Senate Meeting Minutes :: 5.3.18 :: Week 5

May 11, 2018

 

Minutes of the SCU Student Senate Meeting May 3, 2018

 

Members Present:

Senate Chair Aly Motzel     

Pro-Tempore Sam McNeal

Parliamentarian Kayla Williams

 

First Year Senators:

Kyle Andrews

Sahil Sagar

Mai Sinada

Robbie Nunes

Ciara Moezidis

 

Sophomore Senators:

David Warne    

Helen Kassa

Duncan McDonell  

Mackenzie Bartz

Avery James

 

Junior Senators:

Alex Perlman

Victoria Linares  

Alex Baldonado

Rachel Wiggins

 

Senior Senators:

Angelica Fuentes

Amy Monzon

Gerome Yabut

 

At-Large Senators:        

Kristin Godfrey

Kayla Williams

Annie Martin

Bjorn Thyrring

Erik Echeona  

Rahaima Choudhry

Payton Dizney Swanson

Nithya Vemireddy

 

Members Absent:

Rory Pannkuk

Mayron Mulugeta

 

1. CALL TO ORDER

Senate Chair Aly Motzel called the May 3rd, 2018 meeting of the Santa Clara University Student Senate to order at 7:02 pm in the Williman Room of Benson.

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel asked a member to read the invocation. Senior Senator Rory Pannkuk recited the invocation.

 

2. ROLL CALL

Pro-Tempore Sam McNeal  took roll at 7:03 pm.

 

3. APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA

Senate Chair Aly Motzel asked the Senate to consider the agenda for the current meeting. She requested questions and comments related to the agenda. Hearing none, she asked for a motion to approve the agenda. The agenda was approved by Junior Senator Victoria Linares and seconded by First Year Senator Kyle Andrews.

 

4. APPROVAL OF THE PREVIOUS MINUTES

Senate Chair Aly Motzel asked the Senate to consider the previous week’s Meeting Minutes and requested questions and comments related to the minutes. Hearing none, she asked for a motion to approve the Minutes. The motion was made by First Year Senator Sahill Sagar and seconded by Junior Senator Rachel Wiggins.

 

5. SPECIAL ORDERS OF BUSINESS

 

Senate Speakers: Professors Natalie Linell and Angela Holtzmeister

The two members Adjunct Faculty Union Organizing Committee gave a presentation on how they would like to hold a vote to decide whether or not to unionize and why the vote is being held. Their presentation is summarized below.

  • There are two different streams of employment: tenure-track and lecturer track

    • Lecturers:

      • More than half of the classes here are taught by lecturers

      • Make less money

      • Some benefits available to tenure track and not lecturer

      • Less voting rights within their departments

  • Right now we are asking the admin to let the lecturers hold a vote on whether or not to form a union

  • We have asked both Father Engh and Provost Jacobs to let us hold a vote to form a union

  • We have organized and are asking for their help because Adjunct Faculty and Lecturers have:

    • A lack of control over course curriculums

    • Difficulties finding affordable housing

    • Unfair salaries to find such housing and a lack of benefits

    • Much less stability than tenure-track

  • Lecturers do not stay around as long because of that lack of stability

  • You all came here to work closely with professors and have small classes and the current administration of the faculty does not prioritize that focus

  • A lot of lecturers are on yearly contracts, no matter how long they have been here

  • They have to re-interview for their jobs and they lose the colleague relationship with their coworkers and they do not know whether they have gotten the job until as late as May

  • Right now there is no room for lecturers to address these problems and we have asked the administration many times to fix these problems, but the progress has been extremely slow

  • The union would be run solely by the lecturers, not an outside organization

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel thanked Professors Angela Holtzmeister and Natalie Linell for their presentation and asked if there were any questions for them.

 

Sophomore Senator David Warne: How did the tenure track professors receive their positions and vice versa?

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: The qualifications are generally the same. Often, it really depends on whether there are tenure track positions available. It has been years since the classics department has had a tenure position open. Tenure tracks are evaluated heavily on research and lecturers are valued almost solely on teaching. For lecturers, their position focuses about 90% on teaching and 10% on research or publishing and for tenured professors it is about 50% teaching and 50% research and publishing.

 

Professor Natalie Linell: The research really is the difference between the two.

 

Sophomore Senator Duncan McDonell: Do you have any idea how this will affect tuition?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: It really is a matter of the university’s priorities. At most schools where they have unionized there has not been a measurable increase.

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: There is no correlation in rising tuitions and unionization. We are a wealthy university and we are asking that the university prioritize the faculty that teach here.

 

At-Large Senator Payton Dizney Swanson: Did you explore other options than unionization?

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: There have been task forces for about fifteen years and they have not had any tangible effect. We do not have a seat at the table and the decisions are made from the top down.

 

First Year Senator Kyle Andrews: What downsides do you see?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: When talking to faculty about the union, it does take 1.74% of our salary, but that has not been an issue. There is also the concern that a union will divide people, but speaking to other faculty who have unionized they have not seen that problem. We see a huge upside to creating a more equitable structure.

 

Professor Madeline Cronin: We are concerned about the longevity and success of the university and we believe that the university will do better if it makes the shift to prioritizing the faculty that makes it great. We want the university to succeed and we would never ask them to do anything that would hurt the university or work towards the larger missions of the university.

 

Professor Natalie Linell: Our relationships with our students are important and the loss of adjunct faculty every year harms the students.

 

Junior Senator Alex Perlman: Is there a possibility of a strike? And is there going to be a divide between professors who join and those who don’t?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: Georgetown and many other schools and we have only heard of one one day strike. We do not foresee that.

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: That is definitely not in the works.

 

Professor Natalie Linell: All of the lectures would be a part of the union and it is the reason why we want to have a vote. Once we had a contract, we would vote again.

 

First Year Senator Kyle Andrews: What has the university's response been?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: Father Engh has told us that he said he would get back to us by may 21st.

 

First Year Senator Kyle Andrews: Why hasn’t the university been more responsive?

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: I don’t think any of us know that answer. You should ask the administration.

 

First Year Senator Sahill Sagar: What are the opinions of tenure track professors?

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: 80 tenure track professors signed a letter that was given to Provost Jacobs. They wrote that they support the lecturers right to vote on the prospect of unionization.

 

Junior Senator Rachel Wiggins: What are the concerns you have heard?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: There is a fear of divide between those who want and union and those who do not among some people we have talked to, but seldom is a big concern.

 

At-Large Senator Annie Martin: One of the benefits of the rehiring process on a regular basis can help have better professors. How do you see the hiring process here?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: I don’t see a future where all lecturers have tenure. The problem is  a quarterly or yearly position is short and the open hiring process at the end of those short contracts make lives of faculty far less stable than it should be.

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: Rarely does the rehiring process focus on the weeding out of bad professors or poor teaching. It has to do with a lot of numbers and the politics of a university.

 

Sophomore Senator Avery James: How can people move between the two tracks?

 

Professor Natalie Linell: There is not much ability to move between the two, but the lecturer track does not lead to tenure track. What we would like to see is a way for one year lecturers to reach a point where they can have longer contracts.

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: It is not that lecturers do less work than tenure, it is a difference in focus. We teach more courses than tenure tracks.

 

Pro-Tempore Sam McNeal: The largest concern is for the cost of tuition. We cannot access the endowment directly - only at 7%. Right now our tuition only covers 80 percent of the cost of a students education. If there is a raise in costs, tuition would most likely be in tution.

 

Professor Natalie Linell: Here there is no transparency on how the money is being spent and we do not know how the money is spent and where. If I could genuinely look at those numbers and say that there is no flaws or inefficiencies, the conversation would be different.

 

Professor Angela Holtzmeister: At other universities you can see what everyone is being paid and that is not the case here. The real issue is the prioritization. You all do have a lot of power and you are tuition paying students. Ask questions and look for a deeper understanding.

 

6. EXECUTIVE BRANCH UPDATES

 

Public Relations VP Maggie Hurlbut: After working with Victoria Juarez of CommDev, we have now ordered new Educated Partier t-shirts and we are now working on a video collaboration with CommDev for Pop the Bubble. We are also looking for new ways to involve PR in the rest of ASG. Please come to us if you need help or have ideas!

 

Community Development VP Elena Radding: The Ro Khana event went very well. John Farnsworth is talking about revisions and it is his last lecture before retirement - please come out! Dates to know: Bronco Brawl on Thursday 5/10 and John Farnsworth’s Last Lecture on 5/9.

 

Finance VP Ben Rhoades: Our budget proposal was approved by the CSO Advisory Board, but they have not approved the reallocation of funds from our Operating Budget to RSOs yet. In order to get that done, I am writing a detailed written argument to get funds transferred. Office hours are on Wednesday from 11:45-1:00 and on Friday from 11:45-2:00.

 

Chief Justice Rachel Brooke Herzog: If you want to change your position descriptions, please let me know. We will have two students rights’ newsletters, one for on-campus and one for off-campus.

 

Vice President Sam Perez: My projects are currently on hold as we move through transition. Projects: Sexual Assault Awareness video with PRxDigital, Contraception Distribution Policy, Can’t Thread a Moving Needle follow up, Broncomobile, Bias Incident Tracker, and Peer Health Education. Dates to know: 5/16 at 5:00 PM is the Transition Ceremony at Mission Church and on 5/23 at 7:30 PM is the ASG Banquet.

 

President Jack Herstam: We are working on transitioning. We are archiving and holding interviews for positions. Greek meeting produced plan for next year. Resources for mental health and violence prevention will be available for off-campus Greek life.

 

7. COMMITTEE UPDATES

 

COMM - Our Senior Appreciation Event will be on the 16th of May from 12:30 to 3:00 PM. We are going to hand out t-shirts for seniors to sign and have food, popsicles, and music. We are also putting out a publicity video with PR for the event. Let us know if you have any other ideas or suggestions. Please turn in your letters to future position holders to Kayla! Committee Member’s Projects: Junior Senator Victoria Linares: Working with Rachel in creating van/ride sharing for student safety. At-Large Senator Annie Martin: Working with the Wellness Center and PR in filming new Step Up video; please reach out to her if you would like to help. At-Large Senator Rahaima Choudhry: Helping SSA plan an event happening this quarter. Also planning Spirituality Day with Campus Ministry. Sophomore Senator Duncan McDonell: Met with Bon Appetit to fix Tapingo issues and went to dining operations meeting today. Please contact Duncan with any Benson/Tapingo. Dates to know: Senior appreciation day on Wednesday 5/16 or Friday 5/18.

 

CUIC - The CSI Website will be updated next week. Committee Member’s Projects: Senior Senator Mayron Mulugeta: Went to Inclusive Excellence Committee meeting and is  working on Countdown to Graduation event with Nithya Vemireddy. First Year Senator Ciara Moezidis: Working on “Earth Week” VTA Competition with Residence Halls and working with Peer Health Educators on Bronco Positivity event. Pictures were taken and working on creating the posters and covers. Please reach out to me if you can help me with graphic design and putting the posters together. Senior Senator Thayne Kollmorgen: Working on clarifying the Student Handbook regulations on noise amplification.  At-Large Senator Bjorn Thyrring: Working on drafting a proposal to give to administration to get QPR training for all first years. First Year Senator Robbie Nunes: Working on getting a commuter lounge resolution going. Dates to know: None.

 

FOC - On Monday, Alex Perlman will be talking about new place for the hammock poles because an archeology professor said they cannot go where we planned. Committee Member’s Projects: Sophomore Senator Helen Kassa: Working on getting backpack hangers for the library and is collaborating with CommDev to do a meet that candidates for county supervisor that will have Chick-fil-a. Junior Senator Alex Perlman: The hammock poles will be put in on the Swig Lawn. Meeting with administration to plan the pilot program for Nap Pods and to begin the implementation of the double-business major. First Year Senator Kyle Andrews: Working to get a photo printer for the students. Pro-Tempore Sam McNeal: Working on a new student involvement survey with Tedd Vanadilok and on a Contingent Faculty Union Resolution. At-Large Senator Kristin Godfrey: Working on a resolution to increase professor diversity with Rahaima Choudhry. Junior Senator Rachel Wiggins: Working on a safe ride home program with Victoria Linares through Campus Safety. Also working with At-Large Senator Payton Dizney Swanson to plan a faculty appreciation event. Reach out to either of them if you would like to help or have faculty to invite. Sophomore Senator Avery James: Working on creating a way to beautify the construction fences on campus with art or informational posters and has now been approved by administration. Reach out to her if you have any ideas or would like to help.

 

SAC - We are working on RSO reform with Sam Kibbish to streamline the RSO approval process and the maintenance of RSO program. The +500 funding request bylaw is going well.

 

8. NEW BUSINESS

 

RSO Status Presentation

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel invited the Editor and Chief of Odyssey Maria Nelson to the front of the room to present on why Odyssey merits RSO status. Her presentation is summarized below.

  • Odyssey is a national organization that prioritizes the voices of college students

  • It is a writing platform for those who want to write about whatever they would like

  • We are already a chapter in the national network

  • I have been in my position for 13 months and right now we have 25 contributing members

  • We have members from all three schools and of all ages

  • We are different from the Santa Clara Review and the Newspaper because our content does not have to be specific to SCU and has a national audience

  • We write about 60 articles per month

  • We want to be an RSO to grow through tabling and reserving rooms

  • We also want to bring in a faculty mentor and gain legitimacy in the university

  • We plan to reach out to Tim Meyers in the English department to be our faculty advisor because he has helped us in the past

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel thanked Maria Nelson for her presentation and asked if there were any questions for her.

 

At-Large Senator Payton Dizney Swanson:  What are you hoping to get from RSO status?

Answer: We want to table and attend club fairs. We also want to be more accessible to the student body.

 

Junior Senator Victoria Linares: Are the writers independant or tied to SCU?

Answer: They are both. You can look at Santa Clara’s page online and their articles, but writers are also searchable independently.

 

First Year Senator Mai Sinada: Do you plan to ask for funding?

Answer: We don’t plan too. The national organization does award us funding through prize money.

 

First Year Senator Sahill Sagar: I saw you mentioned a writers workshop in your constitution. Do you plan to have a  writers workshop for the student body?

Answer: We were planning more a workshop for our contributing writers, but we will also look into putting on an open event.

 

Raghav: The Clara Current does exist here and they do overlap.

Answer: We are part of a national organization with a global audience, making us different from a SCU publication.

 

At-Large Senator Bjorn Thyrring: The Current is also focused on politics and current events which is different from the diversity of Odyssey.

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel thanked Maria Nelson again for her presentation and asked that any further questions be sent to her or David Warne so that they can be answered before voting next week.

 

Presentation of Local Measure A

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel announced that the MCC had asked the Senate to write a Resolution opposing Measure A because it disenfranchises minority voters. She then read the following summary from Jack Herstam: “Measure A is a ballot proposition for residents of the City of Santa Clara that will be voted on June 5.

Measure A does two things: (1) It creates two separate voting districts in the city for City Council elections. Currently, Santa Clara has one at-large election. The districts would be separated down El Camino Real. (2) Measure A changes voting for City Council from a majority vote to a rank-choice vote. This means that instead of selecting five candidates, voters would rank candidates in order. Every candidate on the ballot must be ranked or else the ballot is voided. For example, if there are 14 candidates running for City Council, a voter must rank all candidates on the ballot from 1 through 14. If they do not, their vote will not count.

Measure A was created by a coalition of Santa Clara residents who were selected by the current City Council. It was created as an opposition to a proposed 6 district plan. This plan was proposed by the Asian Law Alliance as part of an ongoing lawsuit over the current at-large system used for electing City Council representative. They believe the current system unconstitutionally disenfranchises minority voters (which they believe is in violation of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as well as the 2001 California Voting Rights Act). Next week, an Asian Law Alliance representative will be presenting in more detail on Measure A.”

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel asked if there were any questions or thoughts from the Senators.

 

Sophomore Senator Avery James: How does Measure A suppress minority voters?

 

Senior Senator Mayron Mulugeta: A large part of it is the redistricting lines that decrease diversity in the districts.

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel: The speaker next week can answer that and go into more detail.

 

9. OLD BUSINESS

 

Adjunct Faculty Resolution Discussion - Voting Postponed

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel asked for comments from the audience of thirty seconds each.

 

Duncan Clarke: I encourage you all to be skeptical of the notion that unionization will not raise tuition.

 

Spencer McLaughlin: I did not hear a guarantee that tuition will not be increased. It is not a cheap proposal and I think to raise it more will hurt the university.

 

Raghav: It also makes it difficult for bad professors to be fired.

 

Emma Stinson: Tufts College, Georgetown, and Northeastern have unionized faculty and the tuition at those schools have not been affected by unionization.

 

Marion Mitchell: There is no guarantee money-wise, but the professors are extremely important to the success of this university

 

Emma Stinson: it was a 28 percent increase over ten years which is consistent with the university's normal increases to tuition.

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel thanked the audience for their comments and then asked for comments from Senators.

 

At-Large Senator Nithya Vemireddy: right now we are voting to support the right of faculty to vote to make

 

At-Large Senator Bjorn Thyrring: The formation of a union does not make them tenured. It also does not have an effect on what can lead to a university’s firing of a professor.

 

Sophomore Senator David Warne: My main concern is that the negotiations can lead to a strike because that is their bargaining power. It is still a possibility.

 

Sophomore Senator Helen Kassa: Strikes are also temporary burdens. I don’t believe that there will be a large tuition increase or a strike.

 

Junior Senator Rachel Wiggins: I don't feel comfortable voting on something that could raise our tuition.

 

At-Large Senator Bjorn Thyrring: We are talking about the faculty who are here without stability and they do have a right to ask for it. They stand behind us all of the time and we ought to stand behind them.

 

First Year Senator Kyle Andrews: If we vote yes, it will push students to lose their ability to go here.

 

Sophomore Senator Helen Kassa: It isn’t fair for us to not support them solely based on concerns about tuition.

 

First Year Senator Sahill Sagar: What are your concerns with allowing them to have a vote?

 

Duncan Clarke: Unionization most likely will happen if they vote and we should think about how it will affect the students.

 

Spencer McLaughlin: I would second that. The university cannot just pull money out of nothing.

 

Raghav: The way that a crowd can negotiate is much stronger.  A strike would be very detrimental to the university.

 

First Year Senator Sahill Sagar: if we did not allow you as students to voice their opinions, how would you feel? They are asking for that right.

 

Duncan Clarke: This is a vote that has consequences for the prospect of unionization, on the student body, and the school. The school is not censoring the faculty.

 

At-Large Senator Nithya Vemireddy: They may not be censored, but they do not have a seat table.

 

First Year Senator Robbie Nunes: They would definitely not choose to hurt the students or the university in their negotiations.

 

Emma Stinson: Right now the university does have the opportunity to decide if someone is hired after only one year and the formation of the union will help them to have a voice.

 

Spencer McLaughlin: They may not want to raise tuition, but the money has to come from somewhere and they do not have a place where they can draw from.

 

At-Large Senator Bjorn Thyrring: The boogieman of rising prices has been used across history to keep the rights away from workers. It is the administration's job to use the money well, not the teachers. If they raise tuition, administration would be hurting themselves. A no vote would be saying that the right to free speech and unionization is not supported by the students.

 

Sophomore Senator David Warne: That is easy to argue. We do need to think about the possibility of a strike or a tuition. It is very high stakes.

 

At-Large Senator Payton Dizney Swanson: It is just as easy to argue that a tuition increase is a reason to say no. My mother is an adjunct in a union at the University of Oregon and her pay has not increased and neither has tuition.

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel thanked the audience and the Senate for their comments and then asked that they reach out to her if there are any further comments or questions. She also asked that the Senators talk to their constituents about this resolution.

 

10. ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel: Please reach out to constituents regarding the Adjunct Faculty Unionization Resolution.

 

Parliamentarian Kayla Williams: Please send me your letters and documents to archive.

 

First Year Senator Ciara Moezidis: We did the Broncoposi photoshoot. Please help us table and spreading the word. We would like this to become a tradition and help to change the school culture.

 

11. ADJOURNMENT

 

Senate Chair Aly Motzel asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Adjournment was approved by At-Large Senator Rahaima Choudhry and seconded by Junior Senator Alex Perlman. Senate Chair Aly Motzel called the May 3rd, 2018 meeting of the Santa Clara University Senate to a close at 8:40 PM.

 

12. ROLL CALL

 

Pro-Tempore Sam McNeal took roll at 8:40 PM.

 

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