SA evaluates changes in committee structure

Vanessa Marcano

Vanessa Marcano

The structure and number of committees across campus is changing in an attempt to improve governance, efficiency and accountability.

On March 1, the Committee Restructuring Task Force, represented by Students’ Association advisers Zeno Wicks and Dan Hansen, presented a vetting document to SA explaining the suggested changes in committee structure.

One of the biggest changes detailed in the document is the reduction of the number of committees from 54 to 18.

The CRTF document suggested the elimination of some committees, such as Academic Appeals and Student Affairs, whose functions would be integrated in other committees, while others were recommended to be merged with existing committees, underwent modifications that added additional functions or changed names or were remitted to report to heads of departments and colleges.

“Shared governance arising from committee work which is substantial, sustained and genuinely invites faculty, staff and students to shape the university,” seems to be the main purpose of the changes cited by the document.

According to the document, most committees would comply with a joint administration-senate leadership, while SA would be mostly in charge of a few committees.

Final decisions in committees suggested to report to department and colleges would be made by university vice presidents, deans and department heads.

Among these committees are the Student Union Activity Council, the University Food Service Advisory Committee and the Wellness Center Advisory Council, all of which would report to the Vice President for Student Affairs Marysz Rames – though under current CRTF guidelines, the SUAC and WCAC would be chaired by a student representative.

In their presentation, Wicks and Hansen said the CRTF document is a draft, and they are open to suggestions.

Another of the recommendations for the committee made by the CRTF was that they become action committees, while at the same time complying with their advisory functions.

One of the biggest concerns among the SA senators was the fact that SUAC, UFSAC and WCAC would be controlled by the vice president for student affairs. Vice President Michael Kendall suggested that these committees be remanded to SA, as well as making the University Activity Fee and Budget Committee an appeals committee.

“There is a difference between student ‘representation’ and student ‘control’. There is a bigger voice with ‘control’,” said SA senator Anthony Sutton.

Patrick Weber, senator for the Graduate School, said he preferred the UAFBC to be an appeals committee in order to avoid redundancies since now student groups must make similar budget presentations to UAFBC that the groups made to SA. Almost always, the UAFBC goes along with SA’s recommendation for funding.

“This is an important idea we should move forward with,” Weber said.

Wicks and Hansen also said that with a fewer number of committees, members would work together on more duties and be able to serve on subcommittees in different areas.

Regarding Kendall’s suggestion, Doug Wermedal, assistant vice president for student affairs, asked senators for serious reflection and more careful examination of the CRTF recommendations before making any final decisions about remanding the committees in question.

The senate moved to table the motion until next meeting.