Text of Dowling Committee Report

Page 5 of 8

The Committee recommends the establishment of a representative Student Council. The Council should, through a system of coordinated committees, promote the discussion of issues relevant to undergraduate education and college life. In turn it should develop an effective system of communication between itself and the College. It should provide for continuity of thought on governance issues through the establishment and maintenance of open records on items that have come before it and relevant faculty committees, as well as other appropriate issues. In undertaking its governance function the council should seek to advance the quality and effectiveness of discussion on issues through research projects and the formulation of positions. It should enhance the role of students in college governance, insure informed student representation on faculty committees, and increase the awareness among students of the choices inherent in policy decisions. The Council should also seek ways to be of service to the student body. While it will be especially concerned with student affairs, it should seek as well to promote what is good for the College as a whole.

It is suggested further that the Council provide fair, open and uniform procedures for the selection of undergraduates to serve on the various standing committees of the College.

It should also develop and implement a budget process for the disbursement and oversight of student funds entrusted to it. Finally, the Council should assist in the coordination of social activities in conjunction with the Houses and the Freshman Class.

The Structure of the Council and Delegate Responsibility

Over the course of our deliberations, we discussed several possible structures for the Council. Some members of the Committee favored strict proportional representation of the student body by a formula such as one delegate for every 75 undergraduates. Such a system is similar to that used by the Student Assembly. Other members of the Committee opposed this proposal largely on the grounds that under strict proportional representation the smaller Houses would not have sufficient delegates to be represented on all the committees of the Council. These members proposed that each House be allowed one representative for each committee of the Council.

After extensive consideration of these proposals, the Committee recommends the following plan. The Council shall have 85 elected members, and each of its five working committees will have 17 members. Each House will elect five delegates, allowing for one representative for each of the five working committees of the Council. The Freshman Class will elect 20 delegates; it will have four delegates on each committee. The Committee recommends that all students be invited to attend and speak at both Council and committee meetings but that only elected Council members vote.

The Committee also discussed extensively issues of accountability, and the flow of information between delegates and the electorate. In relation to these concerns, the Committee debated the question of whether delegates should be elected to particular committees of the Council or simply to the Council itself. Persuasive arguments were marshalled on both sides of this issue. Members who favored election to particular committees argued that such a system could promote a more informed election process since candidates would identify themselves in terms of areas of interest, would tend to research current issues before running for the Council, and would, from the beginning, be clearly identified to their constituency in terms of interest and expertise. At best, this procedure would allow the electorate to choose their representatives on the basis of particular skills and interests, and would support the on-going relationship between the voters and their delegates as one linked to issues.

While recognizing the potential advantages of this electoral approach, the Committee has seen the role of the representative as equally that of a generalist, and has thought that a more informal system of designating voter preference regarding committee assignments would allow greater flexibility in terms of election procedure, and would guarantee that no House or the Freshman Class would lose representation on a particular committee through an im- balance in the pool of able candidates. The Committee recommends, therefore, that a delegation of five students be elected to the Council from each House and four geographic areas of the Freshman dormitories. We further suggest that each voter be provided with space on the election ballot, so that voters who wish to do so may recommend committee assignments for their preferred candidates. These suggestions shall only be advisory. After the election, each group of five delegates will confer and make committee assignments. Each delegation will distribute itself evenly among the five working committees. We envision that the delegation will take voter preference into account when assigning committee members.

We further propose that the thirteen House Committees and the Freshman Council assume the responsibility for the election of delegates to the Council and that the election system be uniform. We also recommend that the House Committees and the Freshman Council regularize the practice, now extant in some Houses, of requiring regular reports by Council committee members at House Committee or Freshman Council meetings and that delegates bring matters of concern to these committee meetings for discussion. In this way we hope that discussion and input on various issues will be broadened within the University community.

Working Committees of the Student Council

The five working committees of the Council will have responsibility for the following:

Communications and Finance Committee

Communications, including newsletters, meeting notices, advertisements, and minutes of Council meetings; administering the election-selection of students for the Standing Committees; and the administration and disbursement of Council funds.

Educational Policy Committee

All curricular matters now dealt with by ERG-CUE, the Educational Policy Committee of CHUL, and the Academics Committee of the present Assembly. Items such as pass-fail legislation, calendar reform, reading period duration would be considered by this committee.