Year after year, the questionable status of the Lawry common rooms stirs up controversy among the dorm’s residents. The common rooms are technically “public space”—Resident Advisors can walk through the area, and any Pomona student can swipe in unless the residents request otherwise. However, students, who generally treat these areas as their suites’ private common rooms, face fines for unregistered parties and damaged furniture as if the areas were private space. Despite Lawry residents’ continual exasperation with these rules, the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) has never seriously visited the policy, and the Student Handbook has never seen an official rule change.
For a Student Handbook rule change to take effect, a new edition of the handbook must come out that includes the revised rule, and the handbook only comes out once a year. Since Lawry residents are predominantly seniors, they would not be able to see the fruits of any endeavors to change the policy. This causes enthusiasm to wane and productive discussion to disappear.
Students only have four years at this college, and our inability to change policies that affect our daily life in a timely manner is unacceptable. It is currently possible for students to spend a quarter of their college careers living under a rule that has been deemed improper by all the relevant authorities after all the appropriate procedures have taken place. On a campus that places such a high priority on giving its students an active voice, the current system is insufficient to really allow students to make effective change.
The SAC, which votes on revisions to the Student Handbook, is currently considering an alteration that would end this ineffective policy. The committee is discussing designating the online version of the Student Handbook as the official version, as opposed to the printed version.
This change would enable the SAC to put revisions to the handbook into effect almost immeditaly after they were voted on and approved, rather than at the beginning of the following school year. Policy amendment would merely consist of changing the online handbook, a process that could be ongoing throughout the year.
This change is essential to our college’s endeavor to create a comfortable living environment for all its students. Given that the Pomona community is already incredibly connected via the internet, there is no excuse for allowing the policies that shape our daily lives to be stuck on a static, infrequent timeline.
We hope the SAC has the students’ best interests in mind when it comes time to make a decision regarding the handbook. Allowing changes to be made online is the only way to ensure that our community makes fair decisions that make a significant difference in our short college careers.
There is no reason that the Lawry residents should face the same issues every year because the process for changing policy disqualifies seniors from reaping its benefits, and neither is there a reason we should have to wait to see smart decisions implemented.