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SGA to Present ‘It’s Happening Here’ Lecture Series

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Poster design by Dipesh KC.

This Wednesday and Friday, the It’s Happening Here campaign will be holding a two-part lecture series to “raise awareness about how students, faculty and staff and join together to combat sexual and gender-based misconduct at Skidmore.”

On Wednesday, April 15th at 6:30pm in Davis, Tim Mousseau will be giving a lecture entitled “Retaking Our Story: Reframing the Sexual Assault Conversation.” A Sexual assault survivor, Mousseau is an active voice on college campuses in educating students about leadership and empowering them to take a stand against sexual assault. Be sure and check him out on Twitter.

On Friday, April 17th at 3:30pm in Davis, Liz Seccuro will be giving a lecture entitled “Social Media & Sexual Violence: How Technology Helps & Harms Students & Campuses.” Seccuro is a victim’s rights advocate and author of the memoir Crash Into Me: A Survivor’s Search for Justice. You can find her on Twitter, as well as her website.

All these events seem both interesting and incredibly relevant to the current landscape of social activism in fighting sexual and gender-based misconduct, so we highly suggest you attend one (or both) of the lectures and support the great work SGA and many members of the community are doing.

Open Forum on New Student Constituion

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

Anything that enables me to win gift cards to Chipotle can’t be all bad, right?

Tomorrow night in Davis, SGA will host an open forum on the new, recently-approved student constitution, where they will highlight major changes in addition to opening things up for questions and discussion.

The purpose of the new constitution has been described as follows:

This document is written for one purpose: to establish a new structure of student representation that allows student representatives to be more accessible and responsive to what you need from your College. It will allow SGA to more effectively do its job of creating programs and supporting the policies that build our vibrant campus life.

Curious about what exactly that will look like? Me too.

Voting for the official ratification of the new constitution begins online March 5th, when students will be asked to cast the ultimate vote on whether or not this document will in fact replace the old constitution. You might be unsure as to how exactly this affects your life and your experience at this college, in which case you should certainly head over to Davis between 8:30 and 9:30 and get informed.

Addison Bennett and Soraya Attia Write Open Letter on Sexual Misconduct

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Thursday evening, the Skidmore community received the the following email sent on behalf of SGA President Addison Bennett ’16 and Senior Class President Soraya Attia ’15:

Dear Friends, Peers, Classmates, and all Skidmore Community Members,

As members of this community, we are writing in support of the recent efforts to bring attention to sexual and gender-based misconduct (SGBM) at Skidmore. This is an issue we have been working as SGA to address since the start of the academic year. Through the It’s Happening Here campaign and our work with the Advisory Council on SGBM, we have made strides to effect concrete policy changes that prioritize student safety and promote a zero-tolerance environment. Reina Kiefer’s readmission hearing protest on March 13 is one of the many examples of activism we have been calling for this year. We urge students to attend this peaceful protest to show our Student Body’s support for survivors across our campus. SGBM happens far too often at Skidmore and, as students, we must stand up together and work to prevent it.

It is time to become the zero-tolerance campus we wish to be. When a community member commits a sexual crime, we should not welcome that person on our campus. SGA has been working with the Advisory Council, the Vice President/Dean of Student Affairs, and other parties to make significant revisions to the SGBM policy, including:

  1. Changing sanction language to state that the College expects the SGBM Hearing Board to expel students found in violation in all cases of SGBM.
  2. When the Board does not choose expulsion, it must justify its decision in a written rationale for the case’s official record, which would be available to both parties.
  3. Expanding definitions of SGBM to include types of misconduct Skidmore does not currently account for, such as emotional and financial abuse.

Thanks to the work of the many student leaders and the responsiveness of the Advisory Council to our serious recommendations, we are proud to announce that changes along these lines and more are likely to be added to the official policy very soon.

​We know the numbers. Too many students of all gender identities experience SGBM while at college. Furthermore, the statistics available to us at this moment suggest that offenders will take advantage of other individuals more than once. According to Jed Rubenfeld in his 2014 New York Times article, Mishandling Rape, “Research suggests that more than 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by a relatively small percentage of college men — possibly as few as 4 percent — who rape repeatedly, averaging six victims each. Yet these serial rapists overwhelmingly remain at large, escaping serious punishment.” At the start of this year, we knew we needed to work toward practices that acknowledge this reality and adequately sanction all sexual offenders.

We are proud to say that progress has already been made so that students will not have to go through what Reina is going through moving forward.  However, at this moment, there are wrongs that must be corrected if Skidmore truly does hold its community values to a high standard. We are here to represent and stand by each and every student on this campus and to advocate for what is right.

​As student leaders — but most importantly, as Skidmore students — who have taken on this task of advocating for changes to our policy and culture, we have been heartbroken and humbled to hear stories from our friends and peers who have experienced SGBM at Skidmore. Whatever our policies may state, in the very real experiences of these innocent survivors, Skidmore does not always appear to prioritize their needs over those of the individuals found in violation.

To Hearing Board administrators and faculty: We implore you to remember the voice of the student body and the changes we have been advocating. Do not allow rapists to be a part of our community.

To the students: We urge you to take notice of this issue, educate yourself, and take steps to establish yourself as our ally against SGBM. We look forward to changes not only to our policy, but also to our culture, and we need your commitment to achieve that end.

To survivors: We admire your strength, and we offer you our advocacy as peers and friends. Please know that you have the support of an overwhelming majority of students and their representatives through SGA. We respect the difficult burden that you must bear, and we hope that the increased attention drawn to this issue will serve to combat without causing further harm.

We hope that our friends, peers, and classmates become our allies in setting Skidmore’s community standards on sexual and gender-based misconduct to a level as high we believe they should be.


Soraya and Addison

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 »

SGA Outlines New Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Campaign

Monday, February 16th, 2015

(Editor’s Note: Below is an op-ed we received from SGA President Addison Bennett and Senior Class President Soraya Attia entitled “It’s Happening Here: SGA’s Anti-Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Campaign.” While neither Bennett nor Attia write for the site–wouldn’t that be a mind-fuck and a half?–they reached out to us about publishing the piece, and we think it’s a good message to get out there, as it very much concerns all of us. That being said, we encourage you to read the memo and share your thoughts on a very important issue–either in the comments section or with Attia and Bennett personally.) Click to continue »

Wafflefest TONIGHT at 8:00!

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

Nothing you eat at Wafflefest will look like this.

Do you want to enjoy a meal without having to lie your way swipe in to dhall? Then swing by your only favorite dining hall between 8:00 and 11:00 tonight for Wafflefest, co-sponsored by yo’ waffle daddies on SGA’s Committee on Student Life and Dining Services!

If you’re (still) new here, Wafflefest is a beloved tradition here at Skidmore. You know, like Fun Day. Or complaining about not getting into Wesleyan (did I make that joke already??), but with more waffles. Lots more waffles. And dessert pizza. And doughnuts. And salad–if you, like me, are trying to keep an eye your carb intake.

It’s totally free to all students. But the line is always hella long, so you should definitely show up before 8:00 or have one of your pals keep you posted on what the line looks like. And it will be insanely packed, so have one of said pals grab you a seat. And it’ll be noisy. Real noisy. Utter chaos. Los Elk will probably be playing.

To be honest, it’s a super stressful experience (ever seen Full Metal Jacket?) but you really can’t say no to free food, and it’s kind of a rite of passage. Plus this is like the last “thing” going on this semester, so ring in the end of the semester (or beginning of finals, if you’re a masochist) with some comfort food. You’re gonna need it.

Just kidding.

(Editor’s Note: No he’s not.)

Unofficial Guide to Junior Ring (2014 Edition)

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Middle school me is going crazy right now.

Middle school me is going crazy right now.

This weekend marks the annual Junior Ring, presented by the Junior Class Council, featuring co-sponsoship by Late Night and Falstaff’s Operating Committee. Junior Ring is a staple of the Skidmore experience, and it comes at a perfect time in the–oh fuck it I give up on trying to make all these events seem important and like they serve a bigger purpose in the grand scheme of the Skidmore experience (whatever the shit that means).

Suffice it to say that Junior Ring is happening this weekend, and it’s theme is “World Tour.” Here’s the lowdown.

The weekend begins Friday night at 7pm with the annual Mr./Ms. Skidmore competion. Designed to be a mockery of beauty pageants (which have, at this point, been solidified among one of the world’s worst social constructs), Mr./Ms. Skidmore is a series of tasks/questions/sections that culminate in the winner being crowned as the next “Skidmore superstar.” It’s worth noting that people have to get nominated in order to compete, so you know that approximately 78% of the contestants will have been nominated by their friends as some sort of joke and are just doing it to be good sports.

Hosted by comedy duo Rey and Lemay, the evening is sure to be entertaining and filled with lots of moments that blur the ever-so-fine line between “this is funny and ironic” and “this is douchey and mastrubatory as all hell.” Someone will probably be wearing a dress. Some dude will probably lip sync or dance to Britney Spears or play an ironic folk cover of a trashy pop song (you totally won’t see it coming). But hey, it’s in the Spa, so it doesn’t get much easier to slip out once you see who you came to see and decide that you’ve seen enough skin to last you the winter.

Saturday night from 10pm-2am is the main event: the Junior Ring Dance. This year’s theme is “A Night in Paris,” and if you had as sexually repressed an adolescence as I had (see: still have), you certainly don’t need me to tell you why that name is so (un)fortunate. Seriously. Does anyone on the Junior Class Council have access to Google? This is why you don’t use Bing.

Anyway, the evening is just a dance in the Big Gym. Pretty similar to prom, if you had one of those or have yet to push it into to the darkest depths of repression. There will be “great music with a twist” (uh-oh), “French delicacies, and a vineyard.” So be sure to bring your campus event card if you have one (you don’t). Rumor has it that members of the Junior Class Council will be producing your wine by stepping on grapes with their bare feet and pouring it into a glass before your very eyes, but that has yet to be confirmed. There will also be a red carpet photo-op area. So be sure to look classy, get sloshed, and find a cutie to French with for the night (hahaha someone please find and smooch me so I don’t have to go home alone for the fourth year in a row).

Tickets can be purchased until tomorrow (Friday) at 5:00pm in Case for $8, and then at the door Saturday evening for $10. Find a cutie to bring for a date and get ready for a night you’ll never forget. Because you’ll never have remembered it in the first place.

Sunday morning will round out the weekend with a “Study Break in Spain.” There’s really not much else to say about that. Stop by Falstaff’s at noon to enjoy some soothing Spanish guitar, free espresso shots, and assorted desserts while you think about what you did last night. College, am I right?

There’s also other shit going on this weekend (it’s pretty packed, because a lot of clubs/groups are getting their last shows in for the semester, so check that out in our latest Weekend Distractions.

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

ROCK THE VOTE: A Student Band Showcase

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Tomorrow (Thursday) night at 8:00 in Falstaff’s (which apparently now has a fully functioning and soon-to-be operating bar), Lively Lucy’s will be hosting their (bi?) annual student band showcase. The showcase has become a consistent hit from Lively Lucy’s, and it’s always a great chance to check out some new and old faces in the Skidmore music scene.

Robin Adams, circa 1986

Robin Adams, circa 1986

Co-sponsored by killers of cool SGA, the showcase will feature a solid array of bands of varying styles and seniority. There will also be an opportunity to vote for SGA representatives and free Esperanto’s, which sounds like the ideal Thirsty Thursday to me. Be sure to stop by and check out what will (hopefully) be pretty short and sweet sets from the following bands:

The Salmon Of Knowledge
Big Booty Judy (now featuring Izzy Howard on vocals)
Dope Mosely
Good Neighbor
Iguana Mañana
Knights of Tundra (listed as a Dragonforce cover band, which is probably a joke, but a dude can hope, right?)
Eskimo Sister
The Melon Girls

If you’re new to Skidmore, this will be a great introduction to the music scene–one of the hidden and underrated aspects of campus life. And if you’ve been around for a while, odds are you know someone in one of these bands, so avoid getting a mass text from them at 8:05 and just show up and stay for the whole thing, because you definitely don’t have better things to do (and late night has been majorly sucking lately).

On the real, though, we lost some good bands to the real world this past year, and it’s really cool that new and old bands are stepping up and showcasing their shit, because these bands work fucking hard. So show up at 8:00pm with some friends and ready to sing to Red Hot Chili Peppers or Sublime, because you know someone will probably cover one (or both) of them.

Club Showcase Tonight in Zankel

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

You know the deal. Kind of. The annual Club Showcase is tonight at 5pm and 8pm. This event is the newest manifestation of Freshman Showcase, which was when has previously been when every freshman crowded into the JKB, all the performance clubs would do something impressive for a couple minutes, the Banderstatchers would perform that one song, and, most notably, members of SGA would moonlight as emcees and make some cripplingly painful puns about whatever club was about to perform.

This year is a little different, however, as they’re not only moving the event to the more performance friendly Ladd Concert Hall in Zankel, but the event is now officially open to all students. But odds are pretty high that the Banders will still be performing that one song.

Club showcase will look nothing like this.

Club showcase will look nothing like this.

There are two shows, one at 5pm and one at 8pm. Freshmen will get priority tickets from their Peer Mentors, but at some point the rest of the community will be able to get in and watch the show. Most of the clubs are desperate for people to audition, so you know the clubs will only show their best shit, so if you’re going to get your fill of acapella or comedy or whatever else qualifies as “performance” these days, this is your best bet. At the very least, you’ll have some legitimate grounds to shit on these clubs once you start getting blasted with invites to their Facebook events.