Staff editorial: Lackluster engagement in student governance needs to change

This year, there were several notable issues with the housing selection process. Two different groups, Women’s Empowerment Loft and Delta Tau Delta, were rejected for on-campus housing and went into the appeals board. Both groups had their appeals rejected. Whether or not these groups should have been granted on-campus housing is beside the point; rather, we at the Lawrentian are most concerned with where the housing selection process failed, and how it can be adapted to better suit the needs of students.

Perhaps the most problematic aspect of the housing selection process was the application. Though an information session was held regarding expectations for the application, and guidelines for the application were given, each group naturally interpreted these guidelines differently. Once the applications reached the housing board, a separate and confidential rubric was used to judge each application. Though the rubric was generally based on the given guidelines, it would have been much more transparent for each group to be granted access to the rubric upon which they were being judged prior to completing their application. Several groups that had been rejected for housing were disappointed in the lack of transparency in LUCC. Additionally, groups were disappointed by the lack of diversity on the Group Living Selection Board. Though one would hope these concerns would encourage students to join student government, it appears to have had the opposite effect.

In General Council, it was announced that the university committees of LUCC were just barely filled with student representatives while the standing committees had very few applications and their selection process would have to continue till next year. It would seem that students who are disappointed in LUCC’s actions would prefer to steer clear of the organization altogether rather than take an active role.

We believe that student involvement in these committees is key for concerns such as the housing selection process because these committees exist for the sole purpose of getting various opinions into key decision making. Considering the Residence Life Committee does not have any representation from people of color, how can it be expected of those people of color who feel isolated from student government to apply for the Housing Selection Board chosen by Residence Life.

This trend of people not getting involved in student activism can also be seen in other key student organizations. The Lawrence International board, traditionally known for having one of the most competitive electoral processes had only four people contesting for three open spots in the first round of applications. Though we as Lawrence students pride ourselves on being actively involved in many extracurriculars, it seems some organizations are getting left in the dust in terms of student engagement.