After weeks of planning for Homecoming Week, the Student Commission (StuComm) met last Monday, Oct. 21 to review the annual event. Also, the Board of Trustees inconspicuously meets each year during Homecoming weekend, and though Commissioner and Chair of Academic Affairs Andrew Kaylor ’17 reported niceties from the board, Chair of Finance Amanda Johnson ’17 reported on unsavory news.
For starters, the already expensive tuition will increase by four percent each year for the next five years. Five years from now, it will raise to about $60,000. The College is $1.5 million short, because, as Johnson said, the class of 2017 is 60 students larger than planned, which shifted the plan from five years ago.
When meeting with the Board of Trustees, Johnson said they asked her to sit away from the Board, and she reported not feeling welcomed. She said the Board urges the College to accept some students based on financial standing—if a student comes from more money, he or she is now more likely to get in than someone who will need more financial aid.
President Cameron Goodall said StuComm may move to the Hicks Banquet Hall to accommodate more people during future meetings. However, a change of venue, The Board of Trustees, Homecoming, nor even tuition was not the focus of the night’s meeting. K’s Model United Nations (MUN) requested $5000 from StuComm to help fund their annual conference in Montreal, and the Commission spent most of the night covering proposed amendments.
Frelon, the College’s student-run dance company, are preparing for the fall preview show, and they requested $500 for food. In addition to hosting the largest campus events each year, they band together nine other student organizations to merge into one of the largest student organizations.
And the request is about more than just food. At least according to commissioners Jasmine Kyon ’17 and Andrew Ertle ’15. “This is about us bringing these groups together,” said Ertle, “it’s time to bond as a community.”
Likewise, Commissioner Sam Foran ’15 noted “Tech week is like the night before a big sports game.” Still, with six hour long rehearsals and nine groups, Guilherme Guedes ’15 said dancers can bring their own food, and Andrew Kaylor acknowledged their hour break they can use to eat.
The Commission motioned to move on to discuss the Kalamazoo Model U.N.’s budget request. MUN travels to Montreal each year to attend a Conference along the likes of Ivy League schools such as Harvard and Princeton. It is one of the largest MUN conferences, and it will cost about $5000 from Student Commission.
“Some organizations need more funding than others,” said Commissioner Kaylor. “Model UN have brought it back to campus through campus events.” Bringing it back to campus, became the big contention of the night’s budget requests.
In a presentation by Amritha Venkataraman ’15, she said the environment cannot be replicated: picture 100 students in a given room during the Montreal Conference versus 20 K students in the library during a dreary winter day.
The most expensive item in the proposal is the hotel. For three nights, six rooms, and 20 students, the fee totals to $4,243.92. However, they are not just receiving funds from StuComm, and they will be fundraising, too.
The main argument, as Venkataraman made clear, is that MUN at K creates leaders, a brand for the College as well as a reputation for the College. Secretary of Communications Skylar Young ’15 noted that it is one of the few and rare occasions when any K student can compete with Ivy League schools.
Kalamazoo’s MUN has been creating a rapport with other conference teams over the past few years, and they plan to organize a MUN conference in Kalamazoo a few years down the line.
Nonetheless, Venkataraman reminded StuComm, “it’s something that won’t happen over night.”
The commission also moved to recommend constitutional amendments, which will be voted on by the student body this coming winter quarter.
The first of which is creating a year long body, and, once approved, all Commissioners elected during Spring Term shall serve for the entire academic year starting in 2015.
President Cameron Goodall reasoned, “it would decrease turnover from quarter to quarter.” He also cited the inconvenience with frequent election cycles, multiple retreats, and having to re-build key relationships; which disrupts the flow of the business of the commission.
However, concerns were raised by other commissioners. Andrew Ertle ’15 said “It looks like we’re making it easier for us, but not necessarily for the students.”
First year class positions and first year at-large positions would remain exempt from a year long commission. Goodall cited the fleeting interests of first-years as to why they aren’t extended the same courtesy.
Another recommended amendment would be to fill class positions which remain empty after the election process for the junior and senior classes. The positions shall be converted, at the discretion of the Executive Board, to at-large positions, open to any class level for the remainder of that quarter.
Ertle said “I’ll be in support of this because the people that ran took the time and initiative to run whereas a lot of other people were just selected this year and could not be selected by the student body.”
The move was made due to the fact that it poses the commission differently each year to fill vacant junior and senior class slots.
Election codes were also ratified formalizing the commission’s internal funding for executive board elections, alongside the penalties for non-performing commissioners. Vice President Rian Brown cited the need to hold these commissioners to account if they aren’t doing their jobs.