12/4/19 Town Meeting Minutes

Selectboard Clerk Felix, December 04, 2019

4 December 2019

Town Meeting Minutes


Town Meeting Agenda

  1. Transition Update
    1. there are six working groups
    2. there is a special board meeting next Saturday with a public session at 9 AM
  2. Discussion on Community Conduct
    1. there has been a 30% increase in conduct-related issues on campus since the Emerson news was announced, please don’t do that
  3. Head Selectperson Nominations & Questions
    1. Charlie Hickman has been nominated for Head Selectperson
    2. other nominations can be made on Nook until 11:59 PM on Thursday, November 5 (tomorrow)
  4. Washer/Dryer Funds Request Deliberation
    1. “I am requesting that $1,000 of the W/D fund be set aside to help cover the application costs for students transferring to other schools between now and the beginning next fall. Selectboard will have control over this fund and funds requests should be made to them. Priority should be given to students who are transferring because they cannot afford the increased costs at Emerson.”
    2. motion passes
  5. Committee Reports
    1. vote in the elections
  6. Announcements
    1. read below


(we are called to order)




(there is a table describing the working groups on the screen, I don’t have it to put here)


Kevin Quigley, president: happy Thanksgiving… for the update I was thinking about this weekly news update, a program called “that was the week that was,’ it started on the BBC in the early 60’s, moved to the US, incredibly popular program, newsy, satirical… to paraphrase, that was the month that was, it was a month ago we announced plans for an alliance with Emerson, a remarkable amount of activity has taken place over the last month, it’s about having our communities get to know them, two weeks ago Lee Pelton was on campus, November 20, November 24 members of the Marlboro community went down to Emerson, lousy weather, much like what the faculty experienced yesterday, a chance to tour the campus, faculty had the chance to meet with Emerson faculty, lunch together hosted by Ted Wendell… yesterday a group of faculty went down to Emerson, another group is going down tomorrow, Adam Weinberg suggested we invite Emerson students for Thanksgiving, 10 students from Emerson came up Wednesday night, stayed through Friday, students were enamored, a number would like to come back even for the spring semester, a lot of great connections are beginning to take place… I know there’s been a lot of questions about the working group, let me say a few words, this is a work in progress, we have a number of different work groups, six of them, one focused on student related issues, one on faculty issues, one on HR and staff, one on finance, one on campus, a sixth on governance-related issues… (this is what the table onscreen is of, it shows who’s on each working group)… each group has a goal, identify and make recommendations to the board by their February meeting, campus working group reflects Town Meeting’s resolution last week, that group will have its first meeting on Monday, the board has also been active and doing work related to this alliance with Emerson, special board meeting next Saturday, there’s a lot of chatter about that board meeting, this is not an emergency board meeting, it’s a special board meeting, over the course of the last year on average we have a special meeting every 5-6 weeks, it’s not extraordinary, the meeting will be divided into two segments, public section starting at 9 or 9:30, most of our trustees will be participating via Zoom, teleconference, a number of our community members will want to attend the public session for an hour and a half or so, and then the board will move into executive session to discuss personnel issues related to this alliance, we’ve shared with Town Meeting, this is a work in progress, as each working group evolves other community members with expertise etc. will be drawn in… that’s a brief update, I’m glad to respond to questions or comments


Lydia Nuhfer, senior: are there no student members of the finance or staff working groups?


Kevin: there are student members through the TM committees, there will be some subjects where students won’t be participating… the intent is to rely on TM mechanisms, so if you look under the faculty one you’ll see the committee on faculty, we went through TM


Felix: some of the committees don’t have student members, we’re going to have elections


Lydia: under finance it says board finance committee, TM committee on finances isn’t named here


Kevin: board’s finance committee will be interacting with the TM committee… (it’s not listed) the intention is to include the finance committee


Matt Ollis, faculty: TM doesn’t have a finance committee, faculty meeting has a finance committee, TM elects students to that


(there are still no students or faculty listed as being on the finance working group)


David Eichelberger, faculty: is there a time you’re hoping to sign a more binding agreement with Emerson


Kevin: we don’t have a specific timeline yet, a realistic timeline looks to be the February board meeting


Amber Hunt, staff: I’m wondering if you can be more specific what the personnel issues that the board plans to discuss are


Kevin: I think I’d rather not at this time




Patrick, dean of students: I’d prefer this not be about conduct but instead be about community, I realize this past month, feels like less than a month, for some feels like years, when we talk about communities nad healthy communities we’re talking about the balance between freedoms, securities, responsibilities… the last month has been a hard time, as a community we have been struggling individually and as groups, and as a culture in the US we do not do a good job helping each other express emotion in a healthy way… the past month has been a challenge, we’ve seen a 30% increase in incidents across campus that have been seen as conduct-related, fires across campus, breaking into Mather, stealing a video projector, breaking in to the dining hall, vandalism in halls and buildings across campus. It pains me that this is the discussion we’re having, this is not the discussion I would prefer to have, but it’s a discussion we have to have… as we discuss what the rest of this year looks like, for those of us considering going to Emerson it’s important to think about what it’ll be like to be in a different/larger communities, those values might be different… we are a community with values, we are not considering what those values should be… in the evenings/weekends consider what impacts your decisions have over others. over Thanksgiving break we had to lock buildings because we could not trust that people wouldn’t steal things… that affected peers who were unable to get Plan work done. over the rest of the year I’d ask that we give consideration for who we are as individuals and live our values, even though it doesn’t seem like institutionally we’re doing a good job at that… show who we are as Marlboro, although this is challenging on many levels there are things of joy and things that we should be celebrating, we shouldn’t be dealing with theft and vandalism, I ask for your help in that both as individuals and as a community




Charlie Hickman, current HSP: usually the HSP is elected in the winter so that they can serve for a year and serve as some sort of institutional memory for the Selectboard, and I was elected at the end of the spring to finish out the previous HSP’s term, so my term is up at the end of the semester, so according to the bylaws, the only thing that’s really stated to the HSP is that they hold a special position of leadership and general responsibility for the community as a whole, and that’s a very vague way of saying that you’re in charge of a lot of things, to serve as HSP you hold meetings with dean of students, president, chair Selectboard, be prepared for anything that pops up as well as planning for Town Meeting. as we know now is that the HSP is compensated. you can raise your hand, get the microphone, you can nominate yourself or anyone else, whoever is nominated can accept or decline that nomination, and then people can ask three questions to the candidates, and after that there is an election cycle happening right now, you will be able to vote online for the next HSP


Adam Weinberg: will the duties of HSP be different next semester, considering everything


Charlie: short answer is yes, to steward a community in a time of great transition is very much a different job from stewarding a community with a different future. it requires more balance between what is important in the moment and how can you create the best atmosphere next semester



Charlie Hickman (accept)


(no more nominations of people who are in the room… Amer says he only has another nomination if he has a list of who’s in the room)


Emmanuel: the way that the next part of this goes is that the community gets to ask three questions of the HSP


Kristin: do we need to do this part of the process if there’s only one candidate


Amer: Charlie, is it possible to improve what you’ve done this semester, can you see any improvements in being a leader for us?


Emmanuel: the question is a reflection on self-improvement


Charlie: I think that every week I am learning more and more how to best serve in this role, this is not, there’s no handbook for how to be the HSP, there’s no rules really, you’re kind of making it up as you go, and attempting to be the best person you can be, and I think that every week I am learning something new, I am learning a better way to have a conversation, better ways to set personal boundaries, and I am absolutely committed to bettering myself in this position throughout the rest of the year


Max: this is not a question for you, I’m curious about whether or not we can nominate people on Nook at this point in time


Felix: traditionally this happens in TM, you can nominate people on Nook but it’s generally better if they show up and answer questions


Emmanuel: so yes




Alex O’Pray is reading in the funds request

“I am requesting that $1,000 of the W/D fund be set aside to help cover the application costs for students transferring to other schools between now and the beginning next fall. Selectboard will have control over this fund and funds requests should be made to them. Priority should be given to students who are transferring because they cannot afford the increased costs at Emerson.”


This is because a lot of students don’t know if Emerson is right for them, if they can afford it, there was talk of a transition fund, but if we pass this today that means that the money is available today


Jenny Ramstetter, faculty: I’m wondering if there are any challenges of this going to next fall, beginning of next fall, I’m wondering if there are challenges to who is holding that money and would make the awards


Alex: when I wrote next fall, I meant students who are going to transfer between now and next fall, it wasn’t hold the money until then


(it’s for application fees and such)


Jim Mahoney, faculty: how much money is there in the W/D fund


Tanner Jones, staff, Selectboard treasurer: there’s $15,000


Nastia Stevens, student: wondering why it’s $1,000 when fees are $50+, this seems like only 20 people are able to apply, one person is probably applying to lots of places


Alex: I picked that number arbitrarily, I figure it’s a substantial amount of money, if it gets used, someone can come and make another funds request, I didn’t want to set a number that we wouldn’t be able to reach and not be able to use it for other things


Felix: this will help people transition, $1,000 seems like a reasonable money especially when we have money coming from other areas… good way to help the Marlboro community when that won’t exist


Matan Rubenstein, faculty: W/D fund is a capital improvement fund, we can convert it, it takes some kind of a special majority… my other problem is, I’m loath to do this without establishing a more detailed distribution mechanism, some people might decide to apply to 20 institutions, others might decide to apply to only one


Maggie Patari, staff, Selectboard: it is not set in stone that W/D is for capital improvements, that’s how we’ve decided to use it, that’s not in the bylaws


Nick Katrick, OP director: while this community is very fond of spending a lot of time deliberating the best way to do a particular thing, this is not a normal situation, chaotic, requires a lot very quickly, this is a tangible way to help students, allows them to control their very future


Matt Ollis: (point of order) to take more than 5% out of the W/D fund in the academic year requires a majority vote


Adam Weinberg: I believe this is something the school should cover and not the W/D fund, will the school be able to reimburse the W/D fund


Kevin: what the college is trying to do is develop a series of transfer agreements that will waive the application fees, I hope this is moot, I want to associate myself with Nick’s comments, I call the question


(he can’t call the question immediately after an argument, we are moving on to a vote anyway)


(funds request passes)




Felix: elections are open! vote for things! (I said more than that but I cannot remember)




Alex O’Pray, senior: the OP is leading a hike this Sunday, Mt. Mansfield, meet at OP around 7:30, pack some lunches, bring money for dinner, it’s the tallest mountain in VT, go be the tallest thing in VT


Sarah Sidney, senior: last TM I announced I was doing a learn to knit fun time after dinner that Wednesday night, it was such a hit that we’re doing it AGAIN! come do things with needles and yarn and crochet hooks


Emily Weatherill, junior: the climbing wall is still a thing that exists, it’s fun, Thursdays 4:30-5:30, Sundays 12-2


Izzy Swarbrick: musical! it’s for credit! today is the second day of auditions! after dedicated hour in the theater, 3:30-5:30, bring a song… the musical is 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee


Kirsten Edelglass, counselor: Monday in Staples during lunch we have a guest speaker talking about Autism Spectrum Disorder, it’s a wonderful thing to know about and have skills for whether it touches you personally or not


Allison Turner: as most of you hopefully know there is a food shelf in the campus center for people who don’t have access to food at various times, I stock that every week, we’re getting funding from the college, there are other ways you can donate, if you use the food shelf and have money but can’t get to Brattleboro, if you have extra change, there’s a PayPal, there’s a Venmo, you can put anonymous cash in the slot in my door, you can drop off nonperishable sealed food by my door or a box in Mather, I’m going to post this on the food shelf, somewhere in the dining hall, where? (no one has ideas) …and I want to tell you the alumni over the period of 3 days already donated $440


David Eichelberger: if anybody has taken the time to use the open studio on Thursday nights, tomorrow is the last one, that is not a time to come down and make anything new, but it’s the only time to come down and finish whatever you made this semester, if you can’t make it but really want to finish something, talk to Eli Douglas who can meet you another time in the studio… if you don’t finish your piece it’s not going to last until next semester! tomorrow night, 6-9


Nastia: so the Environmental Studies Colloquium students are putting on their final projects at 6 PM in the campus center, 3 of us presenting, 15 minutes long, come support us… putting on my events committee hat, there’s going to be a semiformal dance on Friday after we come back, it’s going to be winter-themed, we’re going to make decorations and we invite everybody to help us, stay tuned for that


Megan Grove, student life coordinator: so folks who were here last year will remember that student life hosted a couple decompression days, this Friday is another one, all day in the campus center until 4, come hang out, destress, Tracy who does massages on Mondays will be doing free 15-minute chair massages, come and destress!


Spencer Ross, student: the sauna is completely done, Sunday 8-10, regular hours will be Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday 8-10 for now, we’re looking for stewards


Adam Weinberg: one is two Marlboro seniors are being hosted by Windham World Affairs Council in Brattleboro, this Friday, also quick update on the Emerson Thanksgiving thing, what happened is ten students came out, they had one of the best times they’ve had in a long time, they all want to spend a semester here, would’ve chosen Marlboro over Emerson if they’d known, want to thank Star, Darien, everyone who was there, dining hall, maintenance, I know a lot of you guys don’t give a hoot about the Emerson kids, this is a way to win over hearts and minds, these students are writing blog posts, sending messages to newspaper, president, etc. … I know turning into Emerson isn’t our first choice but this will give us more leverage in negotiations down the road


Kristin Horrigan, faculty: Dances in the Rough is coming up Friday and Saturday, 7:30 in the dance studio, 20 studens, 8 dances, great show!


Nikita: I want to acknowledge the hard work the Dining Hall has been doing in keeping the mugs almost always stocked, thanks


Bronwen Tate, faculty: Portfolio Day is coming, a week from tomorrow, advisors check in with your advisees, how can you support, get everything ready, get ready to show up to read these, if anybody has questions about portfolios process, I’ve been visiting classes but feel free to email me, day after, Friday 13th, Ariana, Amy, and I have been working to put together some events, reading, open studios, a band, it’s going to be awesome, reading in Whittemore at 6:30


Star: Darien and I are going to be having a poll, separately for students, faculty, and staff, who’s for keeping Marlboro College and who isn’t it’s separate because we don’t want it to affect students, we also want to know what faculty and staff think as well, it’ll be in all of your emails


Casey: this is a reminder that the first faculty forum is rescheduled to next Monday December 9 at 3:30 in Appletree, due to weather last Monday, I’ll be doing a talk called Constituent Exclusions, Genealogy of Our Lives (I think I got this right)


Nick Katrick: February 1, 2020, coming soon to an ice rink near you, there will be BROOMBALL! Two weeks after folks get back in January, you have a week to prepare and do whatever you need to do and then we’ll be playing! those team rosters are due that first week when you get back, you can sign up a team right now


Matan: there is a composition called InSea (???), the idea is that anyone can bring their instrument and join, chamber music is planning a performance of this, they would like to extend an invitation to participate in this, how do you do that, well we are going to hang some scores on the Dining Hall, a stack of them, they’re very simple, if you can read music and want to spend maybe an hour going over materials, join us for chamber music rehearsal next Tuesday at 4:30 and we’ll go over the piece, it’s going to be really cool, it will only happen one time, if it sucks it’s a one-time pain, if you have questions ask me, ask one of the chamber music period


(motion to adjourn, seconded, passes, meeting is over)

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(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)