SLS to seek alternative funding in budget
The Student Leadership Stipend (SLS) is an initiative that aims to eliminate financial barriers to leadership positions on campus by awarding Residence Assistants (RAs), House Presidents (HPs) and Cabinet members on financial aid with stipends. SLS has been funded for the last four years by the ballot initiative. Ballot initiatives are voted on during regular College election season and the winner of the election receives approximately $11,000 dollars, or two percent of the Student Activity Fee. The ballot initiative is for projects that serve the entire student body and are achievable within one year. SLS has split the money between around 40 to 60 student leaders each year. In Senate on Monday, representatives from SLS stated that they are in communication with the administration to make pay for RAs, HPs and CG Cabinet members part of the budget. As it is, only student leaders who are U.S. citizens and on financial aid or international students who demonstrate substantial need have been eligible to receive a stipend from SLS. SLS stated that its goal this year is to find funding elsewhere and not run as a ballot initiative. Thus far, students from SLS have talked with Dean of Students Debra DeMeis and a representative from the President’s Office. The ballot initiative election takes place in April, so SLS would have to declare its intention to run sometime in March.
Student seeks to extend add/drop period
Tinsa Harding ’16 presented in Senate on Monday on the possibility of petitioning the administration to extend add/drop periods. Currently, add/drop period and the date before which students can declare a class credit/non end in September. Harding argued that from her experience, not being able to drop courses later in the semester adds to students’ stress levels. She also spoke about other college’s policies, many of which, including MIT’s, allow for students to drop classes up until the last day of classes or even the last day of exams. Many Senators commented that although class has been in session for 11 weeks, they have yet to receive a single grade or indication of their standing in certain classes. Harding emphasized that her goal in speaking at Senate was to gauge other’s students interest in working with the administration and hear other student’s perspectives on the issue. Senators were encouraged to ask the members of their communities and constituencies about the period to add/drop and declare credit/non and bring their responses back to Senate next week.
Office of the Dean of Students to release online course on sexual assault, abuse
Before orientation this past summer, incoming first-years were asked to complete a 90-minute online course titled “Not Any More” about sexual assault, domestic violence and abuse. Now, the short online program will be released to the entire student body to take if they choose. Dean DeMeis stated that the course may become mandatory for student leaders or incoming students later on, but first she and the Office of Students wish to evaluate the program before making it compulsory.