Meeting of April 29, 2010
PRESENT: Raza Amin ’12, Co-Chair Gabe Amo ‘10, SGA President; Craig Andrade, Associate Dean of Health and Wellness; Tim Barker, Professor of Physics/Astronomy; Abigail Earle ’11, Co-Chair; Andrea Holden, Assistant Director of Student Life; Jim Mancall, Associate Dean of Studies for 1st and Sophomore Years; Alyssa Sands ’11, Alexandra Schibanoff ’12, John Sutyak, Associate Director of Athletics
OTHERS: Janith Hancock, Adm. Associate, Dean of Students Office
ABSENT: Charles Furgal, Director of Public Safety; Kenneth Monroe '12, Rebecca Pye, Campus Coordinator
The meeting began at 3:40pm with a debriefing of the Community Conversation held on Thursday, April 22. Observations of the forum were as follows:
. guests seemed nervous at the beginning
. good suggestions
. it would have been better if more students had come (many competing activities at the same time)
. advertise more before the next forum
. consider scheduling during a different time slot; evening may be good time
. meeting was valuable and people had interesting things to say
. very good first forum; WIRE did decent representation
. many people contributed their thoughts
. same perspective as many years ago
. would like to hear what people who live off campus think
. thoughtful and caring comments; hope to be able to reach other groups of people
. amnesty was on people's minds
. tension relating to alcohol is a concern even for people over 21; not sure how that can be eased - perhaps change attitudes about alcohol first
. the Loft isn't seen as a desirable place to socialize on campus because it is still connected to the college; Students don't want to drink at the Loft; A campus bar would be a better place; Dining halls being open all night have reduced the business and activity in the Loft; Only time Loft is busy is when bands play; Loft isn't visible (downstairs and out of view); Previous dining services provider was more involved in planning events at the Loft and more students went, but the present dining services provider wants Wheaton to do the programming; In order to be served alcohol a Mass ID, military ID, passport or a valid drivers license is needed
. use more things that captivate people on the weekend so people stay on campus and have a good time
. the culture is transmitted from class to class
. relationship with Public Safety; how do we address the perception about Public Safety?
. the fear of getting into trouble appears to be strong enough to risk endangering a student's safety
. how can we do different training with ACs and RAs
. ACs use discretion with handling situations; follow-up conversations with ACs and their students
. should the Alcohol Policy be explicit or implicit
. Amnesty is already in practice
. Students were helpful and said things that were very useful; worthwhile to do; some students we would have liked to hear from weren't there
The Commission then turned its attention to the various subgroups. An update was given about the Safe Ride program. Unfortunately, the taxi hasn't been at the agreed upon location as yet (a student called the company on a Thursday and was told that they don't come on Thursdays; they would come to campus, but the cost would be $25; however, they didn't come to campus even though the student said they would pay the $25) and the sub-group will be following up. Once there is a clear understanding of the arrangements, the fliers will be distributed again to continue with the advertising of the program.
The Forum was a relatively easy event to put on with short notice and minimal labor. Next semester these events could be put on more frequently so there would be more of them and other students could be encouraged to attend.
The Commission then turned its attention to the various subgroups with the following updates:
Training meetings for students interested in sponsoring events with alcohol (perhaps once a month) may be considered to assist students in being more prepared and understand their responsibilities and also understand the staffing plan for such events. Discussions with Aramark and the programming in the Loft for the coming year is also planned this summer as well as possibly making some visual upgrades to the space. Other events are also to be reviewed.
They are looking at fall events, the number of events, and kick off with a late September event similar to the forum we had in April. If the YWC is focusing on a topic, perhaps the forum(s) would be planned around those subjects. Perhaps start the year with Amnesty as the topic; in mid-semester talk about the Alcohol Policy; at the end of the semester discuss the culture at Wheaton. The group also felt it may be important to move around the days and times for the forums so that more and different students could attend. Other discussion subjects will also be considered.
The shell of the site is up now with all the basics of what YWC represents. The home page includes our charge from Dean Williams with some adaptations to the last paragraph (still in progress) to indicate what we are all about. There is an events section, the Forum, the bios of members and photos (it is hoped that this section can be upgraded to resemble the Admission intern site, which appears to be very professional and uniform), resources, and links. It was also mentioned that one of our most important challenges will be to have a dedicated person do the updating so that the site stays current and up to date and doesn't become stale. It will also be important to be able to connect with other colleges and them with us. Commission members are encouraged to take a look at the site and make suggestions. The site needs to be kept interesting. Also, the group is considering having the capability of linking to Facebook, Twitter, share an article with a friend, comment on topics or articles, etc. after the basic site is developed.
The group is working on a time-line when they might do further work. There is an SGA committee working on a resolution to submit for consideration that offers a legal perspective. Some of the issues that an Amnesty Policy needs to consider as a group: 1) Is an Amnesty Policy already in place—what is the perception of it? 2) What do we mean by amnesty (personal amnesty and/or other iterations)? 3) Address the issue of off-campus amnesty 4) Needs to be some room for discretion on the college's behalf to respond to egregious behavior by individuals to repeated incidents 5) What is the role of ACs and RAs and the function of Public Safety as well as consideration of role of the new Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life. The question was asked if Kate McCaffrey should be a member of the YWC and how would people feel about that if she were a member. At this time we don't have a residential life perspective on the Commission, and it may be important to have a strong connection with that department either by having a person join the Commission or in a peripheral role. Being involved with YWC may give the new dean a good introduction to the way Wheaton works, to meet and become involved with students and to learn about the issues we are concerned with. Her perspective would be helpful; however, the decision of her/other residential life staff participating (and how much) should rest with her. Some students may view her as a disciplinarian who comes up with rules and enforces the rules when she, as a member of YWC, is supposed to advocate for student wellness in a neutral commission. It is up to the YWC to invite her but up to her to accept. She may have thoughts about other ways to participate. It will be critical, however, for her to be connected and share input.
Who would the YWC have to ask for approval of proposals and other work of the Commission? Would it be Residential Life, the Provost, Presidents Council, Senate, SGA, the Business Office, legal affairs or others? Perhaps the co-chairs will need to talk about this during the coming summer. Also, perhaps there may be an advisory group that could be invited to meetings to talk about proposals (or send them information ahead of time) and if we are going in the right direction. Even if the new Associate Dean may be on board with our proposals, Dean Williams may not be. Should she be made a charter member of the Commission?
Gabe Amo will be graduating in May and Alexandra Schibanoff '12 has agreed to take up the student position of co-chair of the Yellow Wood Commission. Next week's meeting will be spent talking about the article recently sent to members and a time-line for projects.
Janith L. Hancock
Office of the Dean of Students