Since the recent election of new LUCC leadership, creative ideas for improving the governing institution have begun circulating around campus. One innovative concept that caught the attention of The Lawrentian editorial board regards efforts to reform representation of the General Council of LUCC.
One way for LUCC to broaden its campus impact is to reorganize itself. Currently, Lawrence’s governing body is made up student representatives from various geographic districts on campus. For instance, Ormsby Hall and Hiett Hall together comprise of a district that has three representatives on LUCC General Council. While this system is sensible and relatively easy to follow, it may not be effective for a community of students.
We at The Lawrentian believe that students at Lawrence associate themselves less with arbitrary locations and more with defined causes, activities, interests and academic platforms. Although most students choose where they live each year, they do not choose the community — i.e. the group of students — with which they reside. To truly represent the student body, LUCC should consider forming a government that consists of districts of constituents who identify with each other.
If district representatives represented student constituencies with unique concerns, General Council might find some of the legislative energy that it seeks. Currently, student constituencies are evenly dispersed across all districts because, in general, campus is well-integrated. Only small houses contain groups of students with common goals, and they are usually mixed with larger halls in LUCC districts; for example, Greenfire is in Kohler Hall’s district.
We at The Lawrentian support the notion of reorganizing districts to represent the natural clusters of students on campus. LUCC representatives should represent groupings of common interests, student organizations or whole academic departments. For instance, all the environmental organizations could form a representative block. Other groupings might include the Conservatory as a whole, the various Greek organizations or Lawrence athletics.
This new method should also offer students the option to register as part of one of the four academic divisions, and first-year students could have their own representatives. Of course, students would need to register as part of a single grouping. By choosing their representative grouping, students would be provided the opportunity to make a choice about what they believe is important on campus and which groups truly matter to them.
A new conceptual basis for representation would help re-energize LUCC and bring to the forefront of General Council the issues that students are most concerned about. This would also give elected representatives a clear focus to their initiatives.
While LUCC has been a model of innovation and student leadership among student legislatures, it might benefit from structural improvement. We at The Lawrentian would like to suggest this plan as an idea for the new President and Vice-President, Jake Woodford and Nicholas Paulson, to consider as they transition into their new roles.