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Campus Council to edit House Party Policy, invite student input

Madeleine O’Neill
Editor-in-Chief

At last week’s fireside chat on the new party policies, several students voiced questions and concerns about the role of Campus Council (CC) in the policymaking process. The contentious panel discussion left many asking how the new party policies were passed and implemented.

As the College’s primary legislative body, CC is responsible for passing the official Party Monitor Policy, found on page two of this issue. The policy was passed in October of the 2013-14 school year after going through a revision process in the CC Judicial Committee.

This is typical of CC’s legislative process, according to Council Chair Elliot Wainwright ’15.

“In most cases, any policy drafts originate in committee. They’ll work on it for however long it takes, and bring it forward to full council,” said Wainwright. At this point, the full council will offer edits, and the draft will be sent back to committee. Once the edits have been added, the full council will either continue the editing process or bring the proposal to a vote.

To many students, the exact reach of Council’s legislative power is unclear. The Scot’s Key refers to CC as having “unlimited power to initiate, discuss and formulate recommendations on any matters it deems appropriate and to submit these recommendations to the appropriate campus body including the President and the Board of Trustees.”

CC Vice Chair Luke Tonat ’15 commented, “Broadly, we’re the megaphone through which the direct community … can voice policy preferences to the President and Board of Trustees.”

Policy passed by CC is sent directly to either President Grant Cornwell or the members of the Board of Trustees for consideration. Typically, the Board of Trustees is only involved with decisions that would require changes to the Scot’s Key. If the policy is approved by Cornwell and, when necessary, the Board of Trustees, it is adopted officially after 30 days.

This does not mean that CC is the only body on campus with rule-making authority. One example of this is the House Party Policy, also found on page two. The Office of Campus Life implemented this set of rules, which Dean of Students Kurt Holmes describes as “not policy but practice,” unilaterally and without oversight by CC.

“The Party Monitor Policy came from Council and [the House Party Policy] is an effort to interpret it,” explained Holmes. Once CC issues a policy, different campus offices may enact various rules in an effort to fill in gaps — in this case, the Campus Life Office added the house rules to the existing Party Monitor Policy in an effort to “navigate the stuff that’s not necessarily in the policy,” Holmes said.

Because the house party rules are not official school policy in the sense that they have not gone through the legislative process, CC is able to make edits that they think would lead to a more accurate interpretation of the Party Monitor Policy. Changes to the house party rules will be on CC’s agenda shortly.

“We’ll be looking toward this and coming up with a more refined, accurate policy as soon as we can. Our top priority is having clear guidelines for both public and private parties,” said Tonat. If CC’s edits to the house party rules are accepted by Cornwell, they will supersede the current rules set forth by The Office of Campus Life.

“I would implore the student body to be patient with us while we get this thing revised,” said Wainwright.

The policymaking process is open to student participation, however. Wainwright emphasized that students with concerns or ideas should “come to Campus Council meetings. We have special time set aside for open discussion.” For issues that are under consideration by a specific committee, students will be referred to the committee’s weekly meeting.

Students may also email questions and suggestions to CampusCouncil@wooster.edu.

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