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Paying College Council?

A recent article by the Williams Record discusses a recent town hall-style meeting discussing the future of the College Council:

College Council (CC) held a town hall in the Dodd House dining room on the evening of Oct. 22 as part of an internal review in the wake of a contentious spring semester. Last spring, CC faced criticism for its hesitance to fund Black Previews, its decision not to recognize the Williams Initiative for Israel and its low-engagement election in which Papa Smurf was elected as a representative for the Class of 2021. The organization also faced a one-semester drop in approval from 22 percent to 7 percent, according to a May 2019 Record survey.

According to the article, a number of proposals were discussed, including complete disbandment of the Council and allocation of its funding functions to the Office of Student Life.  I thought one of the more interesting ideas was to pay College Council members:

As an alternative to greater administrative power, several students suggested compensating CC or Financial Committee members. “There’s a lot of unpaid student labor on campus,” Morgan Whaley ’20 said. “For the administration to see institutions like CC or JAs [Junior Advisors] or housing as such integral parts of the tradition of this college, but then also not [care] about the students who actually run those, I think is problematic.”

I don’t agree that College Council members should be paid because they are providing “unpaid labor” to College.  In many areas of life, people volunteer their time for the betterment of their communities, both private organizations and public commissions.  Different people volunteer for all kinds of reasons:  wanting to help others, wanting to have influence on policy or programs, wanting to network in hopes of getting benefits down the road, wanting to build a resume, etc.  College is a good time for members of the community to get into the habit of making these judgments about what is a good use of their time.  In the case of College Council, it appears as though there is little interest in its work in the student body as a whole.  This should allow those who are interested in influencing how it works the opportunity to get involved and have a real say in what happens.

What do you think?  Is the College taking advantage of students by not paying them?  Or are the non-monetary rewards sufficient in your view?

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7 Comments To "Paying College Council?"

#1 Comment By Frank Abagnale, Jr. On November 5, 2019 @ 11:17 am

Absolutely insane to think that the best solution to the dysfunction and unpopularity of CC is to start paying its members… you can’t even make this stuff up. Williams has always been a hotbed and exemplar of some of the worst entitlement issues of the younger generations, but this is beyond the pale.

#2 Comment By AIDAN On November 5, 2019 @ 3:22 pm

I like that CC went from a whopping 22% approval rating to a 7% approval rating. Good thing there aren’t real elections in the 01267!

#3 Comment By Whitney Wilson ’90 On November 5, 2019 @ 3:31 pm

That is an astonishingly small number of approval votes. I hope that the CC can get out of its current predicament. It permits some important elements of student governance, and it would be a shame to see it fizzle out of existance.

#4 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On November 5, 2019 @ 6:43 pm

> I don’t agree that College Council members should be paid

You’re right.

#5 Comment By Anonymous On November 5, 2019 @ 8:24 pm

They have a budget of 500k to spend.

How is it possible to have 500k to spend on student activities and be a7%?

You could give every Williams Student 2.5k in beer a year with 500K…

How is it possible to be at 7%?

#6 Comment By fendertweed On November 5, 2019 @ 8:52 pm

Pay them? Absurd.

#7 Comment By Basic math On November 6, 2019 @ 12:35 am

Anonymous: As part of their tuition, Williams students each contribute $121 per semester toward funding student events and activities on campus, totaling approximately $500,000.

Where is this 2.5k in beer coming from?