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Meeting Minutes

April 4th, 2011

  • Location: Sayles 251
  • Time: 7:00 pm
  • Present: President Isaac Hodes, Vice President Yasin Dara, Treasurer Andria Hall, Joe Marren, Jonathan Hillis, Kelsey Han, Noe Hernandez, Asim Manizada, Rhys Lindmark, Charlotte Turovsky, Gracie Ogilby, Ben Somogyi, Travis Nordgaard, Ned Heckman, Matthew Fitzgerald, MacKenzie Persen, Carlton Keedy, Zachary Levonian,
  • Secretary: Adele Daniel

Budget Committee Approvals

President Poskanzer Presentation on Strategic Planning

Eat the Lawn Resolution

Confirming Appointees

Open Comments


Senate approved last week’s minutes.

Budget Committee Approvals

Carleton Slam Poetry Team Appeal
Amount Requested: $750
Recommendation: $375

CSPT: We were half funded for our request, but half funding seems arbitrary. CSA funded the registration fee; the cost for travel is prohibitive for some of the members. I request $600, which is still not full funding, but gives us enough so we can afford to go.

Turovsky: How are we doing budget wise?

Hall: We already approved things last term for events happening in Spring. We are already at $8000, before we approve these requests.

Hillis: There was great justification for not funding many requests at this meeting, but not for this one. Motion to amend the current bid to $600.

Senate amends Budget Committee’s recommendation to $600, with Nordgaard, Somogyi, Levonian, and Han opposed, Heckman, Hall, and Dara abstaining.

The following recommendations were approved with Turovsky abstaining:

Folk Music Society
Amount Requested: $850
Recommendation: $850

Sexuality and Gender Activism
Amount Requested: $1000
Recommendation: $1000

Film Club
Amount Requested: $1,757
Recommendation: $0

CNA Training
Amount Requested: $50
Recommendation: $0

Carleton Slam Poetry Team
Amount Requested: $750
Recommendation: $375

Amount Requested: $896
Recommendation: $191

Amnesty International
Amount Requested: $100
Recommendation: $0

Japanese Circle
Amount Requested: $300
Recommendation: $270

Farm House
Amount Requested: $31
Recommendation: $30

Tiem Viet
Amount Requested: $265
Recommendation: $265

The following recommendation was considered separately:

Amount Requested: $3,360
Recommendation: $3,360

Budget Committee’s recommendation was passed unanimously.

President Poskanzer Presentation on Strategic Planning

Poskanzer: I wanted to fill you in on strategic planning (SP): how, why, and the role of students. We need to figure out our priorities, and the SP process is the way to do that. It will test our goals, it will help us make goals, and help shape our budget. We will also measure whether or not we are achieving our goals. We can go back to donors and trustees with that information. Last time we did this was 1998. It needs to be an honest, clear, transparent, and rigorous process. We need to weigh opportunity costs to lead to a clear prioritization of goals. I would like it to be consistent and broadly based. It should be data driven and focused on answers to specific questions.

This model of planning is a question-driven inquiry process. You set forth assumptions and then questions that you need to answer. You take off the table things that have agreement, or “assumptions” (such as that Carleton should be a residential campus). Then you go about creating specific questions. In the past, we may have not asked the serious, controversial questions, such as, what does it really mean to prepare Carleton students for life after graduation? We should have groups answer each specific questions, and ask them to find ways to measure success, consider the role of technology, and look at the financial consequences. It would be great to bring together groups facing different questions to measure their goals against each other.

The idea is I would start this process next week and begin group work next Spring. I would like this to be done within a year, a year and a half, but I would rather take our time. Done well, it will guide us from 5-10 years. This is a different way of doing planning. We would be stronger as an institution if we figure out how to do this right.

This is going to take time. Working groups are considerable commitments. We will begin with a seminar next Fall. It will take staffing. It will answer key questions, set key goals, allows us to measure our goals, and will drive future expenditures. I would like students on almost all of the groups, and get student input, nominated through CSA’s channels and through Presidential appointments.

Faculty and staff feedback has been generally positive.

Turovsky: How will the communication between the entire process work?

Poskanzer: Start by defining questions that don’t have too much overlap. There will be people who will float among groups and conveners in each group. That’s where the cross-cutting groups come in.

Hernandez: I think this is great. In the timeline, how big is this conversation? How many people does it involve?

Poskanzer: It depends how many questions. Last time, there were only 35 people involved total, with most work done by a 17-person panel. 100 people might be too many, but 60-70 people does not seem like too many. I envision public meetings too.

Han: What would be the breakdown of the groups would be?

Poskanzer: It is too soon to tell. The 17-person group had 2 students. That is not enough.

Heckman: How did you choose this approach?

Poskanzer: I’ve seen SP done many different ways. Carleton’s culture calls for something broadly based, inclusive, and participatory. Top-down would not work well here. Planning here has been constituent based. I wanted to avoid that, with a process that gives us more definite answers. There are many things that we want to do; we need to figure out what we want to start with. The National Academies do this; it seems to work well.

Somogyi: How will community members not directly involved be kept informed?

Poskanzer: The web, public meetings, etc. You don’t want to cut off provocative thinking by too much scrutiny, but you don’t want to go to the other extreme either.

Hall: The conversations among groups sounds very important. What steps do you see occurring after the process is completed?

Poskanzer: If, for example, our highest priority is more financial aid, we would put discretionary money there. It would become a critical driver of the next campaign. 17 is too many goals, it has to be more like 2-4.

Hillis: It is important to have student input. Admissions and Financial Aid seems to be a cross-cutting, very important thing, and also getting Carleton’s name out.

Poskanzer: Groups should think more broadly. We also need to consider the competition. One group could be a “Blue Sky” group, with radically different ideas. What is the balance, for example, between financial aid and faculty salary? Another question might be, should we be more concerned with raising Carleton’s name brand? SP will not answer every question, but it will answer the most pressing ones.

Hodes: The questions will guide the whole process. Are students going to be involved in setting the questions?

Poskanzer: I want to give the first shot at creating the questions and assumptions, but I will convene an ad hoc of faculty, trustees, and perhaps students. New questions might emerge, or assumptions may not be assumed anymore.  

Hodes: I think students might really know what’s best for them.

Poskanzer: There will be opportunities for students to give feedback on the draft. There could be real value and perhaps necessity in student involvement.  

Michael: I’m impressed with the beginning conversations. When we are asking the questions, keep in mind the scale.

Poskanzer: Another way to think of that is strategic vs. tactical questions. We may not get to tactical questions with this SP.

Hernandez: I want to reiterate the point about Carleton’s name brand. What is an example of something that changed in your perception of how Carleton is doing since you’ve arrived?

Poskanzer: Most of what I saw reinforced my confidence. I’m not finding many ways that things are worse than what I thought. I worry that we don’t fully grasp the necessity of having to prioritize, but no institutions do. The more money you have, the less you have to worry about priorities. There are places where we fall short in welcoming all students, providing research opportunities, covering all critical intellectual areas, etc. We can’t do all of these things we want to do.

Hernandez: Who is going to be the final group who makes the recommendations?

Poskanzer: When all the groups give us answers, and they have conflicted with each other, then you are cobbling together answers into a short document with a steering group. I don’t want to name that group right now, because that gives the idea that they are going to do the real action.

Ogilby: Who would the steering committee comprise; would there be students?

Poskanzer: Yes, but if all the groups do their work well, the steering group should not be that powerful.

Nordgaard: I like this. Have other colleges considered this? How do we compare? Do you fear some of the problems that might arise between the different groups?

Poskanzer: I do fear that; I worry about that much. The alternative is even worse, that we raise expectations and then we can’t do everything. Other places are doing this, though not in the exact same way. While you can’t deny the competition, we all live to serve a broader social purpose.

Fitzgerald: Carleton seems really behind this. What can we do to help?

Poskanzer: Spread the word about this, and pass along the information. Volunteer to be a part of the groups.

Keedy: What happens during breaks in terms of participation, and what happens to SP if there is financial meltdown?

Poskanzer: First, that’s why we are starting this in the Fall. We might have to electronically share documents. We will not make final decisions while people are not here. We need the plan especially if “the wheels fall off” because you know then what you need to save.

Turovsky: This is an internal process. Is there a role for the community? Coordination with St. Olaf? How much transparency to the outside is there?

Poskanzer: Some, but not completely. You can’t throw it up to every constituency. Whatever emerges will have to be shared. A question could be, what we could do with St. Olaf?

Marren: How will alumni be kept up to date?

Poskanzer: It will have to happen somewhat, again perhaps electronically.

Gorokrksdsdeke: This is a brave effort. What do the answers look like?

Poskanzer: I want very clear answers at a certain level of specificity. Then you can go to donors and say, is this something you are willing to support?

Hodes: Thank you for coming.

Poskanzer: What I’m taking from this is that there is a general level of comfort with this. It is going to be interesting.


Eat the Lawn Resolution

Griffin: This is the garden between Olin, Laird, and Boliou. It has been going for two years. Grounds requested that we submit a proposal for renewal this year, but it was rejected. The reasons were unclear, but I talked to Fred Rogers, and basically he did not like it there, and suggested that we put it farther out. However, there is already a farm out there and the whole point is that it is on campus, accessible to students.

Turovsky: Have you been to campus design at all?

Griffin: I submitted it to facilities, and he would not let me submit it anywhere else. He took it to certain administrative committees.  

Turovsky: If you are looking for approval, campus design is another good place. If we were to approve this, do you need funds? What do you want from the CSA other than approval?

Griffin: Mostly approval. The first year, there may have been an upfront cost. Last year, the seeds were donated or bought by farm club. We don’t need money.

Hillis: There has to be reason this was rejected. Is it that you don’t know what it is?

Griffin: Dennis told me it was rejected, and said the same thing Fred did. Because it started as an independent study, it was a hoax that it was approved the second year, and now they said it doesn’t serve a purpose. It’s possible that he doesn’t like how it looks.

Hillis: Is there some sort of process that can make this a more long term, or permanent thing?

Turovsky: Campus design committee approval.

Griffin: I would love a more permanent approval, but the administration has seen a lot of student run projects that fail after people graduate. Maybe it should be a year-to-year approval, because we do need people to take care of it.

Nordgaard: Is this just an awareness thing? Is the food there consumed?

Griffin: The food is consumed. It’s open for whoever wants it. A lot of it is during the summer, but students who are here then use it.

Hall: Who would upkeep this, if it was approved year to year or as a long-term project?

Griffin: Last year, we determined that it would be through Farm Club and Food Truth. A student would be given responsibility in the fall for the approval, and the farm interns would take care of it.

Turovsky: We should move to amend the resolution to include the stipulation that a member of the student body would seek approval from the college year to year. That plot was once a prairie, so I don’t think it is unreasonable to have a garden there.

The resolution is approved unanimously with the amendment.

Confirming Appointees

Hodes: These are our appointments, made by a committee of myself, Dara, Levonian, Heckman, and Han Sunday night.

Budget Committee
Matt Weinstein
Elijah Mae Christensen
Sam Feigenbaum
Alexander Siemers

Amy Kim
Raymond Ngu

Academic Standing Committee: Dan Antoszy 
TRIO/OIIL/GSC Liaison: Michael McClellan
College Council Liaison: Rebecca Gourevitch
ECC Liaison: Patrick Burke (also Senator BC member)
CEDI students-at-large: Asiya Gaildon, Emily Lamberty 

Appointments were approved unanimously.

Open Comments

Hodes directed sign up for office hours (now at a table in Sayles during common time), for the working groups created last term, and for Senators on the library’s external review process. In addition, the ECC would like to invite students to share their thoughts on April 6th from 3:30-5pm in Sayles Hill 251 at an open meeting for faculty and students regarding the S/Cr/NC process.

Han discussed with Senators the CSA weekly updates.

Ben: The rules for the referendum processes are unclear, but we have to submit the petition before the first Friday. Here it is. Maybe we did not do as good as job about informing you about what it is that MPIRG is doing. We are advertising more. Is there a way to keep you better informed? To answer my own question, I would like MPIRG to come to meetings once a term to talk to Senate.

Persen: Just relying on us is not enough.

Ben: This is in addition to everything else. We’ll be tabling in Sayles asking for student input.

Hodes: I do not think we are the target audience, but coming to Senate with questions like this is good.