Another comprehensive set of College Council minutes from Emily Deans ’09. Note the discussion about Claiming Williams.

Shayla Williams (2009) proposed an idea at last month’s faculty meeting to have a half day of activity to promote claiming Williams, which would encourage students to engage in discussions about difference. This proposal came out of a subcommittee of Stand With Us. The idea was formulated with the goal being so that every student at Williams can start to call Williams home. Every one at Williams has to be open-minded and you may not necessarily agree with people but you have to be open minded to accept people for who they are.

The proposed date for this day is Thursday, February 5, 2009, which is currently the first day of Spring semester. If this date were chosen, Spring semester would start on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 and Thursday classes would meet then, ensuring that professors would not lose a class meeting. On Thursday, classes would be canceled and students would have the opportunity to participate in a half day of activities such as workshops, discussions, performances, talks, etc. That day was chosen because it would be a time when students, faculty, and staff could all participate.

Comments:

1) See here for Record coverage of the proposal as well as Emily’s notes of the CC discussion.

2) I think that this is a bad idea. I predict that the innate conservatism of the faculty will generate a veto.

3) Always happy to give advice even for a cause I oppose, my recommendation is that Shayla Williams (and any other Ephs in favor) take the long view. Create a smallish organization whose mission is to push for this. Recruit some first years so that the fight will go on. Have at least one of your leaders apply to Gargoyle. Even if the faculty vote down the idea this year, still plan on holding the event on a Saturday. Make the activities as interesting as you can. Recruit sympathetic faculty members. Mountain Day took years to become the Williams institution it is today.

4) Although the CC Minutes don’t highlight this point, it is clear the initial effort was not well-conceived.

In addition to scheduling, the language of the proposal and the logistical difficulties entailed also came under scrutiny. “Personally I don’t see scheduling as the major difficulty,” said Kevin Jones, chair of the calendar and schedule committee and professor of physics. “I think the much bigger challenge will be to come up with events that are inclusive rather than divisive. I was not encouraged by the language in the preliminary proposal.” Robert Bell, professor of English, opened the discussion at the faculty meeting with a criticism of the proposal’s language and urged “less hyperbolic and accusatory” phrasing. Referring to the racist graffiti found in Williams E in February and other incidents of discrimination and indifference, the proposal claimed a “culture of hate and indifference” existed at the College.

[Side note: Why are Record pages always filled with these annoying characters? Or is just me on Firefox?] Where can I find a copy of the text that was presented to the faculty? First, shouldn’t there be a permanent on-line repository of material associated with faculty meetings? A more transparent Williams is a better Williams. Second, shouldn’t Stand With Us post the proposal on its site or at least distribute the proposal to its mailing list?

Anyway, the notion that Williams “culture of hate” is absurd. It may be true that a majority of students are indifferent to this sort of PC-preening, but surely that is not the same thing as “hate.” In any event, even if you do believe that Williams is filled with hateful racists, you will need to hide those feelings if you want the faculty to go along with your plans.

5) What do faculty critics think of this idea? They believe that the vast majority of the student body have no interest in PC workshops. They think that such an event will be ignored by almost all students, and certainly by any student who might be skeptical of the exercise. They think that class time is much more precious than any such event. They want to see the proponents demonstrate that this is not just a momentary enthusiasm. They will be unimpressed once they realize that someone (Professor Wendy Raymond?) has bamboozled them in to think that this proposal might have meaningful student support when, in fact, 95% of the students know nothing about it.

6) How will faculty critics stop this idea? Delay and scheduling. As the Record makes clear, the faculty do not want to give up a day of classes but they are ready to move things around. If the students want to sacrifice a day of their vacation (the dead week between Winter Study and second semester), then fine. Go ahead.

But the problem is that students do not want this. The College Council voted unanimously against shortening dead week from 5 days to 4. Instead, they proposed using a day from Winter Study. Yet that is hardly likely to work very well either.

Surely some of our faculty readers can give us more insight into what people are saying when Wendy Raymond is out of range . . .

College Council
Meeting

Wednesday, April
16, 2008, 7:30-9:00

Meeting in Hopkins
Hall Basement, B03 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).

Gas Mileage

Change
in how money is given. Now the rates for gas mileage are $0.15 for 5
people by car and $0.26 per mile for ten people by college van. Rachel
Levy (Treasurer) proposed to raise the rate to $0.17 for 5 people by
car and $0.28 for ten people by college van. This is about a one-cent
raise per year. This rate change would equal about $4.25 per gallon
for 25-gallon car (which makes sense if you expect it to cover tolls).

Thomas
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) motioned to approve the new rates. Narae
Park (Dodd Board Rep) seconded the motion.

The
motion to raise the gas mileage rates passed.

ACE

Ali
Barrett (President of ACE) and Teri Hoffman (ACE Concerts) came to College
Council to request money for the ACE concert, Third Eye Blind, scheduled
to perform here on Sunday, April 20, 2008. Originally, ACE budgeted
for a $60,000 show all-inclusive, and as of last Tuesday the total cost
of the concert was $69,709.91. The cost had to be raised for catering
and for a new stage that has to be rented and set up for the band because
the stage that the school owns is not adequate. They have $19,000 in
ticket revenue and have $40,200 from ACE, co-sponsorship, and neighborhoods
and the Dean’s office is giving $200 to show support. The remaining
amount is $10,509.91. Campus life was willing to match what College
Council is willing to contribute up to $5,500.

College
Council gives ACE about $60,000 for concerts every year and they get
money from co-sponsorship as the year goes on. The neighborhood governance
boards also contributed money for the Third Eye Blind concert.

When
you sign a band for a concert, the band’s agency sends the school
a contract and we make changes and send it back to the agency. If the
school does not hear back from the agency, then we assume that the contract
is accepted and signed. Third Eye Blind sent the contract back to the
school too late for us to renegotiate their demands for four-dozen towels,
three hot meals, and a different stage.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that the maximum we would have to give
is $5,250 because of what the Office of Campus Life is willing to contribute.

Jeremy
Goldstein (co-President) asked what we could do in the future to prevent
this from happening.

Ali
Barrett (ACE President) said that the reason that the vote for the band
happened was because the last College Council told ACE that they needed
to have an all-campus vote. There were bands on the ballot that were
less expensive that would have been good.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that they wanted a democratic process for
all bands that were financially feasible.

Ali
Barrett (ACE President) said that she thought that it was feasible to
cover the cost of Third Eye Blind and that the overcharges are a result
of unforeseen costs.

Emanuel
Yekutiel (Class of 2011 Rep) thought that the problem was with contracts
process rather than with the voting process.

Sarah
Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) said that it was great that the vote was brought
to campus, but the list of bands has to remain within financial limits.

Teri
Hoffman (ACE Concerts) said that Third Eye Blind has a reputation for
being diva-esque and that is why she thought that they should not have
been on the list of potential bands when the ballot was sent to a student
vote. The contracts committee is making a deadline for contracts being
signed to avoid the problem of overcharges in the future.

Thomas
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) asked about the day of the week and wondered
why the concert was on a Sunday this year.

Ali
Barrett (ACE President) explained that Sunday was the only day we could
get them for $45,000. Traditionally, the Spring Fling concert is on
the Thursday night before Spring Fling.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that when the contract goes in we want
it to be a comprehensive offer that would include not only the band
fee but also any other contingencies and that the band should agree
to have to perform on the stage that the school owns.

Teri
Hoffman (ACE Concerts) thought that that request was not realistic because
all bands have “riders” with certain requests attached to their
contracts.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that this is not a debt issue and that
he was happy with the way CC and ACE have worked together, especially
because ACE told CC in advance of spending the money rather than spending
it and working it out later.

Joey
Kiernan motioned to pass the $5,250 minus whatever the Dean’s office
contributes and Rachel Ko seconded the motion.

Emanuel
Yekutiel (Class of 2011 Rep) made an unfriendly amendment to make it
5,000. He wanted to set a precedent of not spending more that $5,000.

Sarah
Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) saw that as an unfair punishment for a mistake
that was not ACE’s fault.

Keith
Butts (Spencer At-Large) said that CC didn’t want to set a precedent
at all, but by setting a $5,000 precedent we were setting a precedent.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that he didn’t see why we wouldn’t
want future College Councils to have flexibility.

Emanuel
Yekutiel (Class of 2011 Rep) withdrew his amendment.

Teri
Hoffman (ACE Concerts) said that we could potentially move the voting
process up to November. Better known bands set their schedules for Spring
in January or February, so this might limit us in some ways, but it
will hopefully prevent another overcharge problem from happening.

Thomas
Rubinsky (Class of 2010 Rep) motioned to amend Joey Kiernan’s motion
to give ACE $5,250 with the stipulation being that ACE has to have the
vote before we leave for winter break. Rachel Levy (Treasurer) seconded
the motion.

The
amendment passed.

The
motion to give ACE $5,250 passed.

To-Go Boxes

Emanuel
Yekutiel (Class of 2011 Rep) went to the food committee meeting where
they passed around a new to-go box. There are no to-go boxes in Paresky
right now because the to-go box factories burned down. The director
of dining services listed two reasons why we shouldn’t have to-go
boxes. First, they wanted to facilitate a sense of community so that
people ate together in a dining setting. Second was the green argument,
which was multi-layered. Almost everyone at the meeting was in favor
of getting rid of to-go boxes, except for Emanuel (who was one of five
students present at the meeting.

Apparently
Dining Services has already ordered to-go boxes for the rest of the
year, but the order is stuck in China. If the students are not in favor
of to-go boxes then Dining Services will get rid of them, in Emanuel’s
words, “for now and forever more.” If students are overwhelmingly
in favor of having to-go boxes then Dining Services will provide them.
Student opinion will be gleaned by the responses to a question on the
Dining Services survey sent out via e-mail at the end of every year
regarding to-go boxes.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that Dining Services is very good at responding
to the opinions given by College Council and the student body.

Rachel
Ko (Wood At-Large) proposed boxes that were more like Tupperware that
students could take home and then bring back to the dining hall to be
washed and picked up by other students. The logic behind this is that
it is more sustainable.

The
food committee probably doesn’t trust students to return Tupperware.

Straw Polls:

In favor of to-go boxes continuing
(16 in favor)

In favor of a box that is disposable
(8 in favor)

In favor of a reusable to-go
box system (7 in favor)

Claiming Williams

Shayla
Williams (2009) proposed an idea at last month’s faculty meeting to
have a half day of activity to promote claiming Williams, which would
encourage students to engage in discussions about difference. This proposal
came out of a subcommittee of Stand With Us. The idea was formulated
with the goal being so that every student at Williams can start to call
Williams home. Every one at Williams has to be open-minded and you may
not necessarily agree with people but you have to be open minded to
accept people for who they are.

The
proposed date for this day is Thursday, February 5, 2009, which is currently
the first day of Spring semester. If this date were chosen, Spring semester
would start on Wednesday, February 4, 2009 and Thursday classes would
meet then, ensuring that professors would not lose a class meeting.
On Thursday, classes would be cancelled and students would have the
opportunity to participate in a half day of activities such as workshops,
discussions, performances, talks, etc. That day was chosen because it
would be a time when students, faculty, and staff could all participate.

Rachel
Ko (Wood At-Large) asked if there was a student vote regarding the day
if this was going to happen?

Shayla
Williams (2009) said that the proposal has to be passed by the faculty
and, if it is passed, then they will poll the student body to see if
it is something they want. They haven’t decided if it will be a vote
yet, but they are open to that. Additionally, the group is looking into
training for professors to help them feel comfortable with this process.
This coming year would be a pilot year for the Claiming Williams Day
and the hope is to turn it in to something like Mountain Day that happens
every year.

Sarah
Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) asked if the results of a student poll would
be binding?

Shayla
Williams (2009) said that the poll would be to get feedback.

Sarah
Moore (Class of 2009 Rep) responded that her concern was that if students
don’t want the day, then they wont attend the programming. If students
don’t support it then they won’t go.

Shayla
Williams (2009) said this is problematic and this is why they don’t
want to approach it as a vote on whether students want the day. What
they were thinking was to present it more along the lines of, “If
this day were to happen, what would you want?”

Rachel
Levy (Treasurer) said that she thought people might be resentful because
it would shorten Dead Week and thought that students would be resistant
to this idea.

Shayla
Williams (2009) said that another idea would be to have it during last
days of Winter Study, making it more appealing to students.

Straw Poll:

Rather have the day come from
Dead Week (so a 4 day dead week) NONE

In favor of having the day
come from Winter Study (all)

Emanuel
Yekutiel (Class of 2011 Rep) said that he wanted to emphasize having
the vote be about what people would want when we have the day, not if
people want to have the day.

Several
people commented about making it mandatory and how can you get people
to go. Shayla said that Scott Lewis (WOC) is willing to have some things
during Mountain Day that would relate to Claiming Williams to have the
idea be introduced to the community.

Rachel
Ko (Wood At-Large) suggested advertising the day as something that would
focus on personal improvement rather than education about difference
to make it more appealing to students.

Shayla
Williams (2009) agreed and added that the point of the day is to openly
engage these issues and provide a forum for discussion. They have no
funding currently, but are confident that they will be able to find
it.

Straw Poll:

The student poll should ask
HOW students want to do the day rather than whether they want to do
it (15 in favor)

In favor of claiming Williams
day (12 in favor, 5 abstained)

Student Projects

Wally
Boudway ’08 and Dave Weimer ’06 wrote an op-ed in the Record. The
purpose of the op-ed was to address issues of a lack of ownership over
campus culture. They are really interested in holding a public meeting
of students, administration, and staff, and want support from College
Council to get members of the administration at this public meeting.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) asked if he wanted College Council to support
an open forum or to support his ideas?

Dave
Weimer (2006) said that their focus is changing how students are involved
in the governance of the college. They wanted to do something that implicates
the entire student body to address the question of how to change a culture.
This is an easy way to affect a lot of people’s lives.

Peter
Nurnberg (co-President) said that he was not sure why the first meeting
with the campus needed to include President Schapiro and the administration.
He said that he would feel a lot more comfortable having College Council
support a forum for students that the administration would be welcome
to attend.

Absentees:
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
Council.

Not in attendance:
CJ Flournoy (Minority Concerns), Jon Prigoff (Wood Board Rep), Caroline
Henry (Currier Board Rep), Tasha Chu (Dennett)

Respectfully
Submitted,

Emily C. Deans

Secretary, College
Council

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