Senate defines its position on Oberlin advising

Body hears SAST proposal for SORC revisions

by Abby Person

After a hearty meal with Associate Dean of Student Life Bill Stackman, Senate convened to discuss a number of proposals and give advisory council reports.

Senate approved three proposals, including one to better inform students who sit on faculty committees of their duties and responsibilities and one outlining the procedure for selecting students to sit on the upcoming Dean search committee.

After brief reports on matters pending on various faculty committees, senators debated a proposal by Senator junior Yvonne Doble. It proposed that a letter should be sent to student members of faculty committees outlining their responsibilities. According to the proposal, the letter would also contain "basic information about confidentiality, public record, executive sessions, and exceptions to confidentiality rules."

"They would be more effective if students had clearer understanding of their role and responsibilities," Doble said.

"I think this is a fabulous idea," senator sophomore Bobbi Lopez said.

Senate also discussed the formation of the Dean search selection committee. This committee would be responsible for setting guidelines for who should sit on the committee to select a new dean of student life.

The committee would also interview students who wished to sit on the Dean search committee in the spring. They would then assemble a slate of those interviewed for the Senate to consider as a whole.

After Senate discussed the pros and cons of including non-senators on the committee, they decided the search selection committee should be made up of five senators. The senators chosen for this committee were sophomores Aaron Sloudunik, Megan Willits, Amy Marquardt, Bobbi Lopez and junior Laura Iverson.

Senate discussed the issue of student advising at Oberlin and a proposal stating Senate's stance toward it.

"There is a lot of administrative support to do a serious review of the advising system at Oberlin. I'd be nice to have this to hand to those people to say this is where we are coming from," Senator senior Chapin Benninghoff said.

The proposal stated, "One important consideration is that a new system allow students to retain the high degree of autonomy that many of them came to Oberlin for. The balance between providing guidance and encouraging independence needs to be studied and carefully considered within the context of advising."

Sophomore Josie DeMarce of the Sexual Offense Review Committee (SORC) faculty committee came to the Senate meeting to solicit opinions and general ideas on the sexual offense policy which is being reviewed.

In her report, DeMarce told Senate of the Sexual Assault Support Team's (SAST) proposal for changing the sexual offense policy. The SAST's proposed changes included a shortened timeline for review, an index, flowchart and a new definition of sexual consent.

Senate declined to make a de- changing the policy, but they said they would consider the matter in the future.

"This is a pretty massive policy. As far as I understand it, it has been working. We'll help in the outreach process," senator senior Joshua Kaye said.

"I know SAST is frustrated because they think they've put a lot of work into the proposal and would like to see it got through. SORC's intention is to widen the input pool," Kaye said.

Some senators echoed the frustrations innate to the issue of a sexual offense policy.

"Victims of crimes need immediate attention, but [it] is a serious enough crime that there should be deep investigation," Benninghoff said.

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Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 11, December 5, 1997

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