Call to Order

The regular meeting for the DTSA was called to order at 6:pm on February 25th, 2020 via Zoom.



  • Taylor Culbert (President)
  • Ryan McKinney (Officer of Curriculum and Exams)
  • Ruijiao Dong (GC Representative)
  • Joned Suryatmoko (Officer of Professionalization)
  • Maria Litvan (Second Vice President)
  • Jasmeene Francois (First Vice President)
  • Jacquelyn Marie Shannon (Secretary-Treasurer)
  • Adam El Sayigh (International Student’s Representative)
  • Kiera Bono (Officer of Awards and Admissions)
  • Gracia Shin (DSC Representative)



  • Cen Liu (Officer of Digital Initiatives)


Approval of Agenda

TC motioned to approve the agenda. Agenda was unanimously approved as distributed.


Approval of Minutes

TC motioned to approve the minutes. Minutes approved.




President, Taylor Culbert

Finished proposed amendments to DTSA Constitution. We skipped the beginning of the year party because many people were still taking exams (including me). Haven’t spoken with Peter about DTSA since last semester but will be setting that up soon.


First Vice President, Jasmeene Francois

Currently planning events for the semester such as an additional game night. I spoke with Taylor and we discussed having more informal happy hours. 


Second Vice President, Maria Litvan

Began to create, organize and fundraise for the Booth Award Ceremony. The event will take place on May 14 mostly online, with an in-person closing ceremony in Washington Square. It is already starting to look very exciting. At this point, we are three students in the organizing committee: Jess, Cen, and myself. We are asking a couple more students to join us, and are thinking in ways to involve a much larger student body in the actual event. 


Professionalization Representative, Joned Suryatmoko
  • Jean will be back with us this semester, and she has sent a Prof Event calendar for Spring 2021. We did the first event on Feb 11, focusing on the topic of maintaining well-being during Covid. We opened the zoom for a while to provide more space and time for students if they want to hang out. Turns out, it has been a wonderful and inspiring sharing session for most of us. 


  • The next one will be on March 4, focusing on research resources. Deeps has developed and posted a Google Form survey on research grants that will be discussed on the upcoming event.
  • I may postpone and reschedule my trip back to Indonesia again. However, as it is scheduled, Deeps will host the next Professionalization events while I am the one who is preparing the event and sharing information about it to DTSA email.


Admission and Awards Representative, Kiera Bono 

We reviewed 59 applications for Fall 2021 admission and had our admission committee on Friday, February 19th. There were a lot of strong applications! We made six offers of admission and currently have three applicants on the waitlist. Peter and I have been setting up meetings and class visits with admitted students, and other faculty members have been reaching out to them and setting up meetings as well. I’m wondering if we should host some kind of Zoom Admitted Student event beyond the individual meetings the faculty and I have been setting up, but I’m not sure what the best format would be (it seems difficult to replicate the kinds of one-on-one/side conversations that can be fun and helpful at in-person admitted student events, so I’d love to hear any ideas folks might have).


DSC Program Representative, Gracia Shin

I went to a DGSC plenary meeting on Feb 19. I’ll distribute the meeting minutes to the DTSA email chain as soon as the DGSC uploads it.



Taylor – Off to a slow start this semester because many people were still taking their exams.


Booth Award – Maria
  • Coming together well. 
  • Diana Taylor is getting very involved in planning for the ceremony
  • Mostly online, whole day event.
  • 1st part will be video tributes from scholars and artists around the world
  • Panel: activism within academia (theme proposed by Diana Taylor)
  • ML met with Jean, came up with alternate idea: rather than hosting a panel, there is the idea of having graduate students from our department offering short provocations to Diana for her to respond
  • Getting to be a challenge to get more people involved in the Booth Award Committee
  • Trying to find a way to get students in our department to be more involved in the ceremony through this idea of provocations versus a panel, still on the same theme.
  • 2nd event will be outdoors, event is in May and weather should be nice
  • Will take place in Washington Square Park, featuring a series of performances.
  • ML requested the permit
  • Reverend Billy is a confirmed performer, still working to gather other artists to perform.
  • Instead of a trophy, we are thinking of something more special and personal.
  • Afterwords, a performative silent disco (dancing in the park with headphones)
  • ML started fundraising. Decided to apply to the DTSA for funding with Deeps but they are still refusing to fund the Booth Award, we are still trying to convince them to fund us. 
  • A huge opportunity for the department, exposure and community creation through this event. Maria needs more visibility and assistance from others in our department (right now it is a full time job time wise, has help from Jess A and Cen L, but there needs to be more involvement)
  • TC – suggested sending out an email blast to the department with the date for the award and requesting more support
  • ML – it is an extra struggle this year because we are more socially disconnected
  • ML- re: the idea for the provocations, how should we go about soliciting provocations? Open Call or directly reach out to specific people whose work might be related. Biggest concern is not wanting to compete with the conference
  • JS – The conference CfP is done already, so no competition
  • TC – Will probably end up being a bit of both 


Anti-racisim Committee – Joanna
  • Jim Wilson coming on as faculty adviser
  • Not a DTSA initiative because faculty is involved, but also not a faculty initiative. 
  • Next week, the committee will be sending out a survey to current students.
  • Survey was created by students, will be looked over by Peter and Jim as well.
  • If anyone has any notes or concerns about what should or shouldn’t be in the survey, reach out to Joanna directly.
  • Will be write-in opportunities.
  • Will be anonymous. Still working on figuring out what can be done about providing opportunities to identify self if desired, or offering opportunities to 
  • Looking into where they are bound in the context of CUNY as an official initiative.
  • Meeting with Peter this weekend, will be going over language.
  • Erika is also doing similar initiatives with some money behind it, so possibly looking to collaborate
  • ML – do you want to be represented in the DTSA board?
  • TC – the committee is in transition right now. Will eventually have an elected representative, but right now, waiting until it is an official standing committee. In talks with Peter.
Graduate Conference – Joned
  • Taking place at the end of April
  • CFP went out and had a nice response.
  • 30 abstract submissions were received, 21 academic papers, 9 proposals for performance presentations
  • Looking to develop the conference in a different way, combining speakers and performance rather than having them happen at separate times in the day.
  • At least 5 from our program will be sharing
  • Presentations are international, across continents. Working on organizing schedule to work with multiple time zones.


Changes to the DTSA Constitution – Taylor
  • How it works: at least half of the board members need to sponsor the changes. Once this is done, we can send out the proposed changes to the entire student body. Must pass with ⅔ affirmative with at least 10% of the program.
  • Biggest change is the 2nd VP role. Currently this role is primarily responsible for the Booth Award. 
  • One of the reasons we are making this change is that this role is very difficult to fill and it is a massive responsibility that should have labor distributed among more people. 
  • RM – Is the goal is to lessen the workload for this position? What is the plan moving forward for getting other people to do this work? 
  • TC – the idea is that the 2nd VP role in the future will be more about coordinating other people working on the Booth Award rather than all the work
  • ML – Ideally it would be ideal to create at least 3 positions, to ensure that at least 3 people would be co-organizing together in the future. It is a major event, a student event, a good opportunity, and would be good to make it more of an established team work rather than the job of one person.
  • TC – Not meaning 3 board positions.
  • ML – Correct, this idea of three positions is a suggestion for how the committee might organize itself in the future, in order to secure the continuing of the Booth Award into the future. (Based on personal experience organizing this year)
  • RM – It might be ideal to get the Booth and conference committee together at the beginning of the year
  • RD – Agree with Ryan. 
  • TC – The 2nd VP should send out a call for the committee volunteers in the fall
  • TC – proposing taking out the DTSA digital initiatives committee from the constitution because said committee has not existed for some time now.
  • RD – Still eventually need to look into who is controlling the department social media.
  • JS – Do we have access to the website for posting about our department events, like the upcoming conference and Booth Award
  • TC – This can be something to talk with Cen about as the digital representative.
  • JS – Thinking about how it is affecting the visibility of the department. 
  • TC – Agree that we need a better digital presence
  • KB – It’s an admission issue too. A lot of our competitors have really informative websites with “current students” pages with dissertation titles and research interests listed. And alumni info too. Prospective students have no idea what our dissertations are about/what our research is/who our students are
  • TC – could make this an opportunity to talk with Cen about what can be done with the department website.
  • RM – Propose use of the Commons as a temporary work around for publicity for the conference and Booth award
  • TC – next proposed edit to the constitution: being a liaison with program alumni 
  • RD – Unclear because that job description also comes up in my other job. Patricia wanted to start something to get more involved with alumni but things were put on hold because of Covid.
  • TC – Will keep it in for now because of Covid.
  • TC – Other edits: Removing line about the DTSA board approving newly voted committee members because we’ve never done that. Removing website committee because we don’t have one. Added the conference committee. Editing line about who chairs the DTSA meetings from a rotating member to the president as always chairing meetings (or other board members as designated by the president).
  • JS – Since the program is now performance studies as well, are we going to propose changing the name DTSA? 
  • TC – a much more complicated question
  • Will clean up the doc and then send it out to the greater student body for voting asap.


DTSA Board Elections – Taylor 


  • Pushed back date for next year’s board elections until March 15, which should give them plenty of time to attend the last board meeting of the year.
  • Need to scout out people to run for board positions.
  • Last year’s transition was weird because everything that happened in the spring, but it is a good idea to meet with whomever is either interested in running for your position or whoever is replacing you
  • Will send out a general email again soon about elections with more detail, dates for nominations and voting.


Admissions Question – Kiera


  • Trying to figure out how to make the admitted students have a similar welcoming experience that most others in the program had in pre-pandemic times. Zoom meetings with admitted students doesn’t feel like enough.
  • TC – We’ll never be able to replicate the in person experience. Kiera shouldn’t be the only student meeting with them. Students should be matched with other students with similar interests and be able to meet in smaller groups. Perhaps also consider holding a large group meet for all admitted students to talk with each other.
  • KB – communication has been really hard with admitted students. It is a bit more complicated.
  • JF – Didn’t have these experiences or emails when I was accepted, so maybe we need to make sure that people know to check their spam folder or something. 
  • KB – Should we be holding a larger event for incoming students or try to arrange individual meetings with faculty and current students?
  • Proposal to send something physical in the mail (should be funded by department).


Curriculum and Exam Update – Ryan
  • Curriculum committee is meeting to continue 
  • Met with Erika around new language for course evaluations. There was a decision to try and keep the questions as open as possible. The plan is to try and test the new questions for three years and then reevaluate.
  • Will be an electronic evaluation form.
  • For exam timeline, the plan is to push it back a month (until February instead of January).
  • Should be presented at the Open executive meeting for a vote in May.


Other notes:

  • TC & JS to look at the budget to see if we can give more funds to the Booth Award and graduate conference.



Meeting was adjourned at approximately 7:51 pm.