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Executive Board needs to improve accessibility and student leadership

In most colleges, when students want to make changes and request
support in new endeavors regarding college policy, the first place
they turn to is the governing student body. The procedure is not
that different at Mills; however for many students there exists a
lack of understanding of the ASMC Executive Board’s governing
process, which The Weekly feels creates a roadblock to the
accurate representation of the student body.

With a college this size, it seems that it would be easy to
maintain communication between the student body and their
government, but this is not the case. The same elusiveness often
associated with administration has manifested itself in the student
governing body. The Executive Board is supposed to reflect the
student voice and be an ally in helping students combat problems in
administrative policies and provide support for student led
ventures. In place instead, is a student governing body with no
pronounced structure to help students understand the framework or
protocol when they need the Board’s assistance.

The first layer of confusion is the allocation of funds to
various student organizations before they even submit an official
request for the year. The Board votes on the allocation of funds
for the entire year without asking publications, classes, lounges
and the Residential and Commuting Organization how much money they
will need for the year. There are no guidelines as to how or when
to effectively create or submit a proposal for club funding, or how
to request special funds. The Weekly feels that this is
counterproductive. The Board should inform student organizations
that receive large sums of money when they should submit their
proposal in order to be funded accurately. Students are left to
their own devices to figure out the process, sometimes not being
informed why certain requests were granted and others weren’t.

Additionally, The Weekly has observed a lack of
visibility and accessibility when it comes to the Board. Most
students don’t know the location of the Board’s office or the times
when they can go and talk with their representatives. Some students
don’t even know what the Board can do for them. It is up to
students to take the initiative to seek out their board members,
but the representatives themselves should make it clearer to
students in what capacity the Board can support them.

When these guidelines are clearly established, students will be
empowered with the ability to make better informed decisions
regarding what events the Board sponsors, how to fund their own
programs, and in the process create a partnership to effect change
in campus wide policies.

But first The Weekly advocates the push by certain members on
the Board to establish a legislative congress to oversee the
Board’s spending. According to a few sources, the absence of this
check on the Board’s spending means they can potentially spend all
of its money on themselves. Students have to propose a request for
special funds, which then has to be approved by the Board. However,
the Board allocates $20,000 to itself and never has to justify any
of its spending.

The Weekly understands that while the Board is a body of
representatives, they are students first, encompassing diverse
backgrounds. We are proud of that and acknowledge it as a benefit
to creating a broad spectrum of representation for the student
body. However, The Weekly also feels that the Board should
be allowed to make their own decisions. We have reason to believe
that the Board’s power is being curtailed by the imposing presence
of their advisor. We understand the need to have the help of an
advisor. We understand at times advisors can be helpful in guiding
student leaders. But we find something askew when student leaders
cannot lead in their own individual ways.

We value our student representatives; we applaud them for their
efforts in revamping our Constitution, and producing a column in
The Weekly to keep students abreast of their latest efforts.
We understand that their intentions are to represent students to
the best of their ability. However, for its own sake, the Board has
some housekeeping to do. They need to increase their visibility,
create a more friendly environment during board meetings for
students, assemble a legislative congress to oversee their spending
and inform students on the proper procedures on how to effectively
work with the Board to apply for special funding requests.

Lastly, the Board needs to question their position of power as
student representatives and make certain that the power is truly in
their hands.