All vacancies on Allegheny Student Government’s College Committees Council have been filled, leaving ASG optimistic about the current state of shared governance and discussing strategies to retain the representative balance between students and faculty moving forward.
The CCC functions to put the Allegheny student body in direct contact with students and faculty members who work together on campus-wide administrative committees tasked to make decisions about integral aspects of the college’s operation. The CCC is headed by ASG’s chief of staff and is comprised of six committees: the Academic Standards and Awards Committee, Finance and Facilities Committee, Council on Diversity and Equity, Public Events Committee, Curriculum Committee and Campus Life and Community Standards Committee.
“Having (the CCC) full means that we’re getting the most representation that we’re allowed under the shared-governance system,” said ASG President, Camilla Gomez, ’19. “It’s kind of like maximizing our ability to make change, and it also means that we’re getting the best diversity of perspectives possible … The more student representatives the more of a complete picture we can have in terms of policy making.”
ASG’s Chief of Staff, Jason Ferrante, ’20, who was appointed in December after John Fazio, ’20, resigned from the position, said filling the vacancies was one of his first objectives. Putting up flyers, posting online and directly encouraging students to get involved were tactics that helped ASG achieve this goal.
“We tried to reach out to a broad set of people and say that we want a ton of applications and we reaped the benefits of that,” Ferrante said. “We went from having a few applications to upwards of twenty for less than twenty positions, and we were really excited to see that.”
ASG holds biweekly meetings to hear reports from students who sit on the committees in the CCC to ensure an active line of communication between student representatives and committee members is sustained. Ferrante said this allows ASG to stay informed about various discussions within the CCCs respective committees while also giving ASG members a chance to relay their knowledge about the student body to students who sit on them.
Student representation on these committees is especially salient this semester, as students on the CCC will aid in a complete review of Allegheny’s student handbook, The Compass, which happens once every three years.
“We’re looking at everything from how we work the conduct system to Title IX processes at the college to general college policies,” Ferrante said. “Each of these committees is going to have a really important role in vetting that and kind of going over it.”
To put the type of work students in the CCC will be doing in perspective, Ferrante said that students on the Campus Life and Community Standards committee will be looking at policy related to conduct and students on the Academic Standards and Awards committee will be looking at leaves and withdrawals policies. Ferrante also mentioned that some of the committees, such as the Finance and Facilities Committee, actually require a percentage of student representatives to be present in order to move forward with policy changes.
Now that the vacancies on the CCC are filled, ASG is planning ahead to figure out a strategy to ensure that positions on the committees remain that way.
Gomez said a mistake made in the past was appointing too many upperclassmen because they do not have the time to complete their four semester term, leaving inevitable vacancies. ASG will also be taking more initial precautions to lessen foreseeable vacancies, such as putting the meeting times of committees on the applications and learning about applicant’s plans to study abroad in advance.
“Something that I would like to think about is extending the term time,” Gomez said. “I’d be really interested in exploring an option where we do a two year term and a one year renewal option. That way if (the student) would want to, we could have that reappointing process.”
Spreading awareness about the importance that CCC positions have for Allegheny’s administrative functioning is also part of the strategy to keep interest alive in the student body.
“(The CCC) is one of the things that I think a lot of students don’t know that ASG does,” ASG Vice President, Gillian Greene, ’20 said. “I think that getting the word out to them about what they are and what they do can help get students more involved.”
Greene and Gomez believe making students aware of the role students on the CCC have in yielding tangible results in Allegheny’s administration is a key aspect of maintaining proper shared-governance and better serving the interests of the student body.
“You really have a lot of power when you sit on one the committees,” Gomez said. “It was a student representative on the Curriculum Committee that saved Gator Day two years ago, I think it’s really on ASG to better publicize how important the CCCs are.”