Letter to the Editor

January 24, 2014

To the Editor:

The Committee on Campus and Student Life (CCSL) is encouraged by the leadership of Bucknell Student Government (BSG) and the editorial staff of The Bucknellian as they addressed campus climate issues at Bucknell. We commend BSG for holding its first forum on campus climate on Nov. 19 and we applaud the Bucknellian editorial staff for having challenged students to take part in improving campus climate (Editorial: Campus Climate success depends on student turnout (2013, November 22. The Bucknellian, p. A6).

CCSL is a University committee that meets weekly and is unique in that the membership consists of six students, six faculty, and two administrators. The charge of CCSL in a nutshell is to advise and consult with the Division of Student Affairs; CCSL reports directly to University President John Bravman. This fall CCSL reviewed student policies on Medical Amnesty, Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence, and other policy changes. We were briefed on the University’s Diversity Plan, the current review of the Alcohol Policy and the strategic goals of the Office of Admissions. We held discussions on the Bias-Related Harassment Policy that is under revision and how bias impacts both students and instructors in the classroom. We also reviewed a study analyzing the retention of University students. Facets of campus climate are regular topics of conversation in CCSL. These conversations are candid and instructive as students, faculty and administrators share and come to understand each other’s perspectives, and our work has made a difference as recommendations from CCSL have led to changes in policy and practices at the University. Each year openings must be filled in our membership. We hope students and faculty interested in matters related to student affairs and campus climate will contact a member or co-chair of CCSL.

From the briefings CCSL has received, we can attest that President Bravman and his staff have dedicated themselves to providing more support and improving the environment for all students at the University. We echo the message of The Bucknellian editorial staff and the overarching theme of the Nov. 19 BSG forum, that the campus climate can only improve when students join in the process. The encouraging student participation that was expressed at this forum shows that the student body is ready and willing for change to occur. An important moment occurred at the forum when Blake Hill ’14 gave Lakiyra Williams ’14 his seat at the forum table (representation at the table had not reflected the full diversity of the student body), allowing her viewpoints to be expressed and heard. It was a poignant moment, one to learn from, and a good place to build upon if change is to occur. It will take a greater number of Bucknellians to advance substantive institutional and cultural change. Each class leaves a legacy to be remembered by. The question to the classes of 2014-17 is: what will be your legacy? In this age of social movements, the tools are available to you. Will you go for it?

CCSL members:

Utsav Agarwal ’14

Elizabeth Bacharach ’15

Victoria Catharine ’14, Co-Chair of CCSL

Olivia Cohen ’14, Student Affairs Chair of BSG

Bethany Collier, Assistant Professor of Music

Coralynn Davis, Associate Professor of Women’s & Gender Studies & Anthropology, Director of Women’s & Gender Studies

Bastian Heinsohn, Assistant Professor of German

Susan Lantz, Dean of Students

Kathleen McQuiston, Assistant Director of Research Services, Library & Information Technology

Robert Midkiff, Registrar, Associate Provost, Dean of Graduate Studies, Dean of Summer School Program

Annie Morris ’14

Kelly Salyards, Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Linda Smolka, Associate Professor of Mathematics, Co-Chair of CCSL

Colin Sygrove ’15

Whitney Tatem ’15, Vice President of Operations of BSG

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