On Sunday, November 16, Student Senate met for its sixth plenary of the semester. It lasted about 2 hours and 40 minutes. 14 out of 15 senators were present, including members of The Wilder Voice, The Oberlin Review, the Student Finance Committee (SFC), and Dean Eric Estes. 14 non-senators were present. Almost an hour was spent on Wilder Voice’s appeal to have the SFC reconsider their stipend cuts and the SFC’s response. WV spoke about why they think they need a stipend. They also alleged that The Grape doesn’t meet hourly work requirements for stipends.The SFC had a rebuttal in which they defended their decision on the basis that the WV does not meet the qualifications to receive SFC funding, namely, they don’t have enough of an impact or presence at Oberlin, they don’t meet the minimum number of hours (7) per week, and they would remain accessible without stipends. Continue reading
The fourth Student Senate plenary of the academic year took place last Sunday and ran for three hours. The Sustainable Transportation working group is working on a comprehensive guide of all transportation in Oberlin, including bike laws. They also report that drivers have a hard time seeing students bikers at night who don’t have bike lights (which is technically required by law). The Student EMT working group reports that they’re trying to get a student EMT exco. Student Senate forwarded that they were in support of the Lorain County Metroparks Levy and talked about whether to encourage students to vote in Tuesday’s election, and how much to advise them about how to vote. Senate ultimately passed a resolution encouraging students to vote in Tuesday’s election. Senators discussed the campus laundry price increase, how to make staying on campus over break more accessible for students, and how to increase student interest in the listening sessions for the steering committee. Continue reading
The third Student Senate plenary of the academic year took place last Sunday, and ended right on time. The meeting was straightforward, with the most time spent on the topic of Metro Parks in Lorain County. After a presentation from chemistry professor Cindy Manning asking senators to promote a $0.88/month tax increase to help fund the parks, Student Senate embarked on a lengthy discussion on whether or not they should endorse the ballot referendum to the student body or just raise awareness and remain impartial. Senators also spoke about their office hours and reported on the progress of assorted working groups. Continue reading
The second Student Senate plenary of the academic year was held last Sunday, and marked the first plenary session for the newly-elected Student Senate. Accordingly, much of the nearly three-hour-long meeting concerned administrative matters, including office hour reports, committee reports, working group reports, and updates from the Student Senate Outreach working group. “Outside Business,” Item III. on the agenda, was dominated by at-times tense discussion between the editorial board of The Oberlin Review and members of the Student Finance Committee. Both parties attended the first part of Sunday’s plenary in order to discuss the Student Finance Committee’s (SFC) recent decision to partially reduce The Oberlin Review‘s budget, in light of a student referendum from last spring. Editors from The Oberlin Review complained bitterly about their budget cuts, citing “accessibility” concerns and warning that the cuts would affect the quality of the publication. The SFC defended their decision, holding up last spring’s referendum results regarding whether funds from the Student Activity Fee should go toward stipends at such organizations as The Oberlin Review and The Wilder Voice. Additionally, SFC and Student Senate made it clear that while they provide stipends for certain organizations, neither organization gives out wages. Continue reading
For the first Student Senate Plenary of the year, senators focused on liaison positions and appointments, the formation of working groups and potential committee appointments. They chose to expand the Wildcard Liaison in favor of creating positions for City Liaisons, South Campus Liaisons and an OSCA Liaison. Senate also unanimously decided to put the discussion for committee appointments on hold until they could clarify which committees were open to senators. Continue reading
Which issues are you most passionate about influencing on campus?
I am passionate about several issues. The first is accountability and transparency. I think that one of the primary functions of Student Senate is to ensure that students receive the information they need and desire about how the college operates whether that takes the form of financial information, student input on institutional changes, or hiring and operational policy. I believe this sort of information is important for students to have and is something that has yet to be adequately addressed. Continue reading
Which issues are you most passionate about influencing on campus?
My ultimate goal for running is to leave senate a more, equitable, socially just, and accessible space than when I enter it. I have several ideas on how to attain that goal. One is to focus on class and low-income issues for students. To my knowledge, there is no workshop or forum that focuses exclusively on classism here on campus. I think student senate should help facilitate the creation and upkeep of such a workshop every semester. Another issue that is imperative for student senate to focus on it’s own self-reflexivity. Based on the spread of candidates this semester, student senate will be predominantly male. I think that one of our first priorities must be to examine why. We have to work towards locating and eliminating factors that inhibit or discourage people who identify as female and/or transgender from running for student senate, as well try to make sure that senate becomes more accessible to all those who come from marginalized backgrounds. Continue reading
I hesitate to advertise a platform of would-be changes and influences. The way I see it, my role as a Student Senator would be to work as a representative of the interests of my fellow students, not as an oligarch acting on my own personal opinions of what is best for others, and take action at the behest of the students where the Administration does not. It would not be my job to control the lives of the students. As such, one of my goals would be to improve the image of the Senate by increasing its effectiveness as a representative, legislative body. I also would like to seek infrastructural improvements in order to improve student comfort (for instance, shower heads that actually spray water). Granted, many students probably would like to hear my opinions on various social issues, but honestly, my opinion is no more important than that of anybody else and as such should not influence my decision making.
Disagreement and contention over the Student Senate Bylaws and internal policies dominated at tonight’s Student Senate Plenary. The Senate Scrapbook, which senators are expected to contribute to according to the Senate’s Bylaws, became a flash-point for conflict. Also contentious were policies surrounding the point-based penalty system for senators. After senators Lauren Vandemortel and Arianna Gil threatened to resign in order to avoid being censured as a consequence of the point-based penalty system, Student Senate refused to accept their resignations and instead unanimously passed a resolution calling for the re-evaluation of the current censuring policy. Continue reading
Student Senate discussed committee appointments and concerns over “The Oberlin Project” (the College’s long-term planned redevelopment campaign for the city block at N Main and E College Street; current site of the Oberlin Inn and Hall Auditorium) at this evening’s plenary. Senator Aaron Appel called an executive session– not without controversy among the senators– in an effort to shield the integrity of committee appointment deliberations. There were concerns over candidate identities becoming inadvertently “compromised” during discussion, so all non-senator attendees were asked to leave the room during the executive session. The executive session resulted in a vote postponement for selecting candidates to join the Student Honor Committee and the Musical Studies Committee. Continue reading