Laying the groundwork for the future

The incoming Executive Board being sworn in at the last General Assembly meeting.

The incoming Executive Board being sworn in at the last General Assembly meeting of the school year.

By Philip Bennett

Looking back at the last few weeks of this term Student Senate has made some serious leaps and bounds with regard to creating a better student governing body. We helped push through the Good Samaritan Policy, making it official college policy and in the future will make it easier and accessible for students to propose policy changes. We have created two new Executive Board positions and Committees: Diversity and Health and Wellness. These will serve as two of our strongest assets within Student Senate. They will signal to the rest of the student body, administration and other community members where our priorities are as students. We hope these changes will attract many different students to participate with Student Senate and will actively utilize this student-run governing body. We hope to communicate and serve the Diversity Initiative. Last night we also approved an updated version of the Student Senate’s Constitution and Bylaws. These changes will be posted on our website and will be reflected in other online and offline sources. Most changes will reflect changes in campus culture, clearer outlines of our positions as the Student Senate and hopefully will allow for accountability and consistency. We hope that our Constitution and Bylaws will serve as a way that the student body knows how to hold their representatives accountable for the job they are doing. A solid foundation has been laid for the next Student Senate and hopefully will last several years beyond that.

Elections Results and Transitioning

By Philip Bennett

Below are the election results from this year’s spring elections! This Executive Board will be sworn in next Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Ferris Lounge. Their official term of service, however, will begin immediately after Commencement 2014. Until then the current Executive Board will be working closely with the incoming Executive Board to get them up to speed on responsibilities, communication, plans and other projects that will be picked up in the next academic year. The transition process will include guidelines written up together, agenda and goal setting, as well as establishing a line of communication between current and future executive members to ensure a smooth transition into the new school year.

President: Hiba Ahmed
Vice President: Robert Turski
Secretary: Lissa Mann
Treasurer: Rahil Savani
Campus Life: Tevin (Po) Liao
Dining Services: Max Wallace
Diversity: ChanTareya (TT) Paredes
Health & Wellness: Katie Mansfield
Sustainability: Inez Pena
Technology: Josh Voravong 

If you see them around campus be sure to let them know what you want to see happen next year, what you want to see done differently or better. We would appreciate any and all feedback from the general student body about Student Senate.

Election Season!

Link

By Eli Mulhausen and Philip Bennett

 

Student Senate is holding elections for its 2014-2015 executive board positions. If you are interested in becoming a student leader on campus, this may be a great opportunity for you. We encourage anyone who is interested to apply.

 

 A few quick notes:

 

  • Candidates must be on campus for all three terms of the 2014-2015 academic year to serve on the exec board.
  • Anyone who is interested is welcome to run.
  • Candidates for president must have served on senate for at least one academic year (three terms)
  • Candidates for treasurer must have gone through the budgeting process with the Senate Finance Committee in the past.
The deadline for submitting applications is Tuesday, May 6 at 4 p.mThere will be an informational session with the current executive board in Ferris Lounge on Friday, May 2 at 4 p.m.  An election and campaign timeline can be found on the application.

 

Election Schedule:
Friday, April 25 — APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE
Friday, May 2 — Information session for applicants at 4 p.m. in the Ferris Lounge
Tuesday, May 6 — APPLICATION DEADLINE! Applications are to be submitted by 4 p.m. on this day. The student body is notified on this day of who the candidates are!
Wednesday, May 7 – Campaigning begins! (See Campaign Guidelines for more information)
Friday, May 9 — Candidate Debates take place at 4 p.m. in the Gizmo.
Saturday, May 10 — Voting takes place through Monday, May 12 at 5 p.m. Students are notified same day of results. Winners of the election MUST attend Student Senate on Thursday, May 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ferris Lounge and subsequent Thursday meetings after that.
 

Applications can be found here. Any further questions can be sent to Vice President Devin Hanley: dhanley@knox.edu

Making our health and wellness a priority

By Philip Bennett

Last Thursday, after voting in favor of amending the constitution and bylaws to include a Diversity Committee and Chair, the Health and Wellness Amendment was proposed to the General Assembly. This amendment was written using the same template that all Standing Committees use outlined in the bylaws. The amendment has been brought forth because we would like to reflect within the organization of the Student Senate the shifting culture of the campus with a focus towards student health and wellness. This has become a strong priority among the student body and it seems crucial that we as Student Senate respond accordingly by creating a Standing Committee that will serve as a channel of communication among students for issues regarding the safety, physical health and mental well-being of the students.

This action has been inspired by many students’ call to action for improvement of resources for health and wellness on campus. As the premier student representative body on campus we must reflect the attitudes and needs of the students. I have included below the text for the resolution and the amendment that will be voted on this Thursday, April 17. We would appreciate any support, feedback and other comments regarding this amendment. We meet at 7:30 p.m. now, instead of 8 p.m., in the Ferris Lounge.

Text of the resolution for the Health and Wellness Amendment:
Whereas, There is currently no forum for student discussion concerning issues of our safety, physical health, and mental well-being; and
Whereas, There is a need for more awareness and action on the part of the college in relation to these issues; and
Whereas, Student Senate is the student representative body on campus, we must actively address these issues through the creation of a standing committee solely focused on student health and wellness; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Knox College Student Senate amend its constitution and bylaws to include the following:

Text of the amendment to the constitution/bylaws:
H. Safety and Wellness Committee
i. The Health and Wellness Committee shall represent student views on all matters relating to safety and wellness at Knox College.
ii. The Health and Wellness Committee may review any safety and wellness policy that affects students.
iii. The Health and Wellness Committee makes recommendation to the General Assembly on matters of health and wellness policy.

Potential Diversity Committee Amendment

By Philip Bennett

Student Senate will be voting on an amendment to our constitution at our April 10 meeting. This amendment will establish a Diversity Committee with a new chair position on the executive board. The Diversity Committee amendment has been brought forth because senate would like to reflect a shift in priorities as a student body. Diversity-related issues have been brought up throughout the year and this committee will serve as a channel of student-to-student communication. The Diversity Committee will ideally work with the Office of Intercultural Life, with regards to programming and other forms of community development. This committee will also signal to the student body and the administration where our priorities are and where we want to go as a student body. Below is the text of the Diversity Committee Amendment:

Diversity Committee Amendment:
Whereas, Knox College asserts within its Mission Statement a commitment to a diverse community of students, faculty, and staff, and
Whereas, The President of the College has recently affirmed the importance of diversity as a central goal of her office and signaled that this should be a central goal of our community, and
Whereas, As Student Senate is the student representative body on campus, we must actively address these issues through the creation of a standing committee solely focused on diversity; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Knox College Student Senate amend its constitution to include the following:

G. Diversity Committee
i. The Diversity Committee shall represent student views on all matters relating to diversity at Knox College.
ii. The Diversity Committee may review any diversity policy that affects students.
iii. The Diversity Committee makes recommendation to the General Assembly on matters of policy related to diversity.

***
The amendment was proposed at our General Assembly meeting last week and will be voted on this week.

Student initiative becomes policy

By Philip Bennett

On Thursday night, Student Senate passed a resolution and endorsed a Good Samaritan Policy. This change will be reflected in the Student Handbook in the fall. Credit should be given to one student who sparked this initiative and meaningful change: Jonathan Tupper. Tupper came to Student Senate’s General Assembly meeting last term and he presented what is called a Good Samaritan Policy. Over 240 colleges currently have a written Good Samaritan Policy. Prior to this initiative, this policy was simply practice. It occurred to Tupper that Knox College should take the next step in codifying this. The Good Samaritan Policy aims to exempt students from punishment if they are caught with drugs and/or alcohol when reporting a medical emergency. Ideally, this will empower students to call for help in case of an emergency without thinking of the perceived severe punishments.
Below is the text from the Good Samaritan Policy Resolution that was passed on Thursday, April 3, 2014:

WHEREAS, Knox College currently does not have a written policy exempting students from punishment if caught with drugs or alcohol on campus when they are reporting a medical emergency;

WHEREAS, a lack of a clear policy discourages students from calling for help in potential drug overdose or alcohol poisoning situations due to perceived or potential negative consequences; and

WHEREAS, Knox College should have written policies that protect students’ health and encourage them to call for help when it is needed, now therefore be it

RESOLVED, that Student Senate approves the following: “The college has adopted this policy in order to ensure that students receive prompt and appropriate attention for alcohol intoxication or drug impairment and to remove barriers that prevent students from seeking needed assistance. If a student is involved with contacting Campus Safety or any other college official for assistance with an intoxicated or impaired student, neither the student seeking assistance nor the student in need of assistance will be charged with violation of the college’s policy on alcohol and other drugs. At its discretion, the college may choose to pursue education interventions for such policy violations and may undertake other actions needed to protect the welfare of the campus community.” And be it further

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the student body, Campus Life staff, and Campus Safety officers, and whomever else this policy may concern.”

This was written by Jonathan Tupper and edited by Student Senate. This resolution then spurred the following policy that was endorsed by Student Senate:

“The college has adopted this policy in order to ensure that students receive prompt and appropriate attention for alcohol intoxication or drug impairment and to remove barriers that prevent students from seeking needed assistance. If a student is involved with contacting Campus Safety or any other college official for assistance with an intoxicated or impaired student, neither the student seeking assistance nor the student in need of assistance will be charged with violation of the college’s policy on alcohol and other drugs. At its discretion, the college may choose to pursue education interventions for such policy violations and may undertake other actions needed to protect the welfare of the campus community.”

This policy will appear in the Knox College Student Handbook.

Board of Trustees Observers Report (3 of 3)

Below is the last report from the Senate Observers to the Board of Trustees. Anna Gong is a senior student senator.

Report by Anna GongAnna_GONG
Following the approval of the minutes from the last meeting, the report from the Athletic Task Force was given: They raised $80,000 recently. When asked what their five year goal was, they said they want to “make sure that the athletes gender ratio stays consistent (current ratio is male:female 2:1).” Other schools have been spending a lot more money on this effort. Our next steps are to implement strategies. If we are adding a new sport, a lot of components need to be considered: admissions, branding, equipment, etc. Athletic Director Chad Eisele would like to encourage the student body to attend game events and is working together with the Office of Student Development to develop a plan for this. In the past, we have not had a full-time coach, or the coach leaves after a short period of time, and Knox needs someone to stay long enough to establish relationships with the high schools. The department hired a full-time coach and we have seen the numbers of California applicants rising, and that is because of the coach going out and recruiting.

Dean Deb Southern gave her report: She talked about the speaker, Jackson Katz, who spoke out about gender violence on campus, highlighting the cultures on campus and empowering the underrepresented groups to speak up.

Dan Larson, the Director of Health and Counseling gave his report: We see that the number of students with depression is increasing — Knox College is currently at 20-22 percent. Knox offers 15 counseling sessions per year (ACM: 5-15 sessions). The wait time to see a counselor amongst the ACM is two weeks, and at Knox it is around one week. We currently have only one full-time staff, and three part-time staff. They did a survey among the students and here is some feedback received: Knox students dislike the two to three weeks wait list; they worry about the privacy and the size of the waiting room; in the waiting rooms, the wait is one to two hours; and the open hours are limited (but this is restricted by the OSF contracts). The health and counseling center is hoping to hire a full-time sexual assault counselor — this person should be a generalist with a specialty in sexual assault, preferably a woman so some female students feel comfortable talking to this person. She would also do educational outreach on the campus.

Board of Trustees Observers Report (2 of 3)

Below is the second of three reports from the Senate Observers to the Board of Trustees. Uduak Ekanem is a freshman student senator.
UDUAK_E
Report by Uduak Ekanem
During the winter Board of Trustees meeting, I attended the Academic Affairs Committee meeting and Academic Strategic Planning session. Both committees had the same focus.
In both sessions, the committee was concerned with how to incorporate technology in building education for the 21st century. Dean Laura Behling, during her presentation, noted the various ways technology has played an important role in enhancing education. Some of these roles include: distance education multimedia and teaching tools, hardware and software and web-based resources. Dean Behling did not fail to mention the various disadvantages technology brings, such as the cost, time and money. Presentations and results from the Mathematics (graphing in statistics) and Sociology Departments showed exactly how technology has helped in enhancing learning in certain classes. The results from the classes showed an increase in both performance and participation among students compared to the conventional methods of teaching. The results also showed that it allowed the teacher to cover topics faster in class and leave room for students to ask questions and work in-class problems.
The main goal of the Academic Affairs committee is to use and embrace technology as a key factor in the 21st century to enhance education at Knox College.

Board of Trustees Observers Report (1 of 3)

Below is a report written by sophomore Senator Sruthi Doniparthi. Senators are appointed by the General Assembly of Student Senate to attend as an observer to the Board of Trustees Meetings that take place each term. These meetings took place on Feb. 21 and 22.

Board of Trustees Meeting Summary
By Sruthi Doniparthi

Feb. 21-22 were when I got a second look into the future of Knox College. Many of the committees and departments are restructuring to focus on strategic goals that will bring Knox into the 21st century.

Advancement
This meeting focused more on which direction Advancement should pursue in order to get enough funding to support the programs and changes Knox wants to pursue.

  • Project/goal based campaigns would attract young alumni to donate since they will know exactly what their money is going to.
  • Older alumni are more likely to donate via the general website after receiving magazines and other information about Knox.
  • Keep alumni connected, making it easier to maintain relationships between them and current students for internships, advice, job search help, etc.

The committee also discussed how Knox ranks compared to other schools in our group of schools concluding that advancement efforts are extremely good, seeing this office consists of only 18 people compared to Carlton College’s 40+. The board also concluded that getting dollars is more important than participation among alumni. However, they do acknowledge that if young alumni, like us after we graduate, donate small amounts every year when we are at a stage where we can give more, we will.

As seen this past week through the Thank Knox Days, alumni play a major role in our ability to learn at Knox. Projects like Alumni Hall’s renovation and others that are being discussed are paid by them and will be paid by us.

Facilities & Infrastructure
Aside from the new improvements, this committee is taking a new turn that coincides with the Knox 2018 idea — to find ways to make the facilities more modern. The main thing to understand from any new project is that Knox pays for them with donor money, and the big donors usually only give when they see a plan in place: budgets, designs, proposals, etc. This committee works to talk to all the contractors and designers to bring our current and new buildings into the 21st century, with keeping the historic feel this campus already embodies.

Major Renovations
Alumni Hall should be done by Homecoming 2014 for open houses

  • The offices will move in during winter break so it can be functional spring term

Landscaping: ~ $500K

  • Needs donors

SMC

  • A brighter, more modern building: ~ $40 million for full renovation.
  • The preliminaries are beautiful
  • They are trying to find money for better equipment first

Renovation of the Beta House

  • There was discussion on if remodeling or a complete reconstruction is cheaper but they decided to remodel even though the pricing is comparable.

Other discussions revolved around what is the best way to use space, especially now since Alumni Hall will be the home of many current offices and spaces (like the Lincoln room). They also talked about some possible acquisitions for new residence halls but there still needs to be much more discussion about it. Steve Hall is attempting to get wireless to Knox students off campus so it would be as if they are using internet on campus. Froggi van Riper, the new Sustainability Initiatives Director introduced herself and talked about her experience. The board is looking forward to working with her.

Knox Strategic Planning
Perhaps the most important part of the meetings were the discussions about Knox 2018 and bring this college into the 21st century. It’s understandable to be skeptical about whether everything that is being talked about will actually happen but from seeing the enthusiasm of all the board, faculty who lead the group meetings and especially Teresa Amott and others at her level, it really is believable. There was discussion about goals from every committee about what must be changed. The plethora of perspectives did help the board direct their goals in a way to include everyone. The next step is taking the goals and consolidating them (which the president, vice president and others are already working on) and have a prioritized list by the board’s June meeting for them to approve.

Everyone keep a look out for information about Strategic Planning and how Knox is changing and share your opinions! Whether you believe it or not, the administration truly does listen to them. Then when you come back, you can say you were a part of the great change that you will see.

Taylor Lounge improvements

By Philip Bennett, President

At the Feb. 20 General Assembly meeting, senate invited Travis Greenlee, Assistant Director of Student Activities and Engagement, to bring forth a proposal requesting a restocking of old or broken items as well as new items that would enhance the overall Taylor Lounge experience.

These items included: a pool bridge, billiard cue rack, t-shirt frames and a new ping pong table.

Students have requested the pool bridge “in order to play pool more effectively … and retain regular visitors to the Taylor Lounge.” The billiard cue rack is being purchased to preserve the cues and keep them from marking up the walls, where they currently rest. The T-shirt frames are a new idea to display all the past Flunk Day t shirts on the walls in the Taylor Lounge. And the ping pong table was broken earlier this year and needs to be replaced, as it served many students.

The proposal is coming from Travis Greenlee and a committee that he has formed with a student workers called the Taylor Lounge Improvement Committee. The funds for these purchases will come out of the SMURF fund from Student Senate.

Be on the look out for new stuff in the lounge!

The next proposal being discussed within senate is the possibility of a new sound system for the “right side” or the “pool side” of the Taylor Lounge so students can play music, host events and play the college’s student-run radio station, WVKC HD 2. This proposal will be discussed next Thursday at General Assembly.