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Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Student Governance and the Class Coordinating Board

By and
Friday, May 15, 2020

To the Editor:

The Undergraduate Council of Students has and will always welcome input and collaboration from all students and student groups on our campus.

UCS greatly appreciates the Class Coordinating Board’s important community-building work and interest in joining student government. All student groups wishing to explore what it means to become student government or the official process for doing so should meet with the Student Activities Office to understand options including:

  1. Remaining a student group categorized by UCS
  2. Becoming a SAO departmental group
  3. Joining student government

As defined by the student body in 1976, any group including CCB which is looking to become officially recognized as a part of student government can do so through the democratic process of amending the Brown student government constitution. As formal changes to the University governance system have long-term impacts on the student body, among other steps, a two-thirds majority of undergraduate support via a campus-wide referendum is required. UCS is happy to meet with, guide and support all groups interested in any of the above.

This fall, UCS was excited to run first-year elections with CCB to streamline voting processes. However, a shorter time span, larger scope and significant accessibility improvements did not give UCS and the Undergraduate Finance Board the capacity to integrate an additional organization during our main spring elections. Regular operations for the 44th annual UCS/UFB elections were followed as outlined in our bylaws and elections code. Neither of these elections represented a formal change to student governance, change in student group status or a value decision about any other organization.

As CCB has not undergone the democratic process for becoming student government, a previous op-ed inaccurately labels CCB’s official categorization, referring to its status on BearSync as “student governance” rather than its historical categorization as a “campus services and events” group. While at the time of writing, CCB is listed as student governance, this change to registration status didn’t go through the formal process from the UCS Student Activities Committee and SAO. SAO is investigating what happened to correct the issue.

We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the history of student government at Brown or UCS/CCB relations to review more information here. As we collectively face this pandemic, UCS’s priority is supporting students through COVID-19 and the school year. We are currently working on initiatives including wellness guides, our Health@Home series and advocating for increased student voice.

— UCS Executive Board: William Zhou ’20, Jason Carroll ’21, Melissa Lee ’20, Shivani Nishar ’20, Summer Dai ’22, Livingstone Harriott ’20, Alex Song ’20, Samuel Caplan ’22, Zanagee Artis ’22, Eamon McKeever ’22, Joon Nam ’23 and Zane Ruzicka ’23

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