Letters to the Editor

Letter: A commentary on the Corporation

By
Friday, October 24, 2014

To the Editor:

I grow increasingly wary of the Corporation’s dodges to avoid student representation. The facts are clear: This institution depends on students for its existence. The Corporation is the highest governing body of the institution. As a result, the best governance of the institution depends on the students having a voice in its development.

A voice is a vote. Not a committee recommendation, not a forum, not a petition. I learned that in middle school history class.

Among various Herald articles, I’ve noticed three excuses voiced by the current Corporation: confidentiality, comparison and stress.

Chair of the Corporation’s Committee on Campus Life Dorsey James ’83 said student representation would be “extremely difficult, because there are many things that we talk about that are pretty confidential.” Confidentiality is not a legitimate concern. Brown students already follow HIPAA policies, and they sign confidentiality agreements with research groups and businesses. A 20-year-old can keep a secret.

Chancellor Thomas Tisch ’76 compared the current model to similar governing bodies of peer institutions. Matching ourselves against Harvard will always be an invalid reason for any University initiative. Otherwise we better strike out all permutations of “Brown is different” from our admission brochures.

Finally, even one student representing more than 6,000 voices is infinitely better than no voice. Multiple Corporation members show an insulting amount of paternalism when they claim to “worry” about the responsibility placed on a single student. Have they been outside University Hall recently? Brown students are big kids. We commit to innumerable leadership positions in all disciplines and activities. I speak with the highest confidence that we are capable of electing a strong candidate to contribute to the Corporation meetings.

Perhaps there are other valid concerns about the logistics of student representation. I ask the Corporation to be translucent and bring them out to be debated in the Undergraduate Council of Students and larger community. What they have presented thus far, however, is an insubstantial excuse for maintaining power.

Joey DiZoglio ’15

Topics:
  • Student

    We can’t rely on every student committing time to student government. But for those that do care enough, quieting their voices will just disincentive them from contributing – why try if you don’t have any real influence? You just cultivate a disinterested, learns-to-shut-up student body. On top of that, more and more people seem to be getting fed up with committee after committee being set up by inarticulate, do-nothing Paxson. We really need to get her out of here.