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Limited Time at School Meeting Stirs Controversy

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.”

2 Comments on Limited Time at School Meeting Stirs Controversy

  1. Comment moderated

    • Class of 95 // November 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm //

      I understand the GSA’s concern but I also understand Mr. Flaska’s position. The importance of the month of October to the GSA had the same importance at the end of September (when they asked for a time slot) as it did in August. Mr. Flaska is only doing his job by scheduling the meetings and keeping them in a certain time limit and he should not be criticized for the GSA’s lack of timeliness and planning.
      No club has priority over another club. Granted, if there’s any extra time whatsoever, the GSA should have been allowed to speak. But they should not, by any means, be given a spot that already belongs to someone else who scheduled that time slot beforehand.
      Again, I understand the anger on both sides, but Mr. Flaska has done the right thing. Who are we to criticize the man who has been the only one to take the job of planning school meetings? I’m sure that’s a real fun one, right? I agree with Theo Lipsky 100% and its a shame to see students whine and complain for the administration following the rules.
      If you have a problem with how meetings are scheduled, go talk to the Headmaster and draft a rule to add to the school. Don’t just sit in you room and comment on Scroll articles about how angry you are at Mr. Flaska. Have some initiative and fix what you think is wrong.

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