I want students and faculty to work together. In particular, I want to see them coordinating campus events. Professors have no shortage of ideas for lecturers, artists, residencies, etc. that they would like to bring to campus. But available funding for these events is scarce.
The Cultural Events budget, one of the five funds that the faculty control, has only $750. This is in contrast with student clubs, who will be forfeiting over $25,000 at the end of this week, when the unused portion of their fall term budgets will roll into Senate’s discretionary fund.
This is not to say that students should just give away their activity fee to the faculty. Students should decide how their money is spent. But do students know that they can decide to spend their money on faculty suggested cultural events?
Last year, Student’s Against Sexism in Society (SASS) cosponsored Dah Teater’s residency, which was put on by the department of Theatre and Dance. The residency was beloved by many, and enormously successful. But it was the only such collaboration in recent memory. The resources exist to completely immerse the campus in these sorts of performances, but it’s going to take students and faculty working together.
Here is an example: a faculty member suggests to a club a performance that would cost $1,000. The club turns around and asks Senate for $1,000. Senate then gives the club additional funds, which the club would use to cosponsor the event. Admittedly, it is a few extra hoops to jump through and there is concern that the professor would feel beholden to the students, but this strategy would work and it might be the only way to bring these kinds of events to campus.
As promising as this sounds, it doesn’t seem to be happening, at least not yet. The faculty regulations stipulate that the Senate treasurer be a member of the faculty Cultural Events committee. It would seem that the rationale behind this is that the treasurer would be in a position to intervene and match requests with funds.
My tenure as treasurer is over, but the incoming treasurer, Sara Ahmed has agreed to take up the mantle. I expect that under her, Knox will usher in an era where cultural events are at the forefront of campus life.
Class of 2011