Community Council Update

By John Gosselin, Senior Writer

At the April 11 meeting, Director of Financial Aid Operations Michael McLaughlin and Associate Vice President for Financial Services Operations David Provost discussed how outside financial aid impacts the college’s financial aid for students at Middlebury.

They explained that financial aid at Middlebury comes in three main categories: grant money, student work and loans. If a student qualifies as having full need, outside aid will first reduce student work requirements and student loans and then reduce grant money.

They also detailed the yearly financial aid review process, the consideration of special circumstances (like lost jobs or medical emergencies) within the year, and the role of non-custodial parents. The rest of the April 11 meeting was devoted to internal discussions about who within the committee will draft future recommendations.

At the April 18 meeting, a student spoke to the Community Council about how Financial Services considers non-custodial parents in financial aid decisions, and in this student’s case, required them to meet with their estranged parent. The student felt that the circumstances of this meeting “crossed several lines.”

Revision to the Handbook’s current protest policy was then discussed. Changes include the prevention of Public Safety’s use of violence, and the prevention of criminal prosecution in cases of nonviolent protest.

Conversation then shifted to a discussion of a recommendation that would review the names of foods in the dining halls. The recommendation suggests changing the names “African Peanut Soup” and “Asian Snap Pea Salad.” The recommendation was tabled.

At the April 25 meeting, Executive Director of Food Service Operations Dan Detora discussed recent dining hall changes. Besides the implementation of a swipe system, Detora also discussed how dining services is considering adding food in Wilson Hall and increasing the size of to-go boxes.

Co-Chair elect Kyle Wright ’19.5 discussed the SGA resolution regarding Middlebury’s protest policies. An important provision of this legislation recommends that the College reconsider disciplinary measures against those involved in protests against the Charles Murray talk.

Charles Rainey ’19 presented an official recommendation for removing potentially offensive names for food served in the dining halls, which passed unanimously.

After passing this recommendation, Charles Rainey ’19 and Maleka Stewart ’19 presented the recommendation on the non-custodial parent waiver form for financial aid. The current form requires students not to be in contact with their parents for 10 years in order to obtain the waiver, a time period which the recommendation would change to one year. It would also change the basis for non-custodial waivers to change from an ability to pay model to a willingness to pay model. Finally, the recommendation suggests a shift to a case-worker model where Financial Services employees communicate with students whenever a problem which could impede a student’s capacity to function at Middlebury arises.

After much discussion, Community Council decided to defer voting on this recommendation to a later meeting.