February 1st, 2005
- Location: Leighton 305
- Time: 7:00 pm
- Present: Vice President Andy Evans, Treasurer Lilly Shields, Becca Stark, CJ Griffiths, Alejandro Mendoza, Andy Navratil, Kilang Yanger, Jim Watkins, David Wiczer, Jumal Lewis, Abhinab Basnyat, George Kachergis, Colin McLain, Dan Rubenstein, Jess Black, Tim Singer, Jesse Moreno, Cole Zimmerman,Tom Kiner
- Absent: President Seth Cooper, Brandon Sun
- Guests: Robin Hart-Ruthenbeck, MPIRG representatives, concerned students, Carletonian reporter Matt Ruen
- Secretary: Even Pay
Vice President Evans called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM. In President Cooper’s absence, Evans was acting chair of the evening. Evans called for decorum in the large audience and moved the senate into Committee Reports.
Shields presented the weekly budget committee requests.
Watson and Meyers community board
Requested $1150 to fund Casino Night event at Watson
Budget Committee removed decorations from their initial budget
The event was very successful last year
Watkins requests that Res Life representatives are present at future meetings.
The bid is unanimously approved
Carleton Islamic Association
Requested $400 in honoraria for a speaker during an Islam in America campus-wide event. CIA have already secured significant funding from outside sources.
The bid is unanimously approved.
Korean Students Association
Requested $500 in honoraria to bring the director of movie Comfort Women to Carleton
The group secured money from MCA and Women Speakers Fund
The bid is unanimously approved.
Student Roxanne Moreno
Requested funds for 14 students to attend the Midwest GLBT College Conference
BC recommended a bid of $968, asked students to fund their own food and contribute to fees. The BC reccomendation followed guidelines for conference funding.
The bid was unanimously approved.
Late Night Trivia Gods
Requested $223 to fund the event which takes place during midterm break. The funding would cover transportation expenses, campus mailings, postage, and etc.
The bid was unanimously approved
Coalition of Hmong Students
Requested $2755 to send members to a conference in Fresno.
BC recommended $750 bid, in line with guidelines, and recommends CHS seek out other resources for the additional funding.
The 750 bid is unanimously approved.
Evans inquires whether there is any New Business. Seeing none, he moves to the CRB discussion.
CRB Refusable Refundable Fee Debate
Evans outlines his proposed format. First senator Griffiths will give a brief summary of tonight’s purpose. Next 2 speakers will be recognized, one to support and one to oppose the CRB recommendation for 3 minutes each. That will be followed by 20 minutes of open debate. Finally, there will be a 5 minute procedural discussion among the senators.
Navratil inquires why we have to have a lengthy discussion twice. Evans clarifies that a vote to post includes the intent that it will inspire discussion within the student body.
Griffiths is recognized to present on the CRB recommendation.
Article 6 of bylaws is the focus of the debate tonight. There are two major proposed changes: the first removes all references to refusable refundable, and replaces the fee with a positive check-off system. The second mandates that any organization wishing to appear on the tuition statement must submit a petition every year carrying signatures of 20% of the student body.
Stark is recognized to speak in support of the recommendation.
Stark acknowledges MPIRG’s value as an organization, but articulates that the debate should be about finding a fair funding structure, not MPIRG. The fee is
1- Unfair, students are automatically asses 7.50, and if they don’t read the fine print they don’t get it back.
2- Unaccountable. All other student groups are accountable to BC, but there is no oversight over MPIRG due to the nature of the fee
3- Exclusive: Only one group has this kind of access, no other groups can access it even though all would want to.
Bernstein-Stern’s is recognized to speak in opposition to the recommendation
1- The charge is not automatic, it is not too much to ask students to read the tuition statement and/ or reminder in their mail box.
2- Lack of accountability is an issue she wishes to address: MPIRG and concerned senators have developed a proposal for increasing accountability within the scope of the existing fee.
3- Everyone “wants to keep MPIRG”, but none of CSA’s proposals would actually do so. Empirically the donation system fails. CSA cannot make up the difference in funding.
Bernstein- Stern yields to Shields. Shields briefly notes that due to CSA budget committee guidelines, political and lobbying activities cannot be funded from the Student Activities Fee.
McLain requests that MPIRG proposals for accountability be read out for audience members who have not received it.
Evans – reads proposal sheet (add it in here.)
Evans opens the 20 minute discussion period on the CRB recommendation.
Mendoza notes that protecting the interests of all students is his goal, wants to protect MPIRGs interests as much as possible. Would MPIRG be willing to have a petition more regularly?
Nate addresses the uniqueness of MPIRG’s state wide structure and agenda. MPIRG presence on campus is critical to perception of the college as an “activist campus” which attracts many students.
Mendoza contributes that if many Carleton students feel that they have been stolen from by MPIRG, this will also affect the organization as well as Carleton’s prestige.
Watkins notes that the CRB proposal would necessitate increased student activism – a willing donation and more publicity by MPIRG on Carleton’s campus. Positive check-off results in action, refusable refundable is dependent upon inaction.
Wiczer focuses on senate arrogance as the motivating factor for this debate. Senate should not speak for the entire student body when 73% support continued funding of MPIRG. He further notes that a major problem with the positive check-off is that even if MPIRG does an excellent job, many students will forget by the summer when they have to check the box.
Lewis commends student Nate for his empassioned speech, but asks him to focus on the fee, not the merits of MPIRG. Clarifies a matter regarding the business office with Bernstein Stern.
Bernstein-Stern announces that MPIRG is currently collecting a petition, with signatures supporting MPIRG. She addresses Mendoza’s allegation that students feel as if they have been robbed by noting that if he does believe MPIRG is stealing, the proposal for accountability directly addresses that.
Female Student Recalls the comments of Shields that CSA will not be able to fund MPIRG if the CRB recommendation is approved. Making idle statements of support for MPIRG are not worthwhile if you remove the R/R fee.
Terin Mayer requests the body look at how the decision reflects on Carleton as a school. MPIRG policy that without guaranteed funding, there will be no chapter on campus. Why would CSA enforce a rule that got rid of an organization that is supported by 73% of the student body. CSA needs to find a flexible solution to the problem.
David Brackstone suggests implementing an electronic system for getting a refund, similar to that used to vote in CSA elections. This would allow MPIRG to maintain the fee, but would cut down on students feeling that their money disappeared into a system they didn’t understand. He further noted that with an online system, students could request a refund at their leisure throughout the year.
Dave Holman notes that the R/R system may be unfair, this group operates differently than other groups. People feel that their money is taken through an abnormal system. He implores CSA to get those students to vote down the fee in the next referendum. If the fee is eliminated through the referendum system with student support, he believes the action to be fair, but notes that CSA shouldn’t supercede the all campus referendum.
Male Student asks for some sense in word choice. When the issue is $7.50, words like theft are an exaggeration of the seriousness of the issue. For most students, it is not really about the money, it is about the organization.
McLain inquires how much time is remaining, Evans notes that there are 6:30 remaining for the discussion.
Someone (unrecorded. Sorry!) Contributes that having a petition every year would be a good idea and increases accountability. MPIRG would have to have a presence on campus to garner yearly support.
Shields adds that she is impressed by the proposals to approve accountability. Her remaining question as treasurer involves fairness to other groups. Many are barely operable. They would love opportunity to have funding in this way.
Stark agrees that the issue is fair funding and equality, not the 7.50. She notes that in the proposal, none of the items address the primary concerns of fairness.
Navratil adds his view that the MPIRG proposal does not change much. As an organization in the public domain, they already have to publish their budget. All they do is increase publicity on campus, which is good, but does not address fairness and exclusivity of the R/R fee. He further inquires whether the organization would agree to an annual referendum with X% of the student body in support instead of a petition.
Watkins says that he would not support the CRB recommendation if he thought it would end MPIRG, but that CSA already funds CCU and Democrats activities, and he believes they will fund MPIRG.
Wiczer criticizes senate for defending the principle of fairness in the face of what students actually want. He asks senate not to conflate fair and equal. BC has a scope for the funding they provide and MPIRG is not within that scope.
This ends the 20 minutes allotted for discussion. Evans entertains a motion to extend discussion, which fails.
A motion to extend discussion to the end of the existing speakers list passes, 14-5
Moreno contributes that he does not want to save the world, just Carleton, from the unfair fee structure. He notes that he would like to fund MPIRG through CSA, and thinks the debate should focus on the fee structure. He asks if anyone will speak supporting the R/R fee above and beyond MPIRG.
Taylor Valore rises in support of the R/R fee. He clearly argues that CSA has allowed for fees on the tuition statement. However, empirically, positive check-off systems do NOT generate revenue or reflect student support for an organization. If CSA wants groups to be able to access some type of fee statement funding, it makes sense to retain the one that works. (The secretary would like to commend Valore on his logical response to what was posed as an indefensible position)
Singer believes the issue should be addressed every year, via petition or otherwise. He proposes a joint get out the vote effort between MPIRG and CSA candidates to address low voter turnout.
Taylor Valore contributes that for him, MPIRG is not the central issue. If CRB thinks that tuition statement funding should exist, positive check off makes no sense. Further, he notes that having a positive check-off fee still does not address the fairness and accountability issues posed by Stark at this meeting and Black at the previous meeting. Positive check-off still does not make an org. accountable to BC.
Basnyat notes that MPIRG must be addressed because the R/R fee decides the fate of MPIRG. He speculates that if CRB changes pass, nothing will ever happen to fill MPIRG’s funding gap. This would reflect on our student body and senate outside of Carleton. This is a vote for the entire community. Probably increases the number of people who vote on campus.
Lewis inquires whether MPIRG could reschedule its funding to a different time so people can make a choice at a later period of time? He is interested in allowing incoming freshmen the ability to get aquainted with MPIRG before the fee is assessed – moving the charge to Winter term. A lengthy clarification period goes on, the bottom line seems to be that MPIRG would be amenable to that, but it depends on the business office.
Bernstein Stern contributes some revisions to the MPIRG proposal. MPIRG would be willing to petition every year if no referendum, Or every other year with a referendum. She addresses Stark’s assertion that many other groups would “die for this” funding mechanism. She observes that other groups are funded through a mandatory fee, MPIRG gives you a chance to get your money back.
Kelsey May argues that positive check off systems don’t work for a reason. Relying on inaction is deceiving in the degree of support. She recalls examples of senior citizens who are taken advantage of through negative check-off systems like the R/R fee which you have to opt out of. If MPIRG is really as widely supported as they claim, there shouldn’t be a problem with a positive system.
Black notes that CRB’s proposal was originally to eliminate the entire option of tuition statement fees. The positive check off is a compromise.
Laura Monn Identifies herself as a BC member for the last 3 years. She explains that organizations must be accountable for every penny and where it is going, and how it contributes to campus. She believes MPIRG should have the same rules.
Male Student observes that fairness is not the issue. Other fees (student activity fee) are mandatory, people at least get a choice with MPIRG. MPIRG doesn’t think they should be the only group with access to this fee. It was originally the college’s decision to only give one group this structure, so don’t blame MPIRG.
Male Student If the Trustees won’t let us extend the fee to other organizations, address the trustees about issues of fairness, not MPIRG. He sites the example of KRLX as an organization with no accountability—he has no control over what KRLX gets money. What are they doing? No one knows. At least with MPIRG decide whether to give or withhold.
Greg Fan reiterates that MPIRG will provide senate with their budget, and that MPIRG will end if you support the CRB rec since senate can’t fund lobbying. He also notes that he is not yet a senior citizen.
Taylor Valore asks senate to vote down the recommendation because a positive check off doesn’t fulfill CRB’s own criteria of accountability and fairness.
Yanger would have been open to working towards funding MPIRG, but after Shields’ statement, it seems infeasible. MPIRG shouldn’t be penalized for a fee it did not design. She agrees that MPIRG needs to be more proactive in publicizing itself.
Evans notes that the speakers list has been exhausted and that senate will move into a 5 minute discussion for clarification and procedural questions.
Navratil inquires with Shields whether the business office would be willing to allow other groups this type of funding mechanism. Shields confirms that the office as well as the trustees are not interested in opening this option to any other group.
Mendoza submits some recommended changes to the MPIRG proposal, including specific percentages for and frequency of a petition, and advocates its submission to governance.
Watkins seeks compromise, wants to amend the CRB’s recommended petition to increase number of people who must sign each year and pass only that portion of the recommendation.
Wiczer recalls that this issue already comes up every year, and asks if such an extensive petition is necessary. He clarifies whether Mendoza intended that a referendum require approval of 60% of voters or 60% of the student body? Mendoza intended 60% of the student body.
Navratil is torn about what action to take. Wants to end discussion but feels that a compromise could be found. MPIRG offered a petition every 3 years. Wishes to meet in the middle, and have an ad-hoc committee to address it in the coming week.
Kiner notes that we have heard every angle of this, and it is getting redundant. Let’s vote.
Yanger points out a recommended change to proposal point 4, a petition to the student body. She feels that if the petition is every year, she would support keeping the R/R fee. Bernstein- Stern nonverbally signals her agreement.
Basnyat believes that senate must carefully clarify whether it supports a petition or a referendum, confirmed by percentage of voters or percentage of student body.
Lewis advocates tabling the issue to work out the specifics and then come back next week.
A brief clarification of the precedence of motions ensues. A motion to the previous question is made, as is a motion to table. The motion to table takes precedence and is considered first.
Navratil motions to table
Navratil amends his motion to specify that the issue will be recalled from the table at the next meeting.
After discussion ensues, Navratil removes his motion from consideration.
Lewis motions to table, stipulating that the issue will be sent to some committee to return with options for compromise at the following meeting.
By vote of 8-10 the motion to table fails
A motion to call the question is made
A motion to divide the question into two parts is made. At the chair’s discretion the question is divided as follows.
Procedural clarification made by Parliamentarian Even Pay – since this is a bylaw change, 2/3 of the present voting members must support it. A number of senators inquire what is 2/3 of 19. It is specified that 2/3 of 19 is 12.666, rounded to 13.
1) Removing all reference to the R/R fee and replacing it with a positive check-off system. By vote of 12-7, failing to gain 2/3, this fails.
2) Requiring an annual petition with 20% of the student body to qualify for placement on the tuition statement. By vote of 13-4-2, this passes and is added to the bylaws. The change will go into effect during the 2006-2007 Academic year.
A brief recess is held for the large audience to leave. A number of senators also depart, leaving the body below the level of Quorum. There are no more voting matters to consider, however, so business proceeds.
Basnyat reports that next week there will be a campus wide transportation survey sent to a few randomly selected students. Senate should urge students to complete the survey which will improve results.
Evans reports that sweeping changes to the system will soon be announced to group leaders via email. They will all have to resubmit charters. If groups don’t make the deadline, they can’t get spring allocations funding. Senators should urge groups to complete the information in a timely fashion. He notes that the changes are a result of turnover in groups and senate resulting in a loss of many charters, as well as the fact that there are a number of inactive groups that should no longer be chartered.
Senators Navratil and Basnyat raise a number of issues relevant to the dining committee including too many chairs at large in LDC, lack of lids near the coffee at both dining halls, continued requests for quesidillas, etc.
Navratil also raises an issue for task force regarding lighting of the Willis clock.
Mercifully, a motion to adjourn is made and unanimously approved.