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Limited Time at School Meeting Stirs Controversy
nicky rault 13 senior staff writer
November 10, 2011

The Gay Straight Alliance asked to allot time for their annual Coming Out Day ceremony at school meeting but could not be accommodated, due to an ongoing attempt to make school meetings more efficient and valuable.

“We asked, in late September, for time during a meeting in October, preferably the fifth or the twelfth, as the eleventh was National Coming Out Day,” said GSA secretary Thomas Earle ’12.

Dean of Spiritual and Ethical Life Jan Flaska, who is in charge of organizing school meetings, offered the group a time in December.

Although the GSA has accepted this date, members expressed dismay that it could not be in October, the month of national Gay-Straight-Bisexual-Transgender awareness.

“We just wish that Mr. Flaska would try to prioritize the events at school meeting so important messages, like those from the GSA or any other diversity alliance, get priority, especially during its awareness month,” stated Earle.

“It seems that some or perhaps even most clubs aren’t taken very seriously; however, clubs like the GSA and the other alliances command more respect and attention than the average club. Coming Out Day is a huge deal and crucial for students to have the support behind them… [it] allows them to express who they are,” said Trevor Anderson-Salo ’12, another GSA member.

With meetings booked through December, Mr. Flaska has filled every minute possible.

Opportunity to change the “first come, first serve” system is grim, as the schedule is already packed with announcements.

“While I understand that there should be a timeliness component to scheduling meetings, there must be a priority component, too,” said GSA Vice President Emma Beck ’13.

Others defended the current school meeting policy. Student Body President Theo Lipsky ’12, who emcees the meetings, said, “I trust Mr. Flaska’s judgment, as he knows the system better than anybody else.”

Mr. Flaska explained, “I think school meeting is a place to showcase our student body’s talents and to present announcements about things that could apply to any member of the student body.” He continued, stating, “My only agenda is to keep clear our message of timeliness by making sure that the meetings end on time.”