Faculty votes to allow student representation on curriculum committee

Josh Goodman

In a close vote, the Whitman College faculty voted Wednesday, April 13 to allow student representation on its new Curriculum Committee next year.

The decision means that the ASWC President and Vice President will be allowed non-voting seats on the committee.

“This is a tremendous victory for ASWC and Whitman students in general,” said ASWC President Carson Burns. “I hope that the student voice helps the committee next year and that students are continued to be thought of as valuable contributors to policy-making in the Whitman community.”

ASWC had worked to build student support and lobby faculty for representation after finding out about the new committee last winter. The initial vote was scheduled for March 30 but was postponed due to a full agenda at the faculty meeting. ASWC Vice President John Loranger said at the time that the extra time would allow ASWC to meet with more faculty members before the vote.

Dobson said that the faculty will aim to make the student representation effective while addressing faculty concerns about that representation.

“A majority was supportive of hearing student input, but there were people concerned about confidentiality and historical memory,” she said, referring to the fact that faculty have experience with the development of the college over a longer period of time. “As we develop this committee … I will certainly work to make the student participation work.”

Dobson added that ASWC’s perspective served as a reminder of how students are affected by the curriculum.

Carson Burns reminded faculty today that students experience directly the curriculum decisions that the faculty make and have a different perspective than the faculty have on those decisions,” she said.

The first two ASWC representatives on the Curriculum Committee will be President and Vice President elects Matt Dittrich and Maggie Appleton.