Authored by Secretary of the Assembly Neel Rana, pending approval by the Assembly of 2011-04-10

Minutes for the Meeting of the Shimer College Assembly

February 27, 2011

Meeting called to order at 4:07 by David Shiner
  1. Speaker David Shiner gave the welcome
  2. Approval of the Minutes of the Meeting of November 14, 2010 (prepared by Secretary Neel Rana)
    • Albert Fernandez, Faculty, proposes the name David Shiner be added to the third article in the minutes, however as was pointed out his name was there already.
    • David Shiner, Speaker, recognizes the minutes. The minutes of the Meeting of November 14, 2010 were accepted.
  3. Committee Report Updates and Questions: Reports were sent from all the committees and some departments online. Questions were taken on the floor.
    • The APC reported starting the hiring process for two new faculty members, and emphasized that it was an open process that the students would have input in.
    • The assembly gave a round of applause in appreciation of Amy Pritts, Director of Admissions, as she was leaving the community
    • The Agenda Committee announced its intent to conduct a fireside on February 30th, regarding the current mission statement and the assembly approved mission statement.
    • Eileen Buchanan, Faculty, thanked the Advancement department for submitting a report to Assembly and for its clarity. David Shiner, speaker, also voiced his appreciation, mentioning that it was a helpful thing for a department to do.
  4. Proposal for an addition to the section on “Powers of the Assembly” in the Constitution of the Assembly: (amended by the Agenda Committee from the proposal from Jonathan Timm that was discussed at the November 2010 Assembly meeting):
    “Election of members of the Assembly to any Assembly committee or office, as well as nominations of Assembly members as representatives to the Board of Trustees, may occur remotely. Participation in Assembly meetings, including voting, may only occur in person except for Assembly members who are participating in a remotely located, official Shimer College program.”
    • This proposal is a revision from the previous Assembly meeting. A Fireside was held, hosted by the Agenda Committee
    • Barbara Stone, faculty, asks if the Assembly members who are nominated have to be present at the Assembly. Stephanie Fong, Student, and David Shiner state that the proposal allows for both contingencies.
    • Taylor Buck, student, and Adrian Nelson, student, ask if Trustee members who are remotely located would be able to vote during the meetings? David Shiner states that they would not be able to.
    • Two-Thirds of Assembly must approve a change to the Constitution in order for it to be ratified. The vote was 47 for, none against. The proposal passed.
  5. Two proposals and a motion from the Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Agenda Committee:
    The Proposals:
    I) The Ad Hoc Committee recommends to the Assembly that the Agenda Committee take measures, whenever possible and advisable, to avoid on-the-floor editing and word-smithing of motions and resolutions. We recommend that, to this end, the Agenda Committee continue or increase the use of methods for which there is precedent: A) Committee editorial feedback to the writers of motions and resolutions prior to dissemination, B) editing by the Committee itself with the consent of the author, and C) dissemination of motions and resolutions well in advance of their formal publication in the agenda, with an invitation to community members that they convey suggestions and proposed edits directly to the authors before publication of the agenda.
    II)In addition, and to the same end, the Ad Hoc Committee recommends that from now on the Agenda Committee first bring motions and resolutions to the Assembly for discussion and suggestions, including friendly amendment, and then bring them to the Assembly for voting at the following or a later meeting, unless, in the judgment of the Agenda Committee, urgency or other considerations, including the use of method “C” above, prevent, or eliminate the need for, a two-stage process. Friendly amendments would be in order when proposals are introduced, formal ("unfriendly") amendments would be in order when proposals are to be voted on, and debate would be in order at both first- and second-stage meetings.
    The Motion:
    III) The Ad Hoc Committee moves that: The Assembly accepts and endorses the February 2011 recommendations of the Ad Hoc Committee to Study the Agenda Committee, and directs the Agenda Committee to put them into practice. (Motivated by Harold Stone for the Ad Hoc Committee)
    • Albert Fernandez, Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, speaks in defense of the accused redundancy of the committee and motivates the motion. He states that this is not the first recommendation made by the committee, noting that it was the motivator behind the change in how the head of the Agenda Committee is nominated. He says that I and II are intended to avoid on the floor wordsmithing in Assembly meetings, through various ways. One such ways us the two stage process discussed in II. Albert points out that this idea comes from Marlboro College, and was Harold Stone's idea here. He asks him to speak on its behalf.
    • Harold Stone states, the idea behind II was to allow Assembly members to speak first to the various issue in wording and imprecisions and then the initial author will then take the motion back and rework it. Then, second, after this has been done, voting will take place.
    • Albert Fernandez points out the motion does not negate (un) friendly amendments, which can be made at Assembly. Because what is changed in the motion is at the discretion of the author.
    • Katelynn DeLavan, Parliamentarian, tentatively approves of the motion, but is worried about continuity of a discussion over two assemblies. Naomi Neal, Student, voices similar concerns, agreeing that opening the discussion up beforehand may be a good idea, but wonders if two meetings would be redundant. Harold Stone, faculty, states that such a case may occur, and if it were so then the procedure would have to change, but Marlboro College, which meets every five weeks has not had such an issue. He also points to resolution three of this meeting as an example of how earlier wordsmithing expedited the Assembly process.
    • Barbara Stone asks for clarification in reference to resolution three, if the motion was adopted, how would the process have changed? There is discussion among the Assembly wherein Albert Fernandez points out that the committee has suggested many different ways to avoid on the floor word-smithing, and that a two meeting process would only happen at the discretion of the Agenda committee.
    • There is further discussion of the exact procedure that the ad hoc committee's motion implies, the question of a fireside before an assembly is brought up, what the nature of discussion will be at the first meeting vs. the second, as well as questions regarding whether or not a motion can simply be tabled if it is not sufficiently clear. It is pointed out that the motion was meant to avoid any sort of tabling, as by the time it got to the voting stage it should be sufficiently clear. David Shiner further expresses possible discomfort at the length of time between Assemblies, noting again, that Marlboro College only had 5 weeks between their assemblies.
    • Brenton Stewart, student, asks if there would be a way that Assembly members who were not at the first meeting to get a sense of the discussion? David Shiner replies that minutes can be a way to accomplish such a goal, though they may be more or less sparse depending on the meetings, they should be somewhat helpful.
    • It is a majority vote, initially the vote will be for both recommendations of the motion, but if it fails, then votes would take place on the individual recommendations. The vote for both parts of the motion results in 34 for, and 6 against. The motion carries.
  6. Proposal for the creation of an ad hoc committee whose responsibility would be to organize Assembly volunteers to assist the College, especially with respect to enrollment and advancement efforts. The Committee would gather lists of volunteers and a way of contacting them, and would then consult with the Admission and Advancement offices abut their needs and how the volunteers might be used. This committee would consist of at least 2 Weekday students, a Weekend student, and member(s) of the staff, with composition otherwise determined by the Assembly. (Motivated by Harold Stone)
    • Harold Stone chose to motivate the proposal: Many non-profits have committees that organize their volunteers, Shimer does not. There may be many various projects where volunteers could be useful. Departments that need volunteers could then contact them.
    • Allison Savage, student, asked What kind of projects in mind? Harold replied essentially any sort of task that cannot be done by staff or FWS students.
    • Noah Kippley-Ogman, Staff, stated that from the Advancement office has found those who have been volunteering at the thank-a-thon to be very helpful. At which point Albert Fernandez stated that he would like to hear from different department heads as to how helpful it such a volunteering committee would be. Is it possible it would simply be redundant? Discussion ensued, generally there was some skepticism as to whether a committee for volunteers would actually be necessary, it was also pointed out that such a committee might encourage more people to volunteer. Noah responded by saying that he had “mixed feelings”, it might be nice to have, as it is often a struggle to gather volunteers and if the body works well it could be a real asset. However, it could also be a bureaucracy, and was unsure if it was necessary.
    • Dorian Gomberg, student, asked Harold if he had any specific reason to motivate the proposal now. To which Harold responded only 'the presence of an absence”
    • Much discussion ensued regarding the merits of such a committee, and whether or not it would be an effective committee to have. Ed Noonan, President of Shimer, pointed out that such a list may be helpful in keeping Alumni involved in the college. Noting a low percentage of Alumni donations to the college. Dan Shiner, Board of Trustee member, asked what the down side to such a committee might be. To which Ann Dolinko, Faculty, responded that another forgotten non-functional committee would not be wanted. She did note however, that the committee could be helpful, especially if Alumni are involved.
    • B David Galt, Staff, voiced concerns as to whether or not such a committee should be an assembly committee. Albert Fernandez responded to this by stating he was tentatively in favor of Assembly committee, simply because the assembly should be strong. Conversation ensued as to whether or not Assembly was the right place for such a committee, as well as whether the subject should be dropped for now, and picked up at a Fireside. Eileen Buchanan wondered if perhaps someone on the staff needed to be coordinating the committee, that just one person would coordinate all of the volunteers.
    • David Shiner, speaker, brought up the issue of forming ad hoc committees that constantly exist and do not disband. Katelynn DeLavan, parliamentarian, stated that such a committee would be considered a standing committee, and couldn't be formed without a constitutional amendment.
    • Stephanie Fong wondered if an Ad Hoc committee might be created to discuss how best the creation of the volunteering committee could be instituted. Zach Parton, student, agreed and felt that enough issues had been brought up that such a study would be necessary. Katelynn DeLavan wondered if another committee could be charged with the task.
    • A discussion then ensued regarding where organizationally the responsibilities of this Volunteering committee. B David pointed out that similar programs, in his experience, are usually tied to public or alumni relations. Ed Noonan wondered if admissions or advancement would use volunteers. He was favor of getting organized after finding out what needs to be done, as opposed to the former which seems to be what is being proposed.
    • Brenton Stewart, student, wondered what other committees specifically would take up this issue? David Shiner responded that three different avenues seemed appropriate: Directors of departments, an Ad Hoc Assembly committee, and the Administrative committee. He then asked Marc Hoffman, head of the Administrative committee, if he would in association with the other departments help to organize the volunteer list. Marc replied that he would.
    • Renee Meschi, student, asked if a fireside, or something to that effect, can be set up so the community will have a further outlet for discussion. David Shiner responded by stating that by this point the Assembly was no longer discussing the protocol as a motion, but rather a platform for discussion. He also noted that Shimer already had a number of firesides planned, but perhaps something could be worked out with QLC for a community tuesday meeting. It was pointed out that such an event would limit who could participate as many weekend students wouldn't be able to attend.
    • There was more discussion as to what avenues might be taken to further discuss within the community the proposal. It was proposed that the Administrative committee work with QLC to schedule a fireside or community tuesday. B David stated that in such a case it would be useful if each of the directors of departments could put together lists of various things they could use volunteers for.
    • There was a question as to whether a formal fireside was needed for such a discussion, and whether or not an Ad Hoc committee to study the proposal might still be useful. David Shiner proposed that we allow the groups currently working on the proposal to do so, and later an Ad Hoc Committee might be created, if necessary.
  7. Announcements:
    • Colleen McCarroll, staff, stated that there was going to be a meeting on Tuesday for students, organized by the self-study committee. Which was interested in student input as pertaining to the question 'Where will Shimer be in five years?' Weekend students would also be contacted.
    • Artistic Showcase will be on Thursday
    • Dinah Gumns stated that Shimer has started a branch of the SDS, and that it would meet on Tuesday.
    • David Shiner Announced that as a part of the APC's plan to hire two new faculty, the first prospective faculty member would be visiting on March 7th and 8th. Students were encouraged to actively take part in the evaluation, and if they would like could volunteer for a mock class with the faculty member.
  8. Adjournment 5:27 PM

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