A New Year’s resolution: Finish what you started
January 21, 2011
Unfortunately, the nagging problems of last semester have impossibly followed us into the new year. I am sure everyone has new plans for things they are going to accomplish this semester, much like New Year’s resolutions. The problem with resolutions is that they are so easy to break. Putting them off until tomorrow dooms our goals for the next year. It is important to have these new goals, but they are also important to remember the past. Students should continue to build off last semester’s pivotal moments. Issues such as living wages, Honor Council reform and mental health concerns here at the College are still incredibly prevalent. Students need to continue to pressure the administration to achieve the goals set out last semester.
The Student Assembly-Honor Council reform committee was terminated after the Honor Council decided to no longer participate in reforms. The Student Assembly threatened to withhold future funds reforms are not realized, so the Honor Council will now receive funding directly from the College. This is a major step in reform since the council’s budget is no longer dependent on a political body. However, more has to be done. Increased transparency is needed throughout the process and more accountability must be asked of students. All decisions must have consequences, even for council members. Staff guidance is also necessary in making sure that all Honor Council bylaws are met. In many cases it seems that the council has violated some of its own policies, which is unacceptable.
The Living Wage Coalition has been working to improve the salaries of all campus housekeepers since last semester. They have made strides but the problem still exists. The Coalition should provide a realistic plan to improve wages, which explains where the money required to do this will come from and includes new worker policies. Simply demanding change without a suggested path will accomplish nothing. The administration has to respond to the coalition. Not doing so will spark more voices against the low wages workers have to survive on. Administration and students must work together, not doing so will have disastrous consequences.
The final issue to consider is the concern of mental health at the College. Mental health is one of the most important issues and directly affects each student. During the past year, the College has had some major problems with mental health, with three students having committed suicide. Whatever the reasons, the College obviously has not done enough to combat the high-stress environment it has fostered. More mental health screenings need to happen and mental health counselors need to be hired to remedy the current shortage. Both are necessary if the College wants to have some sort of an idea of the mental health of its student population.
These issues are important and can’t be forgotten when students take up new causes this semester. The Honor Council and mental health efforts have direct effects on students at the College, while living wages have direct effects on the people who cook our meals and clean our dorms. So although every New Year we have New Year’s resolutions, this year let’s break from our new resolutions and instead finish what we started last semester.