Impassioned debate marks first senate meeting this year in Council Chambers
By Caleb Diehl /// Managing Editor
After impassioned speeches, terse exchanges and references to nuclear warfare, ASLC senators voted last night to support the Rusty Nail student co-op as it appeals the administration to reopen its space. The decision strengthened the bond between student government and an organization devoted to fostering community among students.
The first senate meeting held this year in Council Chambers took a dramatic turn when senator Lincoln Boyd (‘15) suggested Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez might not meet with the Rusty Nail Coordinators if senators passed a resolution in support of reopening the co-op. “Lincoln basically said a little bird told him the dean wouldn’t meet with us if they passed this,” said Hannah Lintner (‘16), the only one of six Rusty Nail coordinators present for the entire meeting. “I was not expecting any of this.”
Senator Faviana Schectman waited for other senators to finish deliberating during a five-minute recess. “Lincoln said he had information that if we passed this, the dean would not meet with the co-op. Then he said actually I didn’t hear anything,” she said. “I don’t think he wants to put anyone in a bad position.” She said that everyone was confused.
That confusion translated into wild metaphors. “The administration has seen us with our finger over the nuclear launch button. They have said, ‘wait we want to talk,’” said Nick Lesage, one of the senators who proposed the resolution. “That is like firing a nuke after someone has extended an olive branch.” Senator Charlie Patterson called Lesage’s language “strained,” and pointed out that no one is declaring nuclear war.
Lintner paced the hallway on her phone, trying to reach the other coordinators. She felt panicked. Normally, the coordinators only make major decisions as a group. Keith Morency (‘16), another coordinator, showed up for the last few minutes of the debate.
Boyd said after the meeting that he made his judgement by reading the code of conduct. “In the appeals process it’s only supposed to be the students involved,” Boyd said. “If we were to pass that resolution it would delegitimize their whole claim.” Originally, the resolution was addressed to the Dean of Students office as part of the Rusty Nail’s appeal.
Senators solved the dilemma by revising the resolution. They wrote that the document will instead be delivered to the co-op coordinators to use in during the appeal process in whatever way they think necessary. The new language removes ASLC from direct involvement in the appeal process. After a roll call vote, all voting members of ASLC except for Senator Matt DeRosa (‘14) supported the resolution.
Without the co-op’s space beneath Tamarack Hall, Lintner and Morency said, they cannot carry out basic functions. Some of their personal belongings remain locked inside. For now, the co-op, which still exists with or without a gathering place, will continue to work on its programs.
Though the resolution is a symbol of support, not binding legislation, the document will intensify the pressure on Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez as she decides whether to reopen the co-op.
“This is her decision,” said President Musa Ahmed (‘14). Since the resolution passed, he said, if Gonzalez’s decision goes against the Rusty Nail, “she’s not only saying no to the co-op, she’s also saying no to the student government.”
Caleb Diehl is the managing editor of The Pioneer Log. His work has also appeared in The Park Record and on the Lewis & Clark School of Education and Counseling Website. He is a contributing writer to the LC Journal for Social Justice.