Wesleyan Student Assembly — Wesleyan University
Minutes: December 5, 2004, No. 11
WSA OfficersPresident: Emily Polak
Vice President: Jeremy Abrams
Coordinator: Ali Gomer
Treasurer: Pacho Carreno
Meeting Agenda and Business
- Approval of the minutes
- Committee reports
- Long term housing discussion
- New Business and announcements
Opening of Meeting
The meeting is opened at 7:06 PM.
- There will be an unofficial meeting next Sunday at 5:45 p.m. in order to have a group dinner.
- CC is running elections for the SBC this week until Friday at 11:59 p.m.
- There will be IPC and CoCo appointments after the break.
- Everyone is requested to bring a canned food item to donate to the campus canned food drive.
- Will be hosting a forum on public safety
- Ask Nora Connor for other happenings.
- EC met with Michael Benn to talk about publicizing issues of diversity discussions.
- Carrie is leaving Wesleyan this year. The treasurer, president and coordinator will be in charge of selecting Carrie's replacement.
- Wesclassifieds will be going up within the next two weeks.
- We will be interviewing advisors soon about
- In the midst of a lot of issues to be continued next semester. Ask Karen Courtheoux.
- Giving out space survey to collect information.
- Fauver Field dorms furniture layouts. They will no longer supply trash cans.
- Major maintenance met on Monday to talk about lack of power. Rising costs of utilities, infrastructure, student housing and fire safety.
- Liaison talked with NY Times and Dean Mike and found that the readership program is potentially in limbo.
- There will be a meeting tomorrow about changes to the academic calendar and blackboard.
- ITS will be putting up 6 to 12 internet kiosks on campus.
- Last meeting of the semester is this Friday.
- Revamping of WSA office will be done in early January.
- Took back $5,000 for a speaker who will not be coming.
- Karen Courtheoux asks if senior students could pass down trash cans to the next year's students. Also, is there any way we can legitimize the sampling of the survey on student spaces? Nathan will look into it.
- Arijit Sen asks if Fauver Field dorms will have walk-in closets: yes.
- Zach Kolodin is concerned that students will not use their recycling bins for recycling.
- Emily Polak aks if there might be an excessive amount of newspapers everyday. Anda Greeney says that he will talk with the Times people about having a reduced number of papers.
- Pacho Carreno says that the SBC was not in a position to fund the Student Organizing Center a few weeks ago. The SBC thinks that the administration should be funding most of its start-up fees. The WSA would be committing themselves to part of the funding.
- Ben Evar asks Nathan Victoria if the Fauver field dorms will be using green energy. Nathan says that first the power would come from the campus service. Nora adds that
- Ali Gomer asks if there will be dining reading week at summerfields. Dan Matzkin says that he emailed the food services contact about the issue.
- Rabs Hutchful asks if the Ethnic Greek Council will be hosting a party: yes.
- Brittany Mitchell asks Nathan Victoria to get more specifics on budgetary issues. Ben Evar says that the construction services is tweaking their budget right now.
- Pacho Carreno says that COCo had agreed to create a calendar on online events. It will be talked about tomorrow. They have not yet gone to the events because the events have not happened.
- Anda Greeney asks why the $5,000 was taken back. Pacho Carreno says that the event's speaker was not able to come. He asks if the RIDE is typically late. Rabs Hutchful says that Public Safety is frequently late.
- Nora Connor mentions that the Recycling Committee met and decided that there should be a recycling container where there is a trashcan.
- Jerry Ai asks if we could also get the Wall Street Journal. Emily Polak says it would be tough. For now, we should focus on saving the Times.
- Nora Connor says that the university will buy green energy when they find a provider.
- Arijit Sen suggests that we should be able to get the maximum amount of food for students.
- Nathan Victoria suggests that we should send emails to Marcelo or Manny if we have RIDE problems.
- Karen Courtheoux says that the RIDE pick-up is ideal for her because she is off the given routes. Jerry Ai suggests that there should be a specific route time and the driver could stay at each place for a certain time. Nathan Victoria suggests that there is an opportunity cost because the RIDE also attends to escort calls.
- Brittany Mitchell suggests that we sit down with Manny to discuss the RIDE. Nathan Victoria suggests that we could do that next semester.
- GPS systems for the RIDE are discussed. Would it be worth the cost? Decisions are split. E&ES department is looking into this.
- Arijit Sen is selected as member of the week.
Nathan Victoria says that students wanted the administration to discuss the future of university housing. The administration said it aims to create a firmly rooted sense of place, a well-connected community, and a sense of Wesleyan identity. Getting parents opinions is important. The downtown zoning district has houses that must be sold to families. This means that some of our program houses will be sold to families. In exchange, the university will be allowed to do construction to Downey house and hi- and low-rise. We will lose about eight spots in the housing lottery. Currently, there are 220 beds off-campus. After in-town is taken away, fauver field dorms are added, the two senior houses added, there will only be 48 beds off campus. Housing services will not get rid of wood-frame houses-they will be revamping them or replacing them with new houses. Film house, Buddhist house, science house and la casa are on the fringe of the university. They will be pushed farther to the extreme end of campus. Most of the buildings on Long Lane will not be used. These buildings will probably be deconstructed and replaced by other building. There might be a retirement home for retired faculty and their family on the premises around Long Lane. There will be a new University center but there will be parking problems and grass will die where students tramp over it.
- Zach Kolodin suggests that the RA to student ratio is too low in Fauver field dorms. Nathan says no.
- Brittany Mitchell asks if program houses will be taken away when houses on Washington are sold. Nathan Victoria suggests that we should definitely talk about this. Brittany suggests that in respect for handicapped people, we should provide a path across andrus field. Nathan says the temporary winter path would be the best.
- Rabs Hutchful asks what will the old campus center turn into: office space.
- Annie Fox suggests that Home Avenue should be available to undergrads since it is closer. Nathan says that grads live there because they are quieter.
- Evan Simko-Bednarski suggests that having a village for program houses would be taking us away from there attachment to the community. Annie responds that having houses close to community members builds tension between students and community members.
- Anda Greeney asks if the administration is trying to phase out off-campus housing options: essentially yes.
- Jacob Mirsky asks where seniors who are supposed to live in Home will live: in the new prototype houses. Jacob emphasizes that students should be on a committee to talk about Long Lane.
- Zach Kolodin suggests that we could have multi-storied houses with multiple programs: The problem would be that there are not many three-storied houses. Brittany Mitchell says that there would be a lack of common space; suggests that the program house community would be a good thing.
- Brian Brotman asks where new students will eat when MoCon is demolished. He also suggests that universities are one of the worst purveyors of gentrification. We should keep this in mind when looking at any university housing plan.
- Rabs Hutchful asks if the Fauver Field dorms will be handicap accessible: yes. She suggests that Hi-rise, low-rise residents should attend the community living standards meetings; suggests it would be a good thing that we can have as many people participate as possible.
- Emily Polak suggests that we should discuss Summerfields in the future. We should advocate not to turn any more streets into all quiet streets. The problem with the program housing community is that there would be a one street, one party policy to enforce.
- Nora Connor asks what kind of meal options would be available in the new campus center. Once the new campus center opens, Nathan says, a lot of "poop" will hit the fan.
- The issue of making certain dorms only for sophomores is discussed. This will probably not be an issue of concern.
- Annie Fox asks what kind of large student spaces will be available. Nathan mentions a cafe, a lecture room and other spaces in the campus center and dance studios and a ballroom in Fayerweather gym.
- Jacob Mirsky asks what will be closed when the new campus center opens: we're not sure now, but it will affect the meal plan options.
- Jerry Ai asks if the new campus center will have a game center: yes, in the basement.
- Brittany Mitchell asks if there will be a WSA space in the new campus center: yes, on the first floor. Emily Polak says that we will keep the WSA building.
New Business and Announcements
- Zach Kolodin suggests that we should address making sure that students feel they are represented. Evan Simko-Bednarski suggests that we make more of an effort to get students to sit in on our meetings. Ali Gomer suggests that we could create a publication of major issues for the WSA. Jacob Mirsky suggests that our assembly shouldn't be restricted only to elected members. He thinks we could put an insert into the Argus. Arijit Sen suggests that students are very whiny but that the amount of negative feedback is something to be concerned about; suggests that we should use the Argus more and that COCo should change into a public relations committee. Zach Kolodin suggests that we should open up lines of communication about what goes on in our meetings. Brittany Mitchell says that we should be concerned about getting out important knowledge to students without regard to how it hurts our lines of communication. Annie Fox suggests that students will have to read more. Evan Simko-B! ednarski says that centralization of information is the problem; we should try to disseminate the information as widely as possible. Our goal should be to make information more accessible to students. Jacob Mirsky suggests that we should promote the events calendar as an effective tool to show that WSA is involved in what is going on. If the University Organizing Center has the possibility of taking over the WSA, we should be able to have a rebuttal. We should make it clear why we are important. Jacob Mirsky suggests that we have a meeting with Argus people. Brittany Mitchell says that we should focus on how we are viewed based on our input in the Argus. Matt says that the best way to get students on our side is to offer them some time at the beginning of each meeting to voice their complaints. Ali Gomer suggests that we could maybe meet at 6:30 to accommodate this need; we could be representing our classes better by hosting events, being more approachable.
- Emily Polak says that these comments are very valid and that we will talk about our roles when next semester starts. Does the WSA want to take on more of a radical, student-based approach. Currently the Argus reports to Justin Harmon of the administration. She says that we can be a strong collaborative force with the University Organizing Center and that we should not be so worried about them taking over our duties.
- Annie Fox says that she is concerned about the lack of strong student voices. Too many groups go straight to the administration. We should centralize information and discussion.
- Brittany Mitchell suggests that we should look at what works and what does not.
- Arijit Sen says that students feel neglected despite their activism. They feel like their opinions are not being regarded at all. Brittany Mitchell adds that we should publicize why students' views are not being validated.
- Evan Simko-Bednarski suggests that people think we are ineffective because we are on the periphery of action. We need to discover what kind of negotiations are important. The issue is credibility-we must be able to make students believe in our effectiveness.
- Jacob Mirsky says that administration members should come to meetings more. We need a lot more dialogue with administrators. Zach Kolodin suggests that there are more meetings above our weekly meeting that we don't see. Brittany Mitchell suggests that if we advertised that administrators are coming to meetings, maybe more students would attend our meetings. Emily Polak says that there is truth behind the administration's tendency to divide and conquer. We will have more people come to our meetings. Students might think that we have a lot of clout with the administration but we don't have enough. Emily Polak says that our validity as a student assembly has grown since she first joined the WSA but that we are at a new stage in which we are unsure of how to make the next step. Pacho Carreno says that he understands why we are so frustrated with our fights but that we must maintain our composure. Diplomacy is much better than any kind of big protest outside of North College. Let's not throw everything away because we haven't won the big prize lately. Annie Fox suggests that we might be able to move Bennet's conversation hours to immediately before the WSA meeting. Ali Gomer responds that this was disagreeable to the assembly.
- Nora Connor says that Jesse Somer and the board are pushing the proposal that Luke Snelling wrote. They are trying to push for as much responsibility as possible in choosing the station manager. Check out www.wesu.fm.org and come to the Amy Goodman speech soon. Evan Simko-Bednarski asks for anyone who wants to help him research the issue in the WESU archives should come to him. Brittany Mitchell suggests that Janine Basinger is a good contact to speak with about the WESU issue.
- Emily Polak says she now has the ability to send campus-wide emails.
The meeting is adjourned at 9:41 PM.
Arie Eernisse, WSA Secretary