Two weeks ago, the Lawrence University Community Council elections determined Adrell Bullock and Stephanie Kliethermes as the next president and vice president for the next three terms. This marks the end of the administration of Pete Snyder and Chris Bowman, a year marked by heavy discussion but little legislative output.During the Snyder/Bowman administration, LUCC tackled several large issues but passed few measures. According to outgoing LUCC president Pete Snyder, this is something to be thankful for.
The purpose of the LUCC General Council meetings is “primarily to make sure that the committee system is working smoothly,” Snyder said this week, “and to discuss and vote on matters that other committees are not equipped to deal with, such as constitutional changes or resolutions representing the student body.”
Despite a lack of prominent legislative action at LUCC meetings, the sessions were productive and committee action was well organized, said Snyder.
The hot-ticket item since Snyder and Bowman took office last spring has been the resolution concerning transparency of investments made by the Board of Trustees. Many students felt that there was no way to safeguard against conflicts of interest among the Board because of limited disclosure in issues like student access to trustee records, the university’s current debt, and how campus construction projects are planned.
In addition to the trustee issue, there were a few other big-ticket items on the board for the General Council and several other LUCC committees.
The Steering Committee appointed two students, Peter Bennett and Nathan Litt, to serve on the Campus Center Planning Committee, and heard and approved applications for recognition of many blossoming student organizations, such as the Students’ War Against Hunger and Poverty, Students for a Free Tibet, and the Lawrence Chess Club.
The Finance Committee saw business as usual, setting and redistributing budgets for student organizations.
The Polling, Elections and Leadership Committee pulled off a reportedly successful LUCC election, drawing the highest student involvement in a long time.
The Student Welfare Committee worked on some everyday controversies such as locking policies, meal plans and parking issues.
The Residence Life Committee has been working with coed housing, an issue that has caused a stir – both negatively and positively – among Lawrentians. The second and third floors of Sage Hall are slated to go to the housing lottery as coed for next year.
The committee is also considering looking at gender neutral housing on campus, a topic that both Bowman and Snyder find particularly important, especially in regard to establishing Lawrence as an institution devoted to gender equality. Gender neutral housing would allow transgender Lawrentians to choose roommates and neighbors regardless of gender, and would allow opposite-sex couples or friends to live together.
“I think this would be a positive change for many reasons,” Snyder said, “including providing more housing options to students, being more ‘real-world’ and providing an option to students looking to ease the transition out of college.”
Along with the controversial came the slightly more mundane. Topics like the elimination and combination of subcommittees and establishing penalties to student representatives’ honoraria based on attendance at LUCC meetings.
Overall, Snyder said the goals he set out were readily accomplished, or are in the works for next term. These goals include reducing the number of committees to ensure that each one is healthily staffed, making “dining dollars” roll over from term to term, reforming the process of granting funding to student organizations, increasing LUCC representative accountability, and reworking the seniority rules for housing lottery – now based on terms enrolled and not credit hours.
There were also a few minor goals, such as allowing students to paint their rooms and bringing formal group housing back under LUCC control – an issue that Bowman hopes will still be addressed in the coming term.
Also, since Snyder and Bowman took office, LUCC has become a more transparent organization, with copies of the LUCC minutes and committee reports available for general perusal on the Lawrence Web site.
Snyder and Bowman will leave these and other unfinished projects to their successors as well as the opportunity to introduce and encourage new legislation.