Wesleyan Student Assembly — Wesleyan University
Minutes: December 07, 2008
Approval of the Minutes
Q &A with Michael Roth
Special Surprise from Mike
Meeting opens — 7:00 pm
1) Fight Song
2) Approval of Minutes
Minutes approved from 11/16/08 and minutes approved from 11/23/08
3) Open Forum
4) Q and A with President Roth
Karl: the financial crisis is not only affecting us, but also our peer institutions. Is there an opportunity in this to ‘beat’/undercut peer institutions and highlight what we are doing better than them in this crisis.
Roth: well, the answer is of course not simple. For example, Williams is also increasing their numbers for revenue purposes, as we are. One area where we are doing better is that we are not cancelling any of our teacher searches for next year, which means we will be filling permanent spots and have a ‘better pick’ while other schools will be getting temporary teachers.
Mike: I agree that the salary freeze is preferable to lay-offs.
Becky: accommodating those 30 extra people is not as difficult at the freshman level, because there are large enough rooms where you can shove in a third person, but the effect trickles on to when they are juniors and seniors, and those years will be the bigger problem.
Roth: if we are adding 30 people to raise an extra $4 million, it might be that we have to spend 250,000 to ensure that we can accommodate those people.
Jeff: what is the tuition plan increase proposed?
Roth: well, the board will eventually vote on a lot of these at the upcoming meeting. Some are of the opinion, that since we subsidize every student with about 15,000-20,000 including those who can afford it, we should perhaps make those people pay it. However, everyone, no matter what their income is feeling the pinch, so we will see how the board votes. The tuition increase will probably be more than 5% the next year.
Melody: sustainable practices such as taking away the trays are an inconvenience to students but can save thousands of dollars. Is the administration looking into that?
Roth: I don’t know enough about the tray issue at this time, please email me and I will get back to you.
Candace: Res Life depends on students going abroad. With rising costs, it’s likely that less students will go abroad, which will lead to even more of a housing crunch.
Roth: we always talk about financial aid, but let me put it this way — I would rather someone get their 3rd choice room than their 2nd choice room, than lay-off 5 people, and have them on unemployment, and taking away their health insurance.
Benedict: students have in recent weeks been very receptive to cutting back in this financial crisis, while other areas (faculty, administration) have not. Will it be the case that those who speak out loudest now against cuts will get their funds while those who accommodate and don’t protest will be the ones from whom the most is taken?
Micah: I would just like the administration to know that allowing people to live off-campus will become more prevalent with the class increase, but I hope that measures will be taken to maintain the sense of community.
Roth: When it comes down to the choice of packing people like sardines or more people living off-campus, what would you do?
Meherazade: Wesleyan is not as competitive as other schools with regard to financial aid for International Students, is the initiative to diversify the campus going to be on the backburner?
Roth: we’re trying to add resources and create more scholarships, but our current priority is to maintain the Freeman Scholars program (at ½ its current strength) since it has taken a huge hit. This probably means that for the short term we might lose out on international students.
Roth: it is important that any revenue raising measures now, are compatible with not leading to additional costs on the student and facilities.
Bradley: we keep talking about 30 students, but in effect, it is going to be a burden of 120 students.
Cesar: While we might accept 120 students, what checks do we have to ensure that the trend does not continue and lead to 30 students being added every year indefinitely?
Chris Goy: How would you convey the value of giving back to Wesleyan to alumni, especially younger alumni, who 3, 4, 6 years out of college are in a position to give, but just won’t.
Roth: a lot has to do with talking to them about what the best aspect of their Wes education was, and how their experiences are serving them now.
Amy: what are your opinions on Grad programs that are high in cost due to the research aspect?
Roth: we looked into this a while ago. In reality the savings would be small because a lot of the grants that our professors (who teach undergraduates) get, actually comes from having the grad program
Saul: the idea of a January term/summer term as a way of creating revenue has been looked at in the past. It is indeed a very transformative matter, and I think that the administration should look at weighing the costs of the current proposals vs. a possible future proposal that might be far more transformative in nature.
5) Committee Reports
Ali: Will we all be privy to survey results?
Bradley: email Jen or committee chairs for particular questions.
Michelle: What is the role of the blog?
Saul: blog will be discussed later.
Candace: know your rights, as far as finals go, should be put up there on the AAC webpage
Dave Meyer ‘won’ the PSAC contest
Candace: the mock GRS is a good idea, but there should be a requirement that RA’s inform their residents about it. Also, the sexual misconduct policy, was there any discussion about stalking?
Elise: I think we should carefully look into how many spaces we assign to program houses so that spaces are kept for GRS
Ali: how many program houses are going to be created?
Jeff: what effect will the increase in the student body have on program housing?
Justin: 230,000 cut in student budget money — anything huge getting cut?
Jen: I was a fan of the highlights, bring them back.
Ben: has the standoff with the Argus been resolved?
Fludie: people who are out of points can’t get ‘to-go’ at Usdan because they don’t have 50 cents
Michelle: how receptive are they to bringing your own food container?
— It’s a health issue.
Cesar: how do you stop light sensors from going off for no reason. Ex: mailroom
6) Meeting closed (for internal elections)
Meeting reopened for New Business and Announcements
7) New Business
Chris Goy: those interested in sustainability please join us for a quick meeting
Sami: happy holidays everyone, have a good break
Karl, David have been elected to SAC
Phil, Sylvie have been appointed to COCO
8) Special Surprise from Mike
I would like to thank everyone; it has been a great semester for the WSA. Our approval rating is at 80% which is really high. No one resigned. We have another semester. We have a lot of potential so let’s make Wes a better place for all the students.
In keeping with a recent tradition, I have a card for everyone.
Meherazade Sumariwalla ’12