Since last term, many students have been concerned about the value and impact that their voices have on the Lawrence campus–especially when they confront those voices of the administration. In the ensuing weeks of second term, students expressed their concern to administrators through committee meetings, open forums, editorials in The Lawrentian, and just about every other avenue they could pursue. Early this term, after an open forum between students and selected administrative staff regarding the changes in the senior class dinner, the administration asked the senior class to form a committee for the purpose of developing further recommendations concerning this dinner. In response to this proposed resolution, The Lawrentian issued a staff editorial that asked students not to allow the administration to merely pacify them by this action. We were concerned that this committee would merely be a means for the administration to say “Look, we consulted students, but we still will follow the recommendations made prior to student input.”
We are happy and proud to say that we were wrong.
The administration received student recommendations candidly, and they whole-heartedly took them into consideration. Several improved programming changes came out of these recommendations, including moving the dinner to an off-campus location and reopening the Viking Room for seniors and Faculty for a two-hour reception after the dinner. What is even more important than these compromises is the value and respect with which the administration treated students’ opinions. They reevaluated prior decisions and included student input in their final resolution. This outcome speaks to the emphasis and worth Lawrence places on student voice as well as reestablishes the respect that both administrators and students have for each other.
In addition to these resolutions made regarding the senior dinner, Dean Truesdell has expressed the desire to hold lunches with students in order to better evaluate the climate for students on this campus. Again, this step is significant in opening the lines of communication between students and administration.
We applaud the efforts made by both students and administrators in reestablishing and reaffirming the trust in and respect for one another.