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Tonight was another round of town hall meetings. Cappy and Chris stopped by Cushing House tonight to meet with both Cushing and Noyes houses on campus-wide issues and concerns. A lot was touched upon tonight and TONS of students showed up in comparison to other town hall meetings. Issues that were brought up at tonights meeting include: sexism and homophobia on campus, the counseling service on campus, re-installation of the SAVP coordinator as well as sexual assault on campus, community outreach, the structure of meal plans, dorm renovations, admissions policies, a social consciousness requirement being installed in the curriculum, the gender gap at Vassar, getting credit for lab courses, “long-term” Vassar, the international student experience, and student space on campus.
Of these topics there were quite a few highs and lows. There was a pretty vicious exchange of words between a student and Cappy about the gender gap at Vassar in which Cappy more or less was defending herself against charges that were flat-out not her responsibility or caused by her in any way. The student was angered because they felt like there were too many men on campus. Cappy more or less stated that Vassar was not made co-ed to stop at a population of 30% males. Overall, Cappy handled the situation with grace and seemed to come out on top with a student stepping up to her defense in the end.
Another bump was when Cappy stated that lab-based classes have the same amount of work as non-lab classes, which I think we all know is not true. Nevertheless, this matter isn’t really at Cappy’s hands anyway so we can hope that the VSA will try to push this through someday.
The real highlight of the night was when Dan Shaw, Cushing House President, brought up dorm renovations. It was then revealed that this summer, Cushing House would be receiving bathroom renovations (similar to Lathrop House’s this summer) in two parts over this summer and the next. Chris Roellke added that the condition of Cushing’s bathrooms was unacceptable. Cheer broke out among the crowd and everyone seemed to be in smiles. It was also revealed that Noyes House would be having its MPR or “The Jetson Lounge” renovated this summer as well. Congratulations to these two houses for the good news.
Great conversations tonight. Weekend updates coming soon!
For anyone who’s ever taken an education class at Vassar, the name Jonathan Kozol stands out. One of the leading voices for the “savage inequalities” of the American education system, Mr. Kozol will be speaking in the Vassar Chapel tomorrow (November 3) at 5:30 pm.
We’re not sure how well publicized the event has been, but this is a pretty incredible chance to hear from one of the brightest, most passionate advocates for improving educational standards and opportunity. The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life announced the lecture on its website a couple of weeks ago and provides great detail about Kozol’s mission and the work that he’s done. While he will discuss in general the structural inequalities that challenge public school systems, Mr. Kozol will speak more specifically to the problems both caused and exacerbated by No Child Left Behind. We encourage everyone to attend and to spread the word about it.
Many students staying caught up on their Vassar controversies will remember the homophobic messages sprawled over a Davison bathroom earlier this semester. Horrified by the anti-gay messages, the Davison house team went well above and beyond to assure its residents that homophobia was not a sentiment to be normalized or encouraged. Their efforts included hosting an open discussion about the issue as well as socially creating an art piece meant to “say no” to anti-gay messages.
Now, according to Dean Roellke, more derogatory language has been discovered in Davison House, this time targeting women. We don’t currently know the extent or the details of the vandalism, but we do hope that this house’s residents catch a break soon. Whether this is the work of a repeat offender or a new culprit, this sort of behavior is completely unacceptable. We have faith that the Davison house team will work hard to deal with this issue (yet again), but we wanted to add our voice to the overall campus message that this sort of hurtful, degrading language can’t be condoned. Play nice, people.
So… we’re not sure if any of you checked your e-mail this week, but what we all received from Luis Inoa was a little disturbing. In case you didn’t read the cute little italicized comment on the bottom of the e-mail it reads:
…you should be aware that a logical consequence of causing a disruption along the lines of an unauthorized party in the houses may be reassignment to a different house.
Um… what? Are you kidding me? I know that we are all obviously susceptible to college policy, but ResLife was already drastic enough with its new probation policy that it just enacted this year. This is an incredibly regressive decision and it in no way helps the college control drinking or teaches students to drink responsibly.
Just to be clear, for those of you who don’t know: according to administration, you are considered responsible for hosting a party if there are eight people in your room with alcohol present.
This practice implication simply will force students to collect in smaller groups in smaller timeframes to pre-game events on campus, which in turn will only perpetuate dangerous drinking. Additionally, this practice change will affect a wide scope of student bodies: house teams, the VSA council, fellow groups, etc. as brought up on the VSA council tonight. It gives security WAY too much power and could potentially destroy our historically accepting campus culture.
In addition, students who are reassigned to other dorms will have no incentive to become members of their new community and thus have no incentive to not host more parties. A disconnect from the loyalty embedded in the housing system will only perpetuate dorm damage and poor decision making. Furthermore, this will ultimately push even more students off campus.
On a side note: it’s officially really easy to move out of your house if you don’t want to live there… just throw a party.
What are your responses on this? We need to get some student activism going on this campus. Please let us know what you feel, we would be happy to help a movement.
As of 12 pm today, the State of Emergency has been lifted in Dutchess County, but warnings about safety remain in place. Power lines, fallen trees, and non-operating traffic lights are some of the issues mentioned in a forwarded message from Dean Roellke this just a little while ago. Several parts of the county have been left without power, but road crews are making their best efforts to handle this. Dutchess officials recommend that everyone stay at home (for us, on campus), but that if you MUST travel, use extreme caution and allow for extra travel time. So, guys, you might want to avoid heading to the Galleria or anywhere on Route 9 today.
Just like with Hurricane Irene, Vassar seems to have been spared the worst of nature’s fury. Let’s hope that we manage to continue this trend whenever unusually bad weather conditions hit the Poughkeepsie area.
Well, if you’re looking around campus today you will probably notice that campus looks more hungover than you do. Aside from the fire alarm pulled in Main Building, rumored to have occurred on 5th floor, the Haunted Hollow presented by the Class of 2012 seemed to go swimmingly well. Students still made it out of their dorms (unless lucky enough to live in Main) to celebrate the holiday. Looks like not even snow can stop the Vassar kids from enjoying themselves. Thanks to everyone helped make last night a success.
As of now, Dutchess County is in a state of emergency. Events in UpC and Villard Room are still moving forward. Power loss is a very possible outcome before the night ends. Too much of this event mirrors the panic and fear that hit campus during Hurricane Irene for our comfort. Stay safe!
We’ve heard through the grapevine that tonight at 9 PM there will be a GIANT snowball fight on the Quad. Hope to see you there!