The Ithaca College Student Governance Council hit the ground running this academic year. At its Sept. 14 meeting — the first meeting of the fall semester — the SGC passed four bills.
This is an impressive number of bills to pass in a meeting, considering past Senates have gone weeks without passing one. Two of these are bills that demand actionable change from the administration.
The SGC unanimously passed the Fall 2020 Tuition Transparency Request Bill, a bill that requests for the Senior Leadership Team to publish a breakdown of where Fall 2020 tuition will be spent with comparisons to previous semesters. Students have been voicing their concerns about the college’s refusal to lower tuition after moving to remote learning for the semester. Passing this bill holds the administration accountable. It also demands transparency on behalf of the administration, something that the college is severely lacking in. Students often feel that they are left in the dark, and the SGC is attempting to shine a light for them.
Because the SGC represents the student body to the administration, there also needs to be transparency between the SGC and students. The SGC’s website of its initiatives is a promising way for students to keep track of what the organization is working on and, even more, how it is doing better than in previous years.
The 60 Calendar Day Title IX Recommendation Bill was also passed unanimously at the meeting. The bill represents the concerns of students who are calling for the college to make changes to its policies after the U.S. Department of Education enacted changes to Title IX. Over 700 students have signed a petition asking for the college to establish a 60–day time limit for case investigations. Having this request formalized by the SGC further solidifies this call to action and demonstrates a positive collaboration between the student body and the SGC.
Historically, the SGC has struggled with engaging students. Now that students are all over the world because of remote learning, it is absolutely more difficult to create a sense of community among the student body. However, by passing bills that directly reflect student concerns, the SGC is definitely taking a step in the right direction. It is refreshing to see a slate that is in touch with students’ priorities.
The SGC’s strong start shows that even amid a pandemic, remote classes and racial unrest, it is still able to advocate for students in meaningful ways. The administration needs to be receptive to these requests and recognize that students’ voices need to be listened to now more than ever.