February 9, 2011

SLC checks in on party policy, Greek task force

In its first meeting in nearly a month, the Student Life Committee (SLC) met to set items for the remainder of the term and get updates concerning ongoing business, namely the revision of the social event policy and the new Greek task force.

Associate Dean of Students Craig Southern discussed his efforts thus far to revise the social event policy or “party” policy, which he has described as “archaic.”

“There is a huge diversity of opinion on what we do, why we do it and who does what,” Southern said. “We have to just build [the policy] up from the ground.”

He said he will be tabling, meeting with each fraternity individually and holding two student forums in the coming weeks, as well as inviting students from other social event forums (i.e., apartments) to give input.

“We have to change the way we introduce it and why we do it,” Southern said. “And everything is on the table.”

Dean of Students Debbie Southern also acknowledged that much of the problem with respect to planning a social event is not necessarily due to the policy itself but to some practices of the Campus Life office.

“We may not have to change a lot of policy,” Debbie Southern said. “It’s the practices that got watered down and messed up.”

Sophomore Michael Gasparro said that students often do not understand the kind of responsibility they are taking on when planning a social event.

Craig Southern said this effort will not be completed as scheduled, but he plans to finish by the end of the term.

Associate Director of Campus Life Kathleen Drake updated SLC on the progress of the task force, which was commissioned to draft a policy dictating how local fraternities can be formed.

This was prompted by Gentlemen of Quality (GQ), a local colony which decided last term not to join a national organization and instead begin a local alpha chapter of a new fraternity altogether. Since Knox has no formal mechanism in place for forming a local, the task force was charged with making a policy recommendation to SLC.

The policy draft is expected to come before SLC during its meeting next week.

Senate president senior Sam Claypool updated the committee on next year’s theme housing and plugged the upcoming Allies for Sexual Assault Prevention event and Interfraternity Council president-elect senior Sam Frank mentioned the planned talk to all new fraternity pledges concerning party policy and responsibilities.

Professor of Theatre and SLC chair Elizabeth Carlin-Metz sought to know how Dan Larson and his counseling services staff was handling the winter term demand. Debbie Southern said that they have been very busy and Larson will even take calls at night and come to campus.

Much of the rest of the conversation centered upon the accreditation process. This topic was sparked by an article brought to the committee’s attention by Professor of Mathematics Dennis Schneider. The article, according to Schneider, asserts that the amount of time spent by college student on academics is shockingly low.

He posed questions as to whether college policy encourages binge drinking and a tendency of students to “overextend themselves in student groups and social activities at the expense of academics.”

It was clarified that a major purpose of the reaccreditation process (which occurs every ten years) is for the institution to state its academic purpose. Carlin-Metz argued that for Knox, that is not a difficult task.

“I have taught at four other academic institutions,” Carlin-Metz said. “I can tell you the difference between a Knox student and a ‘that school’ student is night and day. Those kids fall into the lack of rigor, ‘going to school to major in party’ role.”

The only action taken was to approve the minutes from the Jan. 11 meeting.

Charlie Megenity
Charlie Megenity (formerly Gorney) is a senior double majoring in political science and economics. He previously served TKS as managing editor and as co-news editor while working as the weekend reporter for The Galesburg Register-Mail. Over the summer of 2012, Charlie interned in Wisconsin with Patch.com, an online hyperlocal news source, where he covered the August 2012 Oak Creek Sikh temple shooting; he will return to Patch during the summer of 2013. He is also the journalism editor for Catch magazine.. Charlie has received three awards from the Illinois College Press Association for newswriting and design, including a first place award for front page layout. He was the 2013 recipient of the Theodore Hazen Kimble Memorial Award in Journalism for a feature story published in The Knox Student. His work has also appeared in The Huffington Post.

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