Community Needs Strong Senate
Over this past semester Oberlin students have seen major changes
that effect the quality and accessibility of our education and the
strength and diversity of our student community.
From the elimination of the MRC interns to tuition increases, the
dramatic number of student groups not applying for SFC funding,
lack of student participation (and awareness) of trustee forums
and changes to the work-study program, it is clear that something
is wrong with the student bodys ability to have a strong voice
in affairs both on and off campus that have major effects on our
community. The major questions are: whose job it is to organize
the student body to get issues addressed and how they can do a better
job of it.
While there are many groups and organizations that have a voice
on campus for different groups of students, the only official body
that is charged with representing the student body is Student Senate.
This letter is not intended to be an attack on student senate, they
are a dedicated group of students that (for the most part) take
their jobs very seriously and work hard to be a voice for the students.
Rather this letter is an urgent appeal to senate to realize that
more needs to be done and to rethink their mission and role on campus
so that they can be a better watchdog for the student body.
Student Senate needs to be more then a voice of the students to
the administration, Senate should be the locus of student activities
on campus. More then represent students, Senate needs to have a
vision for what they want the campus to look like and work to organize
the different groups on campus and the general student body to achieve
that vision and create an atmosphere on campus where students are
active participants in college affairs.
This may be a tall order for Student Senate, which already has a
lot of things on its plate, however, many student governments and
state student associations have brought in outside groups such as
USSA (the United States Student Association) or SET (Student Empowerment
Training) to help them develop the skills and vision they need to
build a stronger student senate that can serve as an effective organizer
and watchdog for the administration and state government.
Now more then ever Oberlin College needs a strong Student Senate.
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