STUDENT POLICY COMMITTEE
14-September 1998, 9:30 PM
Converse Red Room
President Tom Gray called the meeting to order at 9:34 p.m. He began
by asked Corresponding Secretary Anna Bender to take roll call, which she
did, while including '80s movie humor to break up the monotony of the
Tom began then made his opening remarks. He thanked everyone for
attending and, rather than making a lengthy address, chose to refer the
SPC to his and Vice President Rebecca Stair's upcoming column in _The
Student_. He noted that it would focus on the role of the SGO. The
student government should and must be the voice of the student body, but
few students take it seriously or see it as legitimate.
Tom then made remarks about the SGO retreat. The retreat, which ran
from September 1st-3rd, was a major success, he noted. It used a new
format, created by Rebecca Stair and Recording Secretary James Dubick,
which challenged the SGO to examine its image and to set goals and areas
Tom then presented the plan for upcoming elections. Open offices are
the Class of 2002 President and College Council Representative, and the
Class of 1999 President. Elections statements and petitions are due on
September 22nd, and elections will be held in Valentine during meals on
Tom called for Committee Reports.
Class of 2000 President Rajah Menon said that he was planning a class
barbeque and hoped to plan class trip to Boston or New York City.
Class of 2001 College Council Representative Vanessa Olivier said that
she plans to explore possible new book scholarship programs. Financial
aid provides book money to some students in their first year, but none in
consecutive years, despite the fact that books often cost more for
The Committee on Admissions and Financial Aid reports that the
Committee is reviewing plans to redesign the Viewbook. Also, the school
is in search of a new Dean of Admissions. The Admissions Office is also
redesigning the application scoring system.
The Committee on Educational Policy is tackling a number of issues,
they reported. They will be discussing reduction of class size, the need
for improvements in the first year advising program, and restructuring of
Interterm. Also, they will be addressing the fact that Honors given vary
greatly between departments. Eventually, they will also discuss grade
The Committee on Discipline will be looking at ways to change the
policy for Dorm Damage. They would like to see bills sent to students,
rather than being sent home. There was $60,000 of dorm damage last year.
Also, they will be discussing creating a policy specifically dealing with
The Committee on Priorities and Resources will be discussing parent
education explaining why college costs so much.
The Committee on Physical Education and Athletics will be looking to
create a sort of "booster club" to engage in "peppy" school spirit events
and to help fundraise for athletic teams and clubs. After the renovations
are finished to the gym, the will look at ways to improve the PE classes
offered, to create more PE classes and have them offered at times when
students can attend. Also, they will be looking to communicate with
Williams and other schools, as well as with the student body, to discuss
the changes to NESCAC. They might also begin a regular meeting of Team
The Security Advisory Committee will be looking at improvements to
lighting on the Hill, at the effects on new locks on the Triangle, and at
security in the more distant O'Connell and Hills parking lots.
The Library Committee will be working with Vanessa to look into a book
The Trustee Advisory Committee on Student Life is hoping to address as
many issues as possible with the Trustees this year. The main problem
they encounter is that Trustees think in the long term about improvements
to the school, while students want changes to occur right away. Committee
member Scott Kerns also said that he is working on a couple of other SGO
projects. In particular, he wants to see more couches added to Schwemm's
and the Campus Center atrium to make both areas more conducive to student
relaxation and socializing. However, he needs to find a source of money
for couch purchases.
The Advisory Committee on Honorary Degrees has chosen some graduation
speakers and currently seeking nominations for the remaining speakers.
Tom presented the Ad Hoc Committee on SFC Reform, which Jon Prokup is
spearheading. Kristen Johnson, Rajah Menon, Amy Friedman, and all of the
SFC sub-chairs volunteered to be on the Committee.
Once again, an Ad Hoc Valentine Review Committee has been created to
pursue changes in the dining hall. Esther Rodriguez volunteered for the
Rebecca Stair will be leading an Ad Hoc Housing Committee to discuss
residential life issues, such as the ever-popular cable questions. Rachel
Bobruff, James Dubick, Debbie Cook, Johnnie Odom, Mark Villaverde, Tom
Slater, Brian Orach, and Josh Block all volunteered for the Committee.
Rebecca then proposed her new policy on office space allocation. There
are approximately a dozen offices on campus for student groups controlled
by the SGO, and next year several more should open up. Her policy would
judge a group's need on things such as the size and nature of the group
and then give out space accordingly. She called for suggestions and
comments. The offices in question are in Pond basement, the Campus
Center, and, soon, Pratt basement. Part of Rebecca's proposed policy
would be to review the office's use each spring.
Conrad Risher asked why office space might be revoked. Rebecca explained that space could be revoked if a group was not making effective use of their office.
Johnnie Odom pointed out that the groups most in need of space already
have offices, so that the policy for revoking groups would probably rarely
Conversation continued for a great while. Conrad proposed that offices
be given out with one-year leases. Kristen proposed that they be given
out on five-year staggered leases. Josh Block proposed that the Review
and Recognition Committee do the office space review rather than having
the Student Life Committee do it.
Flori Fischetti made a motion to table the discussion until Rebecca
could revise the proposal based on suggestions, and Brian Orach seconded.
The motion passed 19-10-3. Business tabled.
Tom opened the floor to New Business, then began with his own. He
called the question of whether we should actively invite faculty members
to SPC meetings. The Constitution states that they are welcome to attend,
but we have rarely extended an invitation to them. Faculty presence could
potential add experience and insight to discussions, but it also might be
intimidating to have them at our meetings.
Johnnie Odom proposed that we send them a mailing at the beginning of
each semester to remind them that they are invited, and then send agendas
each month to those who express and interest in attending.
Adam Lessler argued that we should note on our web page that meetings
are open to faculty, and leave it at that.
Ned Friend argued that we should not invite faculty to our meetings
because SPC meetings are poorly run and boring. Tom noted that their
presence may encourage us to improve the quality of our meetings.
Brennan Griffin made a motion to send a letter to all faculty at the
beginning of the semester reminding them that they are invited to SPC
meetings, to be followed by agendas monthly to interested professors.
Brian Orach seconded. Motion passed 30-2-0.
Tom brought up another piece of new business. He proposed that,
instead of mailing the SPC agenda to all students, that it be emailed to
the student body in the all-campus emails.
Brian Simoneau noted that it would be useful to send the agenda to
Resident Counselors to post in the dorms. Vanessa said that agendas could
be left in the post office so that interested students could take one.
Vanessa made a motion to vote on the proposal, seconded by Brennan.
The motion passed 28-2-0.
James Dubick presented an item of new business. Student groups,
including MASSPIRG and ASAP, were going to be running a voter registration
drive on campus in the next few weeks. They wanted the SGO's endorsement
to add legitimacy to the drive. They also wanted SGO members to volunteer
for the drive.
Tom called for a voice vote to endorse the drive. The 'ayes' won
The meeting was adjourned at 11:14 p.m.
Recording Secretary, SGO.