During this Monday’s Student Commission (StuComm) meeting, Vice President Rian Brown ‘16 and Secretary of Records Emily Sklar ‘15 announced to the commission that they will be serving their last quarters as Commissioners.
Both Commissioners expressed that StuComm didn’t give them the platform to cause meaningful change at the College and they were unsure of the role of Student Commission.
“I feel that being a student commissioner was no longer a platform for me to fight for racial justice on campus,” said Rian Brown, who identifies as a Student Organizer.
Brown has been on the Commission since the fall of her freshman year and doesn’t believe her time on StuComm has been a waste. She also expressed that Student Commission doesn’t cause change on campus. She said change instead comes from students uprising and organizing together.
Emily Sklar didn’t make her reason for leaving StuComm public but she expressed similar sentiments.
“StuComm has let me learned how the administration works,” said Sklar. “It doesn’t give power but gives knowledge.”
During the meeting many other Commissioners expressed the belief that StuComm isn’t involved with Student Organizations (StuOrgs) or the student body.
“People from other StuOrgs come the to meetings just for budget request,” said Commissioner Srah Bragg’17. “Students don’t trust us, we need to build trust within student body.”
First Year Commissioner Kate Liska expressed that other StuOrgs don’t feel comfortable coming to StuComm and that some committees, such as Multicultralism and Diversity, deserve more attention than others.
Commissioner Andrew Kaylor ‘17 said that StuComm has created some change even though it won’t be the most meaningful for diversity and multiculturalism issues.
“Change is being made for campus on a whole,” said Kaylor. “Small things have happened and big things as well.”
Secretary of Student Affairs Mele Makalo ‘15 said that the Student Commission has constant turnover and allows her to work with new groups of people, unlike other leadership positions. She also said she can still speak with the administration and cause change in groups outside of StuComm.
“What does it mean to be on StuComm? I still don’t know,” said Makalo. “I know that power exists, but I’m not sure how to utilize it.”
Commissioner Will Guedes ’15 also expressed the idea that individuals within StuComm are trying to create change individually and they don’t necessarily need StuComm to do so.
With everyone discussing the Commission’s role, Secretary of Communications Skylar Young ‘15 noted that for StuComm to change its structure, it would have to change itself fundamentally. This led Bragg to bring up the idea of StuComm being an anti-racist organization.
“Some Commissioners let power go to their head,” said Bragg. “We need to represent all the students—not just some of them.”
Many Commissioner then discussed the ways StuComm can work collectively with within itself as well as with other StuOrgs.
“Having people who are anti-racist isn’t going to make the structure less racist,” said Young. “Coalitions of people that work together do.”
Emily Sklar proposed that each Commissioner serves as a representative for each Stu Org so that they can communicate among each other better.
Brown hopes that this situation doesn’t create fear—the large problem she cited existing within white-dominated power structures.
“That’s the issue with white supremacy power instead of addressing structural issues they just cover it up by saying they won’t do a bad thing again,” said Rian.
President Cameron Goodall ’15 hopes the Commission reflects the will to create change and the efficacy to critically evaluate themselves.
“We need to be more accountable among ourselves as a Commission for the sake of the student body,” concluded Goodall.