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Meeting Minutes

February 28th, 2011

  • Location: Sayles 251
  • Time: 7:45 pm
  • Present: President Jinai Bharucha, Vice President Isaac Hodes, Treasurer Sarah Duane, Noe Hernandez, Justin Jack, Charlotte Turovsky, Asim Manizada, John O'Neil, Rhys Lindmark, Semira Mohammed, Marc Boyce, Senators Joe Marren, Jonathan Hillis, Arnav Durani, Bill Brinkman, Justin Moor, Ned Heckman, Mackenzie Persen, Carlton Keedy
  • Absent: Kelsey Han
  • Secretary: Adele Daniel

Budget Committee Recommendations

CEDI Town Hall

Review of Constitution and Bylaw changes recommended by CRB

Bylaw Amendment Discussion

Impeachment Hearing

Open Comment Period

 

Budget Committee Recommendations

The following recommendations were approved, with Brinkman abstaining.

III. Collective for Women’s Issues

Amount Requested: $550

Recommendation: $550

IV. Carleton Parkour

Amount Requested: $150

Recommendation: $150

V. BSA

Amount Requested: $6750

Recommendation: Tabled. 

 

The following recommendations were considered separately:

II. The Carleton Graphic

Amount Requested: $1,175

Recommendation: $1,175

The recommendation was approved with Turovsky and Brinkman abstaining.

I. The Lens

Amount Requested: $1000

Recommendation: $1000

Turovsky: They lost $1000 from where?

Hodes: There was miscommunication between this year and last year among members. They thought they were getting $1000 from the Academic Dean’s fund. A problem that Budget Committee saw was that they are sending issues off campus.

Turovsky: They said they wouldn’t use this money to fund that, though.

Hodes: Yes.

Boyce: They couldn’t’ tell us how much the printing itself and the shipping itself would cost.

Hodes: I was trying to contact them. They told us it was a lump sum.

Turovsky: Can we wait for a week? This is a lot of money.

Hodes: They probably could?

O’Neill: I agree with Turovsky.

Turovsky: If they can’t give us the breakdown, can we table this to next week?

Boyce: Does this come back to Budget Committee?

Hodes: No, it comes back to Senate.

Senate decided unanimously to table the request.

Manuscript

Amount Requested: $1000

Recommendation: $500

(Senate initially passed this recommendation, but later had a discussion to fully bid the request.)

Hillis: Motion to fully fund the Manuscript. I was reading through that request. That’s to bring five poets from the cities. The reason that they should get full funding is that the ½ funding seemed arbitrary. It usually does partial funding for a specific thing. It doesn’t provide the money to get what they are trying to get. The last poetry event packed the Cave. There is clearly a market for that thing. It seems silly to deny a hundred-person cohort (who support poetry at Carleton) $500.

Hodes: It was kind of arbitrary. We spent $10,000 on poetry this team. I would support funding this fully because it seems like an investment.

Hillis: This is a group that wants to establish a relationship with Carleton. This is the group that won this national competition.

Hodes: We talked to Anderson and said that he should talk to other groups for funding. 

Turovsky: Is this coming out of Honoraria?

Duane: Yes.

Hernandez: They didn’t ask other departments. I’m for fully funding it, but there are other sources of funding that they did not exhaust. 

Bharucha: The event is this weekend. We have changed the bylaws so that people come in advance.

The motion to fully fund this request passes with Jack, O'Neill, and Persen opposed.

 

CEDI Town Hall

Motion to give the CEDI Town Hall the $600 in the Town Hall fund passed, with Hernandez abstaining.

Turovsky: Do everything you can to be at this event.

Hernandez: CEDI has to contribute $300 to get Kurry Kabob for 150 students. We might have to talk about the gap in the future.

Turovsky: We budgeted the fund for a pizza dinner.

Bharucha: Hernandez and Bill North are giving an outline for tomorrow’s Town Hall.

North: The Town Hall will move towards a better way of addressing community complaints and concerns. We have talked to a variety of groups on campus and looked at a variety of models. We hope to bring this work to campus tomorrow night and get feedback on values that we should think about as we move towards more complete proposals. The first portion will be designed to get people into the issues that we are working on. We then will talk about our charge and our work. Then we want a discussion about four questions that we want people’s feedback on. Senate can help facilitate the discussions. At the end, we will bring the results back, but have the written versions to inform where we go. There will be food, and I’m baking cookies.

Bharucha: 6pm tomorrow. We will be there.

 

Review of Constitution and Bylaw changes recommended by CRB

Hodes: We are going to go over the constitutional changes. In years past, we failed to advertise, so people abstained from voting and the changes fail. This year, we will advertise better so that people know what they are voting on. The CRB is the Constitutional Review Board that has to meet every winter to go over the Constitution and bylaws. First, for appointments, we can’t interview everyone, so we added that we just review applications. We changed the requirement for impeachment votes from 2/3 to ¾. They were elected to office by the student body.

Bharucha: Any questions?

Persen: Are we still saying abstentions are not part of the number of “voting members”?

Bharucha: Yes, we clarified that, too.

Hodes: Everyone has to vote on impeachment, because it a procedural vote.

Keedy: This says that impeachees are going to leave the room, but don’t they have to vote?

Bharucha: They would come back in for the vote. The bylaw says that we can ask non-CSA members to leave. We saw the need to ask students to leave during impeachment meetings, so we added that to the bylaws.

Boyce pointed out two grammatical errors in the changes; they were fixed.

Turovsky: In the requirements for convening, is there a logic for changing it from one-tenth to twenty percent?

Bharucha: That’s how it is in the Constitution.

Boyce: Why did we slash the section about requirements for those elected?

Bharucha: We condensed two very similar sections into one, and deleted the part about attending CSA committees. We can vote on these changes next week after they have been publicly posted.

 

Bylaw Amendment Discussion

A motion to make to the speaking time 40 seconds passed with O’Neill opposed.

Persen: Section One says that they need a petition with the signatures of twenty percent of the student body; is that in total, or students on campus?

Bharucha: On campus.

Ben: I’m a leader of MPIRG on campus. I’ve met with a bunch of you over the days. We just found about this change recently. Given the time constraints we look forward to talking with all of you. We have an alternate version of the amendment prepared. So we can have the option of choosing one over the other.

Turovsky: This is an element in the bylaws that existed in the past, and it needs to go back in. It is a big deal to have a line item on the comprehensive fee. Over a majority of the student body should be required. I’m very much in favor of the CRB’s proposal.

Hernandez: It is going around Senate to get money through the line-item fee. It should take two-thirds of the student body to allow it. CSA doesn’t even have the option to do that kind of thing with a majority. It could get messy if every group tries to do this.

Hodes: Fees of this type, that go around Budget Committee, would not normally be funded by CSA and don’t benefit the campus as a whole. If I had my way, we shouldn’t even have this ability to put this on the comprehensive fee. They have the option of having a negative check-off. We don’t have to have this at all.

Mohammed: I don’t see this as such a big deal. It is refusable and refundable.

Hillis: On one hand, I agree that it should be hard to go around.  However, there is a precedent set here. The way that it has been has just required 50%, which makes me torn.

Michelle: This goes around CSA and Budget Committee because MPIRG can’t get money from CSA because some of our money goes towards lobbying. Even if MPIRG benefited the student body as a whole, we would not be able to get money. This is the one process we have to go through to get money. We have to bypass CSA.

Hernandez: It is refundable and refusable. Right now, you can give MPIRG money. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to have to go out of my way and refuse this. If you want to give money to MPIRG, go ahead and do it.

Hodes: You can donate to MPIRG. They don’t need to extract $18,000 from students with the negative check-off. Right now, MPIRG is the only one doing this. I can bring NRA, see if you can get them to lobby enough students so they get a fee on the tuition statement. We need to make a significant barrier against doing this, but a 2/3 vote isn’t impossible. It’s happened before.

Lindmark: Is this automatically on our tuition statement, or…?

Bharucha: It is automatically taken, and if you want a refund, you can get one.

O’Neill: It can also be positive?

Hodes: It can, but it is a negative check-off.

Ben: What it is that we are talking about is supporting the cost of an organization on campus. This money goes to providing…

Bharucha: We need to talk bout the bylaw and not MPIRG.

Ben: It’s up to the student body whether or not we want MPIRG. Adding a fee is a process that has excited for forty years and no one other than MPIRG has tried to use it.

Forrest: I wanted to question this as “going around CSA.” This is requiring a lot more students than in CSA Senate. This is not going to be sneaked in. There has to be a considerable amount of involvement.

Duane: As far as requiring two-thirds of the student body: if we require that for CSA related things, we should at least require that of outside organizations. Something that so directly affects students needs to publicize. I didn’t know about this my first two years. Two thirds is a lot, but achievable.

O’Neill: You said two-thirds of the student body, but you mean two-thirds of the student body voting.

Duane: Yes.

Keedy: It seems like a bad idea that students can request that the organization refund their money at any time. What if everyone says this, and at the end of the year, and that’s not possible? Should there be a time limit?

Boyce: Based on the precedent we had, the simple-majority worked. It is not necessary to say that there needs to be an increased number of students. I think that people can be trusted to be educated and vote legitimately.

Hernandez: It is so direct to what you are paying. I did not know my freshman year that they were taking the money. 2/3 rejected this a few years ago. If 2/3 really wants to approve it, it shouldn’t be that hard or a stopping ground for an organization.

Hodes: This is not a referendum. It used to be referred to that. A referendum requires a majority. To address Keedy, they get to choose whether it is positive or negative or refusable/refundable.

Michelle: I’m wondering where the 2/3 number comes from? Where is this used in other government structures? State referendums require a majority. Minnesota referendum to raise taxes only required a simple majority.

Bharucha: Our Constitution requires a two-thirds vote for amending our Constitution or adding a fee. We are working off our own Constitution.

Hillis: I was hoping someone would respond to the question of precedent, which we often go off of in this body. Why are we changing this?

Moran: I don’t think that precedent is a solid reason not to change it. I would be more inclined to support a simple majority if the options were limited to positive check off. You have to actively take it off. It was a simple check box I would be more amenable.

Mohammed: We could require that if you have a monetary check off, you have to advertise it. That’s not a reason to require a 2/3 majority. Half of the student body is larger than Senate. I don’t see the reason for changing it.

Lindmark: The fee was not in our tuition statement this year. How did you get funding?

Ben: The other MPIRG chapters wanted to keep us a part of the organization. They have provided some staff support, but not on the same level.

Mohammed: I’m not a part of MPIRG. They might not get staff support. It will not exist on campus if this passes.

David: I’m in favor of CRB’s proposal. Why should they have the ability to ask students to pay money on our tuition statements? A lot of us might agree politically, but it is an outside lobbying group that students on campus can work on. I agree with everything they do, but if they can’t be a chartered student organization, why do they have the right to do this?

Hodes: I agree. Today we are not voting, we are just discussing. To address Hillis: our precedent is to not have this at all. We got rid of this about ten years ago. The dean of students had this posted, and we thought it was the College’s procedure. But it is up to the CSA; the precedent was based on an error.

O’Neill: There is a huge threshold to get on the ballot. The only reason we will have this at all is because of MPIRG. My concern with this is that it makes it really hard for them to get it. It is important to codify this process, but we shouldn’t but barriers that affect the only organization that takes advantage of the system.  

Michelle: I’m a college student. Everyone who signed the petition is a college student. This is a Carleton organization. This is about the bylaw and it is not necessarily about outside organizations. This is Carleton students wanting to get money.

Bharucha: No one is making proposals. Say what your proposed differences.

Brinkman: The big problem is the negative check-off. I would be fine with the positive check-off. My proposal is to make it positive check-off and 50% of the vote.  

Ben: Essentially what our proposal is is implementing the procedure that has been in place. This is two changes to the [CRB] version that you all received. It removed the reference to chartered organizations. It changes the requirement to a simple majority. Please consider this.

Turovsky: MPIRG supports a lobbyist, and it is difficult for them to get chartered. Any organization that gets money from the student body should be a student organization, because there is a lot of oversight there. MPIRG is a great group, but it is a huge deal to take money from the student body without their knowledge.

Persen: I don’t like the idea that anyone can add to our tuition. As a bylaw, this can be changed?

Bharucha: It is up for review every year.

David: MPIRG does not allow you to opt in. The only organization that has ever used this has been opt-out. There are many students involved in MPIRG, but there are also a lot in the Democratic party, and they don’t do this.

O’Neil: We don’t want to set an impossibly high standard. They already have to get the signatures on the position. Hodes was running unopposed this election and did not get 2/3 of the vote.

Brinkman: The opt-in in is an important part. MPIRG should change so Carleton can put up with this. You are feeding on the apathy of students.

Hodes: Two-thirds is attainable. It happened on this issue. I didn’t get 2/3 because people didn’t vote or voted for Bobby Davis because they knew I would be elected. I’m opposed to having this in the bylaws as a whole. A positive check off is an alternative. The money we give to MPIRG goes to lobby or to a staff member’s salary.

Durani: When I saw the comprehensive fee, I thought that MPIRG was part of the education, and if I didn’t pay it I would miss out on some part of the education. It should first of all be a positive check off and clearly visible as a separate thing.

Hillis:  I would opt out of this on tuition statement, and I wouldn’t join MPIRG. However, we are dealing with a forty-year precedent. We don’t necessarily need to stick with this, but we need to step back and make sure there is a good reason to go against it.

Hernandez: Forty years?

Bharcha: Started in 1987. We have no reasons for why it was removed in the 2000s.

Hodes: Technically they should not have been able to do this before.

Hernandez: This shouldn’t be allowed at all, but it should at least be a positive check off. This is feeding off the apathy of students. Freshman specifically. MPIRG stopped getting funding with a 2/3 vote.

Moran: The change that MPIRG made on their proposal changed the “chartered organization” part. Under the CRB proposal, could they go through this process?

Bharucha: It means that would have to be chartered. We can charter them.

Moran: I would support positive check-off and explaining it very thoroughly on the tuition statement.

Durani: Especially when you are looking at international students, you have to go through so much paperwork. That’s stressful.

Michelle: Can I urge that you move both of these proposals to the next meeting?

Hodes: They will both be posted.

Motion to cap the speakers list passes with Keedy abstaining.

Duane: Senators: Your opinion is valuable, but doesn’t necessarily need to be known to all of students.

Manizada: I wouldn’t call you tyrannical. Could we work out a positive check-off?

Michelle: I’m on MPIRG board of directors, and no, we can’t have a positive check-off. We cannot support the type of program we want to have with a positive check-off. If you have the option to check yes or no, you think other people will check yes so you check no. Feasibly, we wouldn’t be able to deal with that.

Heckman: This is a bylaw change and should have nothing to do with MPIRG. I think we should decide to get rid of the negative check-off as a compromise of allowing people from the outside, but getting rid of negative and refusable/refundable. That’s an idea for a compromise.

David: Don’t use the precedent argument. There are bad policies with a precedent. That’s not a reason why they should be kept. You should have the intellectual patience to look at this situation. Say why you think this process should exist. Make the precedent argument well. If people were given a choice, they would not fund MPIRG.

Hodes: I’m in favor of not having this as an option, or, if we must, having only a positive check-off.

Boyce: What do you mean by not having this?

Hodes: Not having an option for a group to get money on the tuition statement and insuring it couldn’t happen.

Boyce: What about turning from this and instead educating people on what they have to vote on?

Hillis: I’m all for change if it is change for a good reason. However, when you have something with a history of precedent, it requires a standard of thought for chaning it. I might support the change, but we should think about it thourougly.

Hernandez: What is going to happen with this next week?

Bharucha: We will vote on them in the order they were received. If none of them pass…

Hernandez: I would like to propose that no group should be able to do this.

Bharucha: That would be the same as none getting passed.

Heckman: My proposal is removing the negative and refusable/refundable options.

Manizada: If everything gets rejected?

Bharucha: Then there is no bylaw, and this cannot happen.

Michelle: By taking off the negative check-off you are making it impossible for MPIRG to function. Over four hundred students said they want to vote on this in the Spring. You represent the student body.

 

Impeachment Hearing

Bharucha: Jonathon is up for impeachment.

Hillis: I’ve been traveling a lot. I let Bharucha know when I was going to be gone. The first week I was at Boy Scouts of America council, the second time I was meeting with the President, third time it was a CSA trip.

Turovsky: Will you continue to have these conflicts?

Hillis: That’s the longest span I have to be gone. There might be some Mondays I won’t be here, but most of my traveling is Friday through Sunday.

Duane: Do you want to stay on Senate?

Hillis: Yes.

Hillis was not impeached.

 

Open Comment Period

Forrest: The Carleton DEMS answer to an outside group. MPIRG is a student-run group. A structure like MPIRG existed in New York, but now it is not run by students. If MPIRG loses its student funding, the same thing is going to happen in Minnesota.

Bharucha: the Town Hall meeting tomorrow is really important. I emailed all my friends, and I’d appreciate if you would email your friends. We have ordered Kurry Kabab for 150 people. It is important that people show up.