STUDENT POLICY COMMITTEE
2-March 1998, 9PM
Converse Red Room
SGO President Paul Rieckhoff opened the meeting with opening remarks. E-Board/Class
Pres elections will be held on Tues 31-March; runoffs on Thurs. SPC elections are on
Thurs 9-April; runoffs on the following Monday. Paul wants to organize some sort of
debate between/among candidates.
Campus Conversation, a constitutionally mandated event (one per semester, but last
semester was an exception due to Pres. Gerety's illness), should be planned for pronto.
Tenure review? 'State of Amherst'? More to follow.
Priorities/Resources: reviewing faculty benefits, soon to deal with reaccreditation stuff.
Educational Policy: advising (part. Freshman), class size issues (part. Intro classes) and
Admission and Financial Aid: The admissions office is scrutinizing the Early Decision process, and might present a report on the process to the faculty, who as a body determine admissions criteria (really?) .
Paul suggested that the admissions office 'scrutinize' the lack of interviews.
Several hands were raised, but in the interest of expediency (ironic given the 167 minute
meeting), they were asked to talk to Mark or Erica afterwards.
Physical Education and Athletics: Carolina Patino and Stacey Whitaker handed out extensive notes on their recent activities:
Security issues in the gym; salary for an ID checker included in the new gym budget.
Renovation Plans- new 'Wellness Center', including free weights, cardio machines, nautilus circuit, etc. New stuff includes 8 treadmills, 6 stairmasters (total), 9 bikes, 2 Precor Crosstraining Machines (excellent!)
Club Sports and Funding: club teams will be able to fill out some sort of form and get boxed lunches.
Intramural Sports- discussions of interest in intramurals, perhaps a tiered
system, based on skill and the like.
There is a possibility that $5 will be added to the Student Activities Fee to pay for machine maintenance and trainers and so forth. Al was angered by this, another example of the administration planning something poorly and asking us to cough up dough to cover up their "gaffes."
Library Committee: Recording Secretary Eric Budish raised an issue of vital importance,
namely the turning of the media center into a virtual-Blockbuster, by having a listing of
some sort of all the wondrous movies available for our pleasure-viewing. Al pointed
out the inanity of Eric's request; a student need only type "Feature Films" at the
subject line of any library terminal, and s/he will get an alphabetical list of everything
available. Al-1, Eric-0.
Security: Matt Hunt tested the emergency phones in all the dorms on campus; they all work! Paul, however, was not as excited as the rest of us. It seems that the phone on the South side of Crossett Dormitory is behind a locked door, and is inaccessible to anyone without a code. Interesting.
Paul further illustrated his expert 'knowledge' of the social dorm area by alerting the
SPC that the old SD's do not have avalanche protection.
Student Finance: any check request problems should be brought to Treasurer Jim
Mastrangelo's immediate attention.
Student Life: Todd gave ups to Rebecca's coffee talks (sans coffee), and to Dermond and Jon for their 98 days bash.
Frank Bria: Frank is planning the following,
-Senior week '99
-trip to Boston Harbor for class of '99
-trip to Yankee Stadium, maybe after spring break
-talking to local ring dealer (we're getting ripped off, apparently)
-college forum on tenure issue
-Robert Reich (former sec't of labor) at front of May
-weekly email, campus wide, with a 4-5 line summary of club activities.
-reinstating SGO week thing in the Student.
Rebecca Stair: Rebecca is working on
-Sub-free housing, to be had in the first two floors of Morrow Dormitory
-Student Art, hanging on the walls of Valentine.
Vanessa Olivier: foreign language help in the writing center?
College Council: sub-free housing, code of conduct, and theme house review process.
Tom Gray - we're getting a bench at the bus stop, PVTA's paying!
Dave Breslin and Tom - putting on an event on the Freshman quad.
1st- Jim's budget proposal, to raise the SGO operating budget from 1.5% to 3% of the
Student Activities Fee. This time Jim brought a print out of the SGO budget, line by
line, essentially, and most were convinced that Jim is correct that the raised cap will
allow the Treasurer to be more rigid (since can't hold to 1.5%, why stop anywhere,
goes the logic). His proposal promptly passed, 28-3-1 .
2nd- Vanessa and Scott's freshman advising thing. Vanessa and Scott sought a voicing of
the SPC's support for their initiative to revamp the freshman advising process. The
CEP pointed out that it, too, is working on such an initiative. As Vanessa and Scott
were seeking a bargaining chip, and nothing more, though, the motion promptly
3rd- Code of Conduct, care of Liz Fuller
Most of the discussion centered on the 90 days statute of limitations for bringing charges against another student. The CC's proposal is for a 90 day statute of limitations with language included to the effect that the Dean of Students can make exceptions to the 90 day limit.
Sue McWilliams spoke as one of two women in the history of co-education at Amherst College to bring rape charges. It took her more than 90 days to bring charges, and any obstacle/hurdle, even if only procedural, would have been a huge psychological block for her, and would have caused her not to bring the charges.
Emily Glasgow, senior CC member, defended the 90 days limit, saying that it ensures that relevant parties will be on campus, and that it, to some extent, prevents blackmail. Emily suggested that the SPC have two votes (votes of support, of course); one for the 90-day text as is, and another for the text with an "example box", reading:
"The normal 90 day framework may be extended at the discretion of the
Dean of Students in cases ranging from situations in which the timing of
breaks from school all the way to cases of sexual harassment or rape
prevent the filing of the complaint within the normative framework"
Todd Sutler- this doesn't solve the problem raised by Sue, i.e., the psychological burden
of having to petition to be allowed to bring charges.
Charles Feld (junior CC member)- the Code is a working document; this is the best
possible solution to a complex problem.
Conrad- how about an extra line: "no statute of limitations for the bringing of rape
Jim- no one who is wronged should have to ask permission to seek redress.
Emily- but accused has rights as well
Erica Greenbaum- we have to remember that Dean Lieber is the expert. The box
"practically" negates the statute of limitations, because Lieber is a reasonable man.
The Proposal+Example Box was supported 8-23-1 , which was greater than the support
for the proposal by itself.
The other discussion point was the 'Lawyer question', namely, should the college be
mandated by the code to provide lawyers for those accused and those bringing
charges. Discussion was brief, because of the lateness of the hour at this point in the
meeting. The Code's language on the 'Lawyer question' received little support: 1-26-3. For the full text of the Code, contact any College Council member (names and #'s
are under 'SPC Members' on menu page of the website) or the Dean of Students
The meeting was adjourned at 11:47 PM, record for the year.
Recording Secretary, SGO.