Senate Briefs 3/21

What Recession?

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After introducing themselves for the 342nd consecutive week, the Senate heard from Duncan Meaney, Founder and President of the Social Equity Group (SEG), which oversees ASPC’s financial reserves. Meaney became ASPC’s portfolio manager in 2008, soon after which “we had a thing called the crash,” he said, when the average investor saw the value of his or her portfolio plummet 40-50 percent. Because Meaney invested ASPC’s reserves in conservative bonds, it saw a positive rate of return in 2008, 2009, and 2010. In contrast, the College’s endowment dropped 27 percent in 2008. Meaney, in typical fashion of a financial advisor, greedily asked for more: “Give me the Endowment!”

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We’re Socially Responsible

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ASPC’s portfolio is filled with socially responsible securities, including clean energy stocks and community loan funds, among others. The portfolio currently consists of about 20 percent stocks and 80 percent bonds. Meaney suggested upping ASPC’s stock allocation to 40 percent because he believes that the US stock market will be one of the best performing stock markets in the world this year and because stocks generally have a higher return than bonds, though they are riskier. He listed a host of companies in which ASPC owns stock, to which Senior Class President Meredith Willis ’11 asked, “Wait – we own the whole companies?!” In the end, the Senate agreed to wait for a recommendation on the portfolio composition from the Reserves Investment Oversight Committee (RIOC).

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We Want Joseph Long Back!

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A couple weeks ago, new ASPC Lead Developer Joseph Long ’14 presented a new logo he had created for ASPC. However, the logo drew too much from the College Mark (i.e. the “Reading Rainbow”), so it couldn’t be used. Senior Director of Communications Mark Wood created three different logos “inspired” by Long’s design, all of which the Senate decided lacked inspiration. Environmental Affairs Commissioner Nate Wilairat ’11 suggested that the Senate send Wood’s logos back to Long and ask him to tweak them. Vice President for Finance Cosi Thawley ’11 cautiously advised that Wood’s logos “…are a slightly tweaked version of Long’s already. Let’s hope he doesn’t tweak it back to what he had…”

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Can I Have The Definition Please?

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Next, ASPC President Stephanie Almeida ’11 reported to the Senate on the issue of public and private space. The Student Handbook doesn’t formally define private space, but makes numerous references to it in its alcohol policy. To clarify this, the Student Delegation to the Student Affairs Committee (SDSAC) drafted a definition for private space, which would effectively make common rooms in the dorms (all access-restricted suites on north campus, including the new dorms, and some on south campus) private space. Under the proposed definition, students would be allowed to drink in these spaces if they are 21 or older. SDSAC is waiting to hear back from the “Lawyers” (Almeida’s hand quotes), and the definition will hopefully be voted on soon.

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Big Brother Is Watching

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Last, the Senate continued discussion on access restrictions in the new dorms. Under the current proposal, residents must swipe in three times to access their suites. The Senate argued that this could actually increase crime on campus because students might prop doors to their hallways for convenience. SDSAC voiced this objection to the full Student Affairs Committee (SAC), but little progress was made toward changing the proposed access restrictions. The administrative members on SAC (cough Feldblum cough) said they would only consider revising the policy alongside other changes to campus security, like installing video cameras at the entrances to the residence halls. Willis said that she would “rather have a microchip” in her than video cameras in the dorms, to which Associate Dean of Students Neil Gerard questioned, “You mean another one?” Touché, Neil.

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