ASCMC Weekly Beat: Week of 12/2
December 10, 2012
by Michael Irvine
Shannon Miller '16 contributed to reporting.
ASCMC’s Executive Board started off its meeting this Sunday on an unusual note. At the beginning of the meeting, students from the Claremont Colleges Against Cancer spoke to the Board about their personal experiences with cancer and how the Board can get involved with this year’s Relay for Life. The Board decided to create a team for the event, which will be held on April 6-7, 2013, and usually receives ASCMC funding.
ASCMC President Aditya Pai ’13 stated that the Elections Committee had postponed deciding on someone to fill the vacant ASCMC webmaster position until it takes applications for the position of Chief Technology Officer, which is also currently vacant. Pai and Vice President Miles Bird ’13 both mentioned last week’s State of the Students address, which both said went well.
ASCMC Senator and guest Logan Solomon ’15 told the Board about the Social Scene Task Force he is chairing. He said that its composition was not yet set but that it would aim to get data on how students participate in the campus’s social life and feedback on what is working and what is not, possibly by using a campus-wide survey. Solomon and Bird were careful to clarify that the task force will be kept separate from the Executive Board’s influence but that the data it gathers should be helpful both to ASCMC and to the Dean of Students.
President Pro Tempore Miles Lifson ’13 announced that the Committee for Technology and Elections will be holding a second information session in the Hub this Friday. The committee hopes to get student feedback on questions about the role of technology, especially the Internet and social media, in ASCMC campaigns and elections.
Pai said that he will soon start a public engagement event similar to the "Mao Pow Wows" held by former ASCMC President Jessica Mao '12. At these events, possibly called “Paiday Friday,” “Pie with Pai,” or “Chai with Pai,” he will be available (probably with some kind of food) to talk to students and get their opinions, suggestions, and complaints regarding ASCMC. He hopes to try it out this Thursday, likely at the Athenaeum during Tea.
The Board then turned to a discussion of event registration policy, specifically regarding the Childish Gambino after party in Claremont Hall, which was hosted by a student group and registered for fewer students than actually attended.
Multiple members mentioned that it seems like the college administration and ASCMC do not understand party registration in the same way. While the RAs need parties registered so that they can make sure they are safe, several Board members said that it seems like the Dean of Students office sees registration as a way to cap attendance and alcohol consumption. Pai said that he would bring the issue up with Dean Spellman during their weekly meeting on Tuesday.
At the end of the meeting, the group moved into closed session on the suggestion of Social Affairs Chair Steven Limandibhratha ’14. He said the purpose was to discuss an issue regarding the Dean of Students privately.
Senate approved requests of $350 for an appreciation BBQ for Story House workers; $120 for Mylene Fotso ’16 to attend a World Health Organization simulation conference in Toronto; $440 for Alice Chang ’15 and Ike Thomas ’15 to spend winter break working in Ecuador with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF); and $300 for the 5C Animal Shelter Volunteer Team to pay for snacks for the student volunteers.
The first topic in Open Forum was the continuing discussion regarding the use of social media in student campaigns. A common point brought up was the idea of free speech and freedom to run one’s campaign. Many senators agreed that allowing the use of Facebook groups and other tools of social networking merely gives those running a greater degree of deserved control over their campaign.
One senator proposed a well-received idea that students could use YouTube to create and share campaign videos, which would allow broader access to candidates’ platforms.
The last topic was a proposed amendment to the ASCMC Constitution to reform Senate voting procedures. Currently, the Constitution mandates that each dorm elect two student senators at the beginning of the year and that, on certain “formal” votes, Senate voting is conducted by dorm. Due to the reality that this policy has not been consistently practiced nor enforced this year, the amendment suggests that Senate eliminate the process of voting by dorm and make official the procedure currently used to become a senator: either show up to the first meeting, or come to the three consecutive meetings after the first one. The amendment would also remove all references to “formal” and “informal” votes in the constitution, since ending dorm voting would make the distinction irrelevant.
While the issue that led to the amendment being proposed was recognized as a problem, senators were unsure if the amendment was the best way to address the issue. Of significant concern was the definition of a quorum in Senate: currently, a quorum is reached if representatives from half of the dorms are present. Under this amendment, half of all senators would need to be present to establish a quorum. It was noted that average attendance at Senate is around 30 people per meeting, while the total number of senators is in the mid-70's. As such, there would rarely be a quorum at meetings if the amendment passed as currently written. A decision was not reached on the amendment.