Lawrence history through the archives

Julia Stringfellow

A forum on the history of LUCC was held Wednesday evening, Feb. 17, and as I prepared for it, I looked through the records of LUCC and its predecessors and past Lawrentians and noticed four things.
First, LUCC has always been a community government comprised of both students and faculty since it was created in 1968.
Second, there has always been a need to increase understanding in the Lawrence community of what LUCC does. How does LUCC get students and faculty to care about what happens at General Council meetings, and how does LUCC get them to learn about the candidates running for the annual presidential and vice-presidential elections and actually vote?
The third thing I learned is that meetings of LUCC and its predecessors have always been open to all members of the Lawrence community.
Finally, The Lawrentian has always documented the activities of the student government and then the community government by reporting on elections and on meetings. This coverage goes back to 1929 when the first student government at Lawrence, the Student Senate, was founded.
The Student Senate consisted of students only and served as Lawrence’s student government until 1951 when its name was changed to the Student Executive Council. The council was active until 1965 when the name was changed back to the Student Senate.
These student governments held weekly meetings to discuss issues such as the student activities fees and learn about activities done by student committees. The Student Senate of the 1960s consisted of 44 students and did not have any legislative power in making decisions for the student body.
Those decisions were made by the faculty, who controlled all aspects of academic and nonacademic student activities. The faculty met regularly in closed sessions, and a faculty committee, the Committee on Administration, reported to the faculty body on various student issues.
In the mid-1960s, a trend began to appear at colleges throughout the country, including Lawrence: Students wanted a more active role in the daily operations occurring at their universities.
Talk began at Lawrence of creating a community council of both faculty and students that would have legislative power in making non-curricular decisions for students. A committee was formed by the Student Senate to look into this possibility, and both faculty and students were in strong support of this new community government. April 1, 1968, the faculty voted for this new council, and students voted for it with 849 votes in favor and 19 votes against.
The first LUCC meeting took place May 1968 in the Riverview Lounge of Memorial Union, now known as Memorial Hall. LUCC meetings would be held there until the Warch Campus Center was completed and the meetings moved there in Sept. 2009. The first president of LUCC was Steve Ponto, and the first vice-president was Ann Eliot.
Legislation passed during LUCC’s first five years regarded motor vehicle registration and having cars on campus, the expansions of dorm visitation hours, and a drug policy. The dress code was suspended, and the Viking Room was established in Memorial Union.
After five years, a committee was formed in 1973 to look into the effectiveness of LUCC and whether Lawrence should continue to have a community government or return to a student government.
Based on the legislation that LUCC had passed and surveys taken by faculty and students, the committee determined that LUCC was a thriving community government and should continue to function as such. LUCC, a group that was experimentally established, continues to function as a community government today.
There is plenty more I could write about LUCC’s history, but I will conclude by saying that the records of the Student Senate, the Student Executive Council, and LUCC are housed in the University Archives and are accessible to anyone who wishes to view them and learn more about Lawrence’s student and community governments.

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