where. But even the Greek community was in some way hushed up about the matter. It wasn’t taken as seriously as other occurrences, like the Confederate flag incident Joe – What action would you want to take? Who is responsible? Meghan – I think that if students are bothered enough to bring it up to people in charge. If students are bringing it to the admins attention, I think that it’s a big enough issue that a discussion should be had. If it gets to that level, it obviously matters. Manuella – As an answer to that, not everyone is going to be satisfied. Whatever action we take, everyone is not going to be happy. We have to help the majority of the people. But there’s still not going to be complete happiness. We need to live and pass through it, do not ignore the minority who is unhappy, but we have to find the middle ground.
Sara Brown – I think it’d be great if we could have a public discourse in the Tippie Alumni Center. When we had the Overkill thing this year, I had a particular viewpoint that was different than the stance I had on the Compost issue. I think seeing as how for me, one sort of thematic problem, I had two viewpoints on. I think it’d be great to have some sort of public discourse. It’d be a great way to make sure that anything talked about would be more professional. Joe – I appreciate your honesty in saying what you did. It’s our complexity as humans to do so. We can live polarized, but that’d be boring. We are complex, and so is this community. I want to gage how we handle these things. Opening it to campus for dialogue seems to be important to you all. And that’s what I’m trying to gather here. Seth Fries – I think the most powerful statements are humble ones. They take the mask off of whomever is stating it. You can form a group. That’s why I look down on the author of the Overkill article that was offensive. The author didn’t think that I would get as much help or agreement, so it wasn’t as powerful of a statement. Next Question: Do we ever seek to prohibit actions or speech? Rachel Poole – My gut feeling is no, we shouldn’t seek to suppress things. But then I can also forsee certain individual situations where I can see it happening. Manuella – I think with that, one thing on any campus is that people should feel safe to say how they feel, but they need to respect the people around you. If you want to express your opinion, you should say it, but don’t resort to hate speech. JeVon – I think you do want to have the ability to say whatever you want. But I do think that there might be certain instances where it would be needed. Shane – I think it’d be best to appeal to the students and have them enforce it themselves. Nate – We should never prohibit speech from coming. The great thing about dialogue is that intolerance doesn’t hold up, because it doesn’t make sense. If you bring in both sides we would have learned something from that. Sara Brown – Two examples I would hope that the student body would intervene. As if some group brought on something to do with the KKK would come in, or if someone said the Holocast didn’t exist. I get worried when we don’t hold people accountable, or have reps from both sides. Audra – I agree with Nate to a certain extent, but we’re not really in the real world yet. We’re in college, but I mean, this is home to a lot of people. Where are they supposed to turn to if they can’t turn to the campus. We need to hold both students and admin accountable. Wyatt – There is a safety that comes with college. I think reactions are good.
JP – I agree with Wyatt there, I think it’s good to have something like this in case something happens. I think certain things need to be filtered, but not a lot does. But I think we’re operating on the right sort of way. If good conversation can come out of it, but I think it needs to be there as a safety net. Liz Kozub – It’s really hard for admins to know what speeches are going to be about. I think it’s up to the students to decide to support it or not. Manuella – I want to play devils advocate to what Nate Summers said. Some people might not be open to learning and accepting others opinions. How do you deal with that? I just wonder, because I’m pretty positive, because I doubt any of us here have opinions that are exactly the same. And some people are stubborn and cling to their opinions, no matter what. How do you handle that? JeVon – Who is going to bring the other side of the argument. There’s not always an opposite and equal group. Joe – Responsibility of the Student Organization sponsoring the event or putting out the product. How do we create that environment. There should be a questions and answers session. Katie – That was what I was going to talk about. Is there anyway we can draft a social contract where a student group is going to bring in something controversy, agree to sponsor that discourse so the other side can be heard? Joe – We don’t, but Gretchen and the students have worked on the advisors manuel and to have a training on how to be an advisor or student leader. Rachel Faber – I know that we don’t live in a real world, but a bubble. But I think that we should strive to make our bubble into a mircochasm of the real world. I think the student body needs to learn how to discuss things within itself. Jamie – I feel like we have a very vocal campus. People are not afraid to say what they think, in my experience. I have not had that problem. If someone has an opinion that strong enough. I think they shouldn’t have to be told by the administration to discuss or have a contract. I think its there and if the students want it, they can seek it. Nate – We need to make it close to the real world. I like the questions and answers after speakers. And finally, for the Holocaust example, I think it’s a great time to bring in someone to Brett – I think what we need to take from this is this idea was to be a help not a solution to the problem. Joe can relate his feelings and our feelings; no one wants to step in anybodies way when there’s a speech coming to campus. Every student should have the ability and the comfort to make their opinion known. How should we do that? Who
reviews that, and who does that? Its’ a really important question. I don’t think we want to force things. If we do have something controversial, and there are two sides and the only way they share that is by not really sharing it – how can we create that dialogue and share their opinions. Joe – Going along with that, one of the ideas that Grant and Wyatt discussed, one of the things that happen is I get a flurry of emails and Linda Demeritt, and it puts us in a tough spot on how to respond. So, one of the ideas we have is to assemble a team of people to decide how to handle the situation as it comes. Maybe we’ll never have to assemble. In James example, nothing more needed done. But if something flares up, maybe we can get nominations from you all for 1 or 2 students who might be willing to join me in this committee. Talk to me tonight or tomorrow if you want to further discuss. 12:15? Sam – As for the people who said this isn’t the real world, we’re managing money and time and we’re handling issues. I think the responsibility is two fold, from the students and the admin is to create an environment where students feel safe to express their opinions. Meghan – I just want to make an emphasis between something unpopular in the student body versus something that is offensive to the student body. Joe – I met with some students about the confederate flag issue, and when they approached the people selling the flags, they took a defensive posture. They didn’t feel at home in their institution. It was how those individuals responded to the students here. That’s where I see the line being, it was offensive to that group of students. When I went back to talk to the people, they had an “ah-ha” moment. They could identify that concept, all of us can. Yes, it could be unpopular, but how do we respond when we’re offended. We want to feel safe in how we feel. When we need to confront someone in work, you should develop that skill here. I end on that. V. Class Reports Class of 2012: Jamie Havens – Talking about Lights Out initiative, we discussed putting sign-age in the bathrooms and how else to get things on campus, light switch plates to put that message out there. We also talked about continuing and trying to raise accountability to situations and save electricity, having pledges to turn off lights in their dorm rooms or professors with their office. Just keep initiatives started. We’re continuing Schools for Schools, Invisible Children, and book drive. And we’ve also invited the freshman class to our next Sunday meeting. VI. Cabinet Reports Director of Student Affairs: Brett Fuchs – Dining Service Committee met today, discussed small issues from Senate and Student Life committee. Breakfast issue, we met and it was addressed, and all issues have been minor details and addressed. Vegan and vegetarian options are being revamped and work out new recipes from students to get full meals for these students. In addition, the new station in brooks has opened. We had the issue of napkin dispensers come up today, a bag was returned. No one is in trouble for
this, but we just want them back. It came up today, it’s stupid, but people get annoyed when they can’t have napkins. When things go missing or are broken, it affects us all. We’re meeting with Joe Miller tomorrow about Res Life. We also brought up the issue of more garbage cans. Recycling and compost outside. We’ve heard some concern about blue lights on top of the call boxes. When we talked about call boxes last year, they seem awkward, they are deterrents when the lights start flashing. Let’s tell them why they’re there and explain it the right way. If we have any issues with Gator Groups there have been some minor things, working to make some changes for Finances. Treasurer: Moin Syed- Finance misunderstandings with requests being done incorrectly or incomplete. This makes everything take longer and people are getting mad. Please tell your friends to come to Finance office hours to resolve if there is an issue. We are working with gator groups to work out the kinks and fit our needs better. We’re doing our best. Special issues with checks can be delt with on a case by case basis- email email@example.com Attorney General: Liz Kozub- Scrapbooking Club constitution approved. Philomathian Society, Philosophy forum name change: constitution approved. Both need to be approved for another week to be official. VI. President’s Report Grant Rozich - Again, Mullen sends his apologies and we wanted to let him go trick or treating with his young kids. Thanks for coming out this weekend for Inauguration. ASG shirts were good to see and know we were represented. Mullen also appreciates everything.
Vice Presidents Report
Wyatt Schroeder - Tell proxies to announce themselves during role call. Attention to Bylaws- senators are required to attend all senate and committee meetings. Understand committee attendance policies as they are different from senate attendance. Discussion: Rachel- Rules committee having issues with receiving emails- may effect the attendance of such. Wyatt- talk with your committee chair to clear up confusions. We are also starting to email and asg if you are unable to make it to senate meet. This way we can expect proxies and such. These are due by 3pm on Tuesdays (mcafoos and asg). Next week we have Pres. Mullen, but hes going trick or treating. Regardless, we will have a formal meeting at 7:30, with food at 7pm in Tippie next Thursday.
VIII. New Business Stephanie Albert - Proposal to form a committee with the senate on student athletes. This is meant to bridge the gap between athletes and other students. Want one player from each sport and also looking for other Senate members to be on it. First meeting to flush out issues and ideas from the athletes. Later turn to actions that can be taken to help that. 17 varsity athletic teams, that’s one quarter of the student population so that’s a lot. Findings will be submitted to the Student Life committee. We have a short list of agenda items already Jackie- Has this been brought to the attention of SAAC? Steph- No, it’s more about what ASG can do. Jackie- SAAC would be a good outlet for this, that’s what they do. Steph- Sure we’ll talk to them. Meghan- Regular committee or small thing? Steph- rather regular. Ashleigh- Wouldn’t it be easier to have a delegate from student life to talk to SAAC so that its just better? Steph- SAAC talks about a lot but have little power to get things done. We want this to be able to have an action. Wyatt- This is to flush out the ideas of it, let’s investigate the relationship. Can we work with SAAC on this better? It’s ad hoc so that its not always constant, just to get things out. JP- Great idea, can we relate this to clubs as well? Not just athletics but those in multiple organizations? Steph- Sure it could be. Mostly it’s investigatory right now, so maybe we’ll work up to that. JP- Maybe that would make it less about SAAC and more about us as what we have to do with ASG. Wyatt- Grant, do you accept this proposal? Grant- Yes.
Wyatt- Thanks. Joe D talked about the ready response team, next week we’ll open it up for nominations. Think about how you want to nominate. Other new business? Sarah Bickel- Sophomore. Here to talk about meal plans. Everyone was very excited about Parkhurst coming to campus and the vegan options that I can eat. But now, not so much. Have a petition (517 signatures) to say that we don’t need to have a meal plan. We need a choice of what, where, when we eat. Vegans and others cant eat if its done by the monopoly of parkhurst.- and its super expensive. Right now its manidtory for students on campus to have one even when the student has a kitchen in their dorm. Yes meal plans insure food- but if you cant eat it, it doesn’t matter. It is believed that it is a school responcibility to make sure the kids are fed, but again, we want this to be a real world situation. As long as there is a valid option- like Parkhurst, we are good- but it shouldn’t be mandatory. With the economic crisis currently we are all worried about money and one of the ones I do is the money we spend on food ($3-4000). We can cut money here by doing things ourselves. Yes, Parkhurst has to pay for more than food (like service) but restaurants have the same problem. Local restaurants cost per average $5-10 –not including fast food. Very few meals over $15. One meal at brooks costs between $8 and $22 depending upon the meal plan. It makes sense in their eyes to prepare for the students. But if you’re not going to use it you shouldn’t have to pay for it. People with food restrictions can get out of meal plans- not vegans. Now vegans can only eat a limited amount of things. If meal plans were not mandatory, not many would get rid of them completely. It’s just a lot of work and time that most students don’t have or are not willing. So, its only the picky few. If a lot do opt out of the meal plan and hurt Parkhurst’s business, that says more about their quality of service/food and should work on improving that. Comment cards often are felt to be disregarded. Changes are not seen. So, Parkhurst should not be able to decide what to charge and feed us. So the petition should be considered as a valid option to change. Wyatt- Motions? Ashleigh- Motion to refer to student life committee. Multiple seconds, discussion. Kim- Isn’t that a breach of contract which is bad, and it’s a choice to be picky which is also making food be expensive. Wyatt- Reasons why or why not to send to committee. Not the issue itself. Nate- Can we see it? Sarah- Reads the petition. (Outlines most of what was said as intro.) Wyatt- Other reasons? Manuella- Can we just talk about this later?
Wyatt- It’ll go through committee first and then come back to senate. Just like the way people go to finance for a recommendation. Sam- Send it to student life. Motion to end discussion. Multiple seconds, without objection. Vote- clear majority, motion carries. Wyatt- Sarah talk to Brett afterwards. Any other new business? Zach- Are we ever going to have meetings in the CC lobby? Grant- there’s been something going on every time we’ve wanted to. We’ve looked into it though. IX. Announcements
Kim- Penny wars. Donate it goes to Special Olympics and some to the class that wins, and class stay after. Ashley- Recruitment event! Ice Cream Social. Meghan- Seniors after. JP- Nothing but nets interest? Come see me. Jevon- UL watching a movie CC206 at 630pm Wyatt- Motion to adjourn? Jim- so moved. X. Adjournment
The October 21, 2008 meeting of the Allegheny Student Government was adjourned at 8:49 PM. The next meeting will take place on Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 7 PM in the Tippie Alumni Center.
Respectfully Submitted Sarah McAfoose ASG Secretary