Updates from the VSA

Committee Updates

Committee on Equity and Inclusion:

—Dorm beautification project ideas, like the windows in Noyes, were discussed as a way to make the houses feel like communities.

—Accessibility concerns for a possible art exhibition were brought up.

—An identity orgs dinner to be hosted by VSA was discussed. Financing and logistics have yet to be well defined and tasks will soon be distributed.

—Other possible projects that the committee could pursue were also mentioned, including the Workers Appreciation Dinner (organized by MEChA), opening up spaces for various religious events (for example, Diwali), and creating more conversation and celebration for Black History Month.

Board of Activities:

—A new sound system will be purchased for several college events. They talked to ViCE weekly about which equipment features are needed. The management of the system will require the employment of more than one system manager (as a work-study position) so that the system can remain in optimal condition.

—Middle School Mug Night discussion: Current concerns relating to the location and budget for the event were discussed.

—Senior Week discussion: The senior class president suggested hosting only one concert in lieu of senior week (but using the same budget).

Orgs Committee:

—Orgs briefly reviewed the results from the Planning Committee’s orgs survey. The

Committee will likely focus on reaching out to interested orgs based on the needs they mentioned in the survey.

—People showed a lot of interest in having the VSA host an event that will help different orgs reach out to other orgs on campus for collaborations on different events. The VSA will likely begin planning for it.

Board of Residential Affairs:

—The Board discussed collaborating and working on how to make UpC into a programming space—students should be able to reserve UpC for events.

—Thanksgiving meals will be offered for those staying on campus over break.

—Street Eats, currently in the TAs, may change locations and will work on having an online schedule and menu.

—There was a meeting discussing the Committee on College Life, which would be a place to converse about topics to bring forward to the president. They still need to figure out how students will be selected to be on the board.

—There was a VSA meeting with the Chair of the Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees Carol Ostrow, who expressed interest in direct communication with students, and students in attendance felt that the concerns they presented were heard.

Operations and Planning:

—Ops is dividing up representatives to be in touch with the different committees, so Ops can have a better idea of the overall running of the VSA.

—Ideas are being thrown around for restructuring Senate so that people get more workshop time and there will be more thinking and pausing.

—VSA representatives have been visiting different houses during study breaks and asking how they feel about the Student Discourse Forum. Responses have been positive.

—Next week, Ops will meet with different orgs, targeting identity orgs, to ask how they feel about the Forum.

—Org plenary is in the works and will be discussed next week.

—Sarah Jane Muder, General VSA Intern

President Bradley’s VSA Forum

On Sunday, Oct. 22, President Elizabeth Bradley held an open forum hosted by the Vassar Student Association (VSA) Senate.

President Bradley presented a PowerPoint slideshow that she had shown to the Board of Trustees and the faculty covering the College’s financial status and options to ameliorate our financial status.

She also spoke about potential ways to alter the current residential life system of student leadership.

After President Bradley left, the Senate offered time for students to respond to the forum and to express their feelings on this information and these potential changes.

Below are some highlights from the Miscellany News’ summary of Bradley’s presentation. To read the full account of the forum, please visit MiscellanyNews.org.

On finances: There are two sides to any kind of income statement: the revenues and the expenses. I’ll start with the revenues. There are four big buckets to our revenues.

The first is net student revenue (calculated as gross student revenue, which is the number of students multiplied by the comprehensive per-student fee, minus financial aid). The second is the endowment draw—endowment income used to support the College’s operations. The third is gift revenue, which is funds the College receives that we can spend immediately. The last is other revenue sources, which comes, for example, from the bookstore and other money received.

The total revenue for this year is $177.42 million. Our discount rate is financial aid divided by gross student revenue, and our current rate is 40.9 percent.

Next are our expenses. The biggest part of our expenses are faculty and non-faculty salaries, wages and benefits. This makes up 64 percent of what we spend money on. The next is discretionary spending, which includes travel, supplies, lectures, etc.—these can change from year to year. Non-discretionary spending includes utilities and debt—these are fixed from year to year. The last category of expenses is capital expense, including facility renewal, technology updates and equipment.

On ResLife: The part of residential life I think is really great is when the community takes care of itself. Everybody here is an adult who knows what community can feel like and really work to make our community the most inclusive and life-giving as possible. Every morning I get security reports, and in reading them over I realized that a lot of matters have been escalated up and out to forces outside of the community, when they could in reality be taken care of the community itself.

—The Miscellany News

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