Senate Beat: Senate Discusses More Infrastructure for Student Groups
Maddie Huber as Senate Secretary
Camille Parker to Appeals Board
Sage Schwartz to the Computing Policy Committee
Kristin Holmberg, director of the Office for Student Engagement (OSE), set Senate’s agenda on Tuesday by unveiling plans for collaborations with Senate to create infrastructure for student organizations. Her first project will be creating a comprehensive listing of student organizations and organizers. Currently, the student body has a list of signators, but these do not necessarily correspond to groups. Conversely, the OSE has difficulty keeping up-to-date information on groups that receive no Student Body funding, like Investment Club. Senators suggested that a revived SIN could host a directory of student organisations, but concrete details are yet to be determined.
Holmberg’s second and more far-reaching plan is to help groups retain institutional memory, despite high student turnover. She said she was “tired” of groups like the Print Shoppe reaching out to her to ask for details on the group’s processes. Student Sage Schwartz, speaking from experience with Weapons of Mass Distraction, suggested a quick fix: that groups have access to a shared Google Drive and a joint email address.
Another solution proposed by Holmberg was to institute a voluntary scheme matching groups to staff or faculty advisors. Identity-based groups, she suggested, would want connections to community members with experience navigating Reed, and more “technical” groups like Sound Kollektiv would benefit from being in contact with Reed’s AV staff. Without speaking for or against the scheme, Mike Brody noted that current Reedies were less willing to do student organization work compared to past generations of Reedies, based on surveys conducted by the Student Success Committee.
Holmberg’s proposal was received with concern by a few Senators. Senator Pixie Freeman spoke with concern about potential “overreach” from advisors, which could be mitigated by making advising processes more formal. President Pax Lloyd-Burchett concurred, noting that faculty and staff advisors would have power by virtue of simply being resistant to student turnover. In response, Holmberg will reach out to student groups to hear their thoughts and concerns on an advising scheme.
Moving forward, Senators Billy Fish, Keegan Samaniego, and Jonathan Lederman have all volunteered to work with Kristin Holmberg to discuss her proposals.
In other business, President Pax Lloyd-Burchett and Vice President Isabel Hoff announced that Senate will not revise the dissent policy further before presenting it to faculty for a vote of approval, despite vigorous faculty debate. Current changes to the policy to be voted on already include striking explicit links between violations of the dissent policy to violations of the Honor Principle. Senator Alisa Chen announced that the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) Committee is discussing broader Naloxone training, especially for House Advisors, and is considering making Naloxone available to students off-campus. Vice President Isabel Hoff has met with Kristin Holmberg to discuss the status of the student body fee, the primary source of funding for Treasury, as well as the management of student spaces in the GCC like the Women’s Center and the Student Publications Office.
Senator Billy Fish reported that Sustainability Committee will discuss hiring more students — or even staff — in a larger “sustainability office.” Such an office would guarantee, for example, the management of the GCC recycling center and other facilities over break. Sustainability Committee may also bring back a “Green Stewards” program back to Reed dorms, in which case they would be responsible for managing recycling and composting systems.
Finally, the Reed Union committee will meet next week to plan an upcoming community forum on honor and dissent. Past Reed Unions have been organised in response to significant events in the community, but otherwise have no direct bearing on policy. The last Reed Union was held after the September 26 Day of Boycott organised by Reedies Against Racism (RAR), and discussed whether the “life of the mind” made for a truly inclusive Reed community.