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Meeting Minutes

April 7th, 2008

  • Location: Sayles 251
  • Time: 7:03 pm
  • Present: President Caitlin Fleming, Vice President Pablo Kenney, Treasurer Sam Ritter, Senators Bessie Schwarz, Jason Malashevich, Jinai Bharucha, Peter Antonov, Lindsey Shaughnessey, Whittney Smith, Charlotte Turovsky, Jack Boller, Eleni Schirmer, Nimo Ali, Liz Alspach, Ben Barclay, Brandon Walker, Robert Stephens, Bret Adelmann, Jordan Epstein, and Will Cole
  • Absent: Senators Jason Malashevich, Tim Foran and Chase Kimball
  • Guests: Joe Baggot, Chris Rasinen, Chai Lee, Amanda Hess
  • Secretary: Robert Martin

Budget Committee
Appointment Confirmations
Campus Climate Survey
Sayles Hill Renovation
Budget Committee Exception
Officer Updates

The meeting was called to order at 7:03PM.

Budget Committee
The first order of business was the budget committee. President Fleming explained that last year, the senate had expedited the approval process by viewing all recommendations that were $999 or less as a block. Senators can single out recommendations by a majority vote, but otherwise the senate will discuss only those recommendations which are $1,000 or more, or any appeals. The senate voted unanimously to reinstitute this process.

The recommendations from last week can be found at the BC minutes:

There were 5 recommendations that were $999 or less. They were approved with 8 votes in favor and one against.

There was one recommendation for Sexuality and Gender Activism that totaled $1,700. It is for the annual Pride Banquet, and was approved unanimously.

Appointment Confirmations
The next issue of business was the appointment confirmations. The nominees were interviewed by a board which included the officers and some senators.

The student at large nominees were as follows:
Appointed to Governance Committee: Dustin Goldberger '11
Goldberger is interested in becoming involved in student government and sees this as a good opportunity. He was approved unanimously.

Appointed to Budget Committee: Megan Pond '08 and Stephen Gee '10
Pond and Gee are both returning Budget committee members who have been off campus but want to become involved in BC again.
They were both approved unanimously.

Appointed to the Committee on Student Life: Max Davidson '10
Davidson wants to facilitate communication between different groups on campus and improve student life. He was approved unanimously.

Appointed to Admissions and Financial Aid Committee: Mac Durkes '09
Durkies was approved unanimously.

The CSA Senate appointments were as follows:
Committee on Student Life liaison: Liz Alspach '09
Alspach was approved unanimously.

Liaisons to College Council: Ben Barclay '09 and Brandon Walker '09
Barclay and Walker were both approved unanimously.

Upon reentering the room, Walker attempted to comically carry Barclay, with tragic results. Fortunately, no serious injuries were sustained.

Students at large appointments to CSA Senate:
Office of Intercultural Life liaison appointment: Robert Stephens '10
Bret Adelmann '10
Tim Foran '09
Will Cole '08
Jordan Epstein '10

Fleming explained that appointees were selected on the basis of experience, class year, interest, and plans for the Spring term.

Barclay asked why Stephens did not run for reelection, and Fleming explained that he will be off-campus in the fall and therefore felt it would be disingenuous to run.

All of these appointments were unanimous. The new senators took their seats.

DIG - Campus Climate Survey
A recent email from President Oden encouraged the student body to take a survey about the social climate of the campus. Dean Baggot explained that his survey came from the Diversity Initiative Group. DIG exists to strengthen the colleges commitment to diversity. For this task, they decided they needed more information and hired Sue Rankin who has worked on similar projects at dozens of other colleges. The survey is being advertised across campus, and they hope to have a campus wide response rate of 90%.

Chai Lee, who has also been working on the survey, explained that student participation is crucial. The fact finding workshops carried out in the fall went well, and a lot of time has been put into the survey. This is large, very tangible intitiative for DIG focusing not just on race but on other kinds of diversity.

Alspach asked if faculty would be surveyed as well. Lee responded that all staff, faculty, and students are to be surveyed.

Schirmer asked how the survey was developed. Lee explained that it was based on a template by also specified to Carleton with the help of Rankin and the factfinding workshops. Baggot emphasized Rankin's focus on equity and how we should perceive Carleton.

Bedi questioned the timing of the survey, to which Lee responded that the issue of campus climate needs to be periodically addressed.

Antonov asked how success is measured, and what kind of actions the college will take if there are negative results. Baggot responded that Oden is committed to operationalizing the word diversity, but that we need a plan to do so. The results of the survey will help suggest where work is needed. In the fall the results will be presented.

Kenney asked if the full data will be made available. Baggot assured the senate that the full results will be made available. Kenney also asked how much is needed for a successful analysis, to which Baggot responded 30% is essential, 90% is the goal.

Schwarz asked how other schools have used their results. Baggot wasn't sure.

Bharucha asked if they had informed the RA's. They responded that yes, they had informed RA's, they are tabling, putting things in mailboxes, and had the email sent out.

Turovsky asked if the survey was anonymous. Baggot said it was.

Stephens asked what the senators could do. Baggot asked them to inform as many people as possible.

Epstein commented that the posters are unclear. He also asked if they were just trusting everyone to take it only once. Lee explained that the algorithms would catch people submitting exactly the same thing twice, and that seeing as it takes 30 minutes, no one has time to take it twice.

Ali pointed out that Rankin has worked before almost exclusively with large schools. Baggot responded that she has worked on a few similar colleges, and that the program was significantly adapted to Carleton.

Smith asked how receptive the college will be to institutional change based on the results. Baggot said that the trustees were taking a personal interest in this survey.

The senate thanked Baggot and Lee for coming to speak on the topic.

Sayles Hill Renovation

Amanda Hess came to speak to the senate about the ongoing project of Sayles-Hill renovation. The renovation is a student led project to make the student union a more attractive place, because the campus needs a community gathering spot. At the moment, the furniture is uncomfortable and the lights are dreadful, among other complaints.

Ritter asked if Hess had considered the impact of the upcoming change from Sodexho to Bon Appetit. She said they had, and that they would be lobbying for Bon Appetit to create something Carleton unique.

Barclay asked what their source of funding is. Hess responded that it is College Capital. Barclay suggested the Sustainability Revolving Fund.

Schirmer asked about the offices located in Sayles, and Hess agreed that it was not very clear what needed to be here and what could be left out.

Schwarz asked if the Sayles 161 renovation is included. It is.

Ali asked how much replacing the lights would cost. Hess said she didn't know.

Turovsky added that the temperature is often quite cold.

Stephens said that there is overlap between this and other initiatives and that the committee should work with other groups as well. Hess agreed, but said she didn't have enough help. Stephens recommended that she design a plan and then ask for senate to advocate for it.

Hess took a list of all the senators interested in becoming involved. The senate thanked Hess for taking the time to speak to her.

Budget Committee Exception
The Bylaws state that only 10 members allowed on Budget Committee. Members must serve for 1 term as a nonvoting member before they are allowed to participate.

Kenney explained that they are interested in appointing 3 extra members so they can observe the process and join as voting members next term. Leaving seniors will mean that the Budget Committee will drop back to 10 members next term.

Antonov pointed out that there will no appointments made next term. Kenney said he felt it would be better to have more experience members next term.

Kenney moved to suspend the Bylaws to allow the appointment of 3 extra Budget Committee members. The senate voted unanimously in favor of the change.

Officer Updates
Schwarz informed the senate of the Environmental Action Committee's recent actions. The Sustainability Revolving Fund is looking at some proposals coming down the wire. The President's Climate Commitment dictates that the college must set a date for carbon neutrality by the end of next year. They are looking into the creation of new wind turbines, and hoping to add a green component to the freshmen experience. They will soon be starting the Reduce Resources Impact Initiative

Schirmer reported that the ECC had presented their findings last week and is now seeking feedback.

Rasinen reported that they are working with the Northfield community and St. Olaf on the upcoming Northfield Walk.

For questions about the minutes, please contact CSA secretary Robert Martin at