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Campus Council and SGA look to clarify jurisdictions

Dominic Piacentini

Editor-in-Chief The discussion concerning the enactment of the most current versions of the Party Monitor Policy has highlighted a general confusion among the students regarding policy legislation on campus and the roles of the Student Government Association (SGA) and Campus Council (CC).

The SGA acts as the primary student advocacy organization on campus. As an advocacy group, SGA seeks to meet the needs of students and to be the voice of the student population within the administration. Actions taken by the SGA include the addition of protein smoothies at Mom’s, the ban of disposable plastic water bottles on campus and the re-tuning of the piano in Lowry. Additionally, the SGA oversees the allocations given to student organizations by selecting the members of the Budget Committee and monitoring the Student Activities Fund — a responsibility that was transferred from the CC Budget Committee to the SGA Budget Committee two years ago.

“We have an initiative this year to connect many student organizations on campus with us so we can better represent the entire student body and incorporate diverse perspectives in our advocacy” said SGA President Josh Foerst ’15.

According to Foerst, current projects the SGA are discussing involve campus stewardship and the budget allocation process.

Whereas the SGA is the main advocacy group, CC is the primary legislative body for social conduct and student life at Wooster. Any altering of the Scot’s Key is changed by and through CC, which consists of administration, faculty, staff and student members, all of whom take part in voting.

“Campus Council exists by virtue of the memorandum of the Scot’s Key,” said Elliot Wainwright ’15, at-large member and chair of the CC. In accordance with the Scot’s Key, CC has the authority to write legislative changes regarding student policies, including those found within the Scot’s Key and the Party Monitor Policy.

“Over the course of the past two years, the Party Monitor Policy was drafted, tested and enacted as an official policy,” stated Wainwright. “The Campus Council Judicial Committee was the group that drafted the policy in its original form, and who helped organize the party monitor trainings last academic school year.”

Although they played no role in drafting the Party Monitor Policy, the SGA recognized the necessity of setting up a fireside chat at which students could discuss the policy with administrators.

In regards to the fireside chat held on Thursday, Oct. 18, Wainwright commented: “It was insightful for the members of Campus Council in the audience, heated though the conversation may have gotten. … It also personally made me aware of some liberties that have been taken with the policy outside its original purview.”

Wainwright  noted that the panel represented more of an “executive branch” of the policy rather than the legislative CC. The alterations made to the initial Party Monitor Policy will be analyzed by CC during a re-examining process within the Judicial Committee to be held soon, according to Wainwright.

Dean of Students Kurt Holmes affirmed both organizations’ roles in the party monitor discussion, saying, “In the case of social event policy, Campus Council is the body to bring forward policy language, suggested guidelines and other formal recommendations; SGA is better situated to lobby for a particular position and to educate students about what does exist.”

“Campus Council is the group that enacted the policy and currently is the group that must answer the dismay of the student body with a reformed system or, at the very least, a better explained one,” said Foerst. “Unfortunately, there is oftentimes a lack of transparency in the policymaking within Campus Council, and the students on this campus (the members of SGA included) were left wondering what changes had been made.”

Both Foerst and Wainwright and their respective organizations hope to create a more transparent atmosphere between the student body and the legislative bodies on campus, and a fireside chat will be hosted by both groups Tuesday, Oct. 14.

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