This is a regular feature to examine the information in the weekly Trinitonian editorial. I love the Trinitonian and the students who run it. Sometimes, however there are more nuances to the issue than they have space for. Besides, electronic media allows for there to be "watchdog" watchdogs. Editorials are rated by "hits," as in blog hits, with one being worst and 5 being best. If they are published on-line I will provide links.
The Trinitonian editorial staff came out swinging this week, citing recent decisions as mounting evidence of unilateral University decision-making that is insensitive to student needs. That allegation always stings.
First up is the Student Affairs decision to take authority away from the Greek Judicial Board because it was struggling to manage cases effectively. Greeks were the only ones on campus getting the chance to judge its own members on hazing cases, and the outcome has been questionable at best. It has proven too big a challenge to hear cases regarding other organizations knowing the same groups could be in the judgment role the following week. The University extended this privilege to allow the Greek Council to self-govern, but it hasn't really worked. So now all student organizations and individuals will face the same judicial process in the future. The Trinitonian staff wanted the students to have another chance. They may not realize that this experiment has been tried - and failed - before.
Second, Residential Life implemented a group housing community initiative program several years ago in response to a campus-wide Quality of Student Life Task Force that recommended more self-governing options for upper-class students. That program was delayed a year because of student objections (this was in 2001-2002). The program then met with initial success, but over the last three years has grown stale, with no credible new communities seeking to be added. The ones who continued were marginal in fulfilling the goals of the program. (Self governance is work and is different than no governance.) This was all due to the implementation of the Sophomore College - an outcome of another task force with broad student representation.
Last year Residential Life wanted to terminate the Community Initiative program. ASR was consulted and suggested letting it die a slow death. (Trinitonian staffers would know that if they attended student government meetings.) It has died that death, and in consultation with the groups themselves, has been discontinued. In its place is a block housing program allowing groups of students to reserve larger blocks of space together in the lightly staffed upper-class area. There are many advantages to this for students.
The Trinitonian staff feels that the administration is making too many one-sided decisions. Interestingly, they were invited to observe the entire recent campus conduct review committee (and failed to show until the last meeting). They fail to communicate clearly that the changes to spring room reservation have been made with full student consultation. Those changes include a better system for juniors to request to move off campus.
What they have done instead is drag out tired old situations that they were unhappy about before, in an effort to demonstrate a pattern that, in my opinion, isn't there and ignores other popular student-led initiatives. That's what college papers do, and at least ours does it respectfully. Despite evidence otherwise, the Trinitonian continues to contend that students weren't consulted when the last student-heavy task force recommended Sophomore College - with full ASR support. The truth is, students objected when the first year area was created. They objected to the Community Initiative program. And they resisted the recommendations by the Upper-class Task Force. Naturally the Trinitonian editorial staff has a memory as long as their experience here. They contend we don't reverse decisions when students protest them. They fail to acknowledge that student opinion is often in opposition when programs either begin or end. That is the nature of administrator-student relationships. I invite the Trinitonian to consider the perspective of the the administration: The long view.
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