Updates from the VSA April 27, 2017

Annual Budgeting, Special Purpose Fund Freeze, Last Meeting of the 2016-17 Senate

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! VSA Special Purpose Funds are still frozen until further notice as the VSA sorts out this and next year’s budgets. The final meeting of the first VSA Senate (2016-17) will be this Sunday, April 30. The meeting will be a joint meeting between the current Senate and the second Senate (2017- 18); Calvin will officially pass the gavel to next year’s VSA President, Miranda Amey.

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

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 28), the movie will be “Get Out,” screening at 8 p.m. in Taylor 203. Note that the event has temporarily moved from its normal location to accommodate a different event in Blodgett Auditorium. Refreshments will also be provided thanks to our new popcorn machine!

Final New York City Shuttle of the Year!

This Saturday, April 29th, the final New York City Shuttle will be leaving at 8 a.m. in front of Main Building and returning by 10 p.m. VSA Programming will be tabling in the College Center on Wednesday and Friday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Each ticket will be $10, and you can also purchase from the Info Desk starting 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

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.

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 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.”

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