During this year's winter break, the student government presidents of all five undergraduate Claremont Colleges will draft bylaws for the Associated Students of the Claremont Colleges committee (ASCC), a new body comprised of student representatives from all 5Cs. Presidents Maddie Hartley HM ‘16, Nico Kass PO ‘16, Minjoo Kim SC ‘16, Andrew Lydens PZ ‘16 and Will Su CM ‘16 already meet on a biweekly basis, but they have decided that the Claremont community would benefit from a larger committee to address issues that impact all 5Cs.
The five senate presidents have been discussing this idea since the beginning of the semester, according to Su.
“There was certainly shared dialogue among the 5C senate presidents, and we could tell through our meetings that we share a lot of the same interests and we have very common goals,” Lydens said. “We definitely understand how such a committee could be valuable now, especially with the climate on our 5C campuses.”
Kass wrote in an email to TSL that although a joint college committee existed in the past, it has been defunct for a number of years.
“To have a governing structure that future generations use would be very helpful, because in the future, they can look back and see how students have been involved in community governance,” Lydens said.
This committee will consist of members from each of the 5C student governments, although the number of members is still unestablished. The 5C presidents are currently searching for a person to serve as executive director, an administrative role that would involve taking minutes and supporting the committee chair, according to Kass.
While the individual student governments have a history of coming together on major issues that impact the whole Claremont community, Lydens said that the student governments still do not have a united front.
“We have to tackle problems differently because the relationship between student government, faculty, staff, and administration on each of our respective campuses is different,” he said.
The committee’s purpose is to serve as a platform to address topical issues that affect all the Claremont Colleges.
“There are a number of issues that pertain to the larger 5C community, such as mental health, sexual violence, party culture and budgetary issues,” Kass wrote in an email to TSL. “It became very clear that we need to be meeting as a group to unite to confront serious issues.”
ASCC will help facilitate cooperation between the colleges in resolving matters that affect them all.
“I hope ASCC will allow for more effective collaboration between the existing student governments and allow groups to request funding from the various student governments in a streamlined manner,” Su wrote in an email to TSL.
The Claremont consortium is distinctive in that the colleges are separate entities, but many of the schools' resources and elements are interconnected.
“We have the unique opportunity to come together as five colleges and stand together, and I think we would be remiss not to utilize such a resource,” Lydens said.
Lydens said that ASCC will have the power to draft resolutions, but implementing change will most likely happen on an individual college level. According to Kass, the 5C student body presidents expect to have the committee formed by the end of the first month of the 2016 spring semester.
“Something we really strive to do is make a better community for all the students, and I think we can do that by allowing voices across the 5Cs to be heard,” Lydens said. “There’s so many shared resources that we have here in Claremont, that having such a body to voice collective concerns is really important. Hopefully we’ll see something really good come out of this.”