Not so ‘NEW’ College – Ecstatic Wonder through the years

The New College Student Alliance holds the NCSA constitution to be the primary text of the NCSA; it delineates the entire structure and attitude of our student alliance. Modern versions of the constitution contain plenty of funny quips of their own, but a November 1987 copy of the constitution shows how the NCSA has evolved over the past few decades. The jokes have remained as terrible as ever.

According to a copy of the five-page 1987 constitution that was stored in the NCSA Archives, the constitution has six founding fathers: alums Peter Tepley, Henry Smyth, Larry Lewack, Robert Lincoln, Don Thieme and Terry Hallman (modern copies of the constitution have since shed the heading denoting the founding fathers).

Article I, “The President”, lists that the President will also be known as “‘The Grand Poo-Bah’, ‘Captain Kirk’”, a reference to the captain of the USS Enterprise and main character of the 1960s show Star Trek. A subsection of Article I identifies the Secretary/Treasurer, who is also known as “‘Uhuru’” [sic], the communications officer from the same show. Evidently the writers of this version of the constitution were total nerds.

Article III, “The Student Affairs Council”, a precursor to both the modern Student Allocations Committee (SAC) and Committee of Student Life (CSL), has a subheading of “Bread and Circuses”, whatever that means. Composed of six voting members, two students each from first years, second years, and third years or older, as well as several non-voting members such as Resident Advisors (RAs), the food committee, etc.

Student Court in this era held more power than the modern version of this group. Along with all the duties they carry today, the court (“a.k.a. The Tribunal”, the constitution reads), the Student Court also held hearings for cases referred to them by Student Affairs and the police, similar to what the present-day Community Board looks like.

The Towne Meeting (at the time officially titled the Student Assembly) was held every other week in 1987, as opposed to its current once-a-month schedule, and was chaired by the President of the NCSA rather than a Speaker, whose position is devoted entirely to running and chairing the Towne Meeting.

The election codes of 1987, interestingly, have remained virtually unchanged, including the requirements for petitioning to appear on the ballot. Despite a fairly significant growth in student population, the number of signatures required to apply for a position in the NCSA remains now, as it was in 1987, 25 signatures for most positions and 50 signatures for a presidential nominee. However, the President would, according to the timeline laid out in Article VI, assume their role the Monday after Thanksgiving, immediately after being elected.

Article VII of the constitution lists the “Bill of Student Rights,” including the right to know all rights granted to students and the right to express their views freely. Not listed in this version of the constitution is a right clearly established in the modern version of the document, clearly stating that students are permitted to own dinosaurs, “however, any student wishing to raise velociraptors must reside either off ­campus or in B Dorm.” Apparently in 1987, students were denied the right to keep their own extinct reptilian friend.

The final article of the 1987 constitution states the following in section 8.6: “The New College Student Alliance shall embrace the following symbols: A, Brownie the Dog as Mascot. B, Palm Court as the Center of the Universe. C, the old Sculpture and Ceramics Studio as School Slum. D, Our motto: ‘There’s more to running a starship than answering a bunch of damn fool questions!’ (This motto makes more sense when the President is labeled Captain Kirk). D, Our Mission: ‘That the natural state of man is ecstatic wonder! That we should not settle for les!!’”

Our mascot has since changed to ‘[ ]’ and we no longer have an official School Slum, but the spirit more or less remains the same, and we still do demand no less than ecstatic wonder.


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