GILLIAN REINHARD ’20
Following the recent Board of Trustees meeting, SGA President Emily Claytor ’18 emailed the student body to provide several updates regarding off-campus housing, meal plan change and internal updates within the SGA.
A goal of the SGA and the College this year was to solidify housing policy. Previously, requests to live off-campus were granted by the Office of Residential Life on a first-come, first-serve basis capped at about 200 students. While initial policy drafts barred both first-years and sophomores from living off-campus, SGA finalized another housing policy based on student surveys that will allow all students, except for first-years, the opportunity to apply to live off-campus, with a GPA requirement of at least a 3.0 and priority for upperclass students.
Extensive Chartwells meal plan reform was also announced. Starting next year, one night of late-night service at the Cave will be slashed in order to allow the Bistro to open 6:00-9:00pm on Saturdays, according to Ms. Claytor. This will also entail a later opening of the Bistro Monday-Friday (at 11:30am instead of 10:30am) in order to offer more stations at Mather on weekends.
Internally, the SGA has worked to change the organization’s constitution. The Tripod sat down with SGA Vice President of Finance Winston Brewer ’18 to talk about some changes. The new constitution clarifies that the Vice President of the SGA will control the position of SGA Secretary if there is no individual in the position, says Mr. Brewer. The attendance policy for SGA members was also amended. Previously, the attendance policy stated that members with more than three absences would be removed from the organization. The SGA will expand this policy, according to Mr. Brewer, by holding elections to replace members that have broken the attendance policy. Additionally, the SGA is working to reintroduce the Student Life Committee, which will advocate on student interests regarding facilities, parking, and other resources on-campus. Additionally, this committee will operate closely with the Multicultural Affairs Council (MAC) to oversee student-to-student interactions regarding racism, sexism, homophobia, sexual assault, religion, etc.
The SGA also plans to releasing a pie chart regarding allocations of the Student Activities Fund (SAF), which is managed by the SGA Budget Committee to provide support to student organizations.
President Joanne Berger-Sweeney also sent an email to the Trinity community, with several announcements in response to the recent Board of Trustees meeting. The email addressed the appointment of tenured faculty, retired faculty, and the success of Giving Day. Additionally, President Berger-Sweeney announced the creation of a Sustainability Coordinator position as well as Summit Fellows, described by the President as “top-notch recent graduates… to implement specific projects that will help us achieve the goals laid out in our strategic plan.”
The President also covered information concerning the College’s budget and its acquisition of 200 Constitution Plaza downtown. The property was purchased by the administration at $2.17 million and sold for $2.6 million. Currently, the College is leasing space at 10 Constitution Plaza (Liberal Arts Action Lab) and One Constitution Plaza (graduate and certificate programs).
President Berger-Sweeney also shed light on the budget for FY19, which was approved by the Board of Trustees to be $136.9 million, $2 million lower than the FY18 operating budget. This change in budget included a $2.5 million decrease in net tuition revenue and a $2.3 million increase in endowment spending. “We made decisions to reduce our overall spending—to balance the budget—while creating flexibility to invest in some key areas to help advance the college,” said the President in her email.
A town hall will be held in the Washington Room of Mather Hall tomorrow (May 2) to address comments and questions regarding progress made during the 2017-18 school year.