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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.

Sincerely,

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 Town Hall Meeting 11/6

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
Dapper as fuck. And a little creepy.

Dapper as fuck. And a little creepy.

If you’re at all interested in putting faces to the names of people responsible for governing the school, check out SGA’s November Town Hall Meeting in the Spa this Wednesday.  There’s milk and cookies courtesy of the Plum Dandy spinoff, Milk and Cookies, and you’ll have a chance to voice your concerns about student government policies and general campus happenings.  Personally, I’m still waiting for a 24-hour library and a renovated Falstaff”s* but hey, that’s just me.

Go complain to Sam Harris about your wildest musings and analyze how the best of us handle stress.

(fbook)

Click to continue »