November 3, 2008

VSA Council Members Speaking Up

As the "Motion of No Confidence" petition - which states that the VSA does not accurately represent student opinions - has reportedly gotten close to 400 signatures, members of the VSA Council are now speaking out and defending the decisions of the Council to pass the Kick Coke proposal last night.

First, the VSA executive board sent out an all-campus email last night wrote: "While we recognize that this may not be the most popular decision that the Council has made, it highlights that our Constitution allows individual members of our campus to create policy and propose legislative action. We acted as representatives when called upon by our peers and we encourage all students to feel comfortable coming to us when any type of substantive action may be necessary."

Noyes President Sean Koerner '11 has been vocal in comments on our posts, stating, "The resolution was largely passed based upon results that council members got when they emailed their constituents." He then encouraged students against the decision to "organize" as opposed to just voicing their concerns anonymously on this blog.

Class of 2012 President Charlie Nicholson expressed a similar feeling in a comment. "I didn't hear or see SO MUCH ANGER AND OPPOSITION at the VSA meeting tonight," he writes. "ONLY ONE STUDENT outside of the VSA Council argued against the resolution."

Class of 2009 President Luis Gabriel Hoyos wrote to his classmates. He writes that in the emails he received, "there was a clear majority in favor of kicking coke." He continues by defending his decision to support the proposal, and addresses the "No Confidence" document: "It is unfair to say that a student government does not represent student opinion when the students themselves don't make use of the channels we provide them to give us their input."

Update: Dana Hass of the Town Students has also spoken up. "Those of you who felt passionately about the resolution made yourselves clear with your votes," she wrote in an email to the Town students, stressing that the feedback she received was almost exclusively in favor of kicking Coke.

Update 2: Cushing President Mathew Leonard '11 just sent us the following statement: "I just want to point out that the VSA representatives voted as their constituents asked them too. Cushing was one of the few dorms with a majority "keep Coke" after polling and I voted as such. When it came down to it, only 3 constituency groups voted in favor of keeping Coke. Why were no people in favor of keeping Coke present at the meeting? Why did no one opposed respond to our emails? For the few of us opposed, we seemed a small futile minority. If you want your voice to be heard, you have to speak.

Update 3: The Misc has released this chart of how VSA Council members voted:

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rather than writing a no confidence statement, which simply does not exist under VSA bylaws, you people should force the VSA to organize a referendum on the kick coke thing.

Anonymous said...

How can one sign the petition?

Anonymous said...

First off how do we sign this petition. Secondly I'm tires of hearing about how no one showed up. That's a bullshit argument because I can promise u that would not have made a difference.

Anonymous said...

Are we doing this just because other schools do it? Can't we come up with something of our own.
copy cats

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU VSA. finally someone speaks sense.

Anonymous said...

I never had an opinion on this matter until I saw the student response. The side that supports Coke staying is the one making inflammatory, ant-democratic, and plainly offensive comments. Rationality will always win over polemical tirades in my book.

I don't support kicking Coke. Will I get sleep at night if we do? Hell yes. At this point I'm more interested in sticking up for the VSA. I know my opinion was solicited, and I honestly said that I didn't know enough to have one. I have no right to complain either way, and as far as I'm concerned, our student leaders have done their jobs.

VSA, I'm usually the first to criticize you, but this impeachment stuff is bullshit. Y'all did your jobs, that's all I ask for.

Anonymous said...

waitwaitwait
i am confused...
does this mean ALL cocacola products
like minute maid?
and fanta? and nestea????

Anonymous said...

12:47

yes. should cappy et. al. decide that getting rid of coca cola products is the right move, they'd all be gone.

Anonymous said...

The Misc has just posted how each member of Council voted! It's here.

Anonymous said...

Why does Ferry House, a community of 20 students (less than 1 percent of the student body), get an equal vote in the VSA as say the TH's, which has over 10 times as many students? Seems more undemocratic than the Senate!!!!

Where's my representational government!

Anonymous said...

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/11/03/angry.internet/index.html

Anonymous said...

1:28 - every student on campus is represented 8 times on Council: 1 from your class year, 1 from where you live, and 6 from the executive board.

Anonymous said...

this is BULLSHIT. The 14 names should resign, or apologize, or both.

Anonymous said...

The VSA did the right thing - they solicited student response and acted in accordance.

This is absurd to suggest any of them should resign.

Anonymous said...

You know what?

Maybe VSA's constituents had other fucking things to do when this resolution passed, than go to a meeting about some ridiculous shit and try to argue with the student activists.

And you know what else?

That doesn't mean they lose their right to complain. When Congress passes something, you lose your right to complain about it? Wait what? When did that happen? Sometimes, when Congress passes some fucked up shit, enough angry people makes them reverse the shit.

The majority of the students are gonna keep complaining, and I think they're going to win. Because this is really just over the top. I hope this puts an end to all of this type of shit at Vassar.

Anonymous said...

OK, but how often does Congress say, "Hey, everyone, how do you feel about this piece of legislation? We really want your opinions, so if you have them, please share them!" If you cared about that piece of legislation, would you:
a) Write your congressional representatives a letter stating your feelings on the subject, or
b) Say nothing, allowing others to do the talking for you and assuming they'll feel the same way as you, then getting bent out of shape when things don't go your way?

Then, if b) happens, do you:
a) Admit that you should have gotten involved in the process and that your representatives will usually (and rightly) listen to the majority of people who care enough to contact them, or
b) Call for your representatives to resign?

Are you kidding me? It really seems like there are people here who don't understand the basic tenets of representative democracy.

Anonymous said...

3:41 yep i accept that the representatives will usually listen to those who loudly voice their annoying opinions

and you know what? i don't really care either. we can still complain and try to change it. and that's what we are doing! yay!

Anonymous said...

WHERE CAN I GET NO CONFIDENCE?, Mads.

Anonymous said...

Could someone please explain to me (rationally) what the VSA council has done wrong here? Because it seems to me that they've acted exactly as they are supposed to--they solicited opinions from students, listened to what other students wanted, and voted accordingly. As a TA resident, I especially want to know why so many seniors are incensed--Luis and Riane really sought out everyone's opinions, so I don't see how you can argue that they didn't accurately represent us.

Also, could someone explain why this is "really over the top?" Why the vehement response to getting rid of Coke on campus? I ask as someone who doesn't care either way about the issue (I have nothing against Coke, but the idea of other, local products on campus is also appealing). I'm not judging, I'm just perplexed and want to understand where all this anger is coming from.

Anonymous said...

5:43 - people are mad because there is no proof that coke did anything directly wrong. like coca cola peeps didn't go and kill the colombians. and if htey did there's no proof. no evidence = no interfering with my ability to drink coca cola!!! i defend my right to drink coca cola because i like it and i grew up on it. it is like my mother's milk to me. and yo ucannot take it away based on shady allegations that coca cola had some sort of role to play in the murders of coke workers. WHATEVER i'm out. time to guzzle some c-c.

Anonymous said...

do you know how to read? people are mad because even in absence of some evidence people should maybe have some reasons other than

OMG CORPORATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS LET'S SUPPORT THE HUMAN RIGHTS LET'S SUPPORT THE GLOBAL WORKERS UHHHHHHHH

to eliminate a popular product from the campus.

this is a slippery slope.

people are rightfully mad and this will end soon.

Anonymous said...

7:05--I resent the derogatory comments in your post. I respectfully asked for someone to explain the rational behind anger that I have yet to see sufficiently explained. I have read the comments threads; I just don't think anyone as of yet has managed to offer a convincing argument explaining their passion for the issue and their anger with the VSA council. I did not insult either side of the argument, and so I ask that you refrain from insulting my intelligence.

- 5:43

P.S. Human rights not a worthy cause? Check your rationale--I think you've got your own slippery slope to worry about.

Anonymous said...

In defense of 7:05, I don't think she or he said anything about human rights being not a worthy issue. Even though the tone was really rude, I think the point was that the reasoning for removing Coke was insufficient, and that the jusitificaitons were basically vague appeals to human rights.

Personally, I think the burden should be on the Kick Coke people--I don't care about the issue much. But I think people look at what's happened and don't think the campaign made their case well enough and somehow got the VSA to agree to their resolution.

Also, not everyone is attacking the VSA, but is attacking the idea of removing Coke itself.

I don't see why people should have to justify their annoyance when something's taken away from campus for reasons they don't understand, then when they complain the response is "it's just coke," or "you're a bad person."

None of that really justifies the mocking and mean tone of the posts, but from my end, I lean toward the people who are angry right now.

Anonymous said...

But even though not everyone is attacking the VSA, isn't that what No Confidence is doing? Isn't it insisting on their resignation? If people dislike the resolution but are not blaming the VSA then they should not be signing this resolution.

Kai said...

What a great political lesson this is.
If you want to be heard, speak. It really wasn't that difficult, our opinions were asked for. My house president (Nate Mandel) listened to what he heard and voted against it. If others would have similarly voiced their views to their class presidents, House presidents, and/or the VSA exec board this would be a non-issue. Please, for goodness sake, stop blaming the VSA Council for our own failures to speak up. Honestly.

Anonymous said...

hear hear 1:07!

Anonymous said...

Here is a correction. People can be mad after a vote even if they did not speak up beforehand. They will try to address the issues afterward.

I do wish people would stop blaming it all on the VSA. A lot of them didn't vote for it, too.

However people are gonna do what they can from stopping the resolution to actually be put in place, by talking to Cappy and others.

OK Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that we are all assuming that the representatives voted the way people asked them to which I don't have much faith in. At least I have no faith in my representative actually looking past his own beliefs and listening to the people he is supposed to represent... but I mostly just think that because I know the guy and have heard what he thinks of opinions differing from his own. Before somebody says "then you shouldn't have voted for him" lets remember that after having a chat with the only person who was running against him, Joseph ran unopposed.

Anonymous said...

i think a reason so many people are angry that coke might disappear is because of the coke propaganda.

like one post says, it is our "mother's milk"

we are educated, from a young age, to love these products, especially ones that use cartoons of santa claus and cute polar bears.

therefore, when someone tries to take it away, we react negatively because coke is a "part of who we are"

it is really hard, after such aggressive advertising, for people to see coke for what it really is: food coloring, carbonated water, and high fructose corn syrup.

Anonymous said...

11:28

Joseph had one of the strongest responses. Over 100 in favor of kicking coke, 15 in favor of keeping.

The council voted as their constituents asked them too.

Bill Clinton said...

EVERYBODY who is upset with the decision should appear at the VSA council the next two weeks. This week I am sure they will address this petition. next week there is a propolsal to repeal their decision on Kick Coke.

Also come monday in the college center to Have a Coke on MICA

They are giving out free Coca Cola and information about the reality of the kick coke situation and want to talk to everyboday about it. This will elp show VSA how unpopular and unfair their decision was. If VSA does not repeal their decision I do think no confidence is in order. How can we trust them not to go over the line and legislate on personal morals again? What will happen next, no apple? no pepsi? no meat? no SUVs? the possibilities are endless. The VSA must know that they have no such right to decide on what I think is morally correct.

Anonymous said...

I TOLD YOU THE KICK KICK COKERS WERE MORE CONSERVATIVE!

Anonymous said...

9:52- That makes them wrong or evil? Are you insinuating that conservatism is unacceptable?

Anonymous said...

no, i was just sayin'. someone said earlier that the people who read mads or were making their voices heard on mads tended to skew to the right, and the post above sort of confirmed it.

Anonymous said...

go pick another battle 1104

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