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Towards self-rule

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May Tay

Photo by Pareen Chaudhari

Students in a focus group discussion on Residential Life and RC Identity.
Students in a focus group discussion on Residential Life and RC Identity.

On Tuesday evening, Oct. 14, the Elected Student Council (ESC) held its first General Assembly of the year. The event was attended by approximately 60 students, coming up to about a fifth of the student body across the Classes of 2017 and 2018.

The ESC was created to help facilitate the creation of a student government. The current committee, comprising seven students from the Class of 2017, was elected in May 2014 through a nomination and online voting process facilitated by the Dean of Students Advisory Council (DOSAC). The DOSAC has since been replaced by the ESC.

During the assembly, members of the ESC updated the audience on how they would moderate the constitution writing process. Google Moderator will be used to help track suggested articles for the constitution, and facilitate discussion on various posts submitted by users. The web-based program also has a function that ranks posts based on a ratio of votes received so popular submissions are placed higher in the forum.

Breakout sessions then took place for focused discussions on topics ranging from Sophomore-Freshman dynamics to Residential Life and RC Identity to Dining.

Dean’s Fellow Caroline Manela, who took notes for the constitution writing session, felt the assembly was generally successful. “I thought the general assembly meeting went really well … the ESC chose very relevant topics to focus the feedback discussions on.”

Lishani Ramanayake ’17 agreed, “I thought the assembly was more productive than expected because of the very hands-on approach that the members of the ESC and the DFs took … seeing our concerns addressed so comprehensively was very satisfying.”

Meredith Jett ’18 found the discussion on freshmen-sophomore dynamics particularly interesting. “[This] dynamic will continue to change as new students join every year, and for that reason we cannot just talk about the two classes’ interactions, but rather we need to be building a precedent that allows anyone, no matter the class, to interact comfortably with their peers as they want and see fit,” she said.

However, the turnout rate appeared to be a cause for concern. “Many students complain about things like the choice of options in the dining hall, or etiquette in the laundry rooms, but when the time comes for us to actually do something constructive with that criticism, few people … turned up,” shared Ramanayake.

“I wish more people could have found the time to attend because it turned out to be a productive outlet for a lot of our common grievances,” added Jett.

According to Evannia Handoyo ’17, one of the members of the ESC, the notes from the session will be consolidated and passed on to the Dean of Students’ office and Rectors’ office. “Our primary focus is still to write the Constitution,” she emphasized.

The ESC will be replaced by the elected student government in the next semester.

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