No Limits speaks, SGA responds, questions remain

Jeff Sinick '09 presents his qualms about the tactics of the No Limits Project and their effects on administrators to No Limits representatives Brian Perbix '09, Neal Wepking '09, Dayna Hamann '09, Latona Giwa '09 and Kaitlin Alsofrom '10 during Wednesday's Joint Board session. The debate became heated after Sinick's remarks and sparked responses both from SGA and other members of No Limits, forcing Joint Board to postpone its budgetary process to continue the discussion.
Jeff Sinick '09 presents his qualms about the tactics of the No Limits Project and their effects on administrators to No Limits representatives Brian Perbix '09, Neal Wepking '09, Dayna Hamann '09, Latona Giwa '09 and Kaitlin Alsofrom '10 during Wednesday's Joint Board session. The debate became heated after Sinick's remarks and sparked responses both from SGA and other members of No Limits, forcing Joint Board to postpone its budgetary process to continue the discussion.

During the Wednesday, April 8 Joint Board meeting, the student-led group the No Limits Project presented to members of SGA their list of demands addressed to President of the College Russell K. Osgood and members of the administration. By the end, both parties had more information, but many more questions to ask and to have answered.

The No Limits presentation, lasting past its allotted hour, addressed issues such as hate crime policy creation, need-blind aid for international students, staffing and funding of the Community Service Center, among others.
“Because of time limits, it was kind of strained because we do budgets and the presentation was going on and the question and answer was going back and forth,” said SGA President Neo Morake ’09. “But for them to address the senators and SGA cabinet, [Joint Board] was a good place for them to address us.”

East campus Senator Holden Bale ’12, an active participant in the question and answer portion of Joint Board, said he was pleased with the dialogue that occurred, but still expressed disappointment that a conversation between SGA and No Limits took nearly a month to arise.

“With No Limits and SGA it was a very good conversation,” Bale said. “I feel like some people restrained themselves on both sides because there is a lot of disagreement. I think a lot of people are surprised that No Limits didn’t come to us first because SGA is specifically supposed to represent student voices to the administration.”

Despite this being the first documented interaction between SGA and No Limits, Morake said that she has met with members of No Limits outside of their group meetings. “I would like for [more interaction] to happen,” Morake said. “We have met with them as students-at-large but not as a collective.”

No Limits member Mark Sullivan ’10 said the lack of contact with SGA was partially intentional, as a result of past involvement with SGA leading to dead ends at times.

“I don’t think we will go to SGA on all of our issues because, as previously stated, we want to work outside the system,” Sullivan said. “I think a lot of people in No Limits think that working within the system—they’re very disenchanted with that and people in SGA are very good at working in the system and I think they should continue to do so. So we can use both.”

In reaction to No Limits’ demands, an opposing group No Shame was formed in order to foster a discussion of positive aspects of Grinnell College, No Shame co-author Anna Gilbert ’09 said.

“A lot of the No Limits demands are very valid and very important and I think that discussion should continue as it has,” Gilbert said. “But I also think a key aspect of any discussion with an administration is thanking them for past successes and acknowledging that when students ask for things at this school, almost 100 percent of the time they are listened to and a majority of the time those things happen.”

Though demands have yet to be met by the administration, No Shame has been perceived as a student response to No Limits demands. “[No Shame] was obviously a response, it wouldn’t have come out if the demands hadn’t come out but I don’t know that it was meant to antagonize us as much as just ‘we disagree and here’s our perspective on it and I think that’s good,” said No Limits member Mary MacDonald ’09. “People want to know if this is not representative of the student body and that’s a conversation that needs to be happening.”

One of the most polarizing rumors in circulation on campus involves interactions between No Limits and prospective students during upcoming prospective student weekends. Members of No Limits have said they do seek to approach prospective students in the coming weeks, but have clarified a position different from the assumed antagonistic intentions. Members of No Limits are advertising in the form of chalked sidewalks and wearing t-shirts encouraging prospective students to inquire about the project.

“We have this rhetoric of being green, queer friendly, diverse place, and it doesn’t match up with what’s actually happening here and the fact that Grinnell is talking about it and marketing itself that way is great, but that means that hopefully that’s what the prospies want to be,” Sullivan said. “So we’re showing prospies that if they’re looking at this place because of those reasons, you should come here because you can help us fix those reasons, fix those things.”

Members of the No Limits Project said the group doesn’t have any concrete future goals beyond the continuation of current demands.

“By saying that we have plans after that is kind of like saying that we’re anticipating the administration not meeting our demands,” Sullivan said. “We’re going to have to keep going next year and I think that I would say that as along as the administration hasn’t met our demands, there will be a no limits group.”