3/13/2015 ESA meeting Agenda and Minutes

ESA Meeting Agenda Minutes –

Friday 3/13/2015: 3:00pm-4:00pm, Room C205 (concourse-level)

Present (18): Jennifer Alberghini, Hilarie Ashton,  Esther Bernstein, Michael Druffel,  Elizabeth Goetz, Paul Hebert, Christina Katopodis, Alec Magnet, Jason Nielsen, Makeba Niyeka, Michael Rumore, Erin Spampinato, Charlotte Thurston. Five prospective students also attended.

Opening (3:00pm – 3:05pm)

  • Approve minutes for previous meeting
  • Next ESA meeting: F 4/17, 12pm-1:30pm, Room 5489
  • Friday Forum – Open House directly after
  • Drinks after Open House – yes!
  • Reminder that DSC nominations end tonight

Introductions (3:05-3:15pm) For prospective students invited to attend.

Discussion: Current students and prospective students introduced themselves. In context of discussion around upcoming ESA elections (and for benefit of prospective students), a handout given out – “About the ESA” and a list of committees with descriptions that students serve on. Also on list was a list of ESA conferences with websites from last several years and a list of upcoming Friday Forum events that students have either initiated or had a hand in co-organizing (“Sound Study: Latina/o Radio Plays” on 3/20, “Navigating the Academy” on 4/17, “Models and Methods of Unconventional Dissertations” on 4/24, and “Nakedness and Nudity: A Transhistorical Roundtable” on 5/1), among other events.

Committee Reports (3:15pm – 3:45pm) – see end of minutes for committee reports submitted by email

  •  Alumni/ Fundraising (15 min.)
    • Discuss and Vote: Should the ESA raise funds via email request this semester?
    • Discuss and Vote: Should the ESA or Program handle money distribution?

Discussion: Discussion began with a review of ongoing conversations (started last semester) around the possibility of the ESA trying to raise funds to be used in specific ways by students in the program. (If funds raised, the most common idea mentioned so far is possible travel reimbursement awards for conferences or research.) As of spring 2015 semester, the ESA is now an officially recognized Program Student Association (PSA) with the DSC. Members of the Alumni and Fundraising Committees reported on activity in recent weeks or months, including mention of discussion with our EO, Mario, on the possibility of the ESA raising funds and coordinating timing around the program’s spring phonathon (also, programs are only allowed to do fundraising at certain points in the year – Sep/Oct and Feb/Mar – because of other campus wide fundraising activity in other months). Mario open to and encouraging of the ideas as ultimately all funds raised – by program or ESA – go back to students.

Committee members Liz Goetz, Erin Spampinato, and Hilarie Ashton also mentioned ongoing conversations with Joe Heissan (DSC Alumni-Engagement & Fundraising Commission Coordinator) in the Theater Program; and there was also mention of a first-time holiday newsletter sent out to alumni. To the extent that ESA fundraising may or may not continue in future years depending on who is on student committees, it was moved to put the question to a vote concerning fundraising this semester (keeping in mind the March 31st campus deadline for programs to send out an appeal). It was suggested also (and discussed with our EO, Mario), that future appeals from the ESA might better happen in the Fall (Sep/Oct), so use of funds within year might be less of an issue (and also ESA appeal would not be too close to the program phonathon).

Vote: By unanimous vote, it was decided that the ESA should raise funds via email request this semester.

Discussion: Discussion continued to the importance of questions and planning for how or in what ways any funds raised might be dispensed. A paper-trail would be required to explain uses of funds to those who donated and to avoid any claims of mis-handling. Discussion continued around the issue of whether or not the ESA should handle distribution or if this should be handled in coordination with the program. There was discussion over accounting methods: co-chairs with DSC reps currently handle ESA funds provided from the DSC. The advice we have received is that donated funds should be dispersed over a calendar year, meaning two separate ESA “administrations” would be responsible. It was suggested that funds donated be dispersed over the academic year: for example, any funds received in March or April should be dispersed before June.

The particulars are being worked out and this all depends on results of possible fundraising efforts. It was stated and discussed that the process whereby students receive funds should be completely transparent and non-competitive. For example, once sufficiently promoted, proposals might be submitted and dispersed on a first come-first awarded basis. (example most often mentioned so far in past weeks would be to provide some possible reimbursement or funding for travel to a conference at which a student is presenting). Any appeal sent to alumni would be specific in terms of how any donated funds might be used. The particulars are to be worked out and this is all in abstract at this point or discussion will be more relative depending on if or how much funds are potentially raised. Noted in email to ESA-L also from ESA co-chair Paul: The ESA would have to regularly notify the Program and the Office of Development of donors who responded to the students so that they would not be contacted for a year (this is apparently standard), so record keeping is very important.

There was discussion over whether or not there should be a committee to handle this, a treasurer, or co-treasurers that serve 2-year appointments with ideally some transition times between terms of acting treasurers. All of this is hypothetical as funds currently yet raised and to be determined. It was suggest that current co-chairs act as treasurers for this semester.

Vote: By unanimous vote, it was decided that the ESA should handle any funds raised this semester, with co-chairs acting as Treasurer for the current semester.

  • Elections (15 min)
    • Pass out proposed committee descriptions for discussion. (10 min.)
    • ESA by-laws proposal (annotated document): http://bit.ly/2015ESAbylaws

Discussion: Brief mention of upcoming elections. Alec will be sending ballots out soon. Co-chairs Paul and Jason are making slight adjustments to the ballot. Ballots will include a description or working definition of the committee and, where appropriate, a line or few lines about “current or upcoming activities” (this year and into next) with that committee. The hope is that this will give students more information when they consider what committees that might run for, who they might nominate, or who they might vote for.

Mention also made of some possible changes to by-laws mentioned in previous meetings. This will be included on the ballot and will go out for general discussion soon on the ESA-L.

Actions (3:45pm-3:55pm)

Discuss and Vote: Resolution on Police Violence and CUNY’s Relationship with the NYPD

This resolution is currently before the DSC. If the ESA, as a DSC recognized PSA, were to adopt the resolution, it would potentially help the resolution pass at the next DSC meeting.

See resolution here as it is currently worded before the DSC.  (note: next DSC Plenary is on 3/20, 5pm, in 5414)

Discussion: English DSC reps present reviewed the context for discussion of this resolution at the previous DSC meeting and at the upcoming DSC meeting on Mar. 20th. It was clarified that any vote by the ESA on the resolution was a vote to endorse the resolution before the DSC. The resolution is a symbolic statement and it does not affect policy. A vote by the ESA on the resolution serves as a possible suggestion to English program DSC reps by providing an indication of what student feeling on this resolution is. The suggestion was raised to add language about or reference to “Black Lives Matter” teaching resources compiled in fall 2014 semester and the question was asked who would write the language for that addition.

Vote: By unanimous vote, it was decided that the ESA would endorse the resolution as it is currently worded before the DSC, with the possible addition of language from the ESA around “Black Lives Matter” teaching resources.

Note: Hilarie and Jennifer have written language to be added to resolution as discussed and voted on in ESA meeting: “Let it be further RESOLVED that, the Doctoral Students’ Council calls upon John Jay College of Criminal Justice to incorporate the CUNY student-generated Teaching #blacklivesmatter syllabi/materials into their curriculum.”

Update (3/17) to DSC Resolution on Police Violence and CUNY’s Relationship with the NYPD. From Hamad at DSC: “we’ve now included the ESA language (a bit tweaked) to the resolution:- ‘Let it be further RESOLVED that, the Doctoral Students’ Council calls upon all CUNY schools to incorporate the CUNY student-generated ‘Teaching #blacklivesmatter Syllabi’ and related materials into their curriculum (please see Addendum I for resources on this), and commit to providing support and resources for students of color at CUNY.’ Thanks to English program students for proposing this very thoughtful language!”

Committee Reports:

Further reports submitted by email from some committees reporting on recent activity. Not all committees have activity at this time or extensive committee activities detail on minutes from previous meeting.

Website Committee: From Sarah Ruth Jacobs – We requested a new Commons plugin that allows users to create a single list that draws from multiple RSS feeds. We have added this RSS feed to the bottom right sidebar, and it includes MLA News, the Profhacker blog, and a student-submitted Shakespeare blog. We are interested in adding more professional and personal blogs to the feed, so if you have any suggestions of English-related blogs/feeds, please email them to sjacobs@gradcenter.cuny.edu. Also, please feel free to send any reviews of Friday Forums or of the Trance conference to that address. We are also hoping to add a small widget showing upcoming internal (CUNY-based) fellowship and grant deadlines and a page listing external fellowships. The department has put pressure on us to post sample orals lists and prospectuses, so that’s something we hope to do in the short term. In the longer term, we are looking to add a student-sourced handbook, a list of Teaching CUNY resources, and captions to images and videos to improve the site’s accessibility.

Recruitment Committee: From Kaitlin Mondello – The Recruitment Committee has been working with Admissions to help welcome our admitted students. We have been reaching out to admitted students to put them in touch with faculty and current students in their areas. We have been compiling lists of current students who are willing to be contacts for prospective students regarding academic area groups, as well as more general and personal advice about graduate work. We have been compiling a list of current students who can host prospective students in NYC for a few nights and we compiled a list of events at the GC and in NYC more broadly for the weeks surrounding the upcoming open house that was shared with all admitted and wait-listed students. We met to help plan the program for the upcoming open house.

Faculty Membership: From Chris Eng – To give a quick update for the Faculty Membership Committee, we still haven’t had a meeting yet. The one scheduled for March 20th has been pushed back to the 27th. No real updates that can be reported at the moment. We will potentially discuss updates on the Latino/a Studies appointment search. There are also a couple of agenda items that are way too preliminary to be shared at this moment.

DSC: From DSC rep Charlotte Thurston – I tried to gather together some announcements/information that might be good to share in a handout/for the minutes at the ESA meeting.

  • DSC nominations end tonight, 3/13 at 11:59pm. Nominate, nominate, nominate!
  • Need some DSC $$ for “cultural events, conferences, performances, professional development activities, publications, seminars?” Next (and final) Grants deadline is March 20th. http://cunydsc.org/services/funding/. Sign in to cunydsc.org/works to submit your grant proposal
  • DSC is looking for a new editor-in-chief for the 2015-2016 school year. Applications due 4/2 if you are interested.
  • Two DSC Reps who are also on the search for a new teaching center director are looking for people interested on being on a student-only committee ​to evaluate the finalists.All of the campus visits for the finalists have been arranged for Mondays in March and April (there will be four: March 16, 23, 30 and April 13) at either 10am or 2pm (depending on the candidate). If you are interested and available, please email them as soon as possible at either library@cunydsc.org or outreach@cunydsc.org.
  • The Executive Committee of the DSC is meeting with Chase Robinson on March 23, if there are any questions you have for him that we can send along.
  • Zen Meditation Sessions are being offered once a month by the committee for Student Life and Services (see here for dates/times: http://goo.gl/7WXRA0). Note also that you have to register in person in Rm. 7301 (Student Affairs) for Fitness Classes (and I believe those are not entirely full yet.
  • For tips/tricks/FAQs on the new @gradcenter.cuny.edu addresses, check out the blog for Student Tech and Library Services: http://opencuny.org/gctech/. Remember that you will be only able to access @gc.cuny.edu emails till June 1st.
  • Criminal Justice Doctoral Students Association (CJDSA) is planning on hosting another semester of the Dissertation Working Group. Fill out this survey to let them know your interest (https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/WXWPQLQ) or contact Maggie Schmuhl at mschmuhl@gradcenter.cuny.edu.