Officials announced at the Associated Students of Linfield College Senate meeting April 12 that students sitting on faculty committees will no longer be allowed to vote on said committees, although they are still required to attend.
Senators and Cabinet members alike expressed strong disapproval of the decision, and the Review stands by them wholeheartedly.
If students are going to be required to attend the meetings, they should be allowed to vote. What is the point in forcing students to attend such deliberations when their opinions are given no weight?
Admittedly, the votes of the small amount of students present would not be too impactful, but voting is about more than making a difference; it is about expressing one’s opinions and ideas. Americans do not vote for third-party candidates expecting to make a huge difference; they do so to give voice to their opinions.
By taking away the student vote, faculty is implying that our opinion does not matter to it. Furthermore, requiring our attendance is only an added slap in the face. It’s like gagging someone but requiring him or her to participate in a debate.
Why have students at the table at all if no one cares about what they have to say? Just to remind us that we are being ignored?
Students could certainly gain information by attending faculty committee meetings, but we (some of us at least) elect student officials to sit in at these meetings to represent our voice, not merely to act as liaisons.
It has also been said that faculty affairs don’t much concern students, but in reality, who affects students more than faculty? Faculty members have a critical impact on the future of all students with what they teach us, how they grade us and how they advise us on decisions pertaining to our specific majors.
Have we no say in how we ought to be taught and treated? Of course, not all faculty decisions affect students, but don’t we deserve to be heard on the decisions that do?
This issue, however, serves to illustrate a much more important dilemma at Linfield: the increasing gap between students and faculty. Linfield has a reputation for great student-professor relations, but this seems only to be true at an individual level and, even then, not always.
Linfield needs to work toward increased cohesion between students and faculty. Why not have faculty members attend Senate and other student meetings and give them an opportunity to vote in addition to letting students vote in faculty meetings? We want faculty to have student input, but it would be hypocritical to not want faculty input as well.
We believe that not only having students and faculty attend each other’s meetings but also allowing each to have their voices heard and taken into consideration would strengthen the relationship between the two. Representation on both ends will undoubtedly result in decisions more beneficial to each party.
The standoff between students and faculty needs to end, but taking away our voice has only served to exacerbate it. We must come together. It could only end in us viewing each other more favorably.
We may be students, but we are also adults. Give us that respect, and we will gladly return it.
-The Review Editorial Board