As David has pointed out, Oren Cass is doing a very good job pointing out the idiocy of College Council, here‘s his latest. I obviously can’t speak for how effective College Council was 5 or 10 years ago, my sense from talking with some senior administrators who are equally frustrated with the current CC as others are is that in the past it has been a useful debating body that actually did good for the student body. This seems to indicate that there is not a systemic failure, simply one of leadership of late.

Oren is rightly jumping on CC for worrying about its logo as a way of gaining legitimacy. The problem of late is that every year they waste their time on some meaningless gimmick to give themselves legitimacy rather than actually trying to accomplish stuff that will earn them the student body’s respect. This is a point I raised last year in an editorial:

Another issue currently being kicked around by CC’s leadership is the name of the Council. In an e-mail to the Council, CC treasurer Mike Henry suggested changing CC’s name to “something like Student Senate, Student Government, or even College Governing Council.” According to Henry, there is “so much in a name, and I think this change could be one step in the direction of achieving more legitimacy for Council.”

CC is justifiably concerned with achieving more legitimacy from the student body. The way to do this, however, is not by spending five weeks haggling over its leadership or whether College Council is a “weak and ambiguous name.” The way to gain respect from the student body is to fight for causes the student body cares about.

Even if some consider parking a smaller issue, the broader question of transparency looms over this discussion. How did the administration use the same argument for months to keep students out of the garage when one piece of paper in town hall appears to refute the basis of the College’s entire argument, at least for 67 spaces?

Even if CC, for some reason, considers parking a small issue, there are other areas where it could focus its attention. The College’s plans for student services once Baxter is taken off-line – a subject the administration has said it welcomes and, in fact, needs student input on – is another issue CC should be actively pursuing. An organized student voice is needed as well to assure the availability of performance space for student organizations after all of the construction projects are completed.

Unfortunately, CC is not addressing these issues. That is why it has a legitimacy problem.

Similarly, three years ago when the CUL released a well-thought out report that had been researched over 18 months, both CC and the then-“House Presidents” reflexively rejected it in its entirety after less than a half-hour discussion in each case. These people simply do not think about issues seriously (I’m not referring to all members of Council — some are individually thoughtful — simply the general trend).

I guess at some point serious people will again take over College Council, but I don’t see an end in sight to this lunacy that has been going on for years.

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