Updates from the VSA

Forum with Associate Dean Ed Pittman

The Vassar Student Association (VSA) Senate held a forum with Associate Dean of the College for Campus Life & Diversity Ed Pittman this past Sunday, Oct. 15. Here is what they discussed:

—Mandatory facilitated screenings for first-years of the documentary “I’m Not Racist… Am I?” start this week. This new program is meant to spark deeper and more informed conversations on campus about race, racism and privilege in the United States. The College plans to extend these screenings to faculty, administrators and eventually the entire student body.

—Pittman addressed questions from the VSA about the functions of the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT), including details of BIRT protocol, how reports are deemed bias incidents, the efficacy of the BIRT website and incident log, follow-up investigations of reported incidents, under what circumstances and in what manner all-campus emails are sent out following a bias report and questions of student involvement in these processes.

Forum with the Traditions Committee

The VSA also held a brief forum on Oct. 15 with a representative from the Traditions Committee to discuss Halloweekend. The Committee sent out a survey to students on Sept. 13 to gain feedback about the upcoming programming. The Halloween party this year will take place on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. in a large heated tent on Noyes Circle. Card access to Noyes will be limited to residents, and the designated bathrooms will be the ACDC’s, where Late Night at the Deece will still take place. Chair of Finance Robyn Lin ’18 clarified that the decision not to serve alcohol at the Halloween event came about due to budgetary restraints on the part of the Senior Class Council.

Executive Board updates

Members of the VSA Exec Board will be attending meetings with the Board of Trustees as they convene on campus this Friday and Saturday. VSA President Anish Kanoria ’18 will attend as the student observer to the Board of Trustees, and the VSA Exec Board will meet with the Board’s student affairs committee.

Finance: There was mandatory Workday training for org treasurers held on Wednesday, Oct. 17. Finance restructuring will also be starting soon.

Equity & Inclusion: BIRT will be reviewing the incident that occurred in the Women’s Center to determine if it constitutes a bias incident.

Academics: The Academics Committee is compiling information about the burden of textbook costs on students and their academic success.

General update

Next week’s Senate meeting (Sunday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. in New England 105) will include a forum with President Elizabeth Bradley, where she will discuss the College’s financial status and answer questions from VSA representatives.

—Noah Purdy, Senior Editor

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