Updates from the VSA April 20, 2017

VSA Elections Have Concluded–Meet Your New Senate!

Last Thursday, after days of filing, campaigning, and then more campaigning after some unexpected technical difficulties, we announced the results of our 2017 Spring Elections! Meet the second VSA Senate:

Executive Board: Miranda Amey (President), Anish Kanoria (Vice President), Tamar Ballard (Chair of Equity & Inclusion), Joaquim Goncalves (Chair of Academics), Pat DeYoung (Chair of Organizations), Robyn Lin (Chair of Finance) and Takunda Maisva (Chair of Residential Affairs).

Committee Chairs: Tanyx Madrigal (Health & Wellness), Maimuna Touray (Planning), Rori Chuck (Programming).

Class Senators: Cyrus Cohen, Alicia Menard-Livingston, Jacob Sowder (2018); Max Jahns, Robin Corleto, D’Angelo Mori, Kiki Walker, Yina Wang (2019); May Venkat, Brandon Impastato, Micah Fedenko (2020).

College Planning Senators: Angela Sbano and one more to be filled by appointment.

There will also be a few more Senate positions (Co-Chairs, etc.) filled by appointment. You can check out the full results on the Misc’s Twitter account! To go back and read the winning candidates’ statements, check out http://vsa.vassar.edu/dash/elections/candidates.

VSA Friday Movie Night: This Week’s Screening is Moonlight!

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, April 21), the movie will be Moonlight, screening at 8 p.m. in the Blodgett Auditorium. Refreshments will also be provided thanks to our new popcorn machine!

Changes to College Mission Statement

Recently, a committee comprised 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 First 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.

Final New York City Shuttle of the Year!

Save the date: the last VSA-sponsored VSA shuttle to New York City will be Saturday, April 29. As the date approaches, keep an eye out for more information via email and in these Misc updates about ticket sales!

Take the What Happens Here Survey!

Vassar is conducting the second What Happens Here: Campus Climate survey of all currently enrolled students concerning issues relevant to sexual assault, misconduct and interpersonal violence at Vassar.

In order to have reliable information, it is vital that as many Vassar students participate as are comfortable. Your candid answers will be helpful, informative and appreciated.

Your participation is entirely voluntary and completely anonymous. Your decision to answer any particular question on the survey, or not, is equally voluntary.

Links to the survey are individualized (so that the survey may not be taken twice) and can be found in your vassar.edu email inbox until Friday, April 28th. The email containing the link is labeled: “Vassar Sexual Misconduct Survey – your invitation and link”.

Survey FAQs, including findings from, and responses to, the 2015 Campus Climate Survey may be found on our survey website! Stay tuned for updates at http://www.vassar.edu/whathappenshere/

Let’s encourage one another to take this survey so that we have a better understanding of #WhatHappensHere.

Annual Budgeting

Annual Budgeting is underway for the 2017-18 year. This year’s VSA Senate will vote on the 2017-18 budget at their last meeting of the year on April 30!

—Calvin Lamothe, VSA President

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