SGA Sound-Off: Internship Credit, Financial Aid for International Students, Reserve Books & More
In the first meeting of the spring term, the SGA hit the ground running. Here’s the scoop:
Updates & New Business Brought to the Floor:
Several old matters were recalled for updates. The first update was the status of the Pass/Fail Resolution; it is working it’s way through the College! Because it would be a major change – it is introduced and voted on during separate Faculty Council meetings, so the vote will likely take place during the April Faculty Meeting. What to do in the meantime? Email your professors, department chairs, etc., and share your support! Secondly, the ad-hoc committee on finding a interest-bearing vehicle for SGA’s Reserves funding is continuing to explore options, and will soon be meeting with the College’s VP for Finance & Treasurer, Patrick Norton. Third, the North Campus Exercise Space/YouPower Bike room after a brief delay is slated to open after spring break.
There were several items of new business as well. Feb Senator Luke Carroll-Brown ’13.5 proposed and created an ad-hoc committee to explore the Worth Mountain Lodge project. The SGA had previously pledged funding to work with the administration on the repairs, but it has since fallen through. Be on the look-out for updates on that committee’s work. Additionally, junior senator Kathryn Benson ’13 surveyed support for the SGA to support enacting an internship credit policy. She expressed a constituent’s frustration that when internships at a company are unpaid, it is often a requirement that the intern receive academic credit from their university due to labor laws. Since Middlebury does not have such a system of credit, students find themselves ineligible and/or having to turn down internship opportunities. Several other senators echoed the frustration, and she will begin investigating this policy further. Similarly, be on the lookout for updates with this, and write to your senators if you have an opinion on internships for credit.
Resolutions Proposed and Passed:
I. Support of Financial Aid of International Students
First-Year Senator Danny Zhang ’15 brought forward a resolution that officiates the SGA’s support of Financial Aid for International Students. The administration is already intending to restore its financial aid budget for international students to pre-2008 recession levels for the incoming class of 2016, and this resolution easily passed by the SGA issuing our endorsement of that intention. With over 10% of the student body coming from over 70 nations, and 2/3 of the international student body receiving some sort of financial aid (which Zhang cited as higher than peer institutions), it is clear that expanding the financial aid budget will help ensure that regardless of citizenship and socio-economic status, everyone has the opportunity of a world-class liberal arts education. While this measure does not ensure need-blind admissions for international students, Zhang explained, and despite popular conception to the contrary, the college pre-2008 was “never really fully need-blind” for international students. The College was just working with a larger budget and therefore able to offer more aid. Zhang explained when speaking with Patrick Norton regarding going need-blind, it apparently would just be far too expensive to be possible.
II. Required Textbook Reserve Resolution
Junior Senator Kathryn Benson ’13 brought forth a resolution regarding SGA supporting an increased and more consistent use of the reserve book system. After discussions that began after the Socio-Economic Diversity Forum in the fall, reserve books was one matter that arose and seemed to be a readily changeable. Citing a “lack of consistency among courses that currently place a copy of required textbooks on reserve at the library,” and after discussions with the library, Dean of the College Shirley Collado, Dean of Faculty Jim Ralph, and the Educational Affairs Committee among many others– there was great support for this bill which asks Professors to place at least 1 copy of required texts on reserve, either at Armstrong or the Davis Family Library. The library policy does not allow for the acquisition of textbooks, so this resolution leaves the responsibility in the hands of professors to be aware of the need for reserve books, and place copies on reserve. After speaking with many department heads, it seems that often this is done already, so hopefully this bill will demonstrate the useful nature of doing this across departments and for every course.
Well, that’s all for tonight! Until next week, enjoy your Sunday evening! And as always — email your senators if you want to know more about this, or any other legislation. We’re here to serve you, so be sure to share your voices!