Forming a committee effectively

While the process of creating a committee to examine social culture at the College has at times seemed excessively lengthy, we applaud the extensive thought and collaboration that has gone into forming a mandate for the new Committee on Community Interactions. The final proposal, approved by College Council last week, meets all the requirements necessary to ensure an effective approach to a task that would otherwise risk falling off track.

A prominent concern that arose upon initial mention of such a committee was the broad and vague nature of its task – how could a group of fifteen students, faculty and staff ever adequately examine something as massively subjective and complicated as “social culture on campus’? By limiting the scope of the Committee to all interactions that involve students and leaving out interactions among faculty and staff, CC and the students who worked on the proposal have given priority to the undertaking most imperative and actually feasible for a student-led initiative.

Furthermore, the proposal provides the concrete steps within the broader aim. By specifically outlining the course of action appropriate for each stage of the committee’s work, the mandate gives tangibles to the more abstract. Though gauging perspectives within the community is another wide and expansive task, the Committee will have a list of specific groups to reach out to alongside its campus forums and mechanism for anonymous input.

Requiring the committee to be open and transparent keeps its approach in line with its exploratory goals. By publishing minutes after every meeting and drafting a final report, the committee will be held accountable and have to present its findings along with its analyses.

We commend the professional and admirable manner CC and the social honor code subgroup displayed throughout the process of developing the committee. While the social honor code subgroup had drafted the initial proposal, it remained responsive to criticisms and made constructive amendments, while CC provided both the leadership and the sounding-board role its function requires. Their work reflects the collaboration so notable throughout the Stand With Us movement.

Although the in-your-face momentum of Stand With Us has subsided, the Committee represents a mature next step for the movement. The rally and march, while galvanizing much of the campus, stopped short at Schow. Now with the concrete guidelines of the Committee, we’re one step closer to more widespread change.