With a light up pen, a microphone, and a mallet, President Gabe Schechter ’12 opened this week’s Joint Board in the absence of Presiding Officer Peter Aldrich ’15. Aldrich arrived 30 minutes late, but he didn’t miss much, because Joint Board stretched just over four hours, as SGA deliberated and then deliberated some more.
Schechter disclosed consulting firm Stegman + Associates’ plan for the future of the College’s dorms. Major renovations would occur over a 10-year period on every part of campus. A new dorm, referred to as “East E,” would be constructed as “swing space” to house students displaced by renovations. Group draws would predominate the new building layouts, and campus parking would be sacrificed. Senators noted positive and negative aspects to these parts of the plan.
VPSA Chris Dorman reassured the College that a campus-wide drug search rumor was, in fact, just a rumor. The Strategic Planning Steering Committee hopes to have a 20-page document released before the arrival of trustees on campus. The College has hired two new RLCs, and the Dining Hall’s donut machine is now functional. However, a schedule for donut delivery has not yet been announced.
Besides these highlights, much of Joint Board was monotonous and meandering. Many senators and even some cabinet members departed before the conclusion of the meeting after 11:00PM.
President-elect Colleen Osborne ’13 once again presented her cabinet appointees for next semester. Led by Senator Sam Mulopulos ’14, Joint Board discussed ways to fulfill its constitutional obligations in the appointment process and the creation of a closed hearing, to give senators privacy to express their true opinions on nominees, even though Mulopulos was sure that “all candidates are qualified.” These parliamentary procedures were debated for longer than the merits of the actual nominees, who were confirmed in all cases with nearly full support.
Senators reaffirmed the need for transparency when discussing S&B Editor-in-Chief Solomon Miller ’13’s resolution to create the position of SGA Outreach Director. A large amount of the grandstanding on the resolution was especially contradictory, given some senators’ earlier discussion of holding closed hearings, which by definition are not transparent.
“Make every student as capable as Matt Rosenbaum [’12] at getting a budget into SGA,” Miller said, suggesting that all Grinnellians should feel confident when trying to obtain funding for events or projects.
Osborne said that her Cabinet opposes the resolution and is sure it will communicate with constituents on its own, even after Dorman gave a disheartening account of the amount of time that he spends on SGA matters a day, leaving him without enough hours to truly engage students, let alone tackle schoolwork. Many senators also advocated for a resolution requiring weekly senator meetings with constituents.
“Senators should have more responsibility,” said Senator Jacob Washington ’15, who later in the evening admitted that he had not even attended Smounker’s last hall council. Mulopulos apparently neglected to consult Washington when unilaterally scheduling the joint meeting.
Toward the end of the evening, Schechter used a laser pointer to put a red dot on students assembled for Joint Board.
“Stop dicking around,” Aldrich admonished.