Categorized | Viewpoints

Major changes should not be rushed

Stachal Harris

As a former Campus Council member, I feel it is imperative students understand how Campus Council works currently and how it could be changed if there were only one, rushed govern- ing student body. I want to start by stating I appreciate all the hard work the Oversight Committee has put into the student government restructuring proposal. Being on the committee previously, I know every member has only good intentions, spending many hours engaging in and utilizing in- depth research. However, my biggest concern is the timing of the proposal’s implementation.

Combining both bodies ultimately means the dissolution of the two cur- rent student government organizations. This means it is not guaranteed the new bodies will have the enumerated powers they currently possess. In the Scot’s Key, it states that Campus Council has the power to legislate student conduct, social regulations, student activities, social functions and chartered organizations. Yet, all of this could be lost if we don’t tread carefully and allow adequate time in creating a strong constitution that students have weighed in on.

I also believe that faculty and the administrative staff have provided so much to Campus Council over the years, and only giving them access to the committees themselves, but not to general meetings, is shortsighted. They provide a lot of context, and what impacts students also impacts their jobs. If we feel they are shutting down conversations concerning students’ needs and well-being, I believe the elected students should push back against their dismissiveness and continue the dialogue.

Additionally, it is currently the time of year when students are campaigning and gathering signatures. By requiring a vote to happen this year, we are delaying the campaign process, which means we are delaying the on- boarding process for the new student government members. During the Student Government Restructuring Panel, it was stated that one of the largest issues student government has is turn- over. One of the panelists even stated that members of the student government sometimes don’t even know the responsibilities required of them. To me, one of the simpler solutions is creating a longer onboarding process with better training. This will not be possible now because of the election delays.

As someone who stepped down from Campus Council, I can say one of the many reasons others like me have stepped down from these governing bodies is because we don’t feel supported in those spaces. That means a change in culture needs to happen, especially when it comes to marginalized students.

Ultimately, there are too many more questions than answers concerning this proposal. I recommend, as did other current and former student government representatives at the panel, that this proposal not be passed this year. However, the proposal should continue to be fleshed out with a writ- ten constitution and training manual. A new student government organization would be thrown in uncharted waters and this could lead to less representation, not more.

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