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Administrators must increase collaboration with student leaders

Welcome back from winter break, RPI! I hope you all had a very happy holiday season!

Throughout my time within Student Government, accountability and fulfillment of responsibilities have been rather frequent topics of contention. In my eyes, taking accountability shows respect and consideration for the people you collaborate with, and maintaining transparency as much as possible only makes for an easier partnership and a more efficient process toward accomplishing a goal. I believe the proactive identification of issues and the subsequent construction of a plan of action with all parties involved prove of vital importance to fulfilling promises of collaboration.

With this in mind, I fully support the hard work and dedication that the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council have displayed over the past seven months, since the formation of the Greek Life Task Force in June. Unfortunately, I believe the letter from the presidents of Greek organizations from last week echoed a certain lack of communication and meaningful collaboration that seems all too familiar.

In all honesty, I can’t say my interactions with administrators for the Elections Reform Task Force have been much different. Last spring, the administration ignored the apprehensions expressed by the Task Force and proceeded to hire an external elections auditor over the summer. When the Task Force reached out to administrators about obtaining more information regarding the process and following up on the promised involvement in the process, administrators curtly decided that the Task Force had “abdicated participation in this process.” In the fall, the Task Force eagerly awaited the final report from the auditors, which was promised at the beginning of the fall semester. Yet, the administration only provided that final report in mid-November. This Task Force had minimal time to then implement the few recommendations made within the exceptionally late report. This seems to be a recurring trend to indicate that administrators have no interest in meaningful student involvement.

Keeping student government’s experiences in mind, I believe that the Greek community has shown great accountability and has been extremely proactive in recognizing and addressing issues across all aspects of Greek life. I admire the Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils for giving their best effort both within their chapters and with the administration on the Greek Life Task Force. In my opinion, there is not a great enough effort by the administration to be forthcoming with information on the Greek Life Task Force. With the lack of meaningful collaboration between the administration and the Greek community, it is unfortunate to see this opportunity to improve Greek Life at RPI was not as successful as it was projected to be. With that said, I hope every member of the RPI community—including administrators—want what is best for RPI, though I think we occasionally forget something very important: we will always be more successful working collaboratively than we will separately.

As always, please feel free to reach out to me at gm@rpi.edu. Your questions, comments, or concerns are always welcomed.