The Student Governance Council recently met to discuss the Ithaca College community’s reaction to allegations of sexual assault against President Shirley M. Collado brought to light two weeks ago in a statement released by Collado and a story published by The Ithacan.
The SGC decided against releasing any sort of statement on the issue, and instead chose to send out a list of resources for students to utilize, if necessary. The justification for this was that the SGC “could potentially stir up more feelings by saying anything,” SGC President Carlie McClinsey said.
The SGC is a group of students that has been elected to represent the student body. By not making any sort of statement on the matter, the SGC is abnegating its responsibilities as student representatives and campus leaders. Even if all the SGC wanted to say was that they interested in initiating an open and honest dialogue, that would have been better than saying nothing.
The SGC is not the only governance council that should be creating spaces to talk about this issue. During the Faculty Council’s most recent meeting Jan. 23, the council went into an executive session to pass a motion in support of Collado, but failed to take a leadership role in opening a public discussion. The Staff Council also has a responsibility to encourage open discussion among its constituents.
During the All-College Gathering on Jan. 26 Collado said that she would be open to discussion about her past. The Division of Student Affairs should now be proactive in facilitating a dialogue and addressing the concerns of the campus community.
From the conversation in their meeting, it’s clear the SGC recognizes the need for conversations on this issue to happen. As Off-Campus Senator Charlotte Robertson said, “The campus hasn’t really been given any forum to talk about it … but I think it still deserves to be talked about.”
Robertson is right — a forum for discussion must be provided to students. It is now up to the SGC, Faculty Council, Staff Council and the administration to provide it. This is a necessary step for these governance bodies to serve their constituencies.