The AAS and Administration Agree? That'll Be the Day 18 Freshmen Run For Senate
Issue   |   Wed, 09/28/2011 - 02:26

I had some time this week to reflect on my last column, where I talked about how the AAS was playing hardball with the administration over funding for senior bar night. Maybe all it took was talking to my friend at the College of Charleston, who is trying to convince his college administration to stop a policy of aggressively patting down dorm visitors, but it dawned on me that things generally function pretty well at Amherst. When the AAS almost barricades the doors of Converse over about $1,000 of social funding, it’s a testament to how well this school actually operates.

Now that I’ve resurrected my relationship with Dean Hart and the rest of the administration (hey guys!), it’s worth updating everyone on the progress that the social policy “task force” has achieved.

The task force met twice this past week with various members of the administration, and they discussed a wide range of issues. One very tangible alternative to senior bar night emerged out of these discussions — that of having an on-campus “pub” night, or something along those lines, for those 21 and over, once a month. As was pointed out by various student members of the committee, having an event like this on campus, rather than at a bar in town, would eliminate the administration’s still-confusing concerns over “liability.”

Administrators seem to be on board with something like this, and Dean Fatemi noted that Swarthmore does something precisely like this once a week for upperclassmen.

The only serious hurdle is that in the College handbook, it says very clearly that no college funds can be used towards alcohol. Ruh Roh. Fortunately, Dean Fatemi and other administrators found a clever way out of this. They suggested selling t-shirts or other memorabilia and then using the money from sales towards these events. “Okay,” we said, but then a question. We (the AAS) write the College handbook, so why don’t we just get rid of the part that says that no college funds can be used towards alcohol? Then we wouldn’t have to put together an ironic t-shirt that people would use as underwear.

We still don’t have a clear answer on that, so I’ll get back to you. But the point is: there seems to be traction for something of a pub night once a month on campus.

The social policy task force also suggested some changes to the way that TAPs are run. Jess Sidhu ’14, who is a member of the committee, explained that TAPs should be the types of parties that ordinary students cannot put together in a suite or on their own. They shouldn’t just consist of a DJ in a hot, sweaty basement blasting Ke$ha to the content of both students in attendance. The upshot of all of this is that you should expect some changes to the way TAPs are done. Expect more themed parties. Expect foam parties. Expect exotic animals. I don’t know, but it’s going to get real kinky.

In other news, I had a really hard time focusing at Monday’s meeting because I was just so freaking excited that 18 first-years have decided to run for the eight open class of 2015 seats. Sure enough, on Thursday, all 2015ers will cast what will quite possibly be the most important ballot in their very short existences. They will rely on an impossibly small amount of relevant information they have on the candidates — things like hair color and what dorm each of them live in — and out of that, the new AAS class will emerge. And you wonder why we’re so good.

Monday’s meeting also had its’ share of financial/budgeting issues. I haven’t reported on these things in the past because, well, we wanted 18 first-years to run for eight spots. But the truth is that these discussions take up a significant amount of time at AAS meetings. This week, much of the debate focused on the Amherst culinary club, which was alternatively described as “a legitimate organization” and “a bunch of bros who want a cookout.”

The club wanted a significant amount of money for an introductory feast, which one “bro” argued would attract more members and therefore make the club more than “a bunch of bros.” After some debate, we gave in, so expect some news on that event and that club in the coming weeks.

Finally, I’m saddened to report that the AAS was unable to get our fancy new logo on the condoms that we purchased for the year. It just wasn’t in the budget.