SGA Update

By Will DiGravio

The March 6 meeting of the Student Government Association (SGA) began with a vote to recommend that President of the College Laurie L. Patton increase the Student Activities Fee by roughly $0.82 in order to keep the fee in line with changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Currently, the annual fee paid by all students is $410.

Junior Senator Karina Toy ’17 announced that after a meeting between members of the SGA and leaders of cultural organizations on campus, the SGA will be emailing their weekly agenda to organization presidents and sending emails to cluster boards during election seasons in an effort to make sure the SGA is more diverse.

First-Year Senator Charles Rainey ’19 updated the group on the events that have been held by the First Year Committee over the past year. Events included a “Cookies and Chill” night, a Reg and Feb meet-and-greet and an intercultural open-mic night where students wore an article of clothing important to their culture.

Senators voted to approve a proposal introduced by President Ilana Gratch  ’16 to begin the SGA election process two weeks earlier than scheduled. Official dates have yet to be determined but elections will occur in mid-April.

The March 13 SGA meeting began with an update delivered by Dean of Students Baishakhi Taylor, who shared that the Alliance for an Inclusive Middlebury (AIM) will be hosting a symposium on diversity and inclusion featuring speakers and student leaders from other schools. AIM — which launched in December — is currently developing a website that will be released in the near future. Alumni Affairs is working to make changes to the Kirk Alumni Center to make its photo exhibit more inclusive. The administration will also be hosting a series of faculty dinners to discuss inclusivity and diversity on campus.

Senior Senator Madeleine Raber ’16 shared with senators that roughly 275 students attended the 51 Main student-run bar night. Brainerd Senator Jewel Chen ’16 stated that a printer will be added to the LaForce Library in Ross.

Sophomore Senator Colin Boyle ’18 introduced a bill to establish a committee comprised of senators, finance committee members and representatives of club sports teams to draft a plan to deal with the funding of club sports. Boyle’s proposal came after SGA Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair Aaron de Toledo ’16 presented a plan at the March 6 SGA meeting to implement a system of club sports funding in which teams would receive funding caps based on their overall cost and participation. De Toledo introduced the proposal in an effort to make the funding of all clubs more equitable. Senators rejected de Toledo’s proposal and passed Boyle’s which, in addition to forming the committee, leaves the current funding system in tact. Should the committee fail to draft a funding proposal, de Toledo’s plan will be implemented, subject to a senate vote.

Senators approved changes, proposed by de Toledo, to the Finance Committee guidelines. Changes to the guidelines include establishing a precedent that the committee will only fund food and snacks deemed essential to the club and eliminating the funding of hotels and flights for student events.