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Campus News

All Caucus Co-conveners to leave posts

Gabriel Sistare, staff writer

Next semester Student Caucus will see three new co-conveners setting the agenda and conducting meetings.

The current co-conveners, Sophomore Rachel Peacock, Juniors Gideon Burdick and Clancy Harris, are all deciding to not run for election again.

Peacock and Burdick have been co-conveners for three semesters and Harris has held the title for two.

Peacock will be moving off campus and decided that she did not want to continue to lead meetings as a co-convener.
Burdick will move on to new responsibilities as the student representative to the Board of Trustees, and next semester, Harris will be traveling abroad in Chile.

Burdick made his decision to leave Student Caucus before being elected a Student Trustee. His reason for this decision was to allow for, as he said, “new and invigorated leadership,” as well as time to pursue the Real Time Energy Monitoring project he has initiated (“Student wins grants to monitor dorm efficiency” Apr. 3).

The exiting co-conveners reflected on their time spent on Student Caucus and on the governance process in general.
While they enjoyed their respective terms as Student Caucus co-conveners, they acknowledged that there are some difficulties when serving in the position.

“We have to please a lot of people,” Peacock said, citing that the co-conveners have to maintain a healthy relationship with college administration and at the same time, effectively convey student sentiments.

Harris agreed.

“It is hard to maintain diplomacy and still pursue student interests,” he said.

Harris said that because there is a significant change in the student population at Warren Wilson every few years due to graduation, Student Caucus has only one to two years to pursue issues of any importance.

“Students are at a big disadvantage for having their voices heard,” said Harris.

The terms for Peacock, Harris, and Burdick were not without high points though.

Peacock pointed out one situation when the co-conveners presented to the Board of Trustees at their meeting last winter.

“There was a consensus at the trustee meeting that student governance functions more effectively than any other [governance body],” said Peacock.

All the co-conveners thought that Warren Wilson’s style of shared governance was the best system to work with.

Peacock said that any attempt to restructure the governance system could become chaotic.

Harris emphasized that any decision to rework the system of governance to a representative model would be detrimental.

Burdick had a similar sentiment.

“I think shared governance needs to remain the cornerstone of our governance system here at Warren Wilson,” he said. “I do know that Caucus is working remarkably well, and we’ve seen a real increase in participation, especially around issues that come up that affect the campus population as a whole.”

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