SGA Update

By Ellie Reinhardt

The SGA met last Sunday for their first meeting of the spring semester and opened discussion around creating a committee to work with the administration in their plans to increase student tuition, among other initiatives.

Senator Josh Berlowitz ’16 introduced the resolution “Opposing the Administration’s Plans to Increase Tuition” and presented a plan to give students representation in the conversations to be held around tuition increases.

Berlowitz suggested creating a group similar to a previous SGA Comprehensive Fee committee that would work with the College Board of Trustees throughout this process.

He also emphasized the importance of administrative transparency and accountability. He noted that the email announcing these possible tuition increases, sent by President of the College Ronald D. Liebowitz, was not clear enough in its intentions. 

“This is another example of them trying to hide something that directly affects students,” Berlowitz said.

Berlowitz also expressed concern for how these changes might affect the College’s financial aid policies. Many other Senators agreed with this potential problem and emphasized the importance of preserving the College’s need-blind policy.

Other Senators also shared Berlowitz’s unease and supported his call for more transparency and administrative accountability. However, some Senators were apprehensive to take the approach that Berlowitz proposed. Senator Aaron deToledo ’16 expressed concern for the adversarial tone of the resolution.

Other Senators agreed with this concern. Senator Michael Brady ’17.5 argued that in order to make changes, the SGA would need to “play nice” with the administration and the Trustees.

Senator Sophie Vaughan ’17 brought up questions surrounding the logistics of creating a new committee. She inquired how students would be chosen and what students would be represented on this committee, both important aspects of the resolution.

In the discussion many Senators also  claimed their support of the proposed tuition increases. Berlowitz agreed with this support but also called for a review of current expenses. He pointed to the privileges that the College offers students and suggested that the College works to make those privileges more efficient.

“The mentality that student’s can afford to pay more so they should pay more is bogus,” he said.

Senator Zak Fisher ’16 agreed with Berlowitz’s points on privilege. “You might say we live like gods,” he said.Fisher also noted that the College is competing in a marketplace in which these privileges are considered crucial to the College’s success. 

The proposal was not passed as it currently stands but plans were made to open dialogue with the administration as the SGA continues to develop the resolution.  

At the meeting, the board also looked at the results of the 2015 SGA Student Life survey. They discussed student particiaption and the need for more male participation. They also mentioned but ultimately postponed the discussion of a bill proposing to extend Thanksgiving break.