Calling for consequences

In the Feb. 19, 2014 issue of the Record, the board ran the following retraction of this editorial:

In last week’s issue, the Record Board’s editorial “Calling for consequences,” built arguments based upon factual inaccuracies. The Record Board’s understanding of College Council’s attendance policy was incorrectly based upon College Council’s constitution instead of its bylaws, which define College Council’s working procedures. The statement that College Council lacked readily available meeting minutes and an online presence was also factually inaccurate. The arguments in the editorial were fundamentally flawed as a result of their basis in these inaccuracies. Therefore, The Williams Record retracts the editorial “Calling for consequences,” from Feb. 12, 2014.

In accordance with the bylaws regarding College Council meeting attendance, last week CC voted on whether or not to expel Class of 2015 Representative Ali Tafreshi ’15 after Tafreshi failed to secure a proxy for three missed meetings. The motion to expel Tafreshi did not gain the requisite amount of votes, so the expulsion decision was placed in the hands of co-presidents Adrian Castro ’14 and Max Heninger ’14.

The presidents allowed Tafreshi to keep his seat. Though we at the Record understand that, as our elected presidents, it was fully up to Castro and Heninger’s discretion to make this decision, we believe that this sets a questionable precedent for future CC members. It is fairly unusual for CC members to miss meetings, which underscores the importance of the institution to student life. There is a certain responsibility that CC members assume when they take office, and it’s not unreasonable to expect members to follow this most basic bylaw by attending meetings, either in person or via proxy. The presidents’ decision to not expel Tafreshi ensures that Castro and Heninger will not be forced to oversee a dismissal during their term, but it raises the question of whether CC attendance in the future will not be taken as seriously as it should, particularly when representatives’ terms are nearing expiration, as they are currently.

We at the Record recommend that CC bylaws change to fully convey the responsibility that CC membership entails. Rather than putting expulsion up for a vote after three missed absences, automatic expulsion will lend CC attendance greater urgency. This situation raises another popular criticism of CC: the lack of transparency. Few, if any, members of the class of 2015 likely knew that Tafreshi was not attending meetings on their behalf – whether this is due to lack of readily available meeting minutes or a lack of CC campus or online presence, it is likely that the expulsion vote took place in the isolation of Hopkins with little or no input from the outside world. If CC wants to prove that it is trustworthy, it should seriously consider how to shore up the most basic foundation of all it does on campus: meeting attendance.