Pryor Unveils Initial IOP Plans To Restructure
Elections for president, chairs will be next week
Sen. David Pryor, director of the Institute of Politics (IOP), announced yesterday the structure of the interim student board that will advise the IOP this year.
Last month, Pryor disbanded the IOP's Student Advisory Committee (SAC), which had previously advised the IOP administration, saying the body was too insular.
The plan, which Pryor announced in a mass e-mail message, calls for one president, new committee chairs for the seven IOP committees and a task force that will be charged with devising a more permanent student advisory structure.
The task force on the structure of future student advisory boards will include three appointed staff members, three students who have graduated before 2000 and six elected undergraduates--two each from the first-year, sophomore and junior classes.
Elections to the new board will be held next Monday and Tuesday. Students will be eligible to vote for the interim chairs of committees for which they have attended at least half of the year's meetings. All of those students, as well as former members of SAC and former senior associates, will be able to vote for the president and for members of the task force.
Pryor said he was pleased with the plan, which he said incorporated feedback he gained at his meetings with students in the weeks following his dissolution of SAC on Nov. 9.
"The reaction so far has been very favorable," Pryor said. "I've received several phone calls, and spoken to several students. We're all excited."
Current SAC members expressed mixed feelings about the structure.
"[The new plan] explicitly excludes members of the Class of 2000 and the Class of 2001," said Hannah Choi '01, who was chair of SAC at the time it was dissolved. "I think that the institutional memory contained in those two classes could contribute in a valuable way to continuing forward, and I don't know why our two classes were excluded from the process."
Choi and many other SAC members had protested Pryor's decision to dissolve their committee, saying it would reduce student input into the IOP.
Pryor said he believes the temporary structure will help to diversify the IOP in the long run.
"We hope there'll be a large group of students interested in running for the offices," Pryor said. "People must remember that it's only for one semester. There will be a task force, partially elected, partially appointed, to come forward with a more permanent system of student governance."
Former SAC member Heather A. Woodruff '03 said she was disappointed and hurt by Pryor's decision.
"Senator Pryor took that proposal and decided that he knew what was best for students instead of letting them decide their own fate," she said.
Woodruff, who is against eliminating a formal body of student representatives, said she does not necessarily support SAC in its current state, but said that without a representative body, student input will not be as meaningful.
"It seems like students were relieved of their ability to govern their involvement at the IOP now that the staff is running the elections," Woodruff said. "We are at the mercy of staff decision for programming and the formal role that the students have at the IOP."
But some former SAC members said they were pleased with Pryor's plan.
"I'm grateful that a resolution that includes meaningful student involvement has been reached so quickly," said Robert F. McCarthy, former chair of SAC's study groups committee.
SAC member Eugene Krupitsky '02 said that although many of the components that the students proposed in their plan were implemented, some fell by the wayside.
"We lost some of the programs that SAC used to put on," Krupitsky said. "Now it's a matter of finding out where they will fit, at least under the interim plan."
Pryor said it will be the job of the task force to find the best way to fit old roles into the new structure.
"Every now and then it's good to try something new," Pryor said. "And we're trying something new."