Vassar has a long tradition of student self-governance, affording students a significant role in the decision-making processes of the college. Working within the framework of the policies and procedures set forth in the Governance, the Vassar Student Association (VSA), through the VSA Senate, represents the voice of students to the administration, faculty, staff, alumnae/i, and trustees. It also oversees student organizations, and, through representatives on college committees, participates in the committee system, making decisions that affect the quality of life, both academic and social, on campus. All matriculated Vassar students are members of the VSA and enjoy the rights and responsibilities embodied in its constitution and bylaws. The VSA Senate is the legislative body of the VSA, while day-to-day operations of the student government are handled by the six-member VSA Executive Board, led by the VSA president. Specific rights, privileges, and regulations can be found elsewhere in this document, the Constitution of the Vassar Student Association, and the Bylaws of the Vassar Student Association.
I. VSA Constitution
The VSA governs through the VSA Constitution and the VSA Bylaws. The current constitution was ratified by a majority of the student body and approved by the faculty and the president of Vassar College in 2007, in accordance with the Governance. As stated in the VSA Constitution (Article II), the purpose of the VSA is to “serve, represent, and promote the interests and welfare of the students of Vassar College. It shall encourage student representation and involvement in college decision-making and shall strive to enhance the quality of life and education for the students of Vassar College. It shall represent the opinions of the student body, serving as a communications conduit to the faculty, administration, trustees, alumnae/i, the local community, and beyond. The VSA shall also sponsor, support, and be responsible for student organizations.”
II. Legislative Branch
The operation of the VSA is overseen by the VSA Senate, consisting of the three Senators from each class; two College Planning Senators; the VSA president; the VSA Vice President and VSA Chairs of Academics, Equity and Inclusion, Finance, Health and Wellness, Organizations, Planning, Programming, and Residential Affairs. These individuals, elected by the student body in accordance with the Elections Article of the VSA Bylaws, serve as the legislative branch of the VSA. The VSA Senate oversees the spending of the student activity fee (as explained below). It also acts as the voice of the student body on issues facing the college. The VSA Senate also oversees student organizations, and passes legislation and policies relating to student organizations and other matters.
III. Student Activity Fee
The VSA is budgeted through the student activity fee (SAF). The VSA Council disburses the SAF in conjunction with moneys from the VSA Restricted Endowment Fund to certified VSA organizations in accordance with the Budgeting Article of the VSA Bylaws to improve the social wellbeing of the Vassar community.
IV. Joint Committees
The VSA leadership works with the administration, faculty, and staff to advance the educational, social, and residential objectives of Vassar College. To this end, students serve on joint committees such as the Committee on College Life and the Committee on Curricular Policies. Student involvement is at the core of the development of Vassar as an institution, and the intent of student participation in these committees is to forward those goals to the fullest extent possible.
V. VSA Judicial Board
Students elected to serve on the VSA Judicial Board uphold the VSA Constitution and the VSA Bylaws. The members of the Judicial Board hear cases of violation of the VSA Constitution and VSA Bylaws.