Warch to appoint FGH committee

Jonathan Isaacson

In a move that surprised some members of LUCC, the policy regarding formal group housing (FGH) selection and review committee was changed just prior to the spring term. The primary difference in the policy is that the appointment of the committee members will be made by the school president, rather than LUCC, residence life, and other committees affiliated with FGH.

The FGH selection and review committee is composed of nine students and three faculty and staff members. Three of the students are to be selected from the current formal group houses not reapplying for a house.

Two student members are to be selected from the residence life committee. The final four student members are at-large, not affiliated with any group either living in or applying for FGH, and also not members of the residence life committee.

According to LUCC Parliamentarian Bill Dalsen, he, LUCC president Jacques Hacquebord, and LUCC vice president Ned Connors met with Lawrence president Rik Warch, dean of students Nancy Truesdell, and dean of faculty Brian Rosenberg shortly after returning to school from spring break. It was at this meeting that the three LUCC members learned of the new appointment process for the FGH selection and review committee.

According to Dalsen, LUCC is concerned with the decision for the administration to choose the committee because LUCC will not have any direct input into the selection.

Dalsen cited the by-laws of Lawrence in arguing for the right of LUCC in determining FGH policy.

The by-laws also formed the basis for the resolution recently passed by LUCC concerning FGH. According to Article VIII of the by-laws of the university, LUCC is entrusted and authorized to legislate on matters concerning student life and housing selection.

As Dalsen put it, “LUCC will have no input or receive any feedback,” two things he perceived as important in decisions concerning student residence decisions.

Dalsen also raised concern over the accountability of the committee. He said that the council is somewhat concerned because “there is no accountability for at least four committee members,” referring to the four at-large members of the committee.

Dalsen also voiced concern about this year’s FGH selection and the percentage of houses set aside for possible use in FGH, as well as the question of having a timeline with which to work in turning over the appointments to LUCC.

Addressing the question raised about the accountability of the committee, Warch said, “They are accountable to me and to the Lawrence community.”

He did concede that problems of accountability could arise if the committee were to grossly abuse its authority. But he stated, “I sense that most people felt that the procedures worked fairly and above the board last year and there is no reason for them not to this year.”

According to Warch, the decision was made to appoint the students through this process for several reasons, including time constraints on the FGH. Due to the short amount of time available for making the selections of FGH, the administration felt the need to take more direct control of the process.

The pending litigation in which the school is currently involved due to housing concerns of the fraternities and their alumni also played a role in making the decision for administration to take a more direct role.

Warch did concede that, ideally, the control of the FGH committee might be turned over to LUCC in the future. He did not want to put forward any timeline as to when that may happen, because the administration has no firm idea of when the control might be given to LUCC.

Warch also emphasized that the FGH process itself was not changing. There are still nine students on the committee and groups still have the same chance to apply for houses. The original procedures were only designed for the first year, and in subsequent years, they would change as necessary.

While some groups are likely to be upset by some of the new procedures, according to Warch, because the process is brand new, a certain amount of contention over FGH is to be expected.