Senate Weekly Beat: ASCMC Introductory Program, Vince Greer, & Nyree Gray
ASCMC Senate held its fifth meeting on Monday, Oct. 3, from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Freeburg Forum. Senate President Pro-Tempore Thomas Schalke ’18 brought the meeting to order and began with a vote to pass the minutes from the previous session.
After the minutes were passed, Senate received updates from the committees. Technology, Innovation, and Student Affairs Committee Chair Ryan Chakmak ’19 said they are trying to get the Huntley Bookstore to stock up on more athletic gear promoting the Athenas. They also proposed ideas for activities on campus such as finger painting, and are working towards creating a calendar that will list all events and their dates on campus.
Campus Improvement Committee Chair Connor Bloom ’19 said ideas will be announced next session where they will receive feedback from Senate.
Environmental Concerns Committee Chair Samuel Becker ’19 discussed potentially changing the name of the committee to Environmental Affairs Committee in order to reflect its desire to do more than simply “be concerned.”
Next, Senate invited in two guest speakers, Vince Greer, Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity & Inclusion, and Nyree Gray, Assistant Vice President for Diversity & Inclusion and Chief Civil Rights Officer.
They mentioned that they both have offices located in the C.A.R.E. Center, which is under the direction of the Dean of Students. However, while Greer is in charge of the C.A.R.E. Center through the Dean of Students, Gray works on an overall inclusion strategy for the College as a collective. This collective includes students and faculty and any concerns about race, gender, religion, etc.
The C.A.R.E. Center is meant to be a way for the campus to engage in communicating across differences. It is working on educational programs, workshops on different topics, and small group discussions about current events regarding race. The student staff hires have been established, so Gray and Greer hope that will also increase the reach to the community.
Additionally, one of the many services offered by the C.A.R.E. Center includes counselors helping students on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of every week. Some people hold office hours in the space, and other student groups can use it as a place to hold meetings.
Then, Senate moved to a Q&A session. During Q&A, Senate members said the C.A.R.E. Center is very open to feedback about the purpose and use of the space. When confronted with criticism from the study body about it being a “safe space,” they responded that though it can definitely be used as such, it is also a “brave space” – a place where people of differing perspectives can come to talk and understand one another.
Gray and Greer reported that the response to the programs and services so far have been great. They are still looking for ways to attract more people, though, such as renovating the space this winter break to be more functional.
They also mentioned that there will be a coffee cart in front of the Heggblade Center on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Greer and Gray also reported that there is speculation that the number of reported rapes has risen on campus. They also want to use the space as a way to connect with as many small groups as possible to change the culture of CMC and encourage people to report rape or sexual assault and participate in Teal Dot training.
Next, Executive Vice President Felipe Afanador ‘18 moved to explain ASCMC’s Introductory Program (IP). Applications will be released soon. Students must submit a brief letter of interest in either being a senator or begin working towards becoming a senator. IP provides information about ASCMC as an institution, makes ASCMC more transparent, and gives a behind-the-scenes look at the officers’ jobs through weekly hour-long sessions.
Then, during Open Forum, Senate discussed voter registration opportunities at the dining halls at lunch this week, hosted by the Hillary for America Club. These opportunities will be held at Pitzer on Wednesday, Frary on Thursday, and Collins on Friday. Alec Lopata ’19 volunteered to personally help anyone having trouble with voter registration.
After this discussion, the meeting was concluded.