Diplomatic Congress diplomatic.congress@fandm.edu

Jun 10, 2020, 3:54 PM

Dear Members of the F&M Community:

On behalf of the Diplomatic Congress Executive Board, we hope this email finds you well. This is a difficult and painful time in our country and our world, and we hope each of you are able to find peace and solace in your own individual ways. 

We understand that the student body has been anxiously awaiting updates regarding the vision for the Fall 2020 semester in view of COVID-19. The College has not yet made a formal declaration as to whether or not instruction will resume in-person. Regardless of being online or on campus, there are a myriad of arrangements that need to be made to ensure that the health and vibrancy of student life persists. As the ultimate stakeholders in any decision, student voices must be present in these deliberations for the best outcomes to be reached. Over the next few months, the Diplomatic Congress will work to ensure that students are active participants in the shared governance of the College through the following measures: 

  1. We will assemble a COVID-19 Student Task Force consisting of students from within and outside of the DipCon cohort. Each member of the Task Force will be delegated a subset of student organizations to communicate with and ensure consistent feedback loops, consolidate all incoming student concerns, and maintain a strong working relationship with administration to ensure that these concerns inform decision-making and advocacy.
  2. We will improve communication with the student body by disseminating bi-weekly updates on the actions and progress of the COVID-19 Student Task Force, creating a COVID-19 specific page on the Diplomatic Congress website where all relevant documents, proposals, etc. will be made public, and utilizing our social media channels for shorter form updates. 
  3. We will develop a COVID-19 Student Agreement that compiles appropriate public health practices and applies these guidelines to determine changes that will need to be made to student life based on the College’s format for the Fall 2020 semester. The agreement, spearheaded by the Student Task Force, will then be disseminated to students, faculty and professional staff in the hopes of ensuring all students are aware of their responsibility to protect the health and safety of others through a model of student-to-student accountability. 
  4. We will continue dialogue on racial violence and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming by collaborating with the greater F&M community, including the Athletic Department and Department of Public Safety to facilitate vital discussions, developing a relationship with the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officer once they are selected, continuing to advocate revisions to the Student Code of Conduct, monitoring the Bias Reporting System and strengthening relationships with our agencies by facilitating regular meetings with student leaders on issues pertaining to social justice. 
  5. We will add additional representation to College planning efforts by appointing qualified students to Faculty and Trustee committees by application and opening applications for student representation on the Office of Student Affairs working groups. 
  6. We will review the Student Activities Budget to amend funding for activities that may not correspond to the guidelines of the COVID-19 Student Agreement and other related protocols. We will identify all activities that qualify as large gatherings, contact the appropriate college personnel to ensure the adherence of up-to-date regulations on student activities, develop modified funding guidelines for event ratification in case the semester is partially or fully online, work to redistribute funds when applicable and collaborate with Club Council to support all necessary changes and recommendations for campus clubs.
  7. We will collect and report student experiences and voices from our community that speak to the newly-associated challenges that COVID-19 brings. We will utilize our communication channels to pose informal questionnaires to students, solicit student-wide feedback on the Diplomatic Congress website, partner with The College Reporter to receive additional student testimonials, and request feedback from DipCares to find common challenges.

We encourage you to visit the COVID-19 page on the Diplomatic Congress website, where you can view our Summer 2020 Strategic Plan in greater detail. More updates will be made to this page soon. As the central student government at F&M, we are striving for transparency and accountability in facilitating shared governance during this time of uncertainty. We are looking forward to hearing as much as we can from all facets of the student body to discover how we can best be of service. 


The Diplomatic Congress Executive Board

Shubh Punj ’21 (he/his)  – President of the Student Body 
Makaila Ranges ‘22 (she/her)  – Vice President of the Student Body 
Zoey Pham ‘22 (she/her)  – Treasurer 
Ali Husaini ‘22 (he/his)  – Parliamentarian
Amanda Leonard ‘22 (she/her) –  Communications Director 
Ayana Stuart ‘21 (she/her)  – Executive Officer, Social Justice & Equity