The New College Student Alliance (NCSA) held a meeting on Oct. 1 in HCL 8 explaining the pros and cons of the newly proposed government, due to the confusing structure of the existing government. Those interested were greeted with refreshments and were granted access to open discussion.
At the front of the auditorium, the aspects of the NCSA were debated by thesis students Casey Dodge and Adrian Rosario during the meeting. A projected power-point of charts and diagrams outlined the the current government as well as detailed plans for the structure of the proposed new government. The meeting was very interactive allowing students to text questions into the panel, run by third-year Daniel Anderson-Little, as well as turn in index cards with questions written on them. The questions were answered quickly and precisely, with only some signs of argument.
Some students feel the structure of the government as it stands makes it difficult to manage the immense number of representatives. In fact, ten percent of the student body are in elected positions in the NCSA with 12 representatives consistently meeting with administration. This process is thought to be superfluous and inefficient in running the NCSA, especially in cases of funding.
“We don’t think that dividing the power into a bunch of different positions would be beneficial because then it would be difficult to get stuff passed and stuff done,” first-year Eugenia Quintanilla said. “If you have one person that specifically has all the power even though it’s divided amongst many, I don’t know. I just disagree with that system.”
In addition to the charts and diagrams projected at the meeting, a list of pros and cons were addressed. The structure is based on a tried and tested model from the University of Wisconsin. This proposed government gives more power to the Towne Meeting, which subsequently would become the main source of authority. If the new government is adopted, its structure would be flexible and overall more effective. According to the proposed model, it would have a dependence on student involvement allowing more of the student body to feel included, even if they are not holding an elected position.
“Our dependence on student involvement really makes our student government unique,” Dodge said.
However, Town Meetings that encourage students to voice their opinions are notorious for having the same people show up to every meeting. In order for the new system to work, this would have to change. Furthermore, the current government already has a strong executive branch, and with the large body of representatives, the College Student Affairs (CSA) could accomplish more. Some believe it is a rushed decision to vote during the fall semester, and believe it would be beneficial to vote on the reformation in the spring semester when everyone is more adjusted. It appeared that there was a group consensus that student involvement will not change within a couple of months.
Students’ expectations of the outcome seem to differ. According to first-year Matt Kirchman, most people will vote in favor of the referendum.
“It is something new and they think it’s cool,” Kirchman said. “It’s something new and progressive and liberal. I personally don’t agree with it […] it decentralizes power far too much and puts far too much power in the hands of too many people, and we barely make quorum at the Town Meetings. The political activism is not quite there to spread out power among almost 49 different government positions.”
For third-year Cymri Mellen-Jones, he believes whatever the outcome, it will be difficult.
“There will be a lot of student consternation at whatever decision takes precedent,” Mellen-Jones said. “I’m honestly not sure if anyone knows how it might turn out, but that’s one of the major worries is that well, it’s all fun and good but how do you make something like this happen?”