President-Elect Malcolm Davis sits beside President Kelsi Bryant and Parliamentarian Jessica Toncler at the Feb. 23 General Council Meeting. Photos by Adam Fleischer.
During the General Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 23, LUCC voted to grant the Lawrence University Disability Working Group (LUDWiG) status as an official LUCC committee.
LUDWiG’s legislation was initially tabled on Feb. 9 due to the ‘two-week rule’ that indicates legislation cannot be approved upon its first viewing, according to senior Jessica Toncler, the Parliamentarian of LUCC. They may now operate as an official committee.
Becoming a committee is an important transition for LUDWiG as it allows for the creation of more structure and a more even distribution of work, said senior Maria Jankowski, a student representative for LUDWiG. Previously, members of the organization would shoulder a variety of different roles. As a committee, however, every member’s role is outlined clearly within the legislation. Through this transition, LUDWiG and their work should become more sustainable.
Currently, conversations regarding LUDWiG tend to be in one isolated context such as guiding coalitions, how to make campus more physically accessible and how to make buildings ADA compliant, Chair of LUDWiG and senior Alex Chand said. However, as a committee, LUDWiG has the opportunity to work more closely with administration and staff members in areas such as the Diversity and Intercultural Center, Wellness Services and the Center for Academic Success to serve the community at large. LUDWiG also plans to work with professors to make a Disabilities Studies Course, said Toncler.
“They have other things planned, and being a committee will help them do that with more than a student perspective as they’ll have more support from the administration as well,” Toncler said.
As a committee, LUDWiG will be required to meet eight times per term, with leadership alternating between the Chair of Committee and the Chair of Organization, Jankowski said. The Chair of the Committee’s tasks will include policy and legislation work, collaboration with other organizations such as the Student Welfare Committee (SWC) and talking with administration and faculty staff. Likewise, the Chair of the Organization will be in charge of programming events and discussions based around disability and diversity, Chand said. Due to the distinct responsibilities tied to each role, LUDWiG thought it was necessary to split the work between two chairs.
Although there is a special nomination process that needs to occur for the roles of Chair to be filled, current members of the organization first-year Rose Williams and sophomore Eileen Limon are being considered for the positions of Committee Chair and Organization Chair respectively. Other positions such as Social Chair, Treasurer and Grants Coordinator are in the process of being filled amongst the people who have been involved in LUDWiG, as they are already familiar with the organization’s ethos, mission and vision statement, said Chand. The current board will be there to guide and induct members into their new roles, according to Jankowski.
Membership is another aspect of the organization that will look different as it transitions to a committee, as it will extend beyond the student body to administration and staff. Additionally, there will be class representatives from LUCC that will serve as liaisons between LUCC and the committee, according to Toncler.
However, membership will not be more exclusive after transitioning to a committee, said Chand. Typically, LUDWiG’s meetings revolve around conversations regarding community organizing and principles of disability justice. Any member of the Lawrence community interested in learning about a topic without the logistics and policy involved can still attend meetings held by the Chair of the Organization to discuss those topics of interest, as long as they adhere to the community guidelines.
LUDWiG, as an officially recognized committee, will also have to appoint more board members and voting members, which is a process that goes through the Committee on Committees and the Steering Committee to get approval for those members.
After legislation is passed, Toncler sends all new legislation to Raymond House, where Karen Brennan, Secretary for the Dean of Students, makes revisions to the handbook so it will be updated on the website.