LUCC evaluates SOCs

Michael Schreiber

The Lawrence University Community Council is currently determining the fate of the Student Organization Councils proposed by the previous LUCC administration. The SOCs, which LUCC originally planned to implement partially this term, may no longer be implemented at all.
The SOC plan was proposed under the leadership of Mollie Bodin’s LUCC cabinet and would have divided student organizations into nine groups based upon the goals that the groups share. The groups would hold monthly individual meetings, with representatives from LUCC and members of the campus organizations present.
The overarching goal of the SOCs was to foster communication between similar campus organizations and to prevent campus groups from scheduling events at conflicting times. LUCC had hoped that such collaboration between groups would prevent the squandering of LUCC funding on poorly attended or redundant activities.
According to LUCC President James Duncan-Welke, the current LUCC cabinet agreed to run a trial of the SOC plan this term with the implementation of the Service, Diversity and Entertainment SOCs. The Service and Diversity SOCs already exist respectively as the LUCC Service Council and the Multicultural Affairs Committee, so the real test would be the creation of the Entertainment SOC.
However, when Duncan-Welke’s LUCC administration contacted the groups meant to be in the new Entertainment SOC, LUCC received few replies.
Duncan-Welke said that he informally solicited feedback from the campus organizations that failed to reply, and, in doing so, he discovered that people were “not convinced it [SOCs] would work” and that people were “horrified at adding nine new councils” to LUCC, which has a reputation on campus as a “nonfunctioning bureaucracy.”
With these concerns in mind, Duncan-Welke and his cabinet began to re-evaluate the SOC plan.
The previous LUCC administration had not fully developed the plan, and Duncan-Welke quickly realized that it would “be a nightmare to implement.”
He noted that a particular obstacle for implementing the SOC plan is that LUCC does not currently have the ability to make attending the SOC meetings mandatory for student groups.
Although the previous LUCC cabinet had proposed making LUCC funding contingent on participation in the SOCs, there is currently no LUCC legislation that would authorize pulling groups’ funding for failure to attend SOC meetings.
Duncan-Welke said that dissatisfaction with the SOC plan has reached consensus within the LUCC cabinet and that LUCC is tossing a number of alternate ideas around right now.
One popular idea involves designating an LUCC liaison to campus organizations. This person would be responsible for communicating with campus groups and ensuring that groups do not plan identical events or schedule events for the same time.
Duncan-Welke is ultimately interested in “finding a middle ground between chaos and bureaucracy.” As he said, “What people will agree on is that more communication between campus groups is necessary. SOCs just might not be the best way to do that.”
However, he is worried critics will paint him as a reactionary for failing to embrace the SOC plan. In his defense, Duncan-Welke said, “Change just for the sake of change is not a good idea. We need to implement something that will be efficient and that will get the job done.”
Duncan-Welke fears that, if SOCs were implemented, students in the future might “look back and wonder, ‘Why did they create all of this bureaucracy? Really just so that we would talk to each other?’

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