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EP Review – CAMPO’s “Fifty Seven”

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

Small but mighty “Campo” has been on the Skidmore music scene for a couple of years now. Whether you’re an OG Fangirl, or you just found out that they’re not the ones who confiscated your bong from your room that one time, you probably know that they dropped their first EP today on Bandcamp! If you haven’t heard, it is definitely worth a listen. Emie and Ethan’s etherial voices mix with Paul and Neale’s bomb guitar skills on top of Stolman’s soulful drum beats that make you want to relive your pulse rejection all over again. Campo features a smooth indie-rock aesthetic both visually and auditory, perfect for off-campus basement jamming  If you’re into it check them out live this Friday at Putnam Den with Skidmore legends, Los Elk. 

On Trigger Warnings (Suck One Skidnews)

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

A trigger warning is not an invitation for evasion.

According to the Skidmore News, “trigger warnings” – essentially disclaimers in class discussions reminding us to be wary of other students in the room and the intricacies of their own backstories – are an easy ticket out of navigating the more sensitive, complex issues we might encounter. Skidnews writes, “trigger warnings lead to close-mindedness, complacency and intellectual laziness—why think about something hard, when you can think about something easy?”

This, however, is a remarkably short-sighted approach to the nature of trigger warnings. Rather than dissuading students from having frank, open discussions, these disclaimers are a way of pressing students to acknowledge the immediacy of the more fragile issues we might approach in a classroom. Professors are choosing to offer these warnings because these discussions are worth having – because in order to create an intellectual space in which these dialogues can maintain themselves it is important to remember our context. Situating ourselves in a room on a campus where a number of the more “triggering” issues have made direct impressions on the people seated on either side of us does not hinder our ability to engage in honest, insightful, contemplative conversation but rather feeds it. While of course there are students who relish trigger warnings as cop-outs – ways to avoid the necessity to formulate or verbalize opinions on tumultuous topics or to check out of class time all together – the fragment of the student body who this holds true for is a small one (I would argue, a relatively negligible one).

The perceived necessity to think and speak within the confines of extreme political-correctness certainly impacts our willingness to speak candidly on this campus. When we are chastised for our insensitive selection of adjectives it certainly doesn’t perpetuate our desire to speak openly. But this, I feel, is far more dangerous than the implications of a trigger warning. This is a way of curtailing the way we speak rather than adjusting the content of our speech. The trigger warning doesn’t encourage us to communicate in any particular way, but rather, reminds us of the immediacy of the content of our discussions. It reminds us that being distinctly aware of the campus we live on and the students it houses is crucial when it comes to establishing our own opinions on matters like sexual assault, race relations and gender equality. Trigger warnings pull our focus closer to the reality of these phenomenons, rather than censoring them out of our discussions as a whole.

An issue that triggers is generally one worthy of dialogue and as Nora Grubb claimed in an impressive tirade against the narrow mindedness of the Skidmore news (and a defense of the warnings themselves), “President Glotzbach said he is committed to ‘communicating difficult ideas’ and solving them. Instead of hiding from the former, we must acknowledge that difficult (and scary) things do happen and affect our peers.” Trigger warnings are not about censorship but rather about acknowledging that there are perspectives, vulnerable ones, that supplement our own. Well done to the Skidmore News for instigating an important, relevant discussion on campus, but this is a gleaming example of the editorial board’s obvious inability to truly engage with their own audience. Despite the new and improved web platform, the Skidmore News is hardly a voice for the student body.

A trigger warning invites us to engage in conversation with those of us who are victims of rape, assault, racism, sexism and a number of other abuses. Rather than discouraging us from having these discussions, the disclaimers allow us to acknowledge our peers who have had face-to-face contact with some of the more terrifying realms of of experience both here and far beyond the not-so-sunny little world of Saratoga Springs. We are a vulnerable, intelligent, sensitive, and sometimes jaded amalgamation of inputs when it comes to the more triggering discussions, and for that reason, we should speak with the impressive weight of those perspectives in mind.
 

Protest Against Readmission Hearing Scheduled for March 13th

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The hand says it all.

With over 1300 people invited on Facebook and YikYak buzz aplenty, you’ve likely heard about the Readmission Hearing Protest by now, but just in case, you haven’t, here it goes…

On Friday, March 13th, at 2:00pm, the school will holding a hearing for the readmission of a student convicted of three violations of Skidmore’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (who had thereby been suspended from campus for a year), which both the student in question and his victim will be attending. As a response to the hearing–in addition to the perpetrator’s violation of his sanctions when he visited campus last weekend–the victim is holding a peaceful and silent protest that same day at 1:00pm, right before the hearing begins, in the space right outside Gannett. Click to continue »

Op-Ed: On Feel Good Humor, Comedic Responsibility, and ‘The Interview’

Monday, January 5th, 2015

James Franco and Seth Rogen in The Interview (Yahoo! Images)

Before I begin, let the record state that I’ve enjoyed the Rogen-Franco pairing since its inception on Freaks and Geeks and my thoughts on this movie do not change the fact that I think they’re funny people who know how to make comedy.

Also, this review has spoilers. But it’s a comedy film. You’re only lying to yourself if you say you’re watching it “for the plot.” Click to continue »

Some Answers to the Starbucks Situation: Why Did Skidmore Cave to Corporate Influence?

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Photo by Chloe Kimberlin ’17. Shamelessly lifted from SkidNews.

All us angry liberals may have forgotten about how pissed off we were at the beginning of the semester when we came back from the summer to a big mean corporate parasite disguised as Burgess Cafe. But the question still stands: why did Skidmore decide to snatch up a corporate chain on campus rather than support local businesses–or perhaps help us save some money by keeping Burgess coffee relatively cheap? Based on an interview a friend of mine conducted with Mark Miller, head of Dining Services, I have a couple possible answers.

Click to continue »

Op-Ed: The Art of Acting Casual on a Small Campus

Monday, November 10th, 2014
images-1

That face when you see someone during your frenzied walk down Case Walkway

Do you loathe the minefield which is the first floor of the library? Does the case walkway feel like a vortex of spinning faces, in which every unwanted hello sends you teetering off balance? Do you feel the itch as you are held up by the inquiries of an all too eager classmate, while your mind stays intensely focused on the growing cluster at the printer?

These areas can be a problem for some of us for several reasons: one being that we just have too much shit to do; the next being that when we have our academic pants on its honestly frustrating to alternate between that and fraternizing; and the last being that people just seem to focus on and notice irregular behavior in these zones more than anywhere else. When I find myself burdened by the task of entering one of the densely populated areas of campus, which are generally war-zones for those who are on constant academic missions (as is common this time of year), I am usually looking for ways to go unnoticed. An example of this is Case Center (or the Times Square of Skidmore, as I fondly call it).

When I enter these said war zones, I use my primary defense mechanism: acting casual.

There are some general rules for casual behavior depending on which densely populated area of campus you find yourself.
In the library, you definitely need to pretend you’re reading a book, or at least have some type of Microsoft Word document open on your computer. Also, if you’re using a desktop, throwopen some tabs — the skidmore email, the registrar — anything that makes it look like you’re not just sitting on your phone. These precautions are guaranteed to disguise you as someone who doesn’t have time for anything — hence immunizing you to class-related interactions or other types of fuckery.

Dhall is a whole new type of war zone. This is a place where it is actually accepted, if not encouraged, to greet those who you have met once and have nothing else to talk about other than the menu options that day. In dhall, swiftness and agility is the name of the game. Upon entering, make sure you are observing the menu with feigned interest, or fumbling for your card from your bag (or pretending to “search” for it, but you actually just don’t have a meal plan). When you enter, browse the salad bar with your hands in your pockets. Even if people know you, they won’t want to approach you *yawn. When leaving, toss and apple up and catch it again with one hand, giving a friendly gun-hand motion to the swiper who let you in. And if you have stolen food, swing your bag back in forth with ease, as if you have nothing to hide.

See something on your shirt? No? Well pretend you do, and scratch that damn little spot til it glistens.you are literally defenseless.

Case Center is risky. Here, you probably want to be on your macbook pro, drinking Starbucks. You will camouflage into the background of all the other people doing the exact same thing. Or better yet, don’t go at all. Case walkway is the only place where you are literally defenseless. On Case walkway, you are the trembling bowling pin to the hundreds of bowling balls which are the miscellaneous people — your study partner from Psych 101 a year ago (is it even appropriate to say hi anymore?), the people you bonded with at a house party by stealing cereal from the cabinet (it seemed like you were going to be really close then), and all the half-friends. In order to be casual, wave and smile blankly at every single person who passes. This is the only way to be casual, yet also be sure that you are not being outright rude. Unfortunately, cigarette-smoking has become a lot less casual than it used to be. Last year, smoking a cigarette on the Case walkway would have made you a shoe-in to the casual school-week culture at this school.

I hope these tips help to provide you the invisibility cloak that you have always wanted when braving these terrible places. DODGE AWAY!!

Drunk, High, & Sober: Triple Threat

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Hello all.

So Triple Threat was fun, right???  What a lovely collection of funny people. I liked the part where someone paid like $70 to make people kiss.  I’d like to have the money for that one day. Anyway, here are three different reactions from SU writes under various states of influence. I hope you will enjoy the notes I took during the show, sans autocorrect. There was alcohol involved.

(Woah I just realized there’s a pretty great double meaning in that title.)

Drunk

TRIPLE THREAT NOTES
BLOWING KISSES
FANTASTIC BECCA
SO MANY SKIDOMEDT
whi is long haired boy
andrew pretty
lotta choking
i forgot britanny was in this
but im a fan
#dildos
ballsack
there is a dad next to me????
im pretty horny after this one
nick looks like robin
bobby does gr8 greaser accent
keegan good punk believable
SO SILLY
WHAT AN UNCOMFIRTABLE SITUATION
DAD BEXT TO ME IS ENJOYING EVERYTHING SO FAR FINDS EVERYTHING PLEASANT
riistershies
ehat a commitions!
adult tiys douns fun
WET
DAD LIKES CLIT JOKES
I WINDER IF HE FINDS IT RELATAVLE

AD LIB TIME
MY LITTLE ELF PRINCE IS IN TWO GROUPS
HI ADAM
WHO IS TINY GLASSES GIRL??????
SOFT GRUNGE
HAVING SEX WITH SHEA WOULD BE LIKE HAVING SEX WITH A BEAUTIFUL ELF PRINCESS WHO HAS FORGOTTEN THE WAYS OF THE SECULAR FLESH
AWKWARD CLAP
WE WILL ALL DIE ONE DAY BUT DOES THAT TRULY MATTER
OF COURSE NOT
IMPROV CLASSROOM A CLASSIC
GOOD JOB BECCA
OMG IS THIS STILL HAOOENING???
IMPROV TAKES A WHILE
WHATEVER
ROLLIN???? OKAY
im lost what is haooenign
wait magbe too drubk????  oh no

OH NO SKETCHIE TIME
WHAT FRESH HELL AWAITS US
THIS IS ALREADY TORTUROUS
BUTT KISSING DESERVES NO CLAPS
two mugging sketches in one night i am seeing a pattern
we live in a police state how are we not terrified
wait i agve seen this sketch before come on guts
i need booze
daddy needs his fix
oh they eat abortions that is rich
high quality
#humanity
morgan can get it
howl
whi wrote this
i want names
feel free to reply in the comments
#fulldisclosure
??????
wait THIS ISNT IMPROV ITS A SKETCH
WILD
WOAH THIS IS BLOWING MY MIND
HALLIE RUN

AUCTIONTIME WHI WILLEIDAD REMAINS BEMUSED
TOO MUCH MONEY AND SCREAMING
IT IS DIFFICULT TI CARE ABOUT THEDE FOUR PEOPLE
im getting more alcohol
SAVE IT OR SHAVE IT
DAD HAS LEFT GOODBYE DAD
nipple
i thubk somewhere diwn the line i got confused about what comedy is.
kissing meaningless

 

I hope that dad had fun.

Yours,
Hannibal Burgess.


 

High

Up next are the notes from our resident high writer, Charmander (probably lit the blunt with its fire tail, yoooooooooo)

Hi friends here we goooooooo
Near front holla
Ridiculous music on point
COME ON FILENE OHHH YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
ONE MINUTE LATE hmmmmm
Tummys a tinglin’ excite to laugh
Hella overcrowded like HOMIES new location next year
Kazoo woman marry me
Zooooooted
This motorboat sketch is a trip
Mouse teeth killin the game rn
I’m so heart warned!
TAKE THE FALL U GO MAN SORRY BB
Sweater game too strong in this group like DAYUM
SKIDOMEDU SET THAT BAT HIGH LETS GO TRUPLE THREAT
VER
SACE
Smart one liners
Stoned and oh so happy
Rolling up oh my god you geniuses all on board here
It’s all good the comedy is good this year congrats guys you made it
So high
SKETCHIES DANCE TURNED NE ON 9000%
Soul crushing comedy at it’s finest
Katsup? Really?
Very amused at  this improv joke
Versace boys gone god bless
So far all of the comedians are attractive it goes here for this group too
Will there be food at auction? Doubt it #lame

AUCTIONSSSSSS
THIS IS SO HEATED I LOVE IT HUMAN AUCTUONING AT ITS FINEST
I’m glad everyone is drunk good job friends
We aren’t ok to auction though oopssssssssss
Sad about not having beardy be nice to me for a week ugh
Shaving was scary but oh my this is a treat
People at this school need to learn how to math


 

Sober

Finally, here are the sober notes from writer Dr. Spaceman.  They are rather coherent!  Let’s read them together, shall we?

GENERAL:

  • So many humans. So many loud, sweaty humans.
  • There were a bunch of drunk freshman biddies in front of me going into GREAT detail about what they would do to each and every comedy boy. Watch out, Sketchie boys, the freshman coming for you. And they like your butts. Oh yes, they like your butts.
  • I don’t know 99% of this school anymore. There seemed to be a plethora of sad, white girls in black cardigans. Glad to see nothing has changed.

SKIDOMEDY:

  • For some odd reason, VERY focused on the theme of muggers/stabbing…..you tryna tell us something? I mean, it was still funny….but when that’s your go-to gag, time to start thinking of some new, not-as-violent-or-way-more-violent stuff.
  • My favorite sketch was those two girls diary writing. I was straight up sobbing with laughter. Who knew female sexual frustration could be so damn hilarious? Oh wait, probably because every female at Skidmore could relate to it.

AD-LIBS:

  • After a traumatizing 5th grade improv class, I personally am inclined to hate improv comedy. Nothing personal, Ad-Libs.
  • They tagged each other out REALLY quickly. Is that like a fancy improv technique, or did they all just really want more attention?
  • The dog-rapping thing could have SO uncomfortably not funny, but both the performers were so bizzarely funny that I had to enjoy it.
  • Full disclosure: I was in the bathroom for most of this, pooping and thinking about how life is cyclical. So uh, they had good energy, I guess?

SKETCHIES:

  • Any utilizing of our generation’s songbird Jason DeRulo will win my heart. I imagine they just went to Fallstaff’s and observed the masses to get inspiration for the dance routine.
  • That abortion/hamburger joint sketch probably pissed off a TON of people and will probably put the Sketchies on the shit list of the angry gender studies majors for life, but I loved it.
  • The “Howl” sketch was the weirdest shit ever. However, all my friends who were very high thought it was HILARIOUS. Maybe they wrote it, automatically assuming 50% of the audience would be high. In which case, I commend you, you beautiful monsters.

AUCTION:

  • Really uncomfortable. Always really uncomfortable. This was definitely the part where I most strongly wished I wasn’t sober.
  • People here are either insanely wealthy or insanely stupid. Probably both.
  • Ugh, being sober at these things is the worst. Never again. #College

 


 

So, that’s that! Just goes to show that substances are the only REAL way to have fun. I kid, I kid. Mostly?

GREAT JOB, COMEDY!

Op-Ed: What’s Up With Penises??? (NSFW)

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

“Here’s the thing about male sexual performance anxiety: it can be hard sometimes.”

Thats a joke I came up with. Hah. But floppy dicks are NO joke people. Alright, they can be pretty funny. One partner of mine thought it was particularly funny when post-coitus, I would shake my hips in a circular motion to produce an effect known as “helicopter penis.” That was funny. Also that Rihanna song where she sings “Come here rude boy-boy can you get it up? / Come here rude boy-boy is you big enough” is pretty funny too, but size is another matter completely. I’m perfectly satisfied with my average wang. This article is only concerned with the “can you get it up” aspect. I’m no hero, I’m just a guy who has occasionally failed to have sex because my dick didn’t work, but I think a large percentage of men would agree that “getting it up” deserves more discussion.

We tend to visualize dicks as always being aggressive, rock hard, and in-your-face (lol). Whenever someone draws a dick, it’s usually a triumphant veiny bastard. I went to an all-boys highschool, so believe me I’ve seen my fair share of dick-drawings. So yeah, flaccid dicks are pretty funny and harmless, because who ever thinks about or looks at flaccid dicks?

oh grow up its 2014

“KRAMER! read the title of this article in my voice! aaaahhh!”

But know whats not funny at all? Crippling anxiety, self-doubt, body image issues, and soul-crushing depression that result when a guy can’t get it up in bed. And I’m not just talking about the guy, both partners share those emotions. Being unable to get hard is probably the most emasculating thing there is. I mean, its called impotence. You’re literally powerless. Most people like feeling of control of their lives (especially men… HEYOO PATRIARCHY… but thats another matter entirely). I like to choose what I wear, eat, who I spend time with, etc. But impotence is death. It is the reminder that try as you may, there will always be that in life which is out of your control. And that is truly terrifying. We fear most what we do not know or understand…. so basically limp dicks are the stuff of nightmares.

“Please God, just give me a boner this one time and I swear I’ll stop taking the Tabasco bottles from Chipotle.”

I’ve lived a pretty full life so far, and I’d be hard-pressed to think of a feeling more horrible than the overwhelming despair and grief that takes hold in the following situation: you’re finally in bed with that beautiful girl you’ve had your eye on, the clothes are off, the foreplay has gone on for long enough, and after desperately jerking your soft wiener for a while you sheepishly look into her confused, innocent eyes and say “…Sorry?” Maybe that’s just how I handle it.

For others, maybe you just shrug, maybe you blame it on the alcohol, and maybe you blame your partner if you’re a douchebag, but regardless of how the message is conveyed it comes out the same: I cannot perform my manly duty, we can’t have sex. It’s almost like an extremely sad bonding experience. Guys blame themselves, thinking there is something fundamentally wrong with them. Girls blame themselves, thinking they aren’t sexy or did something wrong. So much shame, suffering, and unease that could be avoided if everyone just admitted one fact: dicks don’t have on/off switches.

My anaconda don’t want none unless it’s my own hand, hun.

Which begs the question: why can I always get hard when I’m masturbating? Do dicks exist in some intangible realm, where they become possessed by a Boner Spirit only when the planetary alignment is right? Better yet, does my cock operate on the quantum level, where its nature is contingent upon the viewer? Well… kinda. From my own experience, I’ve only gone limp when expected to perform. Whenever in a happy relationship with a lady, my dick forgets its shyness and will come out to play basically upon command. But I don’t want to live my life in fear of casual hookups. I don’t want my boners to be banished to the comfort zone, I want my erections to break free (literally and metaphorically) and seek out uncharted territory. Isn’t that what college is about? Or maybe my shy-boner is like a moral check, keeping me tethered to some sense of fidelity. That being said, I appreciate relationships for much more than the stress-free sex, but is it too much to ask if I wanna experience a one night stand at least once?

I wish I could include statistics on the number of times that guys dicks don’t work, or even just go around and survey the campus, but because of the way masculinity is handled in our culture it’s a topic rarely discussed. I consider myself a very open person. I have to get things off my chest otherwise they sit inside my brain and slowly rot me away from the inside, which is why I’m writing this article. Anyway, only after taking the leap of faith and opening up to friends about my dick-related anxieties did I discover that it’s extremely common. In fact, only one friend claimed to have never experienced erection issues, and a week after our conversation he reported back that it happened for the first time. It’s like we transmitted shy-boner to him via thought…which just goes to show, it’s all in your head.

The worse case of shy-boner I’ve heard belongs to a good friend of mine, who to this day remains a virgin because of his shy-boner. He confided in me that multiple encounters with women have all ended with the same limp reality. And you know what? He’s a perfectly well-adjusted person otherwise, and told me his life is “a delicious sundae, but sex would just be the cherry on top.” Sex is fun, and his story made me very grateful for all the sex I’ve had in my life, but there’s so much more to do out there in the world, and life is too short. So ladies: you’re all beautiful, sorry our dicks don’t work sometimes,. And men: if your boner is reliable, then congrats. If it isn’t… then its not the end of the world. No use crying over soft cocks.

For my brothers out there in the struggle, here are some resources:

http://www.reddit.com/r/sex/wiki/index#wiki_erection_issues

http://www.askmen.com/dating/love_tip_60/79_love_tip.html

http://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/sexual-performance-anxiety-causes-treatments

 

SGA President Responds to Criticisms on Budget Handling

Friday, September 19th, 2014

(Editor’s Note: Even though we have no interest in becoming the middle man for any sort of back-and-forth between, well, anyone, we thought it only appropriate that we give SGA President Addison Bennett ’16 and a chance to respond to some of the points and concerns raised in a recent op-ed by a guest writer. We hope this provides more insight into the larger issue.)

On the first day of classes this semester, I sent out SGA’s Strategic Action Plan for the year, which contained our entire agenda on issues ranging from event planning to sexual assault prevention to raising the student minimum wage. It’s not wrong to say that we are one of the most powerful student governments around, and this year we are committed to taking that power and using it to work for a better Skidmore. Every single student received this agenda along with an invitation to participate with us this year, and to help us make our vision for student leadership a reality. The action agenda will remain posted on the SGA website all year (at this link: http://www.skidmore.edu/sga/senate/SGAActionAgenda.pdf). Read it and let us know what you think. This year we are making a concerted effort to reach out. We are a new group of leaders with a fresh set of priorities, and we have heard you.

In the past few months and years, we’ve taken steps to be more intentional about how we gather feedback from students. We’ve recognized that we aren’t perfect – the point of student leadership is learning on the job. Speaking for myself, I am willing to make mistakes, knowing that the work I put in for the students is worth it, even if it’s not appreciated. Along these lines, we’ve implemented a student comment box, which anyone may submit to. It’s available here: http://www.skidmore.edu/sga/. Within the next month, we’re also going to be rolling out student opinion polling and launching an inclusion task force, and each has the goal of bringing in more voices and making sure we make decisions with our constituents in mind.

SGA does more than talk. We fund SCEMS, operate over 120 clubs, host events like fun day, and work to make sure the administration is actually listening to the student voice. When you’re not looking, this work is happening all year, led by a group of dozens of committed students, your classmates, who have decided to spend their time and energy to make Skidmore as great as we know it can be.

But clearly that’s not enough. I know we work hard, and I know we are capable leaders. More than that, I know that we make a difference, both in our leadership and our power of the purse.

I want to invite you to engage with us more fully. If you’re not happy, don’t sit back. If this response does nothing else, I hope it helps you realize that we take feedback seriously. The first thing you can do is come to the State of the College Address tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 in Zankel, where we are going to be talking about how can make Skidmore better, together. If you are going to complain, that’s fine. Dissent is good, and it makes us stronger as a community. However, when you are going to challenge us, be informed. Know what we’re doing as students to help our friends have a better experience here. At the State of the College, I want you to be engaged, to ask questions, and to know what our vision is. Do more than that; challenge us and make sure we are actually following through. In addition, help us craft our vision together. The reason we care about raising the minimum wage, combatting sexual assault, or expanding opportunities to people on campus, regardless of socioeconomic status is because you do.

Now to the points on the advertising of the budget. Personal information is contained in the budget. It contains at least one salary, information we cannot ethically distribute, and frankly, too much information to be simply distributed without any context. However, anyone with a question about the budget is always welcome to come to Sam Harris, Kris Scully, or me to ask about specific provisions of the budget. We do this to protect student and staff information and to follow laws regulating privacy. Still, we want to be open with you, and if you have questions, reach out and we will answer everything we are legally able to.

So, read our action agenda. Send me an email. Come to SGA Senate meetings, which are open every Tuesday at 8pm in Ladd 307. Also, read our emails, since they often do contain the information you’re asking for. Your feedback is taken seriously, and I promise you that this year will be different. Above all, remember that we are all students together. There’s no Us vs. Them going on here; let us help you, and let us represent what you want. We can do that.

Addison Bennett ’16
SGA President

Op-Ed: SGA, Come Back with My Wallet

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Elections are today and tomorrow. Vote here.

(Editor’s Note: This is an op-ed by a guest writer and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Skidmore Unofficial or any of us who officially write for the site. One would think this would be pretty obvious, but we wanted to avoid any confusion or mislaid anger.)

Joshua Nelson, the Director of Student Activities, once told me that our SGA is one of the most independent and powerful student governments in the country. But what does SGA do? No, really, what does it do? Well, it keeps clubs waiting for exorbitant amounts of time to speak to Senate; it tells clubs how much money they can have; it plans major college events; it hosts uncontested elections; and, finally, it tells us to vote in these uncontested elections.

If we were to do an approval poll of SGA, we may see it end up with a higher approval rating than Congress, but only because no one knows what it is they should disapprove of. Well, it’s time to change that.

So what does SGA do? It spends our money—lots of our money. It spends more money than the gross domestic product of Tuvalu. Look it up.

That might be a little bit of a stretch, but, to put its budget in perspective, SGA could pay for you to go to four years of college at Skidmore and still have some money left over at the end of the year. What’s more, SGA had access to $150,000 that went untouched for years. SGA finally tapped into this money last year to fund, of all things, renovations to Falstaff’s. And where did this money come from you ask? Your tuition. Did you know that?

The fact that SGA has access to large sums of money is not a bad thing. If anything, it’s good—most student governments lack the capacity to fund student endeavors in the way ours can.

So why am I so caught up on this? Well for one thing, the reason I have to make these ridiculous comparisons about money is because SGA doesn’t publish how much money it has or what it spends that money on (at least not in any obvious spot). But we shouldn’t have to look—SGA should tell us. (Imagine if the U.S. Congress passed a budget but didn’t let anyone know what it was spent on!) We should get communications from Addison about what the budget is spent on, what initiatives SGA is passing, and how we can get involved.

In the late sixties and seventies (according to ancient Skidmore folklore), the student body revolted and campaigned hard enough against the administration that SGA—with its massive budget, its extensive constitution, and its remarkable independence from the administration—was created. As members of this community it is our obligation to live up to what our foremothers did for us.

Elections need to be contested. This first has to be done by SGA’s website actually explaining what positions do. (Similarly, Addison’s email with explanations did not seem to help too much either. I overheard some freshmen the other day saying how they were running for SGA but that they didn’t have a platform since they couldn’t figure out what people in the position did. Go onto Skids Scribner’s Facebook page and look at the campaign videos, they say nothing). SGA also needs to reduce the amount of the positions. It is more important to have every race for Senate, VP, and President contested than for everyone to get a position. (If there are fewer positions, hopefully people will actually have to run for them!) Even in contested elections, like for President, there’s not much contest when you look at the votes. Addison Bennett and Sam Harris are reminiscent of Medvedev and Putin during the short time Medvedev ruled Russia. It is like the position was simply handed down to the former president’s protégé.

However, the goal of this article is not to hate on Sam, Addison, or anyone in SGA. Most of them (especially the two named above) work hard and give up a lot of time to be on SGA, but we as a student body need to get involved and SGA needs to change in order to help us get involved. It needs to address real issues and fix them in real ways; it needs to run on meaningful platforms; and it needs to give us a voice with which to actually work with the administration. For our part, we need to use that voice once it is given.

Our SGA can be one of the best in the country; let’s make that happen.

– Thaddeus Kosciuszko