Student Body Convenes for Spring 2024 Plenary

Haverford’s student body met to discuss and tackle pressing campus issues.

On Sunday, March 24, Haverford hosted the spring 2024 iteration of Plenary in the Douglas B. Gardner Integrated Athletic Center (GIAC). Plenary is the once-a-semester campus-wide meeting where students can present and vote on resolutions affecting the whole college community. The primary mode of self-governance at Haverford, the process produces meaningful results reflective of the feelings of the student body as a whole.

Plenary can only begin once quorum is established, or two-thirds of the student body is present and participating in voting procedures. With Zoom options and overflow rooms available for accessibility purposes, quorum was quickly met within approximately a half hour of doors opening at 1:45 p.m. Complimentary shirts and boba, provided by Yi’s Boba, were available to students who attended. Dance groups Bounce and HaverRitmo also offered pre-Plenary performances.

The meeting of the student body began with a brief address by Students’ Council Co-Presidents Jorge Paz Reyes ’24 and Maria Reyes Pacheco ’24, the State of the Ford, which particularly focused on progress made on resolutions passed in the fall, including the resolution that voted to increase student wages and has since been delegated to a student employment task force. After their address, student groups were given the opportunity to speak as part of the community comment period. Students from Counseling and Psychological Services, the Black Student League, Haverford College Democrats, Students for Justice in Palestine, the Center for Gender Resources and Sexuality Equity, Haverford Survivors Club, and the Intramural Futsal League used the time to address the student body.

Following the ratification of the Plenary agenda, the first resolution was introduced. Presented by the Honor Council Representatives, it seeks to provide restorative routes that Honor Council procedures can take rather than punitive measures as a result of social and academic measures. The resolution proposed new, restorative procedures for ensuring accountability and justice, which address harm and returning power to students by ensuring professors work within the Honor Council systems.
Plenary’s second resolution called for and proposed updates to the responsibilities of Students’ Council positions. This resolution was presented as an extension of a similar resolution passed last fall as part of a continued effort to update and better codify the responsibilities and powers of Students’ Council. Following brief discussions, both resolutions were passed successfully.

The final resolution at this spring’s Plenary was the Ceasefire Resolution, presented by the members of the Haverford Muslim Students Association, Haverford Jewish Student Union, and Bi-Co Jewish Voice for Peace. The resolution, if passed, would both affirm the student body’s support of a ceasefire on account of lasting violence in Gaza and Israel, as well as call for the college and local government bodies to release an official statement in support of a ceasefire. This resolution was presented at a mid-semester asynchronous emergency plenary and was presented again as a sign of the resolution’s urgency and importance. After the resolution writers answered questions, and support was voiced by various members of the student body, the resolution successfully passed.

After the passage of the final resolution, the student body voted to open voting to ratify the Honor Code, which took place later that week. As a result of that asynchronous vote, the Honor Code was successfully ratified, ensuring the perpetuation of student governance at Haverford.

Following the vote to open voting to ratify the Honor Code, Plenary concluded, only having taken just over one hour following the establishment of quorum, largely due to the efficient debate and successful voting. Spring Plenary’s success demonstrated the continued vitality of student body meetings and self-governance at Haverford.