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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Student finally selected for committee

The three student seats on the Curriculum Committee have been conspicuously vacant from the start of the year until now. Though students from each academic division have now been selected, a drought of applicants caused a significant delay in the filling these vacancies.

The difficulties of this year’s selection process has caused some Student Government Association (SGA) cabinet members to reconsider the way in which individuals represent the student body on key committees. SGA Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPSA) Liting Cong ’11 is now calling for changes in the constitution.

“We need some sort of constitutional reform. I’m working with [SGA President Ben Offenberg ’11] on this. Right now we’ve got just two or three sentences that say the SGA is responsible for appointing representatives to college committees,” Cong said. “We need a clarified mandate.”

In August, Cong was charged with filling the positions. While past VPSAs have simply selected students to serve, Cong wanted to open the selection process to all interested parties. Yet, after publicizing the vacancies to the Student Educational Policy Committees (SEPCs) and SGA Joint Board, Cong received only one application. Finally, she had to resort to asking divisional chairs for their recommendations.

“It’s a very important committee—they look at the policies on faculty evaluation, scheduling, and other issues,” said Cong.

Carly Jerome ’11, Brad Gordon ’12, who serves as Opinions Editor for the S&B, and Colleen Osborne ’13 were chosen to represent the humanities, the sciences and the social sciences, respectively.

At least one student feels that student committees and the way they function could use improvement.

“Students voices on certain committees are not heard a frequently or clearly as they should be,” Mali McCullough ’11 said.

Some in SGA suggest that committee selections ought to be taken up by incoming cabinet members in the spring.

“For certain committees, representatives could be elected by the new SGA officers at the end of the spring semester,” Cong said. “The Curriculum Committee could be among them.”
Increased student awareness of the various committees’ roles is also a major concern.

“One thing we learned is that advertising is definitely important,” Cong said.

Cong and Offenberg asked SGA Reform Committee to improve the committee selection process.

They hope that new language in either the SGA Constitution or the College Handbook will clarify the process and highlight the importance of joint student faculty committees.

While committee membership is inherently limited to a few students, members are intended to speak on behalf of their peers.

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