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2/13/20 Selectboard Meeting Minutes

Selectboard Clerk Felix, February 13, 2020

Selectboard Meeting Minutes

13 February 2020

 

Minutes are taken by Selectboard Clerk Felix and reflect to the best of my ability goes on during a Selectboard meeting. Due to the fast-paced nature of the meetings and the limitations of flesh and bone, the minutes do not necessarily directly quote those who choose to speak. They do, however, provide a record of the discussions had and decisions made in Selectboard Meeting. With questions or concerns please comment here or email selectboard@marlboro.edu.



Present: Izzy, Felix, Maggie, Ariana, Tanner, Charlie, Seth, Ritu

 

[CLOSED MEETING]

 

[OPEN MEETING]

 

Maggie: hi, Aaron… your resolution, have you talked with Emmanuel? Emmanuel is the overseer of ultimately what she feels will make a successful meeting, is allowed to set the agenda, decide something isn’t suitable yet for Town Meeting, which is basically what happened this week, had questions she’d like to resolve, as we were just chatting, Emmanuel wants, we want, I assume you want, clarity on what your ask is, a well-packaged thing that says “this is what I want, this is how I feel,” yours given the tender nature, the point is that you want conversation, you want to be heard, right now the wording is not where Emmanuel wants it… we’re here to hear your thoughts, can you show us your resolve in owning the language as it is… do we want a resolution that’s not as tight as we feel like it might be… is your ultimate goal the conversation, can we support you in other ways

 

Aaron: I was thinking last time we were talking about the wording of the resolution… it’s open, there’s ways we could clarify

 

Charlie: what is your goal?

 

Aaron: the goal would be partly to create a discussion, but partly also to have division of power, when decisions are made in the US government we have three branches of government, a discussion around things, part of the idea is that if we have a discussion around this that’s formal and reports to Town Meeting, everyone can hear what’s going on, it’s clearly stated and peacefully done, and part of the idea of having it be a resolution is that it’d be something formal, have some weight with the trustees as far as what people were thinking, it would have to be done in a way that wouldn’t make things harder for people, affect the transition to Emerson if that turns out to be the best thing… so far there’s been very little open discussion, just the way it was handled, I don’t think it was intentionally done… everyone thought the school was okay, most people heard we had five years or 3-4 more years, and then suddenly word of the merger came out from nowhere, most people didn’t know it was going to happen, then it was like there can’t even be a discussion… that’s basically the idea, I’m a believer in the democratic process, freedom of speech, division of power, kind of important that it’s independent, not necessarily going along with one thing, important that it doesn’t affect the deal with Emerson

 

Seth: the thing I’m finding a little confusing, hearing you talk about it sounds like an appeal for an open conversation, it seems like the intention of the resolution is to craft a solution of keeping Marlboro open on the hill… I think it’s relatively straightforward to say I want an open conversation with the process and also to say you don’t want to interfere with the transition, but with the resolution the point of the group you propose to create could affect the transition

 

Maggie: right now “creating a committee that explores the possibility of keeping Marlboro College open”, could instead say something about the preservation of Marlboro College

 

Felix: preserving is more abstract, I’m not sure it changes the intention though

 

Pranit: you’re concerned about the transparency of the process

 

Aaron: that would be one aspect, having checks and balances, another thing is, there’s different things that this could be used for, if for some reason the merger fell through and we had something started with fundraising it’d be much easier for people in that scenario, I have to think about this a little more clearly, but there’s different ways, I’m trying to think of a way it can be done where it supports the school

 

Ritu: financially? are you also looking to provide funds to support the school? how else are you supporting

 

Felix: when you talk about checks and balances, how do you see this checking and balancing? I don’t know that it’ll hold weight with trustees

 

Tanner: you have charter of the college, board, powers of the board disseminated to faculty meeting, powers of faculty meeting disseminated to Town Meeting, the idea of checks and balances is good faith, Town Meeting was given the ability to govern anything, as other parts of the college function in the way that would have been ideal and started going out of the purview/wherewithal of Town Meeting, that’s where accountability started to address matters, when we talk about check and balance, we don’t have one, Town Meeting does a little bit… the board of trustees certainly operates outside the purview of the Town Meeting… it’s hard because there’s the image we have of self-governance and there’s the reality of it and what our self-governance applies to, really governing of ourselves and not the college

 

Felix: I feel like you want to impose checks and balances but on a system that will not necessarily allow for that

 

Aaron: when I interviewed here they said we have community governance and students have a voice in anything, they said if you want to create whatever you want on campus you can take it to Town Meeting, right now we’re facing this historic moment, we’re talking about the fate of the whole school, the decision that gets made affects the school forever, it feels like now’s the time for looking at options and debate, as I worded the resolution I was trying to create that space, the existence of something where we have a healthy discussion about what this means, once the decision’s made it’s done forever, if we do go through with the merger it’ll feel good to know we tried to do everything we could, really if the situation is so dire that this is our best option, maybe that would come out in this too

 

Felix: for me that’s already come out

 

Maggie: some of the frustration for a lot of us in this room and outside… to some respect it’s the administration’s and our responsibility to help people find information, it’s also other people’s responsibility to ask questions, find information, and when you’re so in it it is important to step back, I can speak for myself and a lot of us have said “here’s the content, here’s what it is”

 

Felix: I’ve said things and people have not listened, argued, there’s only so many times you can say it

 

Aaron: there’s somewhat of a perception that we’ve given up on the school, I’ve heard people say that as long as people believe in the school…

 

Charlie: I work in the development office which is the main fundraising body, and instead of more donations people are cancelling, stopping giving money, they think it’s over, not worth it anymore, it’s very frustrating for me to hear so many people say “we have so much money to fund this college right now” when there are students on campus who need food and water and heat and a lot of that relies on our donations and people are stopping

 

Felix: and I think a lot of people forget that operations here are continuing, they get abstract and forget about the very material threat

 

Tanner: people do have a voice, Facebook, Selectboard, working groups, what we’re looking at is wanting to provide agency, that’s not something we’re capable of doing, we can say we like agency and we can go from there, but I don’t think we can go separate from working groups…

 

Felix: I don’t think agency will be recognized

 

Izzy: …this is not an attack on you/your ideas, we want to help you figure out something that will work and will be productive, we want to voice our concerns and not tear it down, not to tear down your idea but strengthen it

 

Tanner: it’s annoying to put all this effort into something to bring it to the trustees and have them say no

 

Charlie: five minutes left, what do we want to do

 

Aaron: does anybody have suggestions?

 

Maggie: I heard you have some things to think about, people at Town Meeting will see that this is an idea and not a ready-to-be-presented Thing that is going to happen, I know we helped with this language last week, it’s not our responsibility to write our language, you can bring this as is if you’re ready to present it and argue it as is… if you want to work on it we could push it yet another week so you feel like what you’re asking will go somewhere

 

Aaron: I felt like it was pretty complete… I’ve never brought something to TM before, I don’t know how it’s usually written, having no experience…

 

Maggie: where you there yesterday? thinking of all the questions people were throwing at me, are you ready to get those questions and think quickly and have answers?

 

Tanner: we’re familiar with the resolution and we’ve spoken with you twice, we’re still unsure, half the people in that room aren’t going to read the resolution before it’s in the projector

 

Charlie: it’s up to you, you’ve heard my views many times, it’s your decision, if you don’t think you’re prepared then we can postpone another week, the consequence is that if you are looking to make an alternate decision then it’s getting later and later by the moment

 

Tanner: the next step would be to go to Emmanuel, not even Town Meeting

 

Aaron: I would say yes for now

 

[TOWN MEETING AGENDA]

 

  • transition update (tentative)
  • Aaron’s proposal read-in
  • International Flag Deliberation
  • Dress for Success Fashion Show
  • Committee Reports
  • Announcements

 

(agenda passes)




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