A meaningful student voice



I have always been a big advocate for student government and a strong, unified base of students. A healthy student government is one that can maintain an effective working relationship with our administrative overlords, accurately represent the opinions and needs of the students they represent, and most importantly, accomplish the goals the government decides it can achieve to improve the experience of the students. I can safely say that after sitting in on almost all of this year’s StuCo meetings, this group of student leaders is doing its job and doing it well.

A meaningful student government that can represent its student base is necessary to facilitate deemphasizing an administration that I believe is no longer in touch with the students they are trying to govern. This is apparent following the Core Values initiative, and the gender equity discussions, both of which showed only minority student interest. I firmly believe that any group of young adults in a school must have a governing body in order to function. However, the fundamental difference between me and the administration is that I believe the students should have a more heavily weighted say in the decisions that affect them.

Therefore, when the administration is making decisions, StuCo should have a weighted voice in them. This would allow actions made by the administration to reflect the voice of the students, which StuCo represents. This should start with the administration reconsidering which pushes they keep or cut, using StuCo’s opinion as a filter. This would allow for the actions made by administration that affect students to reflect student voice. Doing this would enable students to participate in greater numbers and with more sincerity during administration-led activities.

Recently, the community participated in a Core Values exercise. We were asked to highlight the characteristics from our Mission Statement that we feel are most important to us. The administration would not have created that exercise if they did not feel that there would be some sort of widespread impact or effect. The notion that the students and faculty could define these values themselves is relatively new, considering that in the past, the areas on which the administration focused were cherry-picked by themselves. Administrative action that pertains to students should continue to ask for student voice, either directly, as done through the Core Values exercise, or indirectly through StuCo.

I attended the StuCo meeting where the Core Values initiative was introduced and numerous valid concerns were raised over the course of the meeting. It was enough to warrant questioning whether the Student Council even agreed if it would be a good idea to implement. If the StuCo was, at the time, empowered to say no to these types of proposals from the administration, would we have gone through the exercise in the first place?

A complacent student body that is indifferent to the fact that the administration has marginalized our student government will never see change in favor of the interests of the students. We must demonstrate our support, show that our council has the backing of the students, and prove that the council is representative of what direction we as students feel the school should be going in. StuCo is far from perfect, but if we are more involved then we can also shape the StuCo into what we want it to be. We have the potential, but we have to act on it. This starts by attending events they host. Let us stand together as a student body and at least attempt to obtain a legitimate voice when cooperating with the administration.