To the editor:
As incoming president of Scot Council, I would like to take this opportunity to address the concerns some of our alumni have voiced regarding the new governing body. I am proud of the governing body that students have worked so hard to create, and strongly believe the creation of Scot Council to be a critical change undertaken with due diligence.
Campus Council (CC) is relatively young in the grand scheme of Wooster’s history, having just celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. It was borne out of student dissatisfaction with the governing system at the time. Accordingly, students overhauled the constitution to create a new system to address structural inefficiencies and underrepresented voices. Now, 50 years later, it is time for another change, one that will accomplish similar objectives.
While I was not a member of the Oversight Committee that drafted the Scot Council constitution, I firmly believe it was created in good faith to better serve Wooster students. These representatives from both Student Government Association (SGA) and CC pulled from the best aspects of each governing body to streamline our current system, making it more accessible and welcoming to students who have not served before.
I disagree with alumni concerns that the Oversight Committee did not take student opinions into account while drafting the Scot Council constitution. The Oversight Committee spent months consulting various student groups across campus, seeking input about the new governing body. Oversight also hosted numerous panels where students were encouraged to address concerns — ultimately changing the scope of the constitution to ensure that it has the same powers that Campus Council formerly held after students offered feedback. Scot Council will still have the ability to make policy changes, allocate funding to student organizations and approve charters — all powers that were clarified in the constitution thanks to students who contributed to the Oversight process. Had Oversight received significant opposition from students about overhauling the dual system, the taskforce would have ended the process; in fact, student opinion favored creating this new system.
Based on feedback from students, and from my own prior experience serving on SGA, the dual system of SGA and CC was not working well. There have been almost no contested elections on SGA the past few years — and oftentimes so few students were interested in running or stepped down before the end of their term that both bodies had to run emergency elections where students were selected by application, rather than elected, to fill seats. In fact, SGA saw nearly a 50 percent turnover of senators during my first term.
In contrast, the new election system under Scot Council has garnered such incredible student turnout that every seat is filled or hotly contested. I am especially pleased that we have four students running to be the new First-Generation/Low-Income (FGLI) Representative, showing that we have filled a need that was not previously addressed by SGA or CC. Having one governing body removes confusion around elections, which encourages more people to run. With more people running for fewer seats, the new system offers more democratic representation.
I am sure that Scot Council’s constitution is not perfect, and I anticipate bumps along the road while we navigate the new system. We will remain open to constructive criticism and peer input while we refine our constitution to best suit the needs of the student body.
I hear the alumni who are frustrated with changes. You are individuals who poured your hearts and souls into SGA and CC, and I sincerely thank you for your commitment to making Wooster a better place. We are doing the same and following in your footsteps to make positive changes to our home. Ultimately, I am sure we agree that we all want the best for the students we serve — and I believe that Scot Council is the way for us to accomplish that shared goal.
Olivia Proe, former SGA Advocacy Chair, President of Scot Council ‘21
Sam Casey, former SGA Vice President, Vice President of Scot Council ‘21
Rishika Todi, former CC International Diversity Representative, Treasurer of Scot Council ‘22
Maggie Dougherty, former SGA Class Senator, Secretary of Scot Council ‘21
Srushti Chaudhari, former SGA Class Senator, Chief of Staff of Scot Council ‘22
Emilee McCubbins, former SGA President ‘20
Nick Shereikis, former SGA Vice President ‘20
Carly McWilliams, former SGA Secretary ‘22
Isaac Weiss, former SGA Treasurer, former Oversight co-chair ‘20
Matt Mayes, former CC At-Large Representative, former Oversight co-chair ‘20
Emmy Todd, former CC At-Large Representative ‘22
Amber Rush, former CC At-Large Representative ‘22
Jill Munro, Former CC Faculty Representative, Director of International Student Services
Grace O’Leary, former SGA Student Services Chair ‘20
Abigail McFarren, former SGA Outreach & Diversity Chair ‘22
Anna Medema, former SGA Advocacy Co-Chair ‘20
Jennifer Grossman, former SGA Advocacy Co-Chair ‘20
Abby Donohue, former CC Selective Service Organization Representative ‘20
Marco Roccato, former SGA Class of 2020 Senator
Saralee Renick, former SGA Class of 2022 Senator
Oria Daugherty, former SGA Class of 2021 Senator
Devon Matson, former SGA Class of 2021 Senator
Lillian Dunning, former SGA Class of 2021 Senator
Yuxuan Ke, former SGA At-Large Senator ‘20
Doug Morris, former SGA At-Large Senator ‘22
Lilia Eisenstein, former SGA Class of 2022 Senator
Ivan Akiri, former SGA At-Large Senator ‘22