CMC Students Question Need for New Event Planning Board

The creation of a second Claremont McKenna College substance-free event organization this fall spurred some confusion among students who think that the school is unnecessarily supporting two separate entities designed to perform the same task.    

CMC created the College Programming Board (CPB) at the beginning of the year to foster a non-alcoholic social environment on campus, though the function of the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna’s (ASCMC) Social Life Committee is similar.      

“Students think there is some sort of duplication and that we should merge, but we put on different events,” said Director of Student Activities Jim Nauls. “I personally believe there are not enough non-alcoholic programs. If the budget allowed I would have something every night.”    

Currently the budget of the Social Life Committee is approximately $11,000, while the CPB has over $90,000. The Social Life Committee receives money from the student fees that fund the ASCMC, while CPB’s money comes from Nauls’s office, who receives funding from trustee money and other college sources.    

While CPB is new, the alcohol-free events it plans are not. 

“CPB began this past fall, but for 17 years or so it had just been Jim,” Nauls said, referring to himself.    

In the past Nauls has been responsible for using the money allocated to his office to help bring performers like LMFAO, Dave Matthews and Aziz Ansari to campus, as well as to provide movie nights and off-campus trips. This year, with the help of the CPB, CMC has seen an increase in alcohol-free events. Recently the CPB organized a ski and snowboarding trip to Bear Mountain.    

“We have a budget that needs allocating,” said CPB Chairperson of Off Campus Activities Nick Gillette CMC’14. “Dean Nauls is still ultimately responsible for the success and failure of the board. We are simply assisting him with a job he has done quite successfully for almost two decades.”    

Nauls appointed Gillette as the chairperson.    

“In terms of elections, other than the position of chair, the board was entirely elected. In our first year, we decided to elect a representative from each dorm to create the board,” Gillette said.      

But because the CPB was new and students had not heard of it, the election process was slightly haphazard, giving way to some criticism from students who felt that they were not given the chance to be properly represented on the CPB.    

“We are currently looking into the possibility of establishing an application process, but nothing has been finalized,” Gillette said. “The primary reason we don’t have traditional elections is, though we are accountable to the student body, we are ultimately accountable to Dean Nauls, who is accountable to his superiors,”     

“I need to know the chairperson and have an understanding and a relationship with them,” Nauls said. Referring to the possibility of an election of the chairperson, Nauls said that he would “prefer not to do it that way, but if majority rules then it will be done. It will be decided before elections this spring.”    

An updated election process may be possible, but a merger with the ASCMC is not, Gillette and Nauls said.    

Alexandra Cooke CMC ‘14 is the chairperson of the Social Life Committee, and she agrees that a merger would probably not occur.    

“We get our money from different sources, but we need more collaboration,” said Cooke, suggesting that a CPB board member could attend the ASCMC senate meetings. Cooke said that she approves of the work that the CPB is doing.

“They are getting their feet off the ground but doing a really great job,” Cooke said. “But it does make my job seem a little redundant.”     

“I think there is something to be said about CPB and ASCMC working more closely together in the future, but not a merge,” Gillette said. “Once we establish an election and selection process, we need to make it clear to everyone exactly how it will work. Other than that, why fix something that isn’t broken?”

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