Council Continues Headphones in Public Spaces Discussion – Council Update (10/3/2018)

For the second week in a row, the main issue on the Council Agenda was the Headphones in Public Spaces Motion. Nonetheless, the meeting began with customary reports. Sophomore Representative Sage McGinley-Smith gave the Administration Committee report, notifying Council that Admin has started planning the MLK Day assembly and that if anyone is interested they should come to the Admin meeting next week or should email Admin leadership. Sophomore Representative Jonathan Li gave the CPP report and said that CPP had just finalized its discussion on a possible foreign language requirement for future HHS students. After reports came the first item on the agenda, the Fall Budget Approval.

The Fall Budget Approval consisted of two possible allocations, $575 to Theatergoers club and $200 to Aquatic club. Sophomore Rep. Tom Lyons gave a quick explanation of what Theatergoers club is and then explained that the money would be for buying students theater tickets. This first allocation was quickly passed unanimously. On the other hand, the aquatic club allocation was a bit more complicated. Co-Treasurer Tessa Stewart said the club wasn’t able to request money in the spring because at that point it wasn’t an official club but that it has since gained official club status and thus requested these funds. However, former Co-Treasurer and current Moderator Colm Seigne noted that he remembered including money in the budget for aquatic club in the spring. Thus, while the discussion regarding the allocation continued, Co-Treasurer Stewart checked last spring’s budget for this year and found that $250 was allocated to aquatic club last spring. This gave the Council the sense that aquatic club had wasted its time, and thus allocation was tabled. Next came the main issue on the agenda, the Headphones in Public Spaces Motion.

Junior Sophie Mitchell began the discussion by saying that she does think the school can regulate the content of the music being played but that overall music creates community and is a good thing for the school. Freshman Rep. Alex Rockmore then settled the ongoing discussion of when music should be allowed, by proposing an amendment to the motion that would allow either the Principal or the Dean of Students to authorize music. Senior Rep. Bauti Gallino seemed to take issue with this entire discussion, saying that there should just be days when speakers are allowed and that having someone decide every day whether or not a speaker is allowed is a complete waste of time. Staff Rep. Devon Voake added that it is often the lyrics or volume that is problematic, as it really becomes a problem when people are blasting music that supports rape culture. After this comment, despite opposition, Rockmore’s amendment passed, giving the Principal or the Dean of Students the authority to authorize music.

Rep. Rockmore continued the conversation by saying that with headphones people can still play music but now they just “don’t need to smack everyone walking by the pit with Mo Bamba.” This comment was met with many laughs but also a strong sense of agreement. On the other hand, Junior Rep. Trevor Siegel argued that making the atrium completely quiet might add to the already stressful environment of HHS, a statement Council members also seemed to agree with.

Co-Treasurer Dory Psomas ended the discussion by saying that the handbook already discusses all of the issues. She then listed that the handbook says people need to watch the volume of noise in the atrium, no profanity is allowed, and you must respect reasonable teacher requests. The meeting was then adjourned.

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