STUDENT POLICY COMMITTEE
15-September 1997, 9PM
Converse Red Room
SGO President Paul Rieckhoff called the SPC to order, with a quorum of 29
After all those present had introduced themselves, Paul asked Ariel Sokol to give a brief
overview of Robert's Rules of Order. This was the first of many of the evening, and Ariel
assured all that he would address particular rules as the "discourse of the SPC" required.
Paul reiterated his desire to get meetings to run smoothly, as well as plans to distribute the
agenda to the entire student body. He also asked all committee members to inform
Shandra Rowan, the SGO p.r. director, of any and all important meetings, so that she can
get a statement out to the Student and WAMH.
Next were some words from Rob Blood, the new Social Counsel director. He expressed
his desires to diversify the SoCo, both in terms of its membership and its activities. He
also alerted us that 15% of the SoCo budget is specifically allocated for co-sponsorships,
and urged clubs to contact the SoCo about co-sponsorships of events, and specifically
Paul made some opening remarks on the state of the SGO. The year started off with a
leadership retreat, where issues ranging from valentine guest passes to anti-intellectualism
to fraternity life were discussed at length, and SGO VP Todd Sutler leapt off a 30 foot
high telephone pole and barely grasped a trapeze.
Guests can now get in to Valentine for $3, 4, and 5 , respectively, for breakfast, lunch and
dinner. The SGO will pressure Chuck Thompson to get students free passes, as happens
at other schools.
Steve's Snacks is installing a toiletries vending machine in the Campus Center.
Junior Class President Frank Bria spoke about Cable's impending arrival on 1-Oct.
The ATM should be up and running, says Campus Center director Becky Ebeling, within
Paul is interested in meeting with the respective heads of the 5-College Student
governments, to build off of the Goodell takeover momentum, and foster valley unity.
The fax machine is here; it's in the SGO office, and students can get at it through the
Campus Center supervisor.
The E-Board dinner table is up and running, every Monday night in Valentine.
Paul pledged to put up a suggestion box, even if it meant having to build it himself.
Key Codes are coming to more dorms. They're $10K apiece, but they fit in with the
campus unity schtick.
Elections are Sept 25th, for Freshman positions and SGO corresponding secretary, which
Shana must vacate.
Frank and Paul are working on organizing a semi-regular SGO student/faculty coffee hour
type thing. Paul urges those with good faculty connections to con their professors into
debating other profs. (spec. a Sarat v. Arkes bout)
-SGO VP Todd Sutler gave the Student Life Committee report, "Yeah, we're doing great." This was found particularly amusing by SGO Treasurer Jim Mastrangelo, who was temporarily unable to speak about the SFC. Todd then spoke of the little things that the SLC is working on, as well as trying to strengthen relations with the admissions office.
Todd hopes that conversations with the admissions office can enlighten the Student-Athlete and homogeneity debates. Also, Todd wants to urge the admissions officers to
widen their recruiting breath, to include high schools that have never even heard of
Amherst. Lastly, Todd voiced concerns about the plans for the top floor of the Campus
Center, which are currently quite non-sensical.
Sophomore Co-Presidents Chuck Cassidy and Rebecca Stair spoke briefly about their
hopes of landing a campus laundry service, a pottery wheel, and a climbing wall for the
Paul mentioned, in regard to the Committee on Educational Policy, that Dean Couvares is
very concerned about Freshman lockout from courses. Paul urged SPC members to give
any input to himself or Dean Couvares. Also, Couvares is organizing an Orientation
evaluation; the Orientation committee will re-evaluate the evaluation, which hopefully will
run through the RC's.
The Committee on Priorities and Resources is concerned with raising faculty salaries, so
as to compete with schools of similar prestige.
Susan Mcwilliams spoke for the Trustees Committee on Honorary Degrees, which is
looking for a Female Alum; they invite suggestions.
Erica Greenbaum expressed disdain that members of club sports do not receive bag
lunches from Valentine when they have away games. This is unfair because they are
forced to pay for the meals, just like Varsity athletes.
Todd summarized the list of Valentine gripes, citing "big support" for Erica's idea, and for
free guest passes. He also mentioned that Valentine nets half a mil a year for the school,
so it can afford to be morally sound in its treatment of students.
On to New Business
VP Todd Sutler proposed that co-presidencies and co-chairmanships should be prohibited,
by a SGO constitutional amendment. Voting turns into a popularity contest, responsibility
is diffused, and it's generally more cumbersome and difficult to work with.
Stacey Whitaker opined that co-presidencies allow for a nice heirarchical structure, i.e. 1
SGO pres, 2 Class Pres's, etc.
Emily Glasgow agreed with Todd, citing her last year's experience as a co-pres as difficult
and, indeed, "cumbersome."
Chuck and Rebecca spoke out against the proposal, ironically enough. Chuck argued that
two people are able to be more responsible to the class, by dint of the fact that two people
know more classmates than one. Rebecca said that two heads are better than one, and
argued that co-pres's make for no more of a popularity contest than individual candidates.
Dermond Thomas cast a new light on the issue, that of SPC diversity. He argued that to
be consistent, the SPC would have to also move to prohibit one person from holding two
SPC positions. One person, one vote should apply across the board.
Todd countered that diversity is an issue distinct from the logic of his proposal.
Carolina reiterated the idea that two people are more accessible than one.
Frank countered that two people are indeed not more accessible than one, and cited as
examples the other class presidents, in what was taken as a light hearted effront.
Tom Gray liked the proposal, but didn't like that it restricted the freedom to choose.
Erica brought up yet another side of the coin, claiming that the co-presidency is essentially
a title thing, i.e. an "ego trip", because it is easy to get involved and help out in SLC
events without being president.
Naila Moreira, as a member of the constituency, voiced that she would rather choose one
person rather than two of the same type of person. The proposal would encourage
individuals to diversify themselves.
Ariel Sokol motioned to table the discussion until our next meeting. Ariel then explained
that a simple majority could table the discussion, and a complicated Robert's debate
ensued. The tabling motion failed.
Someone moved to vote, which needs a simple majority. This failed, in part because it
would have prevented Dermond from formally proposing to amend.
Dermond re-explained his amendment idea, and then formally proposed amending Todd's
proposal to include that no one person can hold two SPC positions. Ariel explained that a
one third majority was necessary to consider the amendment, which could be attached on
to Todd's bill with a one-half majority, which could then be passed by a majority.
After brief confusion, but before an actual vote, Conrad, if you will, amended Dermond's
amendment into a bill unto itself providing that one person, sitting on two SPC
committees, gets two votes.
More confusion ensued, because this bill would not need to be a constitutional
amendment, as the constitution is silent on this issue. Thus, we voted on the bill before
moving back to the vote on whether to amend the amendment. This bill passed with 25
Debate moved back to Dermond's amendment, but before any substantive debate, Frank
moved to table Dermond's amendment. This passed overwhelmingly, as the amendment
was not itself relevant to the upcoming Freshman elections.
The vote to vote on Todd's amendment passed, but Todd's amendment failed, getting 15
votes, short of the necessary for it to pass.
Paul wants to open up the SGO office at nights, to make it an operating, working office,
increase accessibility. This would require one evening a month per SPC member.
Dermond's Community Service Proposal
Dermond spoke briefly about a perpetual project, like an old-clothing bin in the Campus
Center. Conversation with Outreach was suggested. Todd spoke in favor of the idea,
saying it would increase the SPC presence on campus. Paul threw out a couple of
community service ideas, including food kitchen work and the bike assembly project.
This issue was tabled until the next meeting, to be held on 6-October, at 9:30PM
Recording Secretary, SGO.