Updates from the VSA May 2, 2017

The Second VSA Senate is Now In Office!

As of May 1, the members of the 2017-18 VSA Senate have officially begun their terms! Congratulations to all of the new and returning Senate members. There will be one final VSA Senate meeting this academic year: this coming Sunday at 7 p.m. in New England 105.

The 2017-18 VSA Budget and Special Purpose Funds

On Sunday, April 30, the 2016-17 VSA Senate passed the FY2018 VSA Budget. The budget contained cuts across the board due to the VSA’s budget crisis.

On the bright side, the cuts that were made, in addition to the Special Purpose Funds freeze, will eliminate the debt that had accumulated from the past many years. The budget also takes into account revenue losses that the VSA suffers yearly as students withdraw from the College or go abroad.

A large thank you to the Annual Budgeting Committee who worked tirelessly on crafting the best budget they could given the circumstances. Thank you also to all of the orgs who were patient and understanding throughout this process. You can find the full budget in PDF form in an email sent out by the VSA President on Tuesday, May 2, with the subject line “FY2018 VSA Budget.”

VSA Special Purpose Funds are frozen through the end of the year. Reimbursements must be submitted by May 16, and P-cards will be deactivated after May 16 if orgs do not contact Robyn Lin ’18, the 2017-18 Chair of Finance.

VSA Friday Movie Night: This Week’s Screening is “LEGO Batman”!

The VSA and the Campus Activities Office have revived the Friday Night Movie Series that took place long ago in Blodgett Auditorium every week! This week (Friday, May 5), the movie will be “LEGO Batman,” screening at 8 p.m. in Blodgett Auditorium. We are back to our normal location in Blodgett Auditorium. Refreshments will also be provided thanks to our new popcorn machine!

Changes to College Mission Statement

Recently, a committee composed of Trustees, administrators, faculty and students proposed minor changes to the College’s Mission Statement that would emphasize the College’s commitment to upholding diversity and inclusion. The major addition to the statement is a sentence that reads as follows: “Founded in 1861 to provide women an education equal to that once available only to men, Vassar continues to pursue diversity, inclusion, and equity as essential components of a rich intellectual and cultural environment in which all members, including those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups, are valued and empowered to thrive.”

Upon receiving the VSA’s feedback, the committee requested that the VSA propose alternative language for the statement. Instead, the VSA Senate endorsed a statement that declined to provide alternative language to the statement. Read the VSA’s statement below:

“The 1st Senate of the Vassar Student Association declines to offer alternative wording for the Proposed Mission Statement. The pursuit of justice is essential, but that pursuit must be undertaken with an acute awareness of the unjust state of the present and the past. If the Mission Statement cannot acknowledge that Vassar is not and has not been a place that pursues diversity, inclusion, and equity, then the VSA Senate does not believe that it is productive to propose changes in wording. As proposed, the Mission Statement assumes that Vassar has been (or at least has attempted to be) a justice-oriented institution for the marginalized ever since its founding. It is true that Vassar was founded as a women’s institution, but it was founded as an institution for white, upper-class women. Obscuring this fact erases the institutional struggles of the very ‘underrepresented and disadvantaged groups’ whom this statement purports to support. The College has not ‘pursue[d] diversity, inclusion, and equity’ ever since its foundation, and the 1st VSA Senate, recognizing that any language which does not maintain that illusion would be rejected, declines to propose or endorse Mission Statement language saying that it has.”

Farewell!

I’ve said it various times recently in emails and speeches, but I want to thank every single Vassar student for the honor and the privilege of serving as your VSA President. This year, the VSA navigated a brand new structure, crafted an admirable set of guiding principles, continued and re-implemented many of the VSA’s most important and student-focused initiatives and set the stage for future activism and accessibility in student government. I have complete faith in next year’s Senate to fight for equity and justice while representing the entire student body with great pride. It has been a pleasure getting to know so many of you in my capacity as VSA President this year, whether through meetings, various events, or just emailing back and forth. I hope you feel I have served you well. I hope that all of you have a fantastic rest of your semester, a wonderful summer, and a great rest of your Vassar career if there are still years ahead of you!

All my best,

Calvin

 

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