An open letter on transparency in LUCC committees

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Dear Reader,

This is being submitted on behalf of a group of five Committee Chairs in LUCC. We feel it is necessary to be more transparent about what LUCC is doing. In addition, we provide hours and hours a week of free labor to the school, recently only to have our advisory opinions and roles clearly not taken seriously. Therefore, as follows is an account of what LUCC actually does: The Lawrence University Community Council has lacked transparency about their actions to the general student body for a long time. We have seen a pattern of extremely concerning behavior from LUCC, so since they won’t say what they do, we decided to tell you all for them. Our last meeting of the LUCC General Council was Week 9 of Winter Term. The first thing on the agenda was addressing a resolution brought on by Students for a Democratic Society to create greater budget clarity at our school, the purpose being to evaluate if the school has the money to pay students $15 an hour. Low wages on our campus disproportionately affect low income students which makes this a pressing issue to address. This resolution had already been tabled with no vote three times. When it came up, people were still unsure how to vote. Then SDS was told to communicate better with LUCC about what they want and to come back for a vote next term. This is after SDS reached out to members of the LUCC cabinet repeatedly Fall Term and even set up a meeting with two cabinet members, one of which didn’t show up, and one of which showed up over an hour late. 

Next, at each meeting is approval of minutes of previous meetings of the Steering Committee, which approves student organizations, and Finance Committee which allocates funding to student organizations. We were extremely concerned by the fact that Appleton Pro-Life Students (APLS), formerly Lawrence Pro-Life Students, was being approved for a trial period. The mission statement of that organization discriminates against the human rights of women as they actively advocate in favor of taking away a free choice every woman should be able to make for themselves. Advocacy for taking away rights from women is discrimination, full stop. They also continued to use the Lawrence University name for months while having no affiliation with the school, and continued to use it even though they were repeatedly asked not to. Another requirement LUCC set up for APLS to become a student organization was to meet with SAASHA. When asked about the meeting, SAASHA said APLS couldn’t handle topics like sexual assault and harassment, which are directly related to the issue they seek to advocate on and they advised that it would be a massive liability for the school and for survivors on this campus if the group were to be approved for a trial period. Despite all this, LUCC re-affirmed their decision and gave APLS a 10-week trial period where they will have access to student funding. 

Finally, came approving honoraria, which is a stipend given to LUCC members at the end of every term only if they have strong attendance. Many voting members tried to quickly approve honoraria for all members regardless of attendance, meaning if your class representative went to 0 meetings of certain committees (yes, there are people that don’t go to any meetings) they would still be paid. Quickly, it was raised that this wasn’t allowed and didn’t pass, but it was alarming that it almost did. When this happened, a member of the administration leaned over to a committee chair and said “here is that money you want for the $15 minimum wage.” These meetings show a pattern of disrespect towards people who are educated on a lot of these issues, across all roles in LUCC. Passionate students are leaving these roles because this disrespect is exhausting, degrading,and extremely frustrating.