Kalamazoo, MI
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The Brief

Commission Announces Vote for Dissolution, Restructuring

Students raise their hands at a Student Commission town hall-style meeting during Winter Quarter. The Commission has held two town hall meetings to gauge student interest in restructuring (Robert Manor / Index)

Student Commission (StuComm) President Cameron Goodall ’15 proposed the Commission to suspend itself from all non-vital tasks. The vote to suspend will be either Thursday or Friday. This would only be a temporary suspension.

If the vote to suspend Student Commission passes, the Commission hopes to use the time to involve both existing Commissioners and new students to create a different solution to how the Commission is run.

Goodall wants more than just the existing Commissioners contributing to the changes. “Anyone who wants to be can be part of this work,” he said.

Freshman Commissioner Karina Duarte elaborated on Goodall’s point to the 52 person audience. “Bring in your ideas, don’t stick to what the structure is now,” she said.

Former Commissioner Melissa Erikson ’17 asked for investment from all students. She wants us to think outside the box about what is needed from StuComm going forward.

The suspension of non-vital tasks would allow time for thought on the direction that StuComm should go that would facilitate direct representation of the students. One large part about the conversation for changes was for more representation of student organizations.

One thought that was proposed on Monday night’s meeting is that people from different organizations, groups, or movements can, as Goodall said, “come together as a liaison.” According to the current constitution, which was written in 2009, anyone can be on StuComm. This is true even if they are not a part of anything else on campus.

Goodall stated that this proposal of suspension results because of the strong disconnect between StuComm and students.

If the vote this week goes in favor of not suspending StuComm then amendments will be made to the constitution and spring elections will be held.

Due to the proposal to suspend StuComm’s business as usual, elections for new commissioners did not take place this quarter. Right now changes to StuComm are anticipated and non-vital tasks are not StuComm’s top priority.

“Clearly there’s not a demand from students for a collective commissioner,” said Goodall. Goodall found that the Intercultural Movement has had great success in getting their voice to the administration without the help of StuComm. He says this shows that students at K may not need the Commission’s representation in the way it is currently set up.

Commissioner Amanda Johnson ‘17 suggested that right now most students see StuComm as a bank. And she showed that the goal going forward is to have students’ interests in mind when handling the budget.

“StuComm is given $120,000 annually, and that needs to stay in student hands,” said Johnson. This year nearly all of that amount has already been allocated, Johnson explained. “We’re supposed to spend all the money. If there’s still money in the StuComm account, the administration will pull from Stucomm,” she said.

She said one of the current top priorities, despite the move for suspension, is for the money to stay with students. Currently there is less than $1,000 left in the budget for students and student organizations.

Goodall apologized for the lack of communication from StuComm throughout winter quarter, but said that it was because it was a heavy winter quarter and multiple conversations were ongoing. “Clear and consistent information going out” is something that Goodall said he wants to see going forward.

To keep the audience and campus happy, Goodall added, “we are not going to forget DOGL [Day of Gracious Living].”

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Commission Announces Vote for Dissolution, Restructuring