DISCLAIMER: THIS RECORDING IS PURELY THE OPINION OF ONE CONTRIBUTOR TO THE BLOPHISH NEWSPAPER. IT IS NOT THE OFFICIAL OPINION OF OREGON EPISCOPAL SCHOOL OR THE BLOPHISH NEWSPAPER.
Members of the Leadership Team in Attendance:
• Kara Tambellini (Grade 12 Dean)
• Jordan Elliot (Head of Upper School)
• Deb Walsh (Grade 11 Dean)
• Debby Schauffler (Grade 9 Dean)
• Deri Bash (Asst. Head of Upper School)
• Tay (US Counselor)
Members of Student Council in Attendance:
• Nathalie P-F, Co-Secretary (‘12)
• James L, Treasurer (‘12)
• Manav K, Student Body President (‘12)
• Daniel Doctor, Senior Class Representative (’12)
• Aya T, Junior Class Representative (‘13)
• Michael B, Sophomore Class Representative (‘14)
• Tiffany W, Dorm Representative (‘12)
• Dylan D, Vice President (‘12)
• Colette A, Freshman Class Representative (‘15)
• Toby Fitch
• Janine K (‘14)
• Andrew W (‘12)
Notes on the Summit:
Teacher: “We are here to work with equal partners.” Today is a day we work together. Decision of group will be what happens in the future.
Teacher: Thanks to the Blophish for being here as note takers.
Teacher: Note takers are here to emphasize transparency. Speak your mind, be honest. Facilitator is here to help everyone come to consensus.
Teacher: Disagreement is inherent in a group, and that we should work through it.
[Jordan Elliott introduces Toby Fitch, who will act as a facilitator.]
Facilitator: Students and faculty are not polar opposites. There are many difficulties of a representative democracy. If there is a tangled medley of opinions, there can’t be a single unified opinion. So, our first task is: What are we trying to get to? Let’s not bog down on individual challenges, let’s focus on the big issues and outcomes. What are the next steps? Emphasizes democracy. Actually getting to a consensus is hard, we need to define it what we can call one. Anybody can call out questions. We’ll also use a system of rating proposals, 0-3. 0 is “I do not support this whatsoever,” 3 is “I support this and will emphatically defend it.”
[At this point, Facilitator asked everyone to state what they hoped would come out of this meeting.]
Student: Proposal by end of the year to solve majority of problems or steps
Student: Step forward, concrete Student Government bylaws
Student: Plan for next election to satisfy students, definition of student government
Teacher: Specific and clear plan for student government addresses current issues, clear plan for bringing it to the body.
Student: One step forward, and continue discussion.
Teacher: Students at high consensus on plan.
Student: Clear plan, move from confusion to clarity.
Student: Mostly positive feedback from the student body to build off of
Teacher: Addressed the issue of service as leadership. Faculty have constituents.
Student: Hoping to get to at least a 2.5/3 on consensus scale, clarity
Teacher: Plan of action moving forward, know that faculty has acted in good faith. Dispel conspiracy theories, transparency.
Student: Change from idea of faculty totalitarianism, collaborate
Teacher: Hoping to bring up issues to solve in the future. Hoping to come to an agreement. Brought up gender to remind of issues.
Student: Knowing that we not only have one step, but a path for future steps.
Teacher: Same as Student, not us/them but a team. Cohesive body. Compartments.
Facilitator: Ok, that’s all good. But let’s not get too ambitious. What would these things be that we should do?
Teacher: Move towards solving larger issues in.
Teacher: Gender issues are at the heart.
[At this point, Facilitator broke the committee into separate groups of three with people from faculty and students in each. In 5 minutes, what could they say are issues that we need to solve for, principles on consensus. What follows are the different opinions of the groups and the driving issues resolved by consensus.]
Student, Teacher , Teacher: Gender representation within student government wasn’t reflective of the gender equality of the student body. We’re 50/50 gender balanced intentionally. Service emphasis. Definition of what a position is isn’t clear enough to the average voter, not enough emphasis on service. Elected by peers, but might be walking into the jaws of the beast.
Student, Teacher , Student: Wanting to have clear role/understanding of StuCo. Caused by outdated bylaws without basis in members. Reevaluating roles of StuCo, can we make it better? No, system is not biased, it’s good that people vote for who they think would do the best job at their job. No bias. Voters are not informed enough.
Teacher , Student, Student: Student leadership is too limited, doesn’t include policy. Need reform in electoral system, it’s biased.
Student, Student, Teacher: Understand the why of StuCo before how. There is an issue with gender roles. Service and leadership are interrelated. Freshmen particularly unclear as to what StuCo is.
• Outdated bylaws don’t help with reflection, archaic.
• Student leadership is too limited because it doesn’t include policy.
• Electoral process is biased/ flawed towards an outspoken candidate (Disputed).
• Semicolons bad.
• Are all SBP’s male? Is that an issue?
• Leadership roles as defined reinforce traditional gender stereotyping.
• Service and leadership are interrelated.
• People don’t know what StuCo does, but StuCo doesn’t do enough.
• What does StuCo do?
• Lack of trust after the lack of input in the schedule. Why should students trust administration?
• Timing? Unclear issue.
• Students don’t trust that StuCo has power, or that StuCo and faculty can collaborate.
• Why is there a lack of trust and faith? Is it between administration and students or just faculty and students?
• Lack of clarity in accountability of students. Who has ultimate accountability in decisions? Look at the big brain on Deb!
• Everyone paints their own ideas of what’s going on, we need clarity.
Facilitator: Ok, these are the issues: roles of StuCo, electoral process, gender (faculty concern, not necessarily student), role and work of Student government needs definition, lack of trust between students and faculty/LT/administration.
Teacher: Faculty means leadership team (LT!)
Student: Service and leadership are not necessarily directly associated. Blophish comments say that people agree with MK.
Teacher: Different groups with leadership roles encourage gender equality as well, start small
Teacher: Let’s vote on this, 0-3.
Teacher: Define service vs service learning.
Student: Students trust teachers, not LT or administrative team. LT/Admin become scapegoats (particularly Jordan and Deri)
Teacher: Go on... Faculty/teacher. LT/Teacher.
Teacher: People don’t get that it’s a proposal. Hurt by being called a liar.
Teacher: I was hurt by being called a liar too, we didn’t lie.
Facilitator: All your lives, you’re gonna have issues that need to be solved. Some are rational, some are subjective. If we don’t find a way to acknowledge these, we will stay stuck. Ask “How did you feel about that?” is germane. Don’t be dismissive. Anytime there’s more than one person on a team, there’s a need to get organized.
Facilitator: Sidebar: What is the core purpose of StuCo? What’s the scope of the mission and purpose? Roles of StuCo (not deliberate enough now. Qualifications to do what in order to accomplish what?) What’s StuCo’s process? We need to establish a trust and relationship between the groups.
Facilitator: People are after different things. What are some of the roles of StuCo and what aren’t? What do the roles mean? Let’s put it to a vote.
Quantitative Vote on the Consensus on Issues:
• Wanting a clear understanding of the role of StuCo: Mainly 3s, some 2s
• Election process favors certain candidates: Mixed 2s and 3s, some 1s
[At this point, there was a change of note-taker. ]
Facilitator: Principles that we agree on are...?
Student: StuCo exists to represent students. Student Leadership is by students for the student.
Facilitator: What is the role of StuCo beyond organizing social events?
Teacher: People want it to be more.
Teacher: Students should have a voice in development and implementation of practices
Student: That’s help with trust
Teacher: LT are the caretakers of student life, StuCo is part of that.
Teacher: Representation in leadership in the community.
Teacher: StuCo exists to represent and serve.
Student: There should be diverse representation. StuCo should be a place where people can grow as a leader, no matter how they express their leadership skills.
Issues within different types of social people.
Facilitator: Important to facilitate the quieter people.
Student: Guys and girls should have equal opportunity not only in electoral process, but in social behavior.
Teacher: The system favors certain styles, which may make it sexist.
Teacher: If girls and boys are different, then the socioeconomic equity is just as important. We want to break down concepts that discourage equity among leadership from certain privileged backgrounds.
Teacher: We want to recognize diversity of leadership in OES, even outside of StuCo.
Facilitator: Better wording?
Teacher: There are different ways of leading. All leadership outside of StuCo, in clubs, groups, organizations, etc is not necessarily recognized. Everybody views the president as the sole executive.
Facilitator: Recognizing that people are not...?
Teacher: Are you saying StuCo is the most publicized?
Student: SLAC, ASAC, others?
Teacher: All the great work from all over, not just the loud and funny people who are elected to president. I want the great workers to rise to the top.
Facilitator: Don’t boil the ocean. Let’s stay focused on the role and function of StuCo?
Teacher: How can we manage our time?
Facilitator: Which of our things articulate the principles? What is the role of StuCo?
Student: Students are tired of being told what’s going to happen, this is a welcome change. Understanding of the role of StuCo is essential.
Teacher: How should the elections be changed to improve and conform to the principles?
Facilitator: We need to cap ourselves. Are there any more principles?
Student: Should we allow non-StuCo leaders to represent themselves in StuCo? Example: 4 years MUN service? We should make government a meritocracy, should we make experience a prerequisite?
Facilitator: So it should be open to all people?
Student: Voters should be the qualifier, students determine who’s qualified. There would be no rules enforced by faculty, everyone should be even.
Facilitator: Time, we need more time!
Teacher: What if we divided? One council for social, on council for leadership?
Teacher: We should pay attention to the students’ input. Transition and regrouping led by students.
Facilitator: Careful, let’s not pass the buck. How can we set them up for success?
Teacher: We should give a definition of Why StuCo exists.
Facilitator: Let’s stay on task. We’re gonna vote on 3 principles, everyone choose three principles.
Teacher: If someone could proofread the minutes (what I’m writing right now,) that’d be pretty chill. Public display?
Facilitator: Here are what we’ve got. Students should have a voice in the development. Students should grow as leaders in StuCo. Girls behavior and equal opportunity should be supported.
Facilitator: Ok. Voters should be the judge of who’s qualified.
Student: Equity for everyone.
Student: Yeah, that.
Student: All types of social behaviors should be rewarded.
Student: Ok, not that.
Teacher: I don’t think that’s necessary. We already have that noone can’t run. We need to get equitable representation in all personality types by a more equitable system.
Teacher: I’m with that.
Facilitator: people react negatively to change. Let’s focus on what’s staying.
Teacher: Can a student with an egregious DC charge run equally?
Facilitator: We can rewrite the bylaws to facilitate that.
Teacher: Next year’s StuCo will keep these issues in mind.
Teacher: Take out the word “Alternative.”
Student: People are too focused on the “fun” part of StuCo.
Teacher: There’s a sort of anti-intellectualism.
Student: I trust the people I vote for.
Facilitator: One student, one vote, that’s essential.
Student: If the voter can’t say who’s qualified, who can?
Teacher: Gender should not be a qualification according to the Blophish comments
Teacher: This is a knee-jerk response to something that hasn’t been proposed officially.
[Note: This is a confusion between the two parties. Teacher is rightly saying that the first leadership proposal was not a definite reality.]
Student: We should educate the voters so that they will become the judge.
Teacher: Minimal criteria for qualification.
Facilitator: We should revolve around 3-5 core principles.
Student: Equal opportunity does not mean that gender is enforced.
Teacher: That proposal is old.
Student: We’re going from scratch.
Student: Voters should determine. Student leadership is by students, for students.
Student+Teacher: Faculty don’t vote.
Student: We’re not changing anything here, just reinforcing.
Facilitator: Let’s refocus.
[Mass consensus on all of the principles.]
Teacher: What is StuCo to do? What can we do?
Student: We are missing things.
Teacher: We need to take the temperature of the school. Student leaders should be suitably equipped to communicate key issues to the faculty.
Student: Like at the end of the year, we reflect on the bylaws?
Facilitator: Communicate what the issues are, then communicate LT’s opinion. Not just bullets. In the next 15 minutes, let’s get into the details. Let’s focus on what is the role of StuCo, and what it should be?
Student: Today, all it is only social events. Mystery friday.
Student: Bridge between faculty and students. StuCo’s more approachable than faculty. Like being part of this.
Teacher: Yes, we work together.
Student: Secret Santa /Giving Tree controversy came to StuCo, communicated.
Facilitator: So when issues do arise, ad hoc solutions do as well.
Teacher: I work with the classroom board all the time.
Teacher: Not the same for freshmen.
Teacher: But there’s still grade specific issues being discussed between faculty and student leaders.
Facilitator: Let’s be clear about what the role of StuCo’s been.
Teacher: Set tone of the year. Is our class gonna cooperate, how are people going to interact with faculty?
Student: Yes, StuCo had to decide with the Faculty about a Sadie Hawkins dance this year.
Teacher: Ambassadors/ speakers to the faculty.
Teacher: President’s speech at the bell tower is the whole school.
Teacher: I admired how StuCo took part in when the school was installing [Head of School, Mo Copeland.]
Facilitator: Ok, anything else?
Teacher: Represent constituencies within grade?
Student: Yes, I’ve looked up to StuCo reps when I was an underclassman.
Facilitator: That’s nice, but here’s what we’re doing.
Teacher: They’re seen as role models. They hold themselves to a higher standard.
Facilitator: What aren’t they doing?
Student: Not involved enough with the more serious issues.
Student: [A student’s] proposal mentioned involvement with the board of trustees for more representation and the DC. Being involved is good.
Facilitator: Yes, but what role?
Student: Participating in an integral part of our school. We are involved in our justice system.
Teacher: Connection with DC rep?
Student: Next year, StuCo should work on the big issues.
[Small break in notes]
Teacher: There are some things that students can’t legally do. The voice of the students is very important.
Teacher: Honor Code.
Teacher: Yes. This is fundamental aspect of the school, so StuCo can input on it, but they can’t be accountable for these decisions.
[Small break in notes]
Facilitator: A third way to do govt is what’s the job going forward, and what’s an internal committee that can do all social? Let’s try and get a definite proposal.
Student: What would be delegated to someone else?
Student: Separate Treasurer and Secretary from governing committee
Teacher: If we have a separate committee, there might be division. I would approve one cohesive body rather than two groups.
Facilitator: Subcontract out dances to save time?
Student: Allow StuCo to ignore dance committee? Only an option, not a necessary committee.
Teacher: We should define StuCo through what we propose today! Draft a new set of bylaws! Trust StuCo! This is exciting! Dance committee should be optional, just so that it’s not the main focus of StuCo.
Facilitator: Having two separate electoral bodies is the worst idea I’ve heard so far.
Student: Add one class rep, one dorm rep as dance committee. We can delegate really easily within that for dances. Also a social experiment: will we vote in equal girls and guys.
Student: Dorm people don’t care/ don’t know. That’s bad.
Teacher: This is great.
Student: We’re electing two reps from each grade, two from dorms?
Student: Yeah. Let’s subdivide from the beginning of the year. Bigger StuCo.
Student: No, that’d make it divided. Do I vote for a good planner or a good partier?
Teacher: We can’t do these two things simultaneously. I want to go back, I don’t want it to be a “test.” If it is, I want it to be a ten-year test.
Student: Small, rotating groups.
[Facilitator at this point proposed the plan soon to be published in the Blophish.]
Student: If we don’t have people, we can utilize Class Board because they do very little.
[Small discourse, unintelligible]
Student: What if we did two class board, two class rep?
Student: We don’t need two reps from each grade in StuCo if class board plans dances.
Student: Does Class Rep meet with class board? [Yes] Ok, then that’s a great way.
Teacher: Who exactly will do the planning?
Facilitator: The class board.
Teacher: Class board becomes activity as a dance committee.
Teacher: Communication is important.
Facilitator: Class board plans events, reports to StuCo.
Student: Reduce class board to 2 members, 1 rep.
Student: Not all 12 people would be working at once.
Teacher: They can work to hone their roles. It’s not overstaffing.
Student: Too many people in StuCo.
Facilitator: There’s always more work. We can work that.
Student: Class board actually having a role would be good. Take it a step further, make them the facilitators of fun.
Facilitator: let’s think ahead. 2 years from now, all our culture values leadership. Class Board becomes solely event planners.
Student: And what about normal StuCo?
Facilitator: I’m voting for someone that’ll get work done with these principles.
Teacher: I’m afraid. Will StuCo become corrupted? Will they give themselves too much power? Too little? Will they destroy themselves from the inside?
Facilitator: It’s an expansion. Even [this meeting] wasn’t fun, but StuCo is making a difference!
Student: You’ve trusted StuCo. And we came in good faith. Why can’t the next one be trusted?
Student: Who’s going to run the meetings then? Who’s gonna know what’s going on, faculty or seniors?
Facilitator: Is there a bylaw about that? Or is it just a meritocracy right now?
Student: The most experience.
Facilitator: So it happens naturally now. Let’s keep doing that?
Teacher: Faculty can help with the social piece. That work comes back to StuCo as well.
Facilitator: It might get repetitive.
Teacher: Talking about “Fun” and “Work” makes Fun seem a bit demeaning. I’m worried that people will get trapped into their roles again. I like spirit planning.
[More members share their opinions about the differences between “Fun” and “Work.”
Student: It was hard to give up on activity. We should look somewhere else. Planning dances would have been really bad without experience and faculty.
Facilitator: Is anyone sitting on a proposal?
Teacher: Next year, class boards will step up.
Teacher: We don’t know if the class board is willing.
Facilitator: We’ve done a lot of work today. We need time for reflection. Check thinking with the student body.
HERE END THE NOTES.