Rachel Liddell ’14
This is a joint post written by Audrey Tolbert ’13 and Olivia Noble ’13, co-lead editors of MiddBlog.
The Middlebury Student Government is probably the most widely known and least appreciated organization on this campus. In the past, nearly every student on campus has known the president’s name, but not many have known what they did on a daily basis, nor did students actively engage with the SGA on issues they cared about. This year has shown a marked improvement on that front, with increasing levels of engagement from students – from the 75+ crowd at the presidential debate last night to the 300+ users on the SGA’s new “We the Middkids” website. All of this reminds us that the SGA President is not just the guy who got us break buses, or who instituted pass/fail – a president represents the student body in every regard.
As we look to the trio of candidates before us for the 2013-2014 school year, each has their strengths and weaknesses. Through their letters of intent, websites, and the debate last night, Middblog has seen that each candidate is extremely passionate and has a variety of good ideas for where this campus should be going. But ultimately, good ideas will only get a president so far. A candidate must have the force of personality and the tenacity to see these good ideas through. SGA President candidates year after year have a lot of campaign promises, a lot of wishful thinking, and a lot of good ideas. However, only rarely do candidates present themselves with the force of personality and will to make these good ideas a reality.
With that in mind, MiddBlog has decided to endorse Senator Rachel Liddell (’15) for the position of SGA President. Liddell is well-spoken, articulate, and incredibly driven. We strongly believe that she is the candidate for the job and would best represent the student body to the administration. A president’s greatest responsibility is to represent the student body and be a good negotiator for student issues. Liddell is smart and willing to hold her ground on issues that matter to the student body like divestment and local food. Her platform differs from the others in her willingness to tackle complicated administrative issues like credit for internships, sexual assault awareness, and the honor code to name a few. Her platform is ambitious, but we believe that Rachel has the drive and enthusiasm to get it done.
Both Naylor and Labarba have interesting ideas and are strong candidates, yet it is our belief that Liddell has the greatest potential to make any and all of those a reality. Let us know what you think of Liddell, Naylor, and Labarba in the comments below and don’t forget to vote on May 1st!
Middlebury President Ron Liebowitz sent out an all-school email today revealing that approximately 3% of the school’s $900 million endowment is invested in fossil fuels and approximately 0.6% is invested in defense and arms manufacturing. He also announced plans for panel discussions about divestment that would include “representatives from the firm that manages our endowment (Investure), veteran investment managers, and our own Scholar-in-Residence, Bill McKibben.”
This email comes on the heals of widespread student engagement on campus the past year concerning the ethics of our endowment, including several student groups calling for Middlebury to take leadership in divestment, controversial but discussion-provoking activism, and a nation-wide campaign led by Scholar-in-Residence Bill McKibben to encourage universities and colleges to divest from fossil fuel industries.
Liebowitz’s acknowledgment of the possibility of divestment was encouraging to those hoping for divestment, but far from definitive. He said in the email:
“The management of Middlebury’s endowment is complex and has evolved over time… the College is very limited in either selecting or deleting any particular investment within its overall portfolio. Despite such limitations, the Investment Committee, the Administration, and Investure have been working with ACSRI to ensure that socially responsible investing is discussed and reviewed as a regular and ongoing part of the investment process…At the same time, the primary fiduciary responsibility of our investment committee is to maximize its investment returns to support vital programs including financial aid and staff and faculty compensation, while managing risk…It is vitally important to understand both the risks and rewards of one’s investment decisions as we are the stewards not only of the endowment for the current generation of Middlebury students, faculty, and staff, but for future generations as well.”
This email has already gotten local media coverage and is featured on the Fossil Free website, part of McKibben’s divestment campaign.
McKibben responded to Liebowitz’s email through 350.org saying, ““President Liebowitz used just the right tone and took precisely the right step. It won’t be easy to divest, but I have no doubt that Middlebury–home of the first environmental studies dept in the nation–will do the right thing in the right way. It makes me proud to be a Panther.”
MiddBlog will be providing more information about the significance of this email as we get it.
Read his whole email after the jump: Read more
Parodying the projects done by the annual Middlebury Fellows in Narrative Journalism, the “Middlebury Alternative Fellows for Alternate Narrative Journalists”, SNG, and the SGA Environmental Affairs Committee explore just where have all the dishes gone?
The Sports Medicine Team for Middlebury. The man in the back left’s name is legitimately Dave Matthews.
This Sunday, the SGA passed the Resolution for Inclusive Athletic Care, stating that non-varsity athletes should be given access to the athletic trainers the college provides varsity athletes. Specifically, the resolution calls for the formation of an “Open Hours” program in which athletic trainers will be available for all students a few hours a week. As the policy currently stands, only varsity athletes and members of the rugby and crew team can use the trainers in-season. Over 20 representatives from different clubs showed up in support of the resolution, marking the most well-attended SGA meeting since the Commons funding drama last Spring.
Last night marked the first of a monthly series of campus open forums hosted jointly by the Community Council and SGA. The forums were created as an opportunity to bring students together to talk about issues of importance on our campus and improve the dialogue between students and students, students and faculty, and students and the administration.
This month’s forum was on the topic of sexual assault, building on the conversations happening in response to the Amherst article circulated a few weeks ago. Smith invited the leaders of the Sexual Assault Oversight Committee and Addie Cunniff, the new SGA Director of Health and Wellness to speak at the beginning, after which the group split off into small discussions.
The discussions were lively and varied, ranging from prevention measures and the changing of cultural behaviors to having effective programs in place for sexual assault victims. Many of the students expressed a lack of knowledge about both our sexual assault policies and where one might be able to go for help after the fact. On the whole, most of the suggestions revolved around having a greater community understanding of the definition of sexual assault as well as the resources available to students. Ultimately, it was a really well done event that spawned a lot of great ideas and good conversations. More after the jump.