EMILY SHANE and JAKE MULLIN
Managing Editor and Staff Writer
It is common to see President Adam Weinberg cheering at sporting events, or Vice President for Student Development Laurel Kennedy at her office hours in Slayter. The administrators in Doane have been increasing accessible to students, and DCGA is no longer needed to facilitate the connection between the general students and the administrators, according to DCGA Vice President Sarah Anstaett ‘17.
“With that need for connection dissolving, DCGA has started to question how can we better serve students if our old purpose isn’t as needed to try to find a new way to figure out what students need, and fill that gap” said Anstaett.
In an address to the student senate on Tuesday night, DCGA President Sara Shore ‘17 informed the group of a new approach toward student government suggested by Weinberg. According to Shore, college campuses nationwide have begun to dissolve their elected student governments in favor of more representational, democratic systems.
Shore and Weinberg envision this move as less of a demobilization of elected representation and instead more like creating an additional branch of government. This new branch would aim to extend representation of the student body while also requiring active citizenship through participation in a lottery-based jury system. “Think of it like a task force for when big conversations and decisions are needed,” Shore said.
What Shore refers to as the “task force,” would be comprised of randomly selected members of the student body called to action in moments of consequence. The hope for this conversion is that civil engagement would soon become an expectation for all of the student body and not just an aspiration for a handful.
While Shore presented the idea, she explained that DCGA is currently planning a “design lab” in order to facilitate a campus discussion about the role of Denison’s student government. In the meantime, “we kind of want to put that on hold until after the design lab, until we see what ideas students organically come up with,” said Anstaett, the organizer of the design lab.
“I see Dr. Weinberg’s vision kind of matching in a way the grassroots type of governance that I think the design lab might push toward, in the sense that we want students beyond just DCGA Senators to feel like they have a say and be invested in campus governance, so I can definitely see a version of his idea working.”
The lab will take place in February involves students and DCGA senators working together to discuss how students should be represented in DCGA and the structure of the organization. Together the group will come up with concrete ideas which will be shown to DCGA.
“The goal is to leave the lab with ideas to further encourage engagement and further establish well-rounded representation within DCGA to encourage during Fall 2017. Whether this will be a large restructuring or small tweaking of existing structures, we aren’t sure; however, we are open to change. I also want to emphasize that we don’t think anything is broken – we simply want to exhibit positive growth and a healthy regard for all student opinion” said Shore.