Staff Editorial

Last year LUCC was faced, as usual, with the task of filling a number of student committees. The process can involve many hours of work tabling and interviewing, and LUCC President Pete Snyder and Vice President Chris Bowman saw the arrangement, in some instances, as less than productive. A number of committees that LUCC filled were meeting only rarely and were not making proposals to LUCC.
The difference between an LUCC committee and a regular student organization is that an LUCC committee can propose legislation and make other motions. Committees are also afforded certain customary privileges, such as higher speaking priority at LUCC meetings. But not all of them utilize these privileges, and the title of “LUCC Committee” comes with certain bureaucratic responsibilities, such as being required to meet a certain number of times a year and to report on those meetings to LUCC.
Snyder wrote a bylaw amendment to cut several committees that did not seem to need the LUCC title, and Bowman introduced the change. Had the new bylaw been approved, the committees would have become student organizations, without the hassle or the privileges that come with being an LUCC committee. Two of the groups under discussion were the Committee on Multicultural Affairs and the Publications Board. Neither had proposed legislation or shown need of their committee status in recent years, as far as LUCC could see.
The change was introduced for discussion, however, without the notification of either committee. Members of the committees, upon finding out about the proposal, voiced their dissatisfaction. The change under discussion at this point is for Multicultural Affairs and the Publications Board to remain under LUCC, but to take responsibility for filling their own seats and choosing whether or not to give reports on their meetings.
The current change under discussion seems reasonable, but the events leading up to it reveal some troublesome issues of communication between LUCC and its committees. In fact, there had been so little communication between these committees and LUCC that, had members of the committees not found out about the situation, a decision could have been made without the committees even being aware that their own status under LUCC was under discussion. The fact that those involved in the introduction of the bylaw change did not think that it was not necessary to inform the committees of their proposal puts LUCC’s relationship with the student body in a questionable light.
Perhaps this recent conflict will mark the beginning of renewed communication and exchange of energy between LUCC and its committees. The Publications Board is utilized so intermittently that many students are unaware of its existence. The Committee on Multicultural Affairs, however, meets frequently, but does not often address LUCC-related issues such as funding and legislation. We urge these committees and committees like them to bear in mind their LUCC status and how they might utilize the privileges that come with that status. If members of a committee believe that they may need to propose legislation in the future, or if that privilege is an integral part of what they do already, they should take it upon themselves to stay informed of LUCC proceedings. Likewise, LUCC should make such information available to committees. The kind of disconnected communication that came to a head in the past month is the sort that can lead to a schism between the student body and their representatives. We think that dialogue between LUCC officers and other members of the student body should be a leading directive force in the LUCC decision-making process. The purpose of LUCC is to represent the Lawrence community, and to do so requires constant, reliable solicitation and consideration of student input.