Thanks to Emily Dean ’09 for passing along the latest minutes from College Council.

College Council
Meeting: Proposing a Committee

Wednesday, March
5, 2008, 7:30-9:00

Meeting in Hopkins
Hall Basement, 1964 Classroom

All College
Council Meetings are open to the Williams Community. Anyone who wishes
to speak before Council should contact Peter and Jeremy (09psn and 09jmg_2).

We devoted
the entire meeting to making a decision about whether College Council
wanted a committee, and if so, the structure and mandate for such a

The meeting
began with Peter Nurnberg (Co-President) and Jeremy Goldstein (Co-President)
explaining the procedure of the meeting. We went through the committee
proposal section by section to form what CC deemed to be the optimal
committee. While going through the process, individuals could motion
to change this committee. Every amendment was considered an unfriendly
amendment so that College Council could discuss and vote on all amendments.
Once CC created what it thought would be the optimal committee, CC voted
to decide whether to implement that committee or not have a committee.

  1. The Scope of
    the Committee

We began
this section with a discussion of whether we wanted the committee to
focus entirely on student-to-student interactions or include faculty-to-faculty

Haydee Lindo
(proxy, Minority Concerns) briefly met with Dean Merrill and Mike Reed
and they said that it was hard to tell on such short notice if a proposal
from the students would be accepted by the faculty; however, they did
say that if a proposal includes community ethics then it needs to include
the faculty in order to be comprehensive.

Kiernan (Mills) noted that faculty includes staff, who should also be
involved in the creation of a committee.

Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) moved to vote on committee so that CC could
discuss the proposal.

Prigoff (Wood Board Rep) said that Williams is a place where uncomfortable
learning is celebrated and we need to discuss things that are slightly
taboo as a community so that we can learn. He said that he thought that
people other than students needed to be addressed, but wondered how
a committee could do that without offending the faculty.

Kiernan (Mills) reminded everyone that the faculty is part of the Williams
community and as such they deserve to be represented on the committee.

Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) said that from a practical perspective,
with all the reaction College Council has gotten about the committee
already it would be difficult to persuade students to go along with
a committee with faculty as such a heavy presence. He thought that it
would be easier to start small and go big.

Ko (Wood At-Large) said that to explore interaction within this community
it is really important to examine student-faculty interactions, not
just student-student interactions.

Levy (Treasurer) noted that whatever the committee looks like there
will be a part of it that examines student-faculty relations, but she
agreed with Thomas that it should focus on student-student relations.

Park (Dodd Board Rep) asked if there was something set up to examine
student-faculty relations?

Nurnberg (Co-President) said that the Grievance Committee is supposed
to deal with student-faculty interaction, but it is rarely called. He
added that it is important to look at how students interact with everyone
in this community, but if the committee proposal moves into how faculty
interacts among each other, then College Council’s committee proposal
could run into some problems.

Prigoff (Wood Board Rep) moved to strike the last three words from the
phrase, “Expand the scope of the committee to include student to faculty
and faculty interactions” and make it, “faculty and staff interactions.”
Joey Kiernan (Mills) seconded the motion.

The amendment

  1. Committee’s
    Mandate and Required Action

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that as the committee proposal stands, it is basically
assuming there is already a problem. He wondered if this was the right
phrasing because the first priority of the committee is to find out
if there is, in fact, a problem in this community.

Rachel Levy
(Treasurer) said that there was not really a more objective way of phrasing
it because everyone knows that the committee is being created to examine
problems within our community.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that he thought the focus should be on the student
experience at Williams and that the committee should examine this aspect
of our student life.

Jeremy Goldstein
(Co-President) said that either way the committee would be putting out
a report.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that a lot of people on campus see this as a witch-hunt
and initially looking at the committee proposal, it is understandable
to see that perception. He thought that it is important to look at this
aspect of the proposal because that is how the students will perceive

Keith Butts
(Spencer At-Large) said isn’t the committee trying to establish if
there is a problem? He thought that we should be honest about it.

Emanuel Yekutiel
(Class of 2011 Rep) said that it might be obvious to us that there is
a problem but it might not be to other people so we need to have the
committee explore the possibility of a problem.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) said that the issue was really between two words, explore
or establish, if there is a problem.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that this committee proposal is similar to the
alcohol report that happened when he was a freshman. A committee looked
into whether there was a problem and there wasn’t an assumed next
step (meaning a proposed solution). He would like the committee to look
into the problem and give a report, but was reluctant to give them power
to make a proposal.

Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010 Rep) said that through examining the issue the committee
members will know best what structures are or are not in place and they
would be the most qualified to propose solutions.

Sarah Moore
(Class of 2009 Rep) said that they are reporting to CC what they find
throughout the process so it will be a dynamic process in some ways,
and reminded everyone that the conversation about community at Williams
and about the purpose of the committee doesn’t stop by just creating
this committee.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that it makes more sense that committee has a
specific mandate and now it seems that it is going to attempt to change
how the community interacts and he thought that was problematic.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) noted that the alcohol study was a good example of an
instance where there was evidence that it was a real problem and then
the issue just died with no resolution.

Lane Wang
(Armstrong) mentioned that maybe College Council wanted to scale the
purpose of the committee down a little bit so that we actually have
a committee to explore whether there is a problem rather than nothing.

Keith Butts
(Spencer At-Large) said that we all were assuming that there is a problem
but we need to find a way to explore that.

Emanuel Yekutiel
(Class of 2011 Rep) responded there were a lot of people who don’t
assume that there is a problem and the purpose of the committee is bring
people to some common ground.

Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010) said that giving the committee the power to make a proposal
isn’t giving them that much power. The committee proposal would be
just a suggestion and would not be anything binding for College Council
or the student body.

Jeremy Goldstein
(Co-President) brought up the issue of the fear that there is a problem
and said that any sort of solution proposal risked getting voted down
by the student body.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) reminded everyone that there was a hypothesis that there
is a problem, and that if it is found that there is no problem, then
nothing needs to be done about it.

Keith Butts
(Spencer At-Large) said that he would still like to see a report made
available to the campus about the process used to determine whether
there is a problem and how the final conclusion was drawn.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that the committee should present the report about
the problem to CC and we should decide if they go forward with making
a proposal.

Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010 Rep) said that if the committee comes back with a report
that there is a problem and College Council disagrees with their findings,
then they wont go forward with a proposal.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that College Council should agree with the results
of the report before we see the proposal.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) responded that CC would have to set deadlines and another
issue was that CC could just kill the proposal right after hearing the
results or report and that would be the end of the process. He then
asked if Council wanted them to follow the process through to the end
(making a proposal).

Narae Park
(Dodd Board Rep) said that CC is representative of campus and if CC
felt that the committee’s findings are wrong then that will be reflective
of the feeling of the campus.

Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010 Rep) asked what the harm was in letting the committee
make suggestions after doing their research.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) responded that there was not something wrong with a
mid-project review.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) said that CC wants to make the committee feel comfortable
doing what they want to do and have the process be as objective as possible.

Petya Miteva
(Dodd At-Large) said that CC could agree or disagree with the findings
from the report so that is why she thought CC should review the report
before the committee looked into solutions.

Thomas Rubinsky
(Class of 2010 Rep) asked what would be the harm in just letting the
committee make the suggestions.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) said that a binding review of the committee’s report
by CC is the issue. It would be put in place so that CC could say stop
the work of the committee midway through the process after they establish
whether or not there is a problem.

Rachel Levy
(Treasurer) said that CC needed to give the committee the time, opportunity,
independence, and autonomy that would allow them to come to an objective

Rachel Ko
(Wood At-Large Rep) said that maybe we should change the name of the
committee. She was not quite sure if it is supposed to be purely
exploratory or if it is emphasis was on making a proposal and it would
make it clearer that their first job was to explore a problem and then,
as a secondary responsibility, propose solutions.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) then made a motion to allow CC to review and vote on
the report before the committee went into the proposal phase.
Keith Butts (Spencer At-Large Rep) seconded the motion.

was then a discussion of the motion.

Nurnberg (Co-President) said that it defeated the whole purpose of a
committee if CC could stop its work in the middle of the process.

Ko (Wood At-Large Rep) said intended end of work for the committee would
be a report and any proposal would be secondary to this first priority.

Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) responded that by reviewing the process
in the middle, CC was taking away the committee’s ability to say how
to fix the problem.

Prigoff (Wood Board Rep) made a point that a lot of people think there
is a problem and a significantly smaller portion think that there is
a social honor code as the answer to that problem. He thought that the
entire campus would better receive the committee if they understood
that it is an exploratory committee and it would be a lot harder to
swallow if they saw it as a road to a social honor code.

Ko (Wood At-Large) said that she was more inclined to make the process
to two separate steps.

Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) said that if there was a review put in place
it didn’t necessarily separate the process. She mentioned that it
was important to understand that it is a continuous process of the committee
and thought that it didn’t necessarily have to be a separation of
two tasks.

Ko (Wood At-Large) responded that she wanted the emphasis to be on the
problem establishment.

Nurnberg (Co-President) said that he thought this was more of an issue
of advertising than anything else.

Butts (Spencer At-Large) responded that a vote by CC will keep the committee
accountable for producing evidence about whether or not there is a problem
and a vote will make the committee focus more on the problem phase.

Council then voted on the motion that would allow CC to review and vote
on the committee’s report before it makes its proposal.

motion passed.

Nurnberg (Co-President) then said that CC needed to set a date by which
the committee would present the report that would give them enough time
to make a proposal by winter study of next year.

Prigoff (Wood Board Rep) said that he didn’t think that CC should
make a timing decision for the committee because they might want to
spend more time on the first part or second part and he didn’t think
that we should tie them down with a specific date.

Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) said that there was no way for the committee
to move on to the second part without first doing the report, so a date
had to be set at a mid way point because the committee needs time to
draft a proposal.

Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) said that we should give the committee
a tentative deadline and they can ask for more time if they need it.

Butts (Spencer At-Large) motioned to set the date for Wednesday, October
15, 2008. Emanuel Yekutiel (Class of 2011 Rep) seconded the motion.

motion passed.

  1. Minimum Requirements
    Throughout the Process
    There were no complaints,
    concerns, or questions concerning this section.
  1. Process for approving
    and implementing the work of the committee

Half the
student body plus one has to vote one and 2/3 of those who vote have
to vote yes to implement or approve any proposals or solutions made
by the committee.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) talked about the possibility of giving the Committee
the option of making Ballot Options that would break down voting options
as much as possible for students. In other words, it would give the
committee the power to decide how to structure ballot options.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) motioned to add this change. Petya Miteva (Dodd At-Large)
seconded the motion.

The motion

  1. Process for Amending
    the Committee’s Mandate
    There were no problems,
    concerns, or questions about this section.
  1. Committee Structure

CC then discussed
how students would be elected to the Committee. As it stood, students
would be elected through CC appointments committee.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) explained that CC Campus makes the decision about who
is elected and wondered that if that was how this specific committee
would be filled up then people might be less likely to agree with what
is produced by the committee. Anybody running for this committee would
have to submit a self-nom and would have a reason for running and he
worried that the people who don’t have a specific idea or agenda might
not make it through the appointments process.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) said that if it was an election, then the committee risked
getting a lot more polarized and the benefit of allowing it to go through
appointments process would allow the committee members to be more objective.

CC then moved
on to the actual structure of the committee. The main issue was if we
wanted faculty to be advisory or voting members of the committee.

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that the most contentious thing for faculty is
student-faculty interactions and there are situations that could come
up in the class room and CC doesn’t want to create a committee that
no one is going to listen to because the entire community is not represented
with voting privileges.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) responded that faculty wouldn’t really have any voting
power or more ownership over the committee if they get two voting members
or two advisory members

Keith Butts
(Spencer At-Large) motioned to approve structure of the committee with
no faculty voting privileges and Lane Wang (Armstrong) seconded the

Jon Prigoff
(Wood Board Rep) said that he did not want to vote on a committee without
knowing what the faculty opinion was about it.

Peter Nurnberg
(Co-President) responded that no one person can speak for what the faculty

Haydee Lindo
(proxy, Minority Concerns) said that any body drafting community standards
should include faculty and the committee can amend its own structure.

CC vote on
the motion to approve the structure with faculty as advisory members.

The motion

VOTE: Committee or No Committee

Rachel Levy
(Treasurer) motioned to implement a committee and Emanuel Yekutiel (Class
of 2011 Rep) seconded the motion.

The motion

Two absences in a row or three in a term result in a member’s expulsion,
unless overridden by the secretary’s discretion or petition to the

Not in attendance:
Toni Kraeva (Spencer Board Rep), Janay Clyde (Currier At-Large Rep),
Caroline Henry (Currier Board Rep), KK Durante (Williams Hall Rep),
Gordon Atkins (Sage Hall Rep), Brian Shepherd (Pratt), and Tasha Chu


Emily C. Deans

Secretary, College

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