“Is there a Student Government right now? What do they do?” These are just a couple of the questions circulating the Kalamazoo College community since last year’s dissolution of Student Commission.
The interim group involved in restructuring Student Government met on Tuesday, May 17, under the leadership of Associate Dean of Students Brian Dietz to discuss goals for the student organization.
Individuals on the interim board primarily serve as student representatives on various Faculty and Board of Trustee Committees where student input might otherwise not be heard. These committees address specific needs within the community, ranging from finance to academics to student life, to name a few.
The meeting emphasized the board’s prioritization of committee representation over a traditional Student Government. “I don’t necessarily need to see a Student Government next year, I just want to ensure that…we have student representation on faculty committees…” shared interim board member Dylan Polcyn ‘16. He emphasized, “I want us to, by the end of this quarter, produce some sort of document that outlines how students in the fall next year will be able to be elected on faculty committees.”
So where does that leave Student Government? Essentially, the organization is in the process of a complete makeover–yet students remain uncertain of its role and even of its existence.
“I have no idea [what Student Government’s role is] because of the whole StuOrg thing that happened last year,” shared Natalie Fisher ‘18. She was not alone in her answer. When asked about her understanding of the organization’s role, Sara Lonsberry ‘19 commented, “Absolutely nothing. I thought they got rid of Student Government. I have no idea what [they] do.”
Students’ uncertainty about the restructuring process suggests that transparency may be necessary in encouraging students to become actively involved in establishing a Student Government that represents the entirety of the K student body, not just through committees but in a wider scope.
Visiting International student Mateo Tobar suggested, “[Transparency] is everything. [It] is the way in which you’re able to get a sense of what your representatives are doing.”
But there is also some caution among students. Jasmine Khin ‘18 shared, “I’m for transparency but not complete transparency,” remembering consequences thereof experienced by Student Commission last year.
The interim Student Government plans to draft a document outlining election procedures to committees, it will review and finalize by next week. The next meeting of the interim board will take place on Tuesday, May 31.