This edition of the Voice covers the concerns and issues that have been raised regarding outsourcing as well as the recent statement released by several faculty members about the administration’s decision-making processes.
To learn about the concerns in detail, please look
up these titles on our website:
• Feb. 19, 2021: Custodial staff voice concerns
about their well-being
• Feb. 5, 2022: Dining and Custodial Staff left in
the dark regarding outsourcing issues
• March 4. 2022: Dining and Custodial Staff
denounce College’s decision to outsource
The two governing bodies on campus, Student Government Association (SGA) and Campus Council (CC), are planning to dissolve and form a new body altogether. The new group will have powers similar to SGA and CC, but will function as a singular governing body.
This new body has been in the works since last year. The idea for a new governmental group was formed when members of SGA and CC both noticed some points of confusion between the two groups.
“Isaac (Weiss) and I both noticed a large number of dysfunctions; we were working internally on our SGA Constitution, but what we found was that there were a number of overarching issues with both SGA and Campus Council,” said Emilee McCubbins ’20, president of SGA. Once these issues were noticed, a joint task force was formed called the Oversight Committee. Members of the committee soon noticed many of the problems within SGA and CC stemmed from a lack of knowledge about the organizations.
“After a few weeks, we quickly noticed that one of our greatest problems is the fact that no one can figure out the difference between the two bodies,” said Isaac Weiss ’20, cochair of the Oversight Committee and SGA treasurer. “Our roles can often blend together, and cooperation between the two bodies relies on the President and Chair being friendly.”
J. Mathew Mayes ’20, the other co-chair of the committee and an atlarge representative for CC, echoed this statement. “We all collectively came to the conclusion that the fundamental problem was that we had two governing bodies whose respective responsibilities were confusing and students did not know the difference between them,” Mayes stated. Mayes says he doesn’t blame students for not knowing the difference between SGA and CC.
Once the task force recognized this problem, members began exploring ways they could alleviate the confusion. McCubbins, also a member of the Oversight Committee, said a lot went into the committee’s research.
“We started off by doing a lot of research about the structure and purpose of other schools’ student governance structures. We delved particularly deeply into [Great Lakes College Association] schools, each taking a few schools and becoming mini-experts on their structure. From there, we began meeting with and working with various relevant administrators, staff and faculty to see what this transition would look like,” McCubbins stated.
“According to our research, no other schools our size have a structure like ours,” Mayes said. “This all came to a head this semester when students had serious concerns about diversity and safety and didn’t know which body to go to.”
After this research, the committee went even further. The committee has already drafted a constitution for the proposed governmental body. McCubbins and Weiss hope to present it to the Board of Trustees and the student body soon.
“We would like the new body to take over student governance by next semester,” Mayes stated.
However, some students are concerned that this significant change is being rushed into. “The concern now is whether this body be reflective of what students need,” said Halen Gifford ’21, chair of CC. “Is this getting rushed? I am mostly concerned that a change this large needs to have been thoroughly thought through. CC and SGA both have had years to establish functioning policies and memorandums. Although the two bodies are not perfect, they have solid foundations and I don’t want students to go from that to something that still has kinks.”
Although the elimination of two long-standing bodies and the creation of a new one may sound confusing, Weiss thinks the new governmental organization will ultimately benefit the student body. He’s hoping the new body with the combined powers of SGA and CC will eliminate confusion and make student government more approachable.
“Students have problems that need quick solutions, and we can’t get those changes made unless [they] know who to contact,” Weiss said. “I can tell you after years of being on SGA, more than half of the people who talk to us don’t know what we do, or think we have more power than we actually do. More importantly, this new body will help bring together all governance power into one place and give power back to the students, as it once was.”
While created with student interest in mind, Gifford is still worried that the new body isn’t reflective of what the student body wants. “But the largest criticism that both bodies have faced is students don’t feel like either group is advocating in the way they’d like,” Gifford said. “Maybe this new group would improve advocacy. There aren’t any new powers that are being created.” Weiss also added that the new organization will hold the same powers that SGA and CC currently hold. “There are some written differences that, in actuality, don’t make too much of a difference,” Weiss stated.
According to Mayes, “The new body will have control over funding for student organizations, the ability to recommend policy, will send student representatives to important departments and committees around campus and can make ad hoc committees to address [any] new issues that arise on campus.”
There will be an all-campus discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 5 in the Pit at 7:00 p.m. SGA and CC will present the idea for the new body, answer questions and most importantly, get feedback from students.
After the discussion, the change will happen relatively fast. “SGA and CC will take the next two weeks to do last-minute debates and will vote the week before the Board of Trustees come to campus,” Weiss says. “After both bodies agree to restructure, the Board of Trustees will need to give the final approval. Should this vote be in favor of a restructure, we will hold executive elections in the following two weeks, with campus-wide educational sessions to help get people knowledgeable and excited about the new body and elections for general members will be held after spring break. The rest of the semester will consist of an on-boarding process to help get the new members prepared to become the first [representatives] of a new government in August.”
McCubbins believes this change will help both the members of student government as well as other students. “My hope is that by this restructuring, students outside of the bubble that is student governance will have a greater understanding of what to do or who to talk to when their needs are not being met. Furthermore, with one central body, I hope that members of this student government themselves have a greater understanding of what they’re capable of,” McCubbins said.
Professor Joanne Frye returns to Wooster, will give joint lecture with fellow memoirist Jane Lazarre
Retirement doesn’t stop most Wooster professors, many of whom retain strong ties to the College while pursuing works of academia and other profound interests. In the case of Joanne Frye, who left the College in 2009 but maintains the status of emerita professor of English, retirement was just another way to delve more enthusiastically into her primary passions — reading and writing.
Her latest and greatest writing comes in the form of a book entitled “Biting the Moon: a memoir of feminism and motherhood,” which came out on March 15 and is available on amazon.com. The book focuses on Frye’s life and family, and is split between her time in Wooster, OH and Bloomington, IN. This is her third book, following the well-praised “Living Stories, Telling Lives: Women and the Novel in Contemporary Experience” and “Tillie Olsen: A Study of the Short Fiction.”
“In the 90s, there were hardly any narratives that portrayed the mother’s point of view,” Frye explained. ”I wondered why this was, and decided to figure it out by writing a book myself.”
However, Frye wasn’t always a writer. Her first love was for reading. ”I kept going to school because that was where they let me keep reading. I ended up with a Ph.D. and then what was I supposed to do? I needed a job and was divorced when my daughters were young, but I had grown up with people who loved education and books.” Teaching, for her, was the logical next step.
It was a path the pursued for a number of years, and although she enjoys teaching and working with students, Frye explained that the everyday tasks of the profession began to weigh on her.
“I wanted the tine and flexibility to do other things. It’s not like I was burned out on teaching, but I was ready to give myself permission to do some other things,” she said.
“Biting the Moon” is the realization of a number of years of mothering, thinking, teaching, and drafting. It has been called a “deeply felt, courageous portrait of a woman’s life” that promises to be “will be intimately familiar to an older generation of mothers and an inspiration to a younger generation.”
“It took a really long time. I can’t even say when I officially started. I had some written, and then I went to NYC to really get serious on it — I sent it to Syracuse maybe 10 years after I first began writing. We signed our official contract in the fall of 2010.
Frye will present her work tonight at 7 p.m. in the Lean Lecture room, and an informal, follow-up discussion on feminist parenting is scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m., also in Lean.
Accompanying her is Jane Lazarre, a friend and author of “Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness,” “The Mother Knot,” “Inheritance” and other titles. Their joint presentation will cover a variety of topics within the fields of memoir writing and motherhood.
“One of the things that interests both Jane and I is how we think about the boundaries of fiction and memoir. How do you write about something that isn’t sequential?” asked Frye.
Another challenge of the memoir as a genre is the fluid nature of the topic. Frye quickly learned firsthand that life goes on, even when a book about it needs to wrap up. “I ended up having to add an epilogue on the birth of my grandson to the memoir,” she said. “I really needed a resting place, although it wasn’t an ending — it was a beginning.”
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