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Trustee’s reject Hallahan’s report

Justin Tardiff | Friday, October 17, 2003

The Board of Trustees rejected a proposal presented Thursday by Student Government officers that called for changes in the composition of the Campus Life Council.

Student Body President Pat Hallahan and Vice President Jeremy Lao presented the report, “A New Attitude: Student Government and the Campus Life Council,” which suggested that the body’s name be changed to “Student Life Council” and that its membership be altered to include a more diverse array of representatives from the faculty, administration and student body.

“When we all get together, we can make things better at the University,” Hallahan said, stating that changes must be made to ensure that the voice of the students is more effectively and consistently heard.

He complained of “stuff the administration does that we don’t know about that we would want to be a part of.”

The Student Government officers told the Board they want an expanded role and more high-level dialogue because every decision made at the University either directly or indirectly affects the students.

“Therefore, we feel that [for] every decision, we should have some type of say whatsoever in that decision-making process,” Lao said.

The Board, however, maintained that the bylaws and structure already set forth for the CLC by the University is adequate for its purpose.

One board member said she was “impressed with the quantity and quality of resolutions” passed by the CLC, while another said he had reviewed the bylaws outlining the body and had found them well conceived and thoughtful.

The Observer has a policy of not attributing quotes to specific members of the board.

Hallahan, however, said the CLC very often ignores subjects of particular interest to students, citing student government’s attempts to address RA orientation policies and teacher course evaluations as examples.

Board members refuted this claim by pointing out that he, as chairperson of the CLC, has the power to set the agenda and invite the members for discussion.

The Board also said they were “disappointed” with the Student Government’s choice of topic for their presentation. Last May, Board members had recommended that Student Governement re-examine and restructure itself to increase its effectiveness, and they said they had expected a more extensive report at this meeting.

“Is this your only focus – to get student voice heard?” one member asked.

“I was a little disappointed to see that you did a report on the CLC,” another Board member said, reminding the student officers that last year’s Board meeting had spoken to them about “the need to look at the whole Student Government.”

“I really was hoping that that’s where your efforts would go,” she said.

Hallahan, however, said the restructuring was a process, one in which this report figured as the first step.

He asked for Board recommendations and advice about how to further improve Student Government.

“Let us know where you feel our place should be,” Hallahan said.

Board members, however, rejected all the student officers’ requests and proposals, continuing their support of the old structures and advising Student Government to eradicate inefficiencies in other ways.

“It’s bothersome to me that the student body president is coming to us and saying, ‘Where do we fit in?'” one Board member said.

After the presentation, however, Hallahan said he appreciated the criticism and considers it extremely constructive for Student Government.

“We had a very, very honest dialogue, and we have a very good direction to go from here,” Hallahan said.

“They were very harsh, and I thought they were great,” he said. “This is where we are at; this is where we need to be.”