AAS SENATE MEETING

Monday, February 16, 2004

 

I. Attendance

 

SENIOR SENATORS

4

Kay Bradley

X

Mihailis Diamantis

X

Lincoln Mayer

X

Luke Swarthout

X

JUNIOR SENATORS

 

Ethan Davis

X

Rosalyn Foster

X

Jin-Young Kim

X

Arpan Podduturi

X

Daniel Reiss

U

Christian Sanchez

X

David Scherr

X

Justin Sharaf

X

SOPHOMORE SENATORS

 

Rania Arja

X

Taamiti Bankole

X

Caleb Deats

X

John Lian

U

Stephen Scriber

X

Mira Serrill-Robins

X

Ian Shin

X

Matt Vanneman

X

FRESHMEN SENATORS

 

Richa Bhala

X

Avi Das

X

Noah Isserman

X

Marco Locascio

X

Gloria Monfrini

X

Levan Moulton

X

Christina Ryu

X

Jacob Thomas

X

TOTAL SENATORS

 

 

 

EXECUTIVE BRANCH

 

 

 

Elan Ghazal

X

Ryan Park

X

Di Shui

X

Paris Wallace

X

LEGEND:

 

 

 

 

 

x = Present

 

 

 

 

E = Excused Absence

 

 

U = Unexcused Absence

 

/ = Half an Absence

 

 

 

 

II. Call to Order (8:34 PM)

 

III. Library Committee – Search for a New Librarian (8:35 PM)

Mira: For those of you that don’t know me, I am Mira, a sophomore senator.

The librarian search committee introduces themselves.

Mira: Thank you for coming. We are speaking to as many constituency groups as we can to talk about the head librarian. The current librarian, Will Bridegam, is in charge of all of the libraries on campus. He is also the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Officer and was very important in standing up for us against the RIAA. If you have any questions you would like to ask or any opinions please let us know. Applications are due by the middle of March. We will then look at those and narrow it down. We will be obtaining information from references. The people applying are from colleges a lot like ours. We are looking into the Oberlin group and some other places. It is really a national search

Paris: I would be interested in hearing from our guests what qualities they think are important.

Professor Olver: We are obviously looking to various constituency groups to answer that question. We are looking for such qualifications as having a librarian’s degree, some experience in the kind of library Amherst College is in that for its size it values research and not just curriculum use. We are also looking at financial managements and budgeting.

Professor Morse: They would also have need to have some sort of experience in engaging libraries professionally other than just having a librarian degree. We want someone reaching out to the professional world as opposed to just reaching out to the library they are working in. We are looking for someone who values print media as well as electronic media.

Mira: Another quality would involve expanding the library’s collection. A student told me that our library is lacking a Latino collection. When we met with our constituents we were told that our current librarian was ahead of his time and established the WAGS collection.

Professor Olver: If there are ways the library can tempt you in away from just your computer in your room that would be good to know.

Professor Morse: We want to find a Library Director that will bring people into the library.

Paris: The DVDs have brought a lot of people into the library and I think that was a start in bringing people into the library for nonacademic purposes.

Luke: I would second the idea that we need to redefine the libraries. It should be made more inviting. I don’t know what it would look like and hopefully there are people out there who are more involved in something like that

Ryan: I think it is important to consider someone who has experience with communicating with the campus as a whole. There are all of these bureaucratic ins and outs that the students don’t really know about.

Nick: To what extent is the committee taking into account the DMCA Officer position?

Dean Griffiths: The patriot act weighs on us a bit.

Professor Olver: The patriot act allows the materials you use to be made available to the government without you knowing. Librarians try to keep minimal, modest records about the books people check out.

Professor Morse: If this DMCA issue is important to you, perhaps you can educate the committee why you think the librarian should be on top of it.

Nick: There are a lot of cases where there is a legal question where the institution would have to turn over to the RIAA the names and personal information of those who are caught. I was wondering if you though it was relevant.

Professor Morse: I am not sure if that is going to be a part of the librarian’s job description.

David: I just wanted to agree with what Professor Morse said about a book being essential to a library.

Roz: Is the committee thinking of expanding the collection? Would that be something the librarian would be responsible for choosing?

Professor Morse: It is not going to stock a million books and there are various members of the library staff in charge of the collection.

Professor Olver: Certainly there is an issue here of who has the vision of how the collection ought to expand. Before there was a Women’s Studies Department, the current librarian had already started a Gender Studies collection. This would be important to know.

Professor Morse: Anticipating academic trends and the student interests meaning finding a librarian that is proactive and not just reactive.

Jake: Aside from the immediate responses you are getting here tonight, how much of this process is going to have student involvement?

Professor Olver: We have Mira and hopefully people talk to her so we have a direct group. We are anticipating having the finalist coming on campus while the college is still in session. We haven’t really figured out how anyone, students or faculty, will have input on the finalist but we hope to have them involved throughout the process.

Elan: Do you expect to have an open forum?

Professor Olver: I hope so, but sometimes the “super candidate” doesn’t want everyone to know that he/she is the “super candidate”. We have not yet decided how we are going to do that. We have consulted other colleges such as Williams about what to do.

Professor Morse: We have to design that part of the process. We will be working on that part of the process in late March or early April. We are anticipating three finalists.

Professor Olver: You can tell us if it is better to have a big, open meeting or come to you all since you have more organized meetings.

Luke: Another issue that hasn’t been brought up is that we operate within the five colleges. The budget cuts at UMASS have cause some significant changes to its library. A person with knowledge about a larger research collection would be helpful.

Professor Olver: The ideal candidate should have consortium experience and should also know the problems and benefits of electronic journals.

Paris: They should have some idea of how budget cuts affect UMass. Knowledge about the space in the libraries would be helpful.

Mr. Kunhardt: In the Media Center, there is a problem where too many five college students are using the computers. We need to let them know that Amherst students have priority.

Lincoln: Something I have noticed is that at noon in the Media Center all of the computers are taken. It would be great to open up the auxiliary room used by professors when it isn’t being used.

Eliza: My favorite thing about the library is the pictures of Amherst history all around. I was wondering if the new librarian would be interested in Amherst history.

Professor Olver: That is a very important consideration.

Dean Griffiths: Are there things that keep you or your friends out of the library?

Roz: There is more comfortable seating on the first floor and so you are limited in the number of seats if you are just casually reading.

Taamiti: I have gone quite often with study groups and the main concern is trying to find a place to sit. I know there are rooms you can reserve and a lot of people are in the dark about that.

David: The actual building on the outside is forbidding, but you can’t do anything about that. For a lot of students, this may be by far the biggest library they have ever meen to and so tours may be helpful.

Professor Olver: They took the library tour out of orientation.

Gloria: Five college students use the rooms in the library during finals and it is hard to use them if you have study groups.

Lincoln: If you try to read or study in the lower levels you fall asleep as a result of the air. There is a physical effect. There is something in particular about levels B and C.

Paris: The reserve book issue doesn’t work very well. People don’t return their stuff and everyone goes at the same time. Relying on reserve is not a feasible way.

Jin-Young: I think the reserve system works really well and my experience has been perfect.

Elan: I think a lot of freshmen aren’t really informed about it enough and have been charged. Maybe including it as a part of orientation would be helpful.

Professor Rockwell: Is the library is used primarily as a study hall? Does it matter to you that books are stored there or would it be all the same if we stored them in the bunker? Do people actually browse?

Eliza: The times I have been in the Media Center have been disappointing. I couldn’t really find student employees around to get help.

Lincoln: I would like to have the books in the library. When you find a book in the library it leads you to a section where you can find other books related to that topic.

Mark: One thing I think could help the library is putting periodicals on reserve so that you can check them out.

Andrea: The electronic journals are extremely hard to navigate. I think a library orientation event would be helpful.

Marco: I live in James and I couldn’t be any closer to the library. I agree with the idea that I see it as a study hall. The accessibility of my room and the comfort of just sitting there keeps me away.

Justin: I would like to see the librarians interact a little more in the classroom. I think a lot of professors do not use the library. I have never had a professor encourage me to check out books in the library.

Professor Olver: The library does send emails to the professors about coming to the library.

Justin: I think it is a good experience to go and find books yourself.

Mihailis: The majority of my time spent in the library is for studying and I spend it on the first floor. People are there with their laptops and headphones and that is distracting.

Richa: I don’t think the fact that the library is a study place should be considered to be a new thing or a bad thing. If you can get students in there, it may lead them to open a book.

Elan: Thank you all for coming.

 

IV. Phone Service (9:12 PM)

Mr. Judycki: The College’s phone service is separated into two parts: the student part and the administrative part. The college’s half is changed. The purchase has been made. It will be installed the third week of July. The student portion will probably remain the same. There will be some changes that will result from the college moving to its own administrative system. You will now have to dial seven digits and the college’s voicemail system will no longer be available to the students. There has been a gradual deterioration with student phone participation. Each year the number decreases; presently we are at 650. In 1991, the college started enabling a long distance company to come in and ECCI has recently alerted us that because of the declining participation they will not be providing the service of separating bills from one line.

Dean Lieber: Clearly what is going on is more and more students are using cell phones. That has resulted in the decline in the number of people signing up for the local service and the long distance service. The long distance service has refused to renew our contract at all. It would cost the college $400,000 to put the students on the college system. It didn’t seem worth the out leg of that in order to enable this, particularly since we can continue the Verizon service for students. The inconvenience is the seven digits instead of the four digits. The cost will remain the same. Somewhere between 70%-80% of students arriving on campus bring cell phones with them.

Ryan: I wanted to tell everyone why I wanted them to come in today. I got the sense that this wouldn’t necessarily be cost prohibited. I think that there are clearly a lot of benefits to keeping the status quo, but I think having this unified service would help the community in a lot of ways to counteract the issue that we have had where students aren’t even subscribing to phone service. I think it has created a lot of problems with communication on campus with the administration and the students.

Matt: My question is, have you looked at all into family plans, or any sort of community plan?

Mr. Judycki: Phone service has never been a college responsibility. It was always 100% voluntary. It would be difficult to enter a program like that because we wouldn’t know what the results would be. We couldn’t require students to do it because that hasn’t been the Amherst way.

Lincoln: My other question would be that you said it is $400,000 to buy the equipment but I wonder if you have checked on ebay?

Dan: Is there any way of having the college pay for a fewer number of plans?

Mr. Judycki: We would have paid for the equipment and the number of students subscribing would be less and less.

Dean Lieber: It makes it more difficult for the college to recoup its cost. You would have to charge the students more. We would have a payback period that exceeded the technical useful life of the system.

Taamiti: The reason a lot of students do not subscribe is that you have to pay per month and lot of students do not want to pay that. If you call outside of the Amherst community there are other costs. It is expensive per month for a lot of students. Is there any way you can lower the fees to make it easier to possibly pay for having phone service?

Mr. Judycki: Outside of a college subsidy, which is a policy question, I can’t answer that. Verizon is charging a lot less than what a residential subscriber would pay. They could lower it 5% which would not really make that much of a difference in your monthly statement.

Elan: When you had the survey for the freshmen and transfer students did you ask them if they would sign up for the local service?

Dean Lieber: No, we didn’t ask them that question. We used to call students in the office we found that more and more difficult to do. We are resorting to email and we have to make a better effort before the start of each year to collect cell phone numbers and publish them in the directory.

Mr. Judycki: We are feeling the communication problem as well. Many of you use cell phones and we have to make a long distance call to talk to someone across the street.

Noah: Swarthmore College provides a college-wide service that is free and they find it extremely useful. It is a way people know they can contact each other.

Jake: Not to be disagreeable, when I showed up here the first week of class and found out that the school wasn’t going to provide a campus switchboard, I was sort of confused. My experience has been with larger universities but the fact of the matter is that I don’t think anyone is going to object to having that cost. I think it would be useful if we all had enabled an on campus extension.

Rania: Is that the one that costs $400,000?

Dean Lieber: That would be for the equipment. You are asking for an additional subsidy. We would have to collect that amount you are paying now from every student for five years. It was a poor decision when the college put this equipment in.

Mr. Judycki: We never got involved in that and we saw it as a black eye to charge the students for long distance after charging them to come to school here.

Paris: I think that the school should use its credit to go to some entrepreneurial store to help some students who don’t have credit to get a cell phone. If the school went to these companies and vouched for the students, they could have a booth during orientation and would have access to these numbers.

Dean Lieber: That is something we can look into.

Paris: Suggesting we get a campus network isn’t going to happen though.

Dean Lieber: Yes, I think we have made that decision already.

Paris: I don’t’ know that this discussion should be taking place since the decision has already been made. We should be discussing other things. I think the cell phone avenue would be interesting to explore.

Justin: I am just wondering what you looked into in terms of safety precautions.

Mr. Judycki: It doesn’t change the student’s access to emergency services. Also, one of the problems with cell phones is that when you dial 911, it goes to the Massachusetts State Police and they try to located you geographically. That holds true for everyone that uses cell phones.

Dean Lieber: To reach security on campus you will have to dial seven numbers instead of four. We did think about security. It doesn’t improve the security situation but it doesn’t compromise it either.

Justin: I know we had free access to phone service at the beginning of the year, how is that possible?

Mr. Judycki: It is called provisional dial tone. It lasts ten days to two weeks and it is meant to cover those students who didn’t sign up for service in the summer.

We are going to let the administrative contract expire and we are going to bring in our own phone system. If we let the student system expire, there won’t be any dial tone in the dorm rooms at all. If we do sign a contract it will be like it is now.

Elan: We really need to get back to this, but we will have to do it at another time.

Luke: What does the $400,000 do? Would it give the student the ability to make phone calls all around campus?

Mr. Judycki: You would still have to sign up for phone service. I would have to charge the students to call on campus. We would have to charge the students that had cell phones and didn’t even want it.

Ryan: This is the equivalent of every student having to subscribe to AOL to get internet service. I would ask for reevaluation. The problem is that people don’t subscribe and communication has gone down and I think that is a problem and doing this would only make it worse.

Elan: Thank you for coming in with the specifics, we really appreciate your time.

 

V. Approval of the Minutes (9:49 PM)

Roz: Motion to pass the minutes.

Luke: Second

Minutes passed by unanimous consent.

 

VI. Officer Reports (9:51 PM)

A. President

Ryan: I just wanted to ask you to not to cast aside the discussion about the Spring Formal.

B. Vice President

Elan: I wanted to congratulate the new senators, E-board members, and JC members.

The run off for the JC Chair position will be on Thursday. We will have them in next week

Mihailis: Point of information – Are we going to have senior elections during that?

Matt: I have added an “I am voting for write-in candidates” and then it takes you to a page where you can write it in. This will happen on Thursday.

Elan: The attendance policy is back on the agenda. If you have a problem with that we can deal with it during new business.

C. Treasurer

Paris: Budgets will be due the last week of March. We will put together the budgets the first week of April.

 

VII. Announcements (9:55 PM)

Roz: Jin-Young and I received an email today from the Honorary Degrees Committee and they are due the 15th of March.

Matt: I was disappointed with the Speech Night turn out.

Mihailis: The new geology building is going to remove parking spaces used by the faculty and students and the physical plant has decided to build a new student lot by the tennis courts and give the Alumni Lot to the faculty.

Ethan: By this fall, all of Alumni Lot will be for the faculty. I think this has already been decided so I don’t know how much we can be do. This was decided in the College Council.

Ryan: They decided to build a new building and that is the trustees’ decision and they decided to build it where the parking is. I don’t really think any amount of advocacy would help.

Ethan: This really sucks for students.

Justin: I got a response from Dean Lieber about toilet seat covers. And he is going to look into putting those in. Social dorms don’t have paper towel dispensers because they are considered private bathrooms.

Richa: There have been several freshmen who think that better toilet paper is a concern.

Matt: There are pipings in some bathrooms that cannot hold bigger toilet paper.

 

VIII. Special Orders (10:06 PM)

A. Oaths of Office

Elan: The first is to be conducted by the Senior Class Council Chair, who is Lincoln. The first is for the secretary.

Lincoln reads the oath and Di repeats it.

Elan: Ryan will administer the second one for JC member.

Ryan reads the oath and he repeats it.

Elan: For the senators, please stand up and raise your right hand.

Reads oath and Stephen and Arpan repeat it.

B. BC Funding Recommendations

Group

Requested

Recommended

The Art Party

7850

Tabled

Hillel Ski Trip

1000

0

Change For Change

1200

1200

Rugby Trip

200

200

Typo

6000

0

Stories

5000+

5000

BSU

10650

320

ACOC Ski Trip

3280

0

Spring Formal

24000

TBD

 

Paris: I strongly recommend that a senator motions to separate the discussion on the formal.

Luke: Move to divide the question.

Jake: Second

Motion passes.

Jake: Can I just ask what the BC’s decision process was for only funding that to the BSU?

Paris: We thought that the BSU was not really an organization on campus that puts on concerts and it also didn’t seem fiscally possible. They had no definite plans for Caribfest. We didn’t recommend food for Black Men's Appreciation Night and Black Women's Appreciation Night because it wasn’t integral. For Colored Girls who Consider Suicide when the Rainbow is Enough, we recommended money for the performance and advertising based on what we usually give people. We recommended the money for the pins in full.

Elan: It is out of order, the pins have already been bought. It never came to the BC to be discussed.

Gloria: I motion to fund $6000 for TYPO.

Roz: Second.

Lincoln: Essentially what the question before you is if you want to allow sophomores and juniors who went in the fall to go again in the spring. TYPO is a wonderful program and I think it represents the mission of this institution.

Jake: Point of information – Is there a possibility that this money will be kept into the TYPO account at the end of this semester?

Lincoln: If you were to approve less than $6000 or $0, the person in charge would open the program to everyone at the end of the semester. Her judgment is that without several thousand additional dollars we will not be able to do this.

Roz: It was decided that there was a large portion of money that was not used by sophomores and juniors last semester. If it was determined at the end of the semester that more people wanted to go, TYPO should come back and ask for more money.

Ethan: The TYPO fund has $8000 now and I think you should go through that first and then come back for more.

Matt: Move the question.

Ethan: Second.

Motion fails.

Gloria: If we keep it the way it is now, the sophomores and juniors who haven’t gone cannot take a professor out that has already gone out.

Lincoln: We appreciate your suggestion but that is not how the program has been structured.

Mira: I’m afraid that we have to keep the goodwill of the administration and we are relying on a lot of Heather’s services. She is very efficient and she gets you your purchase order beforehand. We had to work with the administration. I agree with them saying we shouldn’t allow just all of the proactive people to go. It should be made available to everyone on campus. It will make it harder because people may not be on top of things later.

Lincoln: Based on our experience last semester, we did not get as much utilization by starting later so I think if we open it to juniors and sophomores later in the semester we will also have the same result.

Ethan: Call the question.

Gloria: Point of information – if all of the money isn’t spent, where will it go?

Mira: The comptroller has it in an account so it is not in a place where we can’t how much is left. It will only go back to TYPO if we wanted it to.

SEE VOTE 10 BELOW. $6000 TYPO Amendment – MOTION FAILS: 8-16-2.

Naomi: I wanted to address the issue about the BC not recommending any funding for the Outing Club’s ski trip this weekend. It would be for two days of skiing and could cover rentals, gas, and lift tickets since accommodations are free. We think it would be inappropriate for the BC not to fund this trip for a club that is specifically designed to provide outing experiences.

Alex: The stated mission of the Amherst College Outing Club is to provide outdoor experiences for the student body at reduced costs. We are trying to make it less expensive for the student body to participate in such activities. Twenty students would like to go and it is a first come, first serve basis. We are not discriminating against anyone. We would really like to know how you arrived at the decision to give us absolutely no funding.

Ethan: It would be really nice if the student government could pay for students to go skiing. In regards to your comparison to the ski team, it is called a Varsity Club Sport and they need to ski to continue to exist. $150 per person for three days is expensive.

Mihailis: Was it generally advertised?

Christian: The general meeting informed those present of it and it also went on our table tents.

Jake: I would like to motion to fund the Outing Club’s trip in full.

Luke: Second.

Mira: We didn’t fund the Snowboarding Club and that was sort of the same idea because it was different from the ski team; they don’t represent Amherst college. Hillel also did it and they advertised and we didn’t fund them either for their ski trip. We also funded several pairs of cross country skis for the Outing Club. It is incredibly expensive.

Mark: Are you charging students anything?

Naomi: Just personal expenses. The Amherst College Outing Club is limited to what it can do during the winter and it is not ideal weather right now to cross country ski. It seems really inappropriate that an Outing Club that could provide ice climbing, snowboarding, etc which are equally as expensive, cannot provide this event.

Lincoln: Call the question.

SEE VOTE 11 BELOW. $3,280 Outing Club Ski Trip. MOTION FAILS: 4-21-1.

David: I am here for Change for Change.

Mira: Can you give me some sense of how many people collect the money in the cups?

David: We raised $10000 over the last year and we can’t justify money that the students give us to put it into cups.

Mira: Are people actually dumping it out of their cups and into the bags?

David: Some people don’t have the cups.

Ethan: A plead from the heart to stop micromanaging the BC’s funding recs. Move the question.

Roz: Second.

SEE VOTE 12 BELOW. BC Funding Recommendations. MOTION PASSES: 23-2-0.

Lincoln: Motion to table Spring Formal request.

Caleb: Second.

Motion passes.

C. Committee appointments

Library committee nominations – Stephen.

Stephen is appointed by unanimous consent.

Committee on Health and Safety nominations – Caleb.

Caleb is appointed by unanimous consent.

Affirmative Action Advisory Nominations – Arpan and Levan.

Arpan: I think affirmative action is something a lot of people believe in. I think I see myself as a good fit to work between students and faculty.

Levan: I have benefited from affirmative action all of my life since I was a minority in boarding school and college. It is important to me. I was involved in this in high school. I read up on it and it is something I am very interested in and passionate about.

Arpan is appointed by unanimous consent.

Trustee Advisory Committee on Student Life nominations – Stephen.

Stephen is appointed by unanimous consent.

Administrative Committee on Residential Life nominations – Jake.

Jake is appointed by unanimous consent.

D. Senior Class Council Project.

Luke: We are laying up the framework and there are certain weeks we can target it. The idea is to sponsor a week where it is free for faculty members to go to Valentine. We were thinking maybe the week after spring break.

 

IX. New Business (10:48 PM)

A. Five College Coordinating Board Constitution

Tabled.

B. Rethinking Class Funding

Paris: I was not happy with the last minute Class Council Projects. I think that having this money guaranteed to people that don’t necessarily have good ideas is a waste. I think what could be more productive would be to create a fund for students involved in the student government. AAS members could come forward and ask to do AAS projects. As opposed to going to discretionary or making it a class project it would come in as an individual senator or as a group of senators. I would have personally liked the DVD thing to be better and that was a good idea and we were forced to limit.

Mihailis: Is there any way to throw into that the expectation that the classes are supposed to do something for their classes or the campus?

Paris: I think there is language in there to that extent. I think we should let people who know how to do things do it. If no class has anyone who has ever put on an event before, why should they do it when there are plenty of other people who can?

Ethan: How do we do it?

Paris: It would involve changing the bylaws. Now we have the AAS operating budget with the class fund. I would suggest creating in the bylaws a section that is the AAS fund.

Justin: I know classes can combine on projects and it is not like you have to spend everything in your fund. I don’t know why it has to be changed. The junior class could have extended the DVD program. We aren’t throwing away the money because we aren’t spending all of the money.

Elan: BC, send us an email when you are going to discuss this.

C. Report on Textbook Price Gauging

Luke: The report details that the average textbook price has increased well above the price of inflation. They bundle textbooks with extraneous items which inflate costs and attack on things like the Option by releasing new editions. These new editions have different page numbers and pictures. I was in D.C. last week and met with people and essentially the campaign we are working on is to get 50% of higher education math faculty to sign a pledge to not use this book. We are looking into some sort of national legislative work also. This is one place where students as consumers are directly affected. Masspirg is also taking this on. I will bring some sort of language on having the AAS endorse this campaign and signing on as a coalition partner. The other thing is I was wondering if people are interested in working with Masspirg as representatives of the AAS. If you are, you can see me after the meeting or email me.

Taamiti: I think it would be good to talk to our constituents and come back next week.

 

X. Adjournment (11:03PM)