Saturday, August 24, 2019

You Should Dare to Question the SGA

Alexa Mehraban ’12, Paul Holland ’12, Scott Jaburek ’14 & Virgilio Bisio ‘12

Contributing Writers

As both concerned students and members of the Student Government Association (SGA) who are fully informed about recent developments on campus, we want to clarify some information regarding actions taken by the SGA. Regardless of the opinions of members of the SGA on the Social Host Policy, as representatives of the student body, it is our duty to address student concerns.

Any action taken by the SGA president, including organizing the forum, sending global emails, and the creation of a student task force, was not done so unilaterally, but was done with the unanimous consent of the senate which represents the student body.

Last semester President Jones released his White Paper, which proposed long term changes to both the academic and social culture of the college. Following the publication of the White Paper the SGA spent numerous meetings in the fall discussing the possible merits of the paper and potential means of implementing them.

Originally the administration offered the student body two non-voting seats on the Charter Committee tasked with addressing concerns raised in the White Paper regarding the social helix. Seeing this as an inadequate representation of student opinion, SGA President Panida Pollawit ‘12 sought the support of the senate in expanding student participation. Through compromise with the administration the SGA was successful in increasing student membership to three seats and granting voting privileges to two of those seats.

As members of the SGA continued to work on these issues over winter break, the administration, with extremely limited student consultation, enacted the new social policy. Immediately following students’ arrival back on campus, the SGA, sensing a high degree of student concern, hosted a widely attended forum to discuss the social policy. At the forum the Dean of Students conceded that the process by which the social policy was formulated was flawed and that there are most likely details that need to be adjusted. Sunday of the same week, Senator Scott Jaburek ’14 introduced a resolution critiquing the methods by which the administration created and enacted the social policy, and at the recommendation of both administrators and members of the student body suggested the creation of a student task force.

The purpose of the task force is neither the abolition of the social policy, nor an end to regulations on social events with alcohol, rather it is to improve the policy so that it will be fair and more applicable to the reality of life on campus.

This resolution received the unanimous support of the Senate. Pollawit ’12 promptly organized and facilitated two open discussions on Wednesday and Thursday of the following week. Ten applicants who attended either of these discussions were selected to represent the student body as members of the task force. The task force has convened as a group and with the administration multiple times since. The student body eagerly awaits the results of those discussions.

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