Donal O’Shea and members of the Task Force met with a group of about 70 students to discuss Task Force recommendations and the next steps to see them through. Student feedback at the meeting, held on Sept. 21, called for different specialized groups within the Task Force.
“It was clear from the discussion and from the open meeting that [Provost] Steve Miles and I had the week before that there is much grief, mistrust and hurt among students and other community members,” O’Shea said in an email to the New College community. “So, in addition, my staff and I will work with the [New College Student Alliance (NCSA)] and others to repair relations among various groups in our community.”
Four working groups were established at the meeting: Student Code of Conduct, Community Board, Wellness and Outdoor Spaces. The four groups will consist of students, faculty and staff.
“I think these groups look promising,” second-year and Task Force member Lorraine Cruz said. “However, I feel like we can’t be too quick to judge how effective it will be because this is a new process for all of us and we’re just learning.”
The Student Code of Conduct group will model the Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) policies in the New College student code of conduct after the policies at Reed College in Portland, Oregon. The group will include General Counsel Mark St. Louis and Dean of Students Tracy Murry.
The Community Board group will look at the role the community board plays. The community board serves as a court structure that evaluates students who have violated the student code of conduct. This group will observe past community board procedures and discuss how it enforces community standards.
The Wellness Group will work on finding “positive programming options” while working alongside the health educator on other future plans. Health Educator Amanda “Mandy” Parente is on this committee.
The final group, Outdoor Spaces, will establish new ways to improve the campus aesthetically. This includes recommending areas in which smoking is or is not permitted, and providing students with spaces for relaxation, wellness and fitness.
“I think this process of implementing the task force recommendations has a more important focus which is to restore our sense of community and to regard each other with respect and create a communication flow between faculty, administration and the student body,” Cruz said.