The Student Commission (StuComm) Executive Board met last Monday to discuss with the general commission about dissolving and rebuilding their current structure to include more of the student body.
“If we continue to utilize the constitution and by-laws as something that guides StuComm, I think it’s best to rid StuComm,” said Makalo. “There’s no need for the constitution or Robert’s Rules because we’re the ones that gives it meaning and it quite frankly doesn’t mean much to the student body or to us.”
After former Vice President Rian Brown ’16 resigned last week, the Executive Board now consists of President Cameron Goodall ‘15, Secretary of Finance Amanda Johnson ‘17, Secretary of Student Affairs Mele Makalo ‘15 and Secretary of Communications Skylar Young ’15.
Makalo attended last week’s campus meeting on safety and inclusion on campus and noticed many students wanting more community dialogue. Some students think of the Commission as a place that facilitates this dialogue.
“The work that we do should come out of genuine interest of the well-being of our peers and [from] our community both within K and outside of K,” said Makalo.
During her time at K, Makalo created and strengthened relationships with various members of the community. She realized that each faculty and staff member holds power that influences the student experience in different ways. She mentioned the only way to enact change is when everyone works collectively.
Secretary of Communications Skylar Young agreed. She said Makalo brought up the issues the Commission had in the past with other student organizations (StuOrgs), specifically M.E.Ch.A (el Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano y Chicana de Aztlán).
“The structure of StuComm is not working. This is not the first time something has been done about it. A student-led recall orchestrated by M.E.Ch.A. two years ago sought to challenge this oppressive structure,” said Young. “We need to be reminded of this recent historical event because it should reinvigorate current sentiments to dissolve as a body so as to create a commission that actually serves the goals we are seeking and create those goals through a coalition based initiative.”
Johnson said by dissolving the current structure of StuComm, a new structure (that relies on critical thinking, reflection and discussion) could be put in its place that is beneficial to the student body.
“StuComm needs to rid itself of the elitist perceptions. Get rid of the formal rules, they only exist for formality’s sake,” said Johnson.
She wants StuOrgs to know that the budget process will continue as normal and requests are still being reviewed. The Commission is now looking at alternate ways to structure funds during this process of dissolving and rebuilding. A notice will be given if a new budget structure is created.
Johnson said she has grown professionally and personally through her experience with StuComm, as it has allowed her to lead. But after joining StuComm, she has noticed most of her time spent with the Commission hasn’t been the most effective.
“StuComm has consumed a large amount of my time and that time consumption. I have sat in many meetings that could have been a three sentence email. Much of the work StuComm has done over the past few years has been busy work with little long-term impact,” said Johnson.
President Goodall said he wants to see StuComm become more comprehensive of the student body. “The Commission does not structurally require balanced representation across campus. Hopefully, whatever comes from this forms a demand for a collective voice from students,” he said.