What I think needs to change at Lawrence

Dave Broker

Last term I wrote an op-ed piece for The Lawrentian regarding this year’s LUCC presidential race. I criticized the two candidates for offering little in terms of change and proceeded to present my frustrations with LUCC in general.
Not surprisingly, it created quite the backlash. While many students told me they agreed – on some points if not others – there were many more who were disappointed or upset by my criticisms of our student government. Within a week I was contacted by now-former president Kaleesha Rajamantri, saw a rebuttal in The Lawrentian and found a new online survey over what LUCC could be doing better.
First let me apologize if that column offended anyone, for that was not my intent. I actually have tremendous respect for both candidates from the race and I believe Andy King will make a pretty good president over the next year. The points I raised were not meant to be attacks on them personally, but rather critiques of their campaigns. Furthermore, I am friends with a few students who sit on LUCC, and I am sure that all of the representatives in our student government are fine people. I attribute the problems I see in LUCC to systematic issues, not to individual members.
In fact, the single most daunting problem I see with our student government is that they don’t have enough power.
As I’ve explained to many of my fellow students who read the original editorial, my problems with LUCC – the bureaucratic difficulties, the budgetary issues, etc. – pale in comparison to my problems with the Lawrence University administration and board of trustees.
This is not to say I have a problem with any particular trustee or administrator – well, most of the time anyway. For the most part, I believe there are a number of structural and institutional problems that allow them to make poor decisions. I think that LUCC could serve our school better if they had more “checks-and-balances” power over these institutions.
Many of you will believe that’s only wishful thinking. Maybe so. But over the past four years I have become more and more frustrated with the direction in which this school has been moving. Many of these frustrations, furthermore, could have been quelled if only students had a little more say in the decisions made by the administration and trustees. Compared to the students at most Wisconsin colleges, Lawrence kids have remarkably little influence on campus affairs. We have extremely limited say over where most of our money goes. Accountability to the tuition-payers is virtually absent.
Well, my time at this institution is almost up, and it’s time I stopped holding my breath.
Over the next three weeks I will explain the problems I see with the current administration and Board of Trustees that I have gathered over my four years here and offer possible solutions to make this school more responsive to the student body.
“Light, More Light” is our school’s motto, and it’s time for me to shed some light on what needs to change.